The 150cc segment in India has a lot of interesting bikes at the lower and higher ends of the spectrum, but there haven’t been any exciting motorcycles that formed the middle ground in a long time. 2015 saw the introduction of two motorcycles that slotted into this very category, the Bajaj Pulsar AS150, and the Gixxer SF from Suzuki. At first glance they look very intriguing – both are performance-oriented 150cc bikes that are targeted at the enthusiast on a budget. So, which one deserves your money? We find out!
The new-age Pulsar design that debuted with the 200NS finds its way to the AS150. It looks quite dapper, thanks to a neatly-designed half-fairing which melds well with the aggressive styling of the 200NS, and accentuates the muscular lines of the bike. The AS150 exhibits very good build quality for a bike in its price range, although there are a few spots where it could be improved.
The Gixxer SF, with Suzuki’s MotoGP livery adorning its full-fairing, looks very sporty. The bike’s lithe body looks fetching when viewed from any angle, although we think it would have looked even better from head-on with twin headlights. The SF flaunts a quality of build that’s unmatched by its rivals. From the quality of materials used, and the way it’s been put together, everything looks and feels premium.
The upright ergonomics of the AS150 is perfectly suited for riding for extended durations. The SF’s ergos feel slightly sportier, but are no less comfortable. Pillion comfort was better on the SF than the AS.
Performance wise, the AS150 pips the Gixxer SF by a slight margin. The SF’s 155cc motor may produce two horses lesser than the AS150’s 149cc 4-valve unit, but it produces slightly more torque, that too at a lower RPM. This helps it pull ahead when accelerating from a standstill. Post 40 kmph though, the AS150 surges past with ease. While both bikes hit an indicated top speed of over 100kmph, the AS150 reached the mark a smidge quicker. In terms of refinement, the Suzuki wins hands down, but the Bajaj isn’t all too bad either.
Both bikes incorporate chassis that have been tuned with a focus on dynamics, and as a result, they feel lively around the corners. The SF with its shorter wheelbase feels light on its feet, ever eager to tilt into a turn, with its grippy tires providing a ton of confidence. The AS is quite nimble too, and it also feels very stable, which allows riders to tackle corners with aplomb. With respect to ride quality, like the naked Gixxer, the SF too provides a plush and comfy ride. The AS on the other hand feels slightly firm, although it is in no way uncomfortable.
Both the AS150 and the Gixxer SF are equipped with a front disc/rear drum braking setup, and they perform quite admirably. In our braking tests, the Gixxer edged ahead of the Pulsar by a very small margin, stopping in 14.8m from 60kmph to the latter’s 15.5m. The Gixxer also felt very confident and composed under hard braking, something that the Pulsar couldn’t really match.
The AS150 aces the SF in the features game, by offering a host of goodies like projector headlights, backlit switches, LED pilot lights, and LED tail lights. The Gixxer on the other hand gets a funky-looking fully-digital instrument console, but that’s about it.
At Rs 79,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Pulsar AS150 offers exceptional value for money, considering what it offers. The Gixxer on the other hand is priced on the higher side, at Rs 83,500 (ex-showroom, Delhi). It cannot be termed a value deal per se, but you pay for what is essentially a well-built high-quality motorcycle.
We concede. It is a dead heat. Between these two bikes, it is extremely difficult to pick an absolute winner. Both look smart, are quite quick for their class, and are a lot of fun to ride. What we can say is that, the Pulsar AS150 offers quite a lot for a cracking price. That said, the Gixxer SF cannot be overlooked as an expensive alternative. It is very well built, and is a hoot to ride around the corners. So say, you’re looking for a performance bike under Rs 1 lakh, which one you should you pick? If you are inclined towards touring, the Pulsar AS150 is it. If you are keener towards dynamics, the SF should help to get your fix.
|Engine||4-stroke, 1-cylinder, air-cooled, SOHC|
|Power||14.6 bhp @ 8000 rpm|
|Torque||14 Nm @ 6000 rpm|
|Chassis Type||Single Downtube Diamond type|
Rear:Swing Arm, Mono Suspension
|Fuel Tank Capacity||12|