We’ve picked three of the most popular 150cc bikes under Rs 75,000 that have dominated the market in the recent years. We find out what makes the Bajaj Pulsar 150 DTSi, the Honda CB Trigger and the TVS Apache RTR 160 hold sway over a sizeable chunk of the market, and which one you should pick amongst them!
In terms of design, the three bikes we have here are as varied as the colours of the rainbow. While the Honda exhibits restrained and matured styling, the Apache clearly has a sporty bent in its design. The Pulsar forms the middle ground here, looking neither too flashy nor dull.
The Pulsar’s riding position is more street-oriented than sporty, but because of the clip-on handlebars placed low, it exerts a little strain on the shoulders when riding for long durations. The CB Trigger offers much more comfortable ergonomics, with its tall handlebar and forward-set foot pegs offering an upright seating position.
The Apache gets clip-on handlebars and slightly rear-set foot pegs that seat the rider in a forward-bent posture. Surprisingly, we found it to be quite accommodating, although not as comfortable as the CB Trigger.
On paper, the Pulsar 150 and the CB Trigger do have a 10cc handicap compared to the Apache RTR 160, but on the road, the perceived difference is very minor. As a result, the three bikes are closely matched in terms of performance, but how they build-up speed differs. The Pulsar has a good amount of grunt at the lower reaches of the rev range, which has it accelerating hard initially, with the power tapering only at high engine speeds. In contrast, the CB Trigger has a slightly limp bottom end, but it starts pulling enthusiastically once you hit the mid-range, all the way to the redline.
While the 10cc advantage doesn’t help the Apache outright, it certainly makes it feel meatier than the other two. The bike has a linear power curve, with strong acceleration right from low revs till the limiter.
The Pulsar handles well, responding to steering inputs with quick and stable direction changes. One minor shortcoming though, is that the front end feels heavy at low speeds, making riding in traffic a tedious affair. The CB Trigger is good too, although it isn’t dynamically very focussed. It doesn’t feel comfortable being thrown into corners aggressively, but at normal speeds it turns in well and holds its line steadily. City manoeuvrability is excellent, with the wide handlebars offering good leverage. The Apache is hands down the best handling bike of the three. Its short wheelbase allows it to turn quickly with minimal effort, while the chassis and suspension setup lend it good mid-corner and straight line stability. It tends to get a little tricky to control if you push it very hard though.
The Pulsar has a firm suspension set-up, which imparts an unsettled ride over bumps and crests, whereas the Honda CB Trigger’s offers a plush ride quality, the best amongst the three here. It makes light work of bad roads, bumps, and potholes, dampening them well. The Apache’s suspension strikes a good balance between ride quality and handling. The conventional front and gas-charged twin rear shock absorbers have enough dampening to soak up most surface undulations commendably, yet they are firm enough to prevent wallowing or swaying when cornering.
With a disc brake at the front and a drum brake at the rear, the Pulsar 150’s braking system may come across as inadequate on paper, but in reality, it is quite effective, bringing the bike to a halt from 40 kmph in 9.46 m. The CB Trigger’s Combi-Braking System (CBS) steals the show in our braking tests. The linked front and rear disc brake set up activates both brakes when only the rear brake lever is pressed. It takes much lesser effort to come to a halt from high speeds. In our braking tests, the CB Trigger could stop from 40 kmph in 7.48 m. The Apache also comes with petal disc brakes on both wheels, but unlike the CB Trigger, they are independent. Still, they offer stellar braking performance with loads of feel and very little lock. The bike managed to stop from 40 kmph in 9.27 m.
The CB Trigger comes with a fully digital instrument cluster, whereas the Pulsar and the Apache have a digital speedo – analogue tacho combo. The Pulsar’s speedo is the most legible, with the speed etched in a large black font on an orange backlit display. The Apache’s speedo includes a nifty top speed recorder, and an acceleration timer. The bike also comes with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), which remain lit at all times, adding to the bike’s allure.
At Rs 65,718 (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the base version, the CB Trigger might come across as the least expensive bike here, but it comes sans the rear disc brake and the Combi-Brake System. Adding them increases the price by a big margin, by around Rs 9000. Both the Pulsar and Apache come in one variant only, retailing at Rs 67,181 (ex-showroom, Delhi) and Rs 68,590 respectively. The Apache comes with a rear disc fitted as standard, while the Pulsar doesn’t get one even as an optional extra.
The Bajaj Pulsar 150 DTSi, the Honda CB Trigger, and the TVS Apache RTR 160 are all very closely matched. So which one should you pick off the three?
The Pulsar is a talented bike, but it is starting to show its age in the midst of more modern competition. What worked against it were the harsh ride quality, the mismatched ergonomics, and the heavy steering. Still, if you want a matured premium commuter that looks good, is built well, and performs commendably, it should bode well for you. The Apache is a brilliant offering in this segment. We liked the performance it offers and its dynamic character, but its sporting mind-set isn’t something that would appeal to a wide audience. If you are looking for a bike under Rs 75,000 that offers sporty performance and handling, yet can be ridden every day, the Apache RTR 160 is an option that you should seriously consider.
It was a really close call, but considering the fact that these bikes will spend most of their time in city traffic, we pick the CB Trigger. Apart from the comfort factor, it has enough power on tap to cruise and overtake on the highway, it can tackle turns and gaps pretty well, and if equipped with the optional CBS system, it also stops on a dime. Moreover, as is the case with Honda two-wheelers, it feels built to last. These attributes make the CB Trigger the best among this lot, fitting the tag of a ‘premium commuter’ to a T.
Special thanks to Didar Honda, Khivraj Bajaj, and Ramkay TVS, for providing us with the bikes for this review
Disclaimer: This review is purely based on the test conducted by "ChooseMyBike.in". All views expressed in this review are that of ChooseMyBike.in's, and not of the manufacturer's.
(c) ChooseMyBike.in. All Rights Reserved.