A few years ago, you’d expect nothing more than commuter-like performance and features from a 125cc motorcycle. However, over the last year, things have gotten quite interesting in the segment. Bajaj introduced the Pulsar 125, making it the smallest addition to the company’s flagship brand, while Honda launched the SP 125, a bike that is liberally equipped with some segment-first features. More recently, in February, Hero unveiled the all-new BS6 Glamour and it received a new chassis and engine, along with the addition of a 5-speed gearbox, putting it in the same bracket as the aforementioned motorcycles.
We’ve stacked them up on paper to see which one had the most to offer.
At the launch of the Pulsar 125, Bajaj handed out its specifications, comparing it to every other rival in its segment. It was clear that the Pulsar 125 produced the highest power and torque of the lot (The only 125cc motorcycle in our market that is more powerful is the KTM 125 Duke and RC 125 with 15hp and 12Nm). However, the SP 125, saw an increase in power and torque with the switch to BS6 and now the Pulsar isn’t that far ahead of its competition. The bump in the SP’s performance also puts it on par with the Glamour BS6 on paper and both motorcycles also produce their peak output figures at identical points in the rev range.
Despite making more power and torque than the other two motorcycles here, the Pulsar 125 faces a serious disadvantage thanks to its weight. We’ll get to the exact numbers further down this article, but the additional weight it has over the other two results in a power-to-weight ratio of 85.71hp/tonne – the lowest of this bunch. In comparison, the SP 125’s is the highest at 92.3hp/tonne, while the Glamour’s is 87.2hp/tonne.
PowertrainBajaj Pulsar 125 NeonHonda SP 125Hero GlamourEngine124.4cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled124.4cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled124.7cc, single-cylinder, air-cooledPower12hp at 8,500rpm10.9hp at 7,500rpm10.73hp at 7,500rpmTorque11Nm at 6,500rpm10.9Nm at 6,000rpm10.6Nm at 6,000rpmPower-to-weight ratio85.71hp/tonne92.3hp/tonne87.2hp/tonne
In terms of features, the Honda easily comes out on top. Like most of the other BS6 models from the company, the SP 125 gets the silent-start feature. The bike gets a new starter button that doubles as a kill switch and a pass-light switch. It’s also the only one here to feature an LED headlight and fully digital instrument console.
On the other hand, the Glamour and Pulsar 125 offer less in the features department and are largely similar to their respective BS4 offerings. Both motorcycles are equipped with halogen headlights and their instrument consoles are semi-digital units.
When it comes to the underpinnings, the three bikes are rather closely matched. All of them feature a conventional telescopic fork up front and twin shock absorbers at the rear. Hero also tells us that the new Glamour offers more suspension travel than the BS4 version, along with increased ground clearance.
UnderpinningsBajaj Pulsar 125 NeonHonda SP 125Hero GlamourKerb weight140kg118kg123kgSeat height790mm790mm793mmWheelbase1320mm1285mm1273mmBrakes (f)240mm disc / 170mm drum240mm disc / 130mm drum240mm disc / 130mm drumBrakes (r)130mm drum130mm drum130mm drumSuspension (f)Telescopic forkTelescopic forkTelescopic forkSuspension (r)Twin shock absorbersTwin shock absorbersTwin shock absorbersTyres (f)80/100-1780/100-1880/100-18Tyres (r)100/90-1780/100-18100/80-18Fuel capacity11.5 litres11 litres10 litres
The Pulsar is the sportiest motorcycle here and that’s evident with the longer wheelbase – at least 35mm more than the other two motorcycles. It’s also the only one here to use 17-inch wheels at either end, and this should allow for a more agile motorcycle in comparison to the 18-inch wheel equipped Glamour and SP 125.
With regards to the braking, all three bikes are available with an optional 240mm front disc brake. If you opt for the more affordable drum brake variants, the Pulsar features a 170mm drum, while the Glamour and SP 125 use a 130mm drum brake at the front. Meanwhile, all three bikes feature a 130mm drum brake at the rear.
Lastly, let’s take a look at how much these motorcycles weigh. At 140kg, the Pulsar is 17kg heavier than the Glamour and a substantial 22kg heavier than the SP 125. As we’d mentioned earlier, this disadvantage results in it having the lowest power-to-weight ratio of the lot.
Summing it up
PriceBajaj Pulsar 125 NeonHonda SP 125Hero GlamourPriceRs 70,995 – 75,494Rs 73,452 – 77,652Rs 69,750 – 73,250
The Pulsar has the most capable engine here and it is the sportiest offering in this lot, but it doesn’t offer as many features and also weighs a lot more than its rivals. The Glamour, on the other hand, may be the least powerful option here, but it also happens to be the most affordable. We haven’t been able to extensively ride the new Glamour, but Hero has claimed that it’s significantly better than the iteration it replaces and offers better efficiency, in addition to the earlier-mentioned increased suspension travel and ground clearance – all of which we will put to the test. In fact, of the three bikes here, the BS6 Honda SP 125 is the only one we’ve had the opportunity to ride. It costs a few thousand rupees more than its rivals, but it backs the premium it demands by being the lightest and most feature-packed option. Honda is also offering the SP 125 with a 6-year warranty (3-year standard and 3-year free extended warranty) for a limited period, making it a very appealing option.