The Bajaj Pulsar! More so, the Pulsar 180, the motorcycle that started it all. A motorcycle that was India’s first performance motorcycle has gone through my UG’s, as Bajaj likes to call it. The manufacturer has been subtle in the way this motorcycle got updates, which is just like the rest of the Pulsars. However, Pulsar 180 wasn’t doing so well until now. The dealers said that it isn’t lucrative as before. The Pulsar 180 was always competing with the Yamaha Fazer at the consumer level. Despite it wasn’t direct competing on paper. That is a fact that no one will let you know, apart from a few.
Bajaj now decided, a logical upgrade to it by giving it the fairing that everyone loves and make the Pulsar 180, once loved, even more tempting. As a result, this new Pulsar 180F is born. A premium commuter worth a second look, even if you made your decision at first glance. Now that the Yamaha Fazer has taken a long sabbatical, does the Pulsar 180F become the best premium entry level commuter? We broke the story earlier in the year and we even rode the bike earlier in our video and now spent quality time with it to tell you what it is like.
The changes over the last few years have helped the Pulsar get modern yet retain the good old classic touch. The macho fuel tank, the fairing of the Pulsar 220 is iconic since 2008 and continues to do so. The modern touch comes from the Neon paint scheme on offer with orange hues and grey color reminding of the old silver color that the old Pulsar 200 and Pulsar 220 had for some time. The headlight with projector beams make illumination and spread superior than most of its rivals.
The all black theme in the lower half part, the matte finish heat shield on the exhaust and rear-disc brake add more charm to the motorcycle. The switch gear continues to be backlit, the orange backlit of the speedometer is replaced with a blue one, but carries a lot of functions except for a simple clock. Fonts have changed and so has the tachometer. The ergonomics are of a higher riding position with low seat height and slightly more lower clip-on bar position. The overall posture is comfortable but slightly sporty to look at, not compromising comfort, some find this balance good, some don’t.
The engine has become so refined that is barely sounds and feels like the older generation of Pulsar. However, the low end torque, the slightly bassy exhaust note and rorty intake noise identifies itself as a Pulsar. The tall gearing, the decently fast spinning engine, the adequate low end torque and excellent mid range with, again, adequate top-end power makes this a great premium commuter as the extra oomph over a tradition 150/160cc helps. The added weight of the fairing wouldn’t help much as the power and torque figures of 17 BHP and 14 Nm of torque continue. The motorcycle used to weigh 140 kgs and now it weighs 146 kgs. Wow, i still remember these numbers by heart.
The handling was and is its achilles heel. The suspension at the front and rear has matured to an extent that is good enough while ridden sanely and far within the limits. However, push those limits you need to take the suspension at the rear to max pre-load to find out that it can actually climb up twisty road with ease and confidence. The tyres hold up and then when you push a wee bit more hard, the chassis then feels lofty-softy. Clearly, the dual cradle frame has come of age. Brakes are good with acceptable front lever bite and great progression after that. The front brake is backed by ABS so it doesn’t lock the wheel.
Front suspension is confidence inspiring and that chassis balance with a slightly long 1345 mm long wheelbase is good for commuting and high speed stability as the rake provides great feedback on the highway. Ergonomic flaws include the side panel on the right side pokubg you at slow speeds in traffic. Meanwhile, the seats continue to be good for normal size adults as there is little space to move around.
2019 Bajaj Pulsar 180F Review, Verdict
The Pulsar 180F is a great way to keep the unique cubic capacity alive, something that Bajaj started. A premium touch just before its life-cycle ends in the next two years is a fitting homage to a category and a package that is good, but not great enough to win the enthusiast back. In the end, someone loses, someone wins, and it’s the consumer looking out for a ‘premium sporty motorcycle’ that will find this as lucrative as ever and a bit more thanks to the new look and great bang for buck on offer. Time for Bajaj to start fresh then!
Pulsar 180F Review,