The 2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z: Was The Wait Worth It?

The wait for a 400cc Pulsar has finally ended with the launch of the Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z. This happens to be the Pulsar with the biggest engine in the lineup sporting a 373cc engine from the Bajaj Dominar 400! This seems to be a pretty good value proposition at an introductory price of Rs. 1.85 Lakhs, considering that other models such as Triumph Speed 400, Bajaj’s own Dominar 400 and KTM Duke 390 with the same engine cost significantly more. But is the deal really good or just too good to be true? That involves an up close and personal look at the NS400Z which we recently got to experience.

The main aim for Bajaj was to fit the NS400Z into the Pulsar lineup and they seemed to have done it well. It looks like a Pulsar and has the Z design language incorporated into the headlights. In terms of it’s overall size, it seems slim for a 400cc bike, especially in the pictures but that saves the silhouette from looking over-styled. There are Champagne Gold Upside Down Forks which look good and the Pewter Grey has to be the best shade available for the NS400Z. However, it is a Pulsar and working man’s sports bike, there are a few inconsistencies such as the full NS400Z name not being present everywhere, and resorting to NS400 badging. The side profile has changed with new NS detailing and a more pronounced tank. The rear remains largely similar to an NS200. The problem with the NS400Z is that Bajaj has updated styling of every model which makes it difficult to distinguish one from the other.

The main talking point of the NS400Z is the 373cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine which produces 40 PS and 37Nm of torque. It uses ride-by-wire technology and is mated to a 6-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch. This allows for 0-100 just under 7 seconds! The top speed is 154 Km/h but tests show that it can clock 170 km/h. It is a Dominar 400 engine which may not be the most creative way of building a bike but it can keep the price low. The only difference you may encounter is the power delivery which may not be as responsive as the dominar due to the different state of tunes.

In terms of the gauge cluster, it is a digital one with a blue matrix dot display which shows finer information with the larger black screen showing RPMs and Speed. This is a con of the bike as the overall integration of the cluster isn’t as good as it could’ve been. Also, you can’t use the multi-information display above 20 km/h for safety reasons unless you use a shortcut. There are 4 driving modes i.e Road, Rain, Sport and Offroad. Each mode alters the characteristics of the engine to suit different scenarios. The Offroad mode can be used up to 20 km/h and it is a light offroader rather than an adventure bike.

The city riding experience was exactly what a Pulsar would deliver. Bajaj perfectly understands the Indian Roads and tailors the Pulsar to go over the patchy sections with relative ease. As someone who had driven the Dominar 400, the NS400Z immediately felt more responsive and the chassis compliments the engine due to the lower weight of 174 kg. The noises and power delivery are well suited for Indian roads and it is an excellent commuter. The heating issue isn’t an issue anymore due to the packaging of the engine unlike the last generation KTM Duke 390, relatively speaking.

The Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z is extremely capable on the track as well. It allows the rider to inspire confidence to ride to the best of his abilities. The rider isn’t a professional and prefers to ride bikes at their pace and NS400Z seems to do it all with relative ease. The brakes had an impressive bite and as the rider claims in our video, he hadn’t leaned as much on any other bike while taking the corners. In terms of comparison with other bikes, we had previously tested the Triumph Speed 400 and KTM Duke 390 around the facility and we preferred the NS400Z over the two for a few reasons. The Speed 400 had pretty much the same daily drivable characteristics but felt sloppy to ride on the track and didn’t seem to be in its element. The Duke 390 felt in it’s element but it was too much for an amateur rider. The NS400Z seems to be the perfect entry point for experiencing the 400cc class with ease. However, in our testing, the 320mm front brakes and 230mm rear brakes with 4-piston Grimeca Axial Calipers can feel a bit nervous after excessive use.

In our opinion, the NS400Z shouldn’t be compared to a Duke 390 as the KTM is a lot more dialled in and even if both bikes share an engine (the last generation in the case of the Duke), it is built for a professional rider who wants to ride like a hooligan. The NS400Z with it’s power delivery in it’s most extreme setting can feel too easy as well which isn’t expected from a top-of-the-line pulsar. If you understand what the Pulsar gives, you’ll like the NS400Z but if your expectations are of a budget KTM, we would suggest looking elsewhere as even the lower price tag won’t melt your heart.

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Ojas Vadke
Ojas Vadke

A Person who loves cars and a regular guy with big dreams of owning his dream cars. Working as a Blog Writer with absolute lads at The Driver's Hub.

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