Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z review: Performance bargain

    The Pulsar NS400Z comes at a mouth-watering price but still packs in a long list of features and 40hp levels of performance.

    Published on May 11, 2024 10:00:00 AM

    14,977 Views

    Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z review: Performance bargain
    Make : Bajaj
    We Like
    • Price, performance
    • Features, Comfort
    We Don't Like
    • Brake feel/bite
    • Vibrations post 7000rpm

    In 2013, when KTM launched the 390 Duke for Rs 1.80 lakh, it blew our minds at the sort of bargain for performance it provided. Fast forward 11 years, and the Pulsar NS400Z is here with the same proposition. At a time when every other 40hp bike costs well north of Rs 2.2 lakh, the NS400Z's introductory price of Rs 1.85 lakh promises to offer great value with even more advanced features and electronics on board. Does it have what it takes to set the market ablaze?

    Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z How is it so affordable?

    Thanks to Bajaj's access to its vast product line and parts bin, they've managed to reuse parts from some of their most successful products to create the Pulsar NS400Z. The frame and engine have been taken from the Dominar 400, while parts like the adjustable levers, fuel tank, number plate holder, taillight, LED indicators and seats have been taken from their Pulsar range. Bajaj also mentioned two reasons why they stuck with a 140-section rear wheel for the NS400Z: agility and keeping the overall cost down. These tactics have helped Bajaj efficiently reuse existing parts and undercut every potential rival.

    Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Design & Features

    The NS400Z is an evolution of the Pulsar design, which Bajaj calls its 'floating panel design.' It's quite a good looking motorcycle. The Pulsar NS400Z’s design is an evolution of the NS styling; its overall silhouette is quite familiar and Bajaj has kept the fuel tank the same as the NS200—again, to manage costs.

    I quite liked the paint quality, which looked rich and popped in broad daylight with its metallic flakes. The NS400Z gets a full LED setup and features a new headlamp design with the 'Z' insignia embedded in the DRL design. Not only does it look quite catchy, but it also does a great job illuminating the road. The only sore point in its design is the exhaust, which looks cheap and leaves you wanting a better finish.

    New on the NS400Z is a coloured LCD speedo incorporating a monotone inset for added information. Despite its tightly packed layout, the main display is bright enough and easy to read. However, the smaller inset has poor visibility in the daytime and is not legible under direct sunlight.

    The NS400Z also features ride-by-wire, allowing Bajaj to add four riding modes (Rain, Road, Sport, Offroad)  and switchable traction control that you can toggle via the LCD inset. These riding modes alter the throttle response and ABS intervention. Additionally, it features Bluetooth connectivity and turn-by-turn navigation for added convenience. The switchgear is suitable for the most part, although it may require a firm press at times. The lack of a distance to empty and average fuel consumption indicator is noticeable and would have been a good addition given the smaller fuel tank.

    Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Ergonomics & Suspension

    The NS400Z is a comfortable streetfighter with an upright seating position and a slightly firm seat. The suspension is soft and handles most bumps with ease. My only gripe is the need for more ground clearance once the bike is loaded with the weight of a rider and pillion. I scraped the bottom a few times with a pillion, forcing me to approach speed breakers much slower.

    That can make the Pulsar NZ400Z tedious in the city if you deal with a lot of speed breakers and will require you to increase the rear shock preload to make it more liveable. Additionally, the Pulsar NZ400Z also falls short on cornering clearance, but more later. The Pulsar NS400Z is a comfortable motorcycle and will happily commute on our streets and highways.

    Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Ride & Handling

    This motorcycle may pack the same motor and frame as the Dominar 400 but the Pulsar is 18 kg lighter. This makes its handling a lot more agile and reactive in comparison. In fact, the NS400Z encourages you to lean it into corners but is held back by its somewhat low cornering clearance, which will have you scrapping your pegs sooner than you'd like. That aside, the ride quality would comfortably tackle most roads.

    What I would have also liked is a stronger front brake.The brakes use organic pads, which is another move to keep costs down, but it has resulted in a need for more stopping power. For most riders, it shouldn't be a problem, but I'd advise any spirited rider to swap to sintered pads for better bite.

    Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Performance

    The 373cc motor is my favourite part of the new Pulsar, and even though it's not the latest or greatest engine Bajaj has developed, there is no denying it's a total hoot to ride. Rev up the engine to its 10,000rpm redline, and it rewards you with a strong thrust and, with traction control off, will happily point its front wheel at the sky. The engine packs enough punch to keep you engaged throughout your daily ride. There are mild vibrations that develop the higher you are in the rev range.

    The exhaust is loud and certainly sounds better than it looks. Overall, heat management also seemed well contained, and despite it being a hot day, the NS400Z kept its cool. The 6-speed gearbox is smooth, and the light clutch makes it easy to use. Bajaj has given it slightly shorter gearing by using a one-tooth larger rear sprocket compared to the Dominar 400. It enables the NS400Z to accelerate better but it maintains its ability to cruise at higher speeds.

    Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Verdict

    The Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z is the second coming of a pocket rocket for the masses. It is worth mentioning that our motorcycle did have some  electronic glitches, but we were informed by Bajaj in advance that these were pre-production motorcycles, and these issues will be rectified by the time the NS400Z goes on sale. That will have to be ratified at a later date, but  there's no denying what a bargain the NS400Z is, and it embodies the Pulsar identity we've come to know and appreciate.

    It is an even better package when you consider how much more its competition costs in comparison, sitting north of 2 lakh. What's hard to fathom is that the Pulsar NS400Z is more affordable than the most expensive version of the Yamaha R15 V4, which has less than half the power. For less than Rs 30,000, most buyers looking to buy a Pulsar NS200 can easily consider the jump in price, given you get nearly twice as much performance All in all, Bajaj has knocked it out of the park with the Pulsar NS400Z, and if you've strictly got two lakhs to spend and like streetfighters, I cannot think of a better motorcycle to recommend.
    Also See:

    Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z video review

     

    Tech Specs

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