What’s new apart from the engine? That’s the question you will inevitably ask after a first glance at the new V12. It is that close in aesthetics to its larger cousin, the V15. But look close and you’ll realise subtle differences. Obviously the engine displacement is lower, that much is evident from the name itself but there are other differences too. The tyres are thinner for example. The front fork dia is also less by three millimetres. There are differences even around the clocks where the aluminium housing is replaced by plastic. Bajaj tells us that although the 125cc engine has been built with old know how, the engine is a long stroke one. And in that sense, it is ‘all new’. The rest of the motorcycle is unchanged.
To ride, the 125cc air cooled two valve SOHC unit feels smooth with no unnecessary vibrations. On the go, is easy to relate back to the morning briefing. Nearly all of the grunt is packed at the bottom of the rev range. You go through the five-speed gearbox fairly quickly and thereafter it behaves pretty much like a twist and go, which makes it a very easy to ride motorcycle. Exactly what a fuel economy conscious consumer would want in his commuter.
Before we talk about handling, allow me to focus on ride comfort. Thanks to some minor tweaks to the rear twin gas charged shock absorbers to match them to the V12’s thinner forks, ride quality feels plusher on this bike than it did on the V15. Meanwhile thinner tyres also equate to easy flickability. Perhaps the only grouse should have been the lack of a front disc but Bajaj says that’s on the way soon. Be that as it may, a disc in today’s day and age should be de rigeur and not an add-on.
As for a verdict, the Bajaj V12’s purpose is clear. It’s first and foremost a commuter and at this job it does quite well. But now that there’s a new Hero Glamour in the fray things are bound to become interesting.