Bajaj Boxer is well-equipped to handle the tough terrain of rural India and is easy to control in city traffic too

Bajaj Auto has always been the brave crusader, treading on untested grounds and facing challenges head on. With the launch of the new BM 150, Bajaj Auto is aiming to exploit the bottom end of the 150cc market.

The new motorcycle is a born-again Boxer that comes well-equipped to handle both the tough terrain of rural India and the many duties that will come its way. That's not all. Importantly, it bears a price tag that can shame many a 100cc bike, and is powered by a larger engine with extra punch. Bajaj even claims the new Boxer delivers near-100cc fuel efficiency.

It's all starting to sound too good to be true, which makes this the ideal time to take a closer look.

The Boxer BM 150 has a robust and functional albeit conservative look, complete with spoke wheels. The company has gone all out to deliver the sturdy look to this commuter bike. The metal front mudguard will find favour with those (read rural buyers) who associate the solidity of two-wheelers with metal bodies.

The big, classic circular headlight has a translucent wind deflector that gives it some modicum of flair. While most bikes have graduated to digital instruments, the BM 150 uses a simple twin-pod, analogue cluster with a fuel gauge and speedometer. While an odometer is available, this bike does without a tripmeter or an engine kill switch. The new Boxer has comfy palm grips, nice levers as well as wide mirrors, and you get Bajaj-typical crisp working switches that include a pass-flasher.

The BM's 11-litre classic tank looks boring but peels neatly back into a long and flat riding seat. Dual textures and trendy stickers spice up the side panels. At the rear, the carrier made from steel tubes is clearly capable of carrying heavy loads. The brake light cluster looks all too conservative. Meaty tyres give this Boxer a sure-footed stance while the rear wheel shroud is plastic in a bid to keep weight down. The BM's matte black exhaust has a slashed end and petite chrome heat-shield.

Overall, the classic, simple-looking Boxer succeeds in imparting a long-lasting, solidly built feel from the word go. Quality and fit and finish are praiseworthy on this new Bajaj motorcycle.

Four-stroke engine

At the heart of the Boxer BM 150 lies a kick or button-started, four-stroke, air-cooled, 144.8cc engine which is based on the Discover 150 DTS-i. On the BM, this alloy encased engine lacks Bajaj's proven dual-plug, DTS-i technology.

The carburettor-fed, two-valve, single-cylinder motor has long-stroke 56 x 58.8mm dimensions. While maximum power delivered is 12bhp at 7500rpm, the BM musters 1.25kgm of torque at a useable 5000rpm. While a five-speed gearbox does duty on the Discover, the BM makes do with four, well-spaced ratios, which actually translate into less work and are a boon when riding through heavy traffic conditions, so common in urban India. The clutch has a smooth, light feel and the four-down gearbox shifts with a smooth, precise enough feel. The heel and toe-operated shift lever is rubberised and provides good grip even when riding on wet roads.

The Boxer accelerates with a crisp, vibe-free nature through its wide power band. Throttle response isn't quite as quick as on the similar Discover 150 DTS-i but acceptable for a motorcycle positioned to challenge the 100cc class, and better than most bikes available in this segment.

The Boxer engine is tractable, effortlessly pulling away from speeds as low as 20kph in top gear, without requiring downshifts to find more power. Our acceleration tests proved the Boxer is almost as fast as a Discover 150 DTS-i, reaching 60kph in 5.54 seconds, and able to go past 80kph in 10.58sec.

Bajaj hasn't stinted on the Boxer frame for the BM 150 uses a sturdy, box-section frame that splits to cradle the motorcycle engine. The rear swingarm is likewise crafted from box-section metal and supports dual, ‘Spring-in-Spring' hydraulic shock absorbers. At the front, telescopic forks offer 125mm of travel.

The rider sits upright in a commuter-friendly riding position, reaching out to tall handlebars and well supported on a wide, plush riding seat. Pillions will find themselves easily accommodated, there being enough space on this new Bajaj to seat two in comfort.

The Boxer BM 150 is an easy bike to control in traffic, steering with a confidence-inspiring, neutral feel while always handling with lightness that helps keep fatigue at bay. Ride quality is plush, keeping the rider isolated from rough road conditions. The tyres are a letdown though, the ribbed pattern front tyre failing to provide adequate traction. The 100/90 section rear tyre also quickly feels out of its depth when trying to corner briskly on this bike or braking hard.

The Boxer gets 130mm drum brakes at both ends. We missed a front disc brake throughout this road test. Brake feel is however acceptable, with a drum brake-typical progressive feel at the lever. The BM is capable of braking to a halt from 60kph in 22.82 metres.

The Boxer BM 150 (Ex-showroom (Pune) Rs. 42,000) is effectively a 150cc bike for 100cc money, making it amazing value. But to expect it to also come good on the fuel efficiency front, like a typical 100cc bike, will be asking too much from the bike. The expected economy, as tested by us in real-world conditions, is 46.3kpl in typical Indian city traffic, and 50.6kpl on the highway.

Keywords: Bajaj Boxer