The Bajaj Pulsar 135 LS is a small bike that shows off a lithe stance to good effect. Ashley Baxter has the details
Downsizing seems to be the buzzword at Bajaj Auto these days. In early 2009, the Discover 135 DTS-i was joined by the 94.38cc Discover 100 DTS-Si and now the Pulsar family has yet another addition in the form of the Pulsar 135 LS (Light Sports). Bajaj certainly kicked up a storm with the Discover 100 and the company is keen to repeat this success with the latest Pulsar.
The Pulsar 135 LS is a small bike that shows off a lithe stance to good effect. Its front five-spoke alloy wheel sits beneath a smart two-tone mudguard. A little above, a tiny arrow-shaped bikini fairing crowns the low-set, DC-powered conical headlight, which does well to illuminate the darkest of nights. A large tachometer with redline marked over 10000rpm dominates the instrument bay, flanked by a clearly legible amber backlit LCD readout for the speedometer, odometer, tripmeter and fuel gauge. Like its larger siblings, the 135 also uses twin horns, a boon in our traffic conditions.
Devoid of graphics, small ‘4-valve' logos on the latest Pulsar's nifty tank extensions are the only indicators of the advanced valve-train housed beneath. An aircraft-style hinged fuel filler is prominent and takes pride of place on the bike's well-sculpted fuel tank, which offers adequate support to a rider's thighs. Also present are rubber tank protectors that serve as buffers between a rider's belt buckle and the tank region. However, riders will take a while to get used to the kick-lever position on the new Pulsar, which tends to constantly nudge your right leg when riding.
In line with its sporty theme, the new Pulsar features split seats, with the pillion seated very slightly above the rider. The Pulsar 135 employs an upmarket alloy sub-frame to mount its alloy footrests, and comes with neatly styled flank panels. An arresting detail on the bike is its upswept, tapering silencer that shears off midway at the rear wheel. Bringing up the bike's slender tail section is an alloy split grab-rail and chic LED-equipped tail-light. Build quality and overall fit and finish are satisfactory.
The Pulsar 135LS uses a new four-stroke engine, its head successfully marrying Bajaj's twin spark-plug DTS-i technology with four valves. This is an alloy cased, air-cooled and single-cylinder unit, with its 134.66cc cylinder using 54mm x 58.8mm bore and stroke dimensions, similar to the XCD 135.
The new Pulsar comes with a CV-type carburettor. The better-breathing character is thanks to its four valves making room for improved intake, as well as spent exhaust gas expulsion, while the twin plugs ignite its combustion chamber from both ends to enhance efficiency. The engine's ‘bad-boy' snarl is less prominent on the LS than on other Pulsars. It's a really smooth engine at low rpm, offering quick throttle response and a free-revving nature. The power band is wide, with the bike revving cleanly with minimal fuss to its 10500rpm limiter.
The clutch is nicely-weighted and the Pulsar 135 enjoys a light, precise-shifting gearbox that operates in a one-down-four-up pattern via its sporty toe shift lever.
The LS tag is well-earned by the Pulsar 135 as the bike weighs just 122kg — bantam-weight in this segment — and has an enviable power-to-weight number of 110.6bhp per tonne. It charged through the 60kph barrier in just 5.16sec, with 100kph flying past in 23.26sec. It also registered a good true top speed of 108kph flat-out in fifth.
The Pulsar 135LS deploys a single downtube frame, allied to telescopic front forks and gas-charged rear shock absorbers. Its engine is held in place as a stressed member, and the swingarm is fabricated from rectangle section steel. Seventeen-inch wheels are the norm on this bike. As mentioned before, the entire package weighs in at a modest 122kg, which helps make this Bajaj a light, nimble motorcycle that is good to ride in crowded city traffic. The riding position comes with a hint of sportiness but is essentially commuter-focussed, with the rider seated in an upright posture on its firm saddle, reaching into the handlebars.
The Pulsar 135 is quick to turn into corners, steers with neutral feel and changing direction is effortless and enjoyable. Straightline stability is adequate and the motorcycle also provides solid anchors — a 240mm single disc in front and a 130mm drum unit at the rear. Brake feel is good, progressive and the stopping performance is aided by the LS's nice tyres. The Pulsar 135LS is a frugal motorcycle that will not hurt your wallet despite its strong show of performance. Our tests confirmed the new Pulsar is good enough for a healthy 52.2kpl in city riding conditions, and 55.2kpl when out on the highway.
The new Pulsar 135LS is the smallest Pulsar to date.
The new Pulsar's entertaining four-valve powerplant provides a quick turn of performance that puts it almost at par with 150cc bikes. And, true to its ‘Light Sports' name, delivers a light feel.
Well priced to offer good value for money, the Pulsar 135LS is yet another decent motorcycle from the Bajaj bike stable.