399cc Bajaj Pulsar launching soon?
In a recent interview, Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj announced that the ‘biggest-ever’ Pulsar will be launched by March next year. Along with that we will also get to see six of the Pulsars that already exist in the 125-200cc segment get upgrades, all by March 2024. Before we dissect this piece of news let’s take a look at what the statement says.
Let’s start with the ‘biggest ever’ Pulsar. Bajaj has been a partner with KTM since 2007 and that partnership has seen immense success. Now, the company is trying to replicate the formula with Triumph’s Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X. From the looks of it, that partnership is going to be a raging success as well going by the reviews and the hype around these motorcycles. . Bajaj is a manufacturing partner for both KTM and Triumph and is the reason they are able to manufacture bikes in such large quantities. It is no secret that Bajaj has used engines based on the KTM ones, with some of its own changes on its motorcycles in the past. . The KTM 200 Duke engine has seen its way into the Bajaj Pulsar NS 200, the 125 Duke mill also does duties on the Pulsar NS 125. And most notably, the 390 Duke engine with a new head and Bajaj’s triple spark technology, does duties in the Dominar 400. So logic, based on history, would dictate that Bajaj will put the newly-developed 399cc, single-cylinder mill from the 2024 KTM 390 Duke into a bike that bears the Bajaj crest.
The simple thing to do would be to launch a facelifted Dominar 400, plonk the new engine and call it a day. But I don't think that would be wise. The Dominar 400, though a great bike in its own right, was never a bike that wowed. It has the ability to munch miles, is pretty comfortable. But always fell short on the thrills department. It weighed a lot more than it should and that always came in the way of it becoming a runaway success.
The Pulsar badge on the other hand is what Bajaj has built its reputation on. The reason that India is a country that appreciates performance motorcycles. With the Pulsar, Bajaj has become a global brand, one that sells in over 70 countries, one that owns a stake in KTM and one that has made it amongst the most formidable two-wheeler manufacturers in the world. So it only makes sense that the Pulsar badge get the shot in the arm it deserves. The Pulsar 220F was the largest Pulsar that Bajaj made until the F250 and the N250 came along. But as Rajiv Bajaj even stated in the press conference of those bikes: they were a little too late to hit the market. The bikes, while good in their own right, didn’t really live up to the legacy that the Pulsars before it had left behind. Then came a slew of upgrades to existing Pulsars and even some new ones like the N160 and the P150. The N160 was a great bike and a lot of us felt that it was amongst the best Pulsars that the company has built.
So now, with the launch of the Gen-3, 2024 KTM 390 Duke, we can expect that Bajaj is readying a bike of their own that might make use of this engine. The likelihood of Bajaj using the KTM engine is much higher than using the Triumph engine, considering that spokespeople have explicitly said that Bajaj has no claim on any of the tech that comes from the Triumph partnership. And seeing how the 399cc engine has transformed the Duke 390 and gotten back a lot of the charm that made us fall in love with the Gen-1 390 Duke, we can only hope that the same thing happens with the upcoming biggest-ever Pulsar. It could be a Pulsar NS 400, or even a semi-faired, Pulsar 400F. Or both! Only time will shine light on what the actual bike could be but we have big hopes for it.
The other six bikes that will be receiving upgrades are between the 125-200cc class which means that the pre existing bikes could be seeing facelifts. We may also be seeing new bikes like the sportier version of the P150 — the N150 or maybe even a P160. With even more bikes to look forward to now, wouldn't you agree that it really is a great time to be a motorcyclist?