Bajaj Pulsar F250 First ride review | A new pulse for the Pulsar lineup?
The Fastest Indian. This was the phrase often used to describe the Pulsars. The Pulsar nameplate came into being in 2001 with the launch of the Bajaj Pulsar 150 and the Pulsar 180. The goal of the company was simple, democratise performance. Now, 20 years after the launch of the original Pulsars, we finally have the latest in the lineup — the Bajaj Pulsar F250 and the Pulsar N250. The Pulsar N250 is the naked offering while the F250 gets a semi-faring and clip-on handlebars. The 250s are the biggest Pulsars to date and they have big shoes to fill. But are they a bit too late to the party? Well, read on to find out. This review is all about the Pulsar F250. Click here to read all about the Bajaj Pulsar N250 on the Fast Bikes India website.
Bajaj Pulsar F250 design
The Bajaj Pulsar F250 offers a fresh take on the traditional Pulsar design while retaining the quintessential Pulsar look and feel. Of the two bikes launched, the Pulsar F250 is the semi-faired offering. The F250 sports a short fairing that goes around the all-new headlamp and extends all the way to the fuel tank. Speaking of the headlamp setup, it is now made up of a bi-LED projector unit that is flanked by boomerang-shaped DRLs. This setup does an adequate job of illuminating the road ahead of you while riding at night. In the F250, this entire unit is covered by a single piece of glass whereas the projector unit is exposed on the naked bike.
Additionally, the F250 also gets a windscreen along with fairing mounted rearview mirrors. In terms of fit and finish, the bodywork and panel gaps seem to be up to the mark, with a few discrepancies in terms of the fit of the switchgear. We were riding pre-production bikes and Bajaj has promised to get all quality issues sorted out on the production variants of the bike. Move behind and the Pulsar silhouette is clearly visible. The bike gets a split seat design and at the rear has the familiar twin stripe LED tail light.
The instrument cluster on the bike has been designed from the ground up. The cluster has a bezel-less design and that’s a nice touch. The cluster is made up of an analogue tachometer in the centre, to the right is the digital screen which houses information like speed, fuel range, the odometer and now finally, a gear position indicator. On the left side of the tachometer is the section where all the warning lights are displayed. This is a pretty straightforward instrument console with no unnecessary frills. It is easily readable even under direct sunlight and you have all the relevant information you need at a glance. Although, in today's day and age of connectivity it’s surprising that Bajaj didn’t opt to add Bluetooth connectivity.
Bajaj Pulsar F250 engine
The Pulsar F250 gets a 249.07cc single-cylinder SOHC, two-valve, oil-cooled engine. So, nothing fancy going on here although this is the biggest engine to ever be fitted to a Pulsar. Now this engine is brand new and it has nothing to do with the KTM derived 250cc engine found on the 250 Duke or the Dominar 250. The new mill is good for 24.1bhp at 8750rpm and 21Nm at 6500rpm. In terms of performance, the bike does feel peppy. Another thing working in the bike’s favour is the fact that it has a relatively meaty mid-range unlike the high strung nature of the KTM-derived engines found on the Pulsar NS 200 and RS 200. This meaty mid-range comes particularly handy in the city, where the bike was intended to be used. It accelerates rather well too.
The new engine is mated to a five-speed gearbox and it is rather slick to operate. That in combination with the slip and assist clutch and the wide powerband means you don’t need to be constantly working the gearbox in the city. The same goes for riding the bike in the canyons. You could be a gear higher than you should’ve been and still get away with it. Even quick overtakes won’t always require you to downshift a cog. One thing that Bajaj should have done was add a sixth cog in ‘box. By the time you are at 100kmph, which is a comfortable cruising speed for Indian roads, you’re already well past the 6500rpm mark on the tacho. At this speed, the front fairing and the mirrors were vibrating a fair bit. I only hope that this is a pre-production niggle that will get sorted by the time the production bikes roll out, but nevertheless, I feel having a sixth gear would fix this because there would be less strain and you’d be carrying the same speed with the revs much lower. Apart from that the engine is pretty refined through most of the rev range with mild vibes creeping in only towards the redline.
There was also no sign of engine heat creeping in despite riding it in terrible October heat. The exhaust note on the bikes with the dual barrel exhaust is nice and bassy and sounds better the more you rev it. Before we got the bike to ourselves, we got to put in a couple of hot laps at the Bajaj Chakan test facility where I, with my bulky frame, managed to clock a top speed (speedo-indicated) in excess of 130kmph. Even while keeping the throttle pinned for a long duration on the track the engine didn’t break a sweat.
Bajaj Pulsar F250 chassis
The Bajaj Pulsar F250 uses a new steel-tubular frame, unlike the double-cradle frames used in older Pulsars or the perimeter frames used in the NS 200 and the RS 200. The new frame uses the engine as a stressed member of the setup and that has helped keep weight in check. In terms of suspension, the bikes are suspended on a 37mm telescopic front fork setup and an all-new monoshock (non-gas-charged) at the rear.
This whole package comes together rather well. The F250 handles like a Pulsar. Meaning, you sit on the bike and it is immediately apparent that it is not a mere commuter and has the makings of a bike meant for enthusiasts. Swing a leg over and you are immediately welcomed by a 795mm seat height that makes you feel like you’re sitting in the bike rather than on it. The rider’s triangle is also on the comfortable side, which will be good for those long-distance jaunts. The clip-on handlebars are similarly placed as the flat bar on the N250. As mentioned the riders triangle is more on the relaxed side the footpegs are relatively low and the bars are placed within comfortable reach of riders of most heights.
The suspension setup is plush and does a good job at soaking up all bumps and nasty potholes without unsettling the bike. But, at the same time, the F250 does a good job of carving up corners. The bike is agile and tips into corners without much effort and holds the line rather well. This is also down to the rims which have the same design as those on the NS and RS but are 1kg lighter. The bike is not as committed as the NS 200 or RS 200 but that wasn’t Bajaj’s intention with this bike. Now the F250 with the added fairing and weight over the front end felt a touch more stable in the corners than its naked sibling.
Braking is taken care of by a 300mm disc up front and a 230mm petal disc at the rear. The front caliper is now sourced from Grimeca and that in combination with the 300mm disc offers a good initial bite. Although, I would have liked to have a little more in terms of modulation after. The bike is equipped with single-channel ABS and that is a miss in my opinion. A 250cc bike in today’s day and age should come with dual-channel ABS. But to Bajaj’s credit, the ABS is well calibrated and doesn’t kick in abruptly.
Bajaj Pulsar F250 verdict
Bajaj, when it announced the Pulsar F250 and the N250 was clear that it wanted to make a simple no-nonsense motorcycle. And that is exactly what they have delivered. The bikes get a rather basic engine that does the job well, a simple suspension setup, single-channel ABS and no Bluetooth connectivity (something that is available on bikes a segment or two below even). But at the same time, the package ties well together and offers you a hassle-free ride. It has all the handling characteristics one would associate with a Pulsar and the looks to go with it. That along with the attractive Rs 1.4 lakh price tag makes the bike one to look out for. In terms of rivals, most of the 250s in the segment are under the Bajaj umbrella and are made around the more sophisticated KTM derived 250cc single-engine and also have better equipment with a higher price tag. So, the only real rivals to the Pulsar F250 are the Yamaha FZ25 and the Suzuki Gixxer 250s. With it's price to performance ratio the Pulsar F250 strikes the perfect middle ground between the Yamaha FZ25 and the Suzuki Gixxer 250s.