The 150cc commuter segment is a confusing place, it’s easy to mistake one motorcycle for the other here. A Hero could be a Honda could be a Hero. And when Bajaj came into this confusion with the V15, people took notice. Of course, the INS Vikrant connection helped too. So much so that since its launch in early 2016, Bajaj has managed to roll out close to 20,000 units of the V15. But never one to sit idle, Bajaj has decided to apply the same formula to the 125cc commuter and has come up with this – the oddball-shaped, kilometre muncher V12. To the untrained eye, the 125cc V12 looks identical to the marginally larger hearted V15, but in actuality, Bajaj has incorporated quite a few alterations on the new bike to keep costs in check. So, what’s different you ask? Well, the front fork is thinner, the MR F treads are skinnier, the wheels are of a new design and the colourful digital fuel gauge of the V15 has been replaced with a more conventional analogue readout. Then there are a couple of aluminium bits from the V15 that are steel and plastic on the smaller V.
A quick ride on the V12 left us quite impressed. Like the V15, the V12 is more biased toward economy and comfort with little, if any, emphasis on performance. But that doesn’t mean it’s downright lethargic either. For a bike of this stature and capacity, 10.5bhp is a decent output, and it feels so. It isn’t the fastest 125 off the block, but it’s lively and feels notably agile. The 11Nm of torque isn’t bad either, with the engine allowing you to pull away from 20kph in fifth without knocking- a good thing in the city.
The V12 makes you assume an upright riding position -which will make long stints in the saddle bearable. The smaller V comes with skinnier forks in comparison to the V15, but there’s little difference in their way of function. And that’s a good, absorbent thing. The gas-charged rear suspension is commendable, making light work of some of Pune’s finest undulated roads, while the light clutch feels good to employ when in traffic. Ride and composure out on the highway is good too.
While we didn’t get to test the fuel efficiency ourselves, Bajaj is claiming a real-world mileage figure of around 50kpl, on par with class rivals. Overall, the bike is ergonomically sound and in our books, ticks enough commuter-focused boxes to ruffle a few well-established feathers in its segment. In fact, I don’t really see much reason why someone would opt to buy the slightly more expensive and equally feasible V15.