Trimming it Down
Even without the economic slowdown, the financing crisis, and the consistently increasing fuel rates; a shift to BS6 would have been hard for most customers to absorb in their budgets. With these factors adding fuel to the fire, there is no way the average consumer is willing or able to afford the 150cc and above bikes that have been pushed past the lakh rupees tag, even with the base variant. The swathe of the population that falls under this category have instead diverted their focus towards the 125cc commuter segment that has started heating up due to all the fresh blood. While there are several bikes that could be considered a good choice amongst this selection, there is only one that carries with it such a legacy of performance and goodwill amongst the youth. We are talking about the smallest sibling in the Pulsar line-up, the Pulsar 125, a deceptively similar motorcycle that marks the first time this model name has ever ventured below 150cc.
Objectively speaking, the only major difference between this and the 150 Neon is the stroke of the engine, which has been shortened to allow for better efficiency. Even in this reduced state, the engine is the most powerful in the 125cc segment, with 11.8BHP of power and 11Nm of torque. Sadly though, this doesn’t translate well to real life, as the engine feels strained at 100kmph and beyond, with lots of vibrations to contend with. However, the big difference comes through the fuel mileage, which comes out at a very un-Pulsar-like ARAI rating of 57.5kmpl; even though you shouldn’t expect anything above 45 with spirited riding. Even though the competition boasts of better figures in this criterion, they can’t really match up to the sporty DNA that makes this bike so much fun to ride, and has transformed it into such a high-value brand amongst Indian customers. Even at a price of around ₹66,000, this is more than enough bike to give you your first taste of the Pulsar experience.
SAME IN CLASS
- Honda CB Shine SP125
With a new body that features sharper tank extensions, LED lighting and an all-digital instrument cluster, the bike certainly looks like the new kid on the block; despite being one of the oldest bestseller of the segment. Even though it’s not as aggressive as the Pulsar, it still offers better mileage and a more refined engine. You will certainly lament the lack of ABS, although the disc brake really contributes to the combined braking system which is a godsend when it comes to emergency brake applications. Overall it makes for a much more sensible ride, even though it comes at a similar price of around ₹65,000.
- Hero Glamour 125 Fi
This bike seems dated as it already got its scheduled upgrade a few years ago. The update came with a new design that featured a sculpted tank and extended panels but missed out on recent features like LED lights and an all-digital cluster. The good thing is that it still delivers 60 plus fuel average irrespective of the performance. Sadly though, the performance in itself is nothing to write home about, with the bike running out of steam above 60. This isn’t enough to justify the highest price tag of around ₹70,000, even though it was one of the best options just a few years ago.