We’ve known for a while now that Bajaj intends to bring a 125cc motorcycle under the Pulsar banner to India. A vast majority of the internet has assumed that this will be the NS 125 that has been sold in international markets for some time now, but we can now confirm that this is not the case. The bike we get will, in fact, come under the Pulsar umbrella.
It is worth bearing in mind that the Pulsar NS 125 is sold in overseas markets where the NS brand has a strong foothold. In India, things are quite different and, here, the Pulsar brand is an absolute giant and that’s why we will be getting a Pulsar 125 and not a Pulsar NS 125.
It would be safe to think that as times progress the market would grow toward larger capacities, but ironically, 18 years after the Pulsar’s inception, Bajaj now sees space for a 125cc version. The reason is quite simple - regulation changes have made things expensive. First came the ABS rule, then the big hike in insurance rates, and now we have the hit from the upgrade to BS6 to contend with. In a period of just about two to three years, a majority of two-wheeler customers are looking at a hike in prices of twenty percent, or higher.
This is exactly where a 125c Pulsar will make sense. It won’t need ABS (although it remains to be seen if Bajaj intends to offer this as an option, at least) and it will therefore be more affordable. We expect to see this motorcycle in similar clothes to the Bajaj Pulsar 150, probably in a similar line as the recently launched Pulsar 150 Neon, which is currently the most affordable motorcycle in the range. If that’s the case, the Pulsar 125 will get a single seat design, a rear drum brake and no fuel tank extensions.
There is no clarity on the underpinnings just yet, but we expect to see something close to what’s under the NS 125. That bike uses a 125cc air-cooled single-cylinder engine with a four valve head and a five-speed gearbox. Power stands at 12hp at 8500rpm and that figure may change slightly for our market, but it does fit well between the Discover 125 (11hp/11Nm) and the Pulsar 150 (14hp/13.4Nm).
We expect to see the Pulsar 125 go on sale in about a month or two. Pricing will be typically competitive and could be in the range of Rs 60-65,000 ex-showroom Delhi, possibly closer to the slow selling Discover 125 (Rs 61,754) than the Pulsar Neon 150 Rs (68250). It is unlikely that there will be a drum-brake version of the Pulsar 125, considering this bike’s sporty identity, but if Bajaj does make that decision, the starting price could go below Rs 60,000. We will update this space when we know more.