Bajaj NS 400Z review: Power to the people

Christopher Chaves Updated: May 11, 2024, 01:00 PM IST

It's been over two decades now, 24 years in fact, now that the Brand Pulsar has been around in India. And since the early 2000s, from the early carbureted Pulsar 150 and 180 to the FI 220, they had been delighting customers across India with what they brought to the table by way of being affordable performance machines. Today you have the N-Series â€" which are slightly diluted versions of the Pulsar brand, being more commuter focused, and you have the NS-series which are proper performance focused machines. Now up until today you had the N250 which was previously the most powerful Pulsar you could get your hands on, but now Bajaj upped its performance game with this NS 400Z. It is the most powerful Pulsar available in India packing a good amount of performance and features being part of the NS line. At its pricing of Rs 1.85 lakh, it is the most affordable single-cylinder 400cc motorcycle you can buy in India today. But is it the bike that Pulsar maniacs have been waiting for? You're about to find out.


The styling of this motorcycle has received quite a bit of flak from the online community. But in all honesty, the NS 400Z doesn't look bad at all when you physically it standing in front of you.

In terms of aesthetics, this is a NS series bike which stands for 'Naked Sport' so it's sharp, it's sporty in design. Although the rear of the motorcycle does resemble what we've already seen in the smaller capacity NS series bikes previously, there's a lot going on in the front to talk about.

Sure the NS 400Z borrows some of its parts from other Bajaj built bikes like the mirrors taken right off the Dominar, the turn indicators from the KTMs, and the tank and split seat from the smaller NS bikes, but it all falls in pace quite nicely with the new parts on there like the headlamp unit. Lighting all around is LED and the headlamp has some snazzy Z-shaped DRLs on either side of the projector lamp, which look good.

The new 43mm USD fork up front lends the bike a brawny stance while the tank extensions which neatly flow into the radiator cowl keeps the start of the mid-section neat. There are these small curves to the tail panels contribute to the tidy design flow at the rear too. From afar the silhouette may resemble the older, smaller capacity NS bikes, on closer inspection, the finer details will be a lot more evident. Overall I find the bike to look very nice and tidy.


In terms of features the Bajaj NS 400Z does pack quite a few of them. This is the first Bajaj motorcycle to get a ride-by-wire throttle. Then you have stuff like adjustable levers, a slip and assist clutch which makes life in the city and out on the highway quite easy.

Riding aids, ride modes, ABS, well four riding modes that alter the way the ABS kicks in, and of course you have this nice bonded glass reverse LCD screen with a small section that allows you to toggle between your Bluetooth calls, music commands and turn-by-turn navigation. So a very interesting package as a whole.

Some will notice that the NS 400Z doesn't get clip-on bars like the smaller NS 200, but the wide Hydroform tube bar on there is meant to offer good amount of stability while not proving to be tiresome over long rides.

There's four ride modes where you get full access to 40PS in Sport mode while the power delivery is dialed down trough Road and Off-road modes to Rain mode. ABS can't be switched off completely and each ride mode dictates the way dual-channel ABS intervenes. Sadly these settings are fixed presets and can't be tweaked around at all. So you can't go all gung-ho with full power on tap in Sport mode with least amount of ABS interference which is currently in the Off-road setting. Traction control can only be switched off in sport and off-road modes.

Performance & Handling

Alright, let's get down to the business end of the Pulsar NS 400Z. The part about the way it puts down power and handles out on the road. So it gets the same 373cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor of the Bajaj Dominar, and it retains the same state of tune too. Power and torque figures remain unchanged at 40PS and 35Nm, but its rate of delivery isn't as relaxed as on the touring-friendly Dominar. The power and torque delivery has altered tremendously on account of a larger sprocket at the rear, ride modes with different power maps and mainly due to the 18kg weight deficit. The lighter handlebar, wheels, suspension units, and swingarm all contribute to keeping the weight of the bike low.

In terms of posture, the bike sits you pretty upright which is fine, and when you want to ride hard and fast, this motorcycle feels up for it. It's comfortable and it allows you to ride fast as well, because of the way the engine, the suspension is set up. It's got decent ground clearance as well and the wheelbase is shortened by 20mm from the Pulsar NS200, so you have that added agility thrown in there as well. And of course, powered by the same engine that powers the Dominar, you do have the same power on tap, but then again this motorcycle weighs around 18kg lighter which is a world of a difference. It's all there to be felt. As soon as you chuck this one into a corner it just leans in and holds the line a lot faster, it feels so agile in comparison. It's really good fun out on the road.

Although you can change the ride mode on the go, the process to execute this is a bit off. You see, the bike won't allow you to access the ride mode and TC menu unless you completely close throttle. So after you close throttle it takes a couple of seconds to toggle and change the mode you're in which I know isn't much, but still is a bit of a waste of time. It should ideally let you enter menu first before asking you to close throttle and change mode.

Still the bike feels really light and sprightly right from the get go and the engine isn't as vibey as the unit on the Dominar which is awesome. Low down the powerband there's a good amount of power that will get you off the line briskly, just as you would expect of a bike of this kind. Power in sport mode is lively, very linear and predictable. While in road and off-road modes the power delivery is dialed down a bit. Rain mode is when you want to be downright cautious while riding through slippery road conditions. The motor is quite tractable and the clutch is nice and light which is great for the city. You to pull away from as low as 40kmph in sixth while the NS will allow you to cruise down the highway at 100kmph at about 5,500rpm without a worry in the world. You can even carry out overtakes at this speed without a fuss. Now if you want to extract serious perform from this bike, you'll have to really wring it through the gears hitting the redline on each count, and the NS will happily comply and have you nodding your head in approval almost every time.

The only downside to this bike is the front tyre, which isn't a radial tread like the one at the back, and it just seems to let go when you drop anchor hard and need it the most. The 320mm front disc doesn't fair bad at all, but that tyre can lead to some scary instances. So that's definitely the first thing that I would swap out on the NS 400Z.

Now heck, I almost forgot, the NS 400Z' got a lap timer on there! So, we simply had to see if it was track worthy over at the Bajaj test track in Chakan, and it unsurprisingly was. Although it feels built to a budget, it's definitely a thoroughly entertaining machine, this! Bajaj claim that the NS 400Z will go from 0-60kmph in 2.8s and do a 0-100kmph sprint in 6.9s, which is about 1sec off the KTM 390 Duke's sprint time. And lets' be honest, there's no way you'd call this one slow.


Right from the beginning, the Bajaj Pulsar was known for one thing â€" how it democratised performance â€" it brought power to the people, in the motorcycling sense of course. Because, you didn't have to be overly wealthy to own a fast stock bike. And the NS 400Z continues in that tradition today, which is brilliant. It may not be the fastest factory stock out there, but it definitely is fast given its engine class. It's also the most affordable motorcycle in said class too. It's a bike that's evolved into a different beast out on the road altogether, and the fact that Bajaj have named it the Z, would imply that there will be other, better-equipped and probably more powerful variants to spawn down the line. So interesting times ahead for brand Pulsar. But for now, I'd go as far as to say that the NS 400Z is the by far the best Pulsar there ever was, with all that it comprises.

Now to sum things up our here with the NS 400Z. For a motorcycle that costs Rs 1.85 lakh ex-showroom, which should translate to a shade under 2.5lakh out on-road, it's a very promising motorcycle considering all that it offers. It is a naked motorcycle, a sporty motorcycle. And it has all the features that you would ideally expect on there for a motorcycle in this category. And of course, being a Bajaj, it's not going to cost you an arm and a leg in terms of service and maintenance costs.

It's a very well-put together motorcycle too in terms of fit and finish. It's really better than what you'd tend to expect from a Bajaj motorcycle, but yes, Bajaj has upped its game out here on this front. So if you're planning on upgrading from a smaller capacity motorcycle to a 400cc bike, the NS 400Z is definitely something you should seriously consider.

Words Christopher Chaves

Photography Sumit Gaikwad & Anis Shaikh

Price (Ex-Delhi)
Starts Rs 1,38,000
Max Power(ps)
Max Torque(Nm)

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