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16 Mar, 2017 ,
There has been a considerable growth in the premium 150-160cc segment here in India. With major players like Suzuki, Yamaha, Bajaj and Hero being the key competitors, Honda too wants their share of pie in this segment. After taking off the loved and admired Unicorn 150 from the market Honda received a huge blow in terms of total sales records. First they came up with the Trigger which failed to attract the interest of the buyers. Then they came up with the polished and revamped CB Unicorn 160 to tackle the competition which yet again failed to impress the buyers. Due to increasing competition from the major peers with the launch of Gixxer(Suzuki), AS150(Bajaj) and the improved FZ (Yamaha) Honda decided to bring up something upscale and snazzy in the form of CB Hornet 160R.
The CB Hornet 160R is one of the best and stylish looking bikes in this premium segment. There are a lot of sharp and angular creases flowing across the design. The headlamp reminds us of the elder siblings in the Honda stable. The elongated digital speedometer is eye-catching and well laid-out. The handle bar reminds you of the ones present on the KTM Duke 200 which is quite flat set on this bike.
The chunky and muscular tank is the highlight of this design with a wing themed plastic cladding. The carbon fibre strip runs from the handle bar to the seat. The seat is a single piece unit which is aesthetically designed with a slight step up for the pillion seat. The tail lamp looks youthful and spunky with that X based theme. The grab rails are also angulated with the rear stepped-up seat and it is made out of alloy. The stubby exhaust and the fat rubber give a proper closure to the sporty and chic design. Honda has finally managed to come up with a refreshing and attractive design which makes the bike quite a crowd puller.
The overall build-quality on the CB Hornet 160 is pretty great. There were no unwanted panel gaps or finicky fitment issues. Overall finish and quality of cycle parts are pretty solid and won’t haunt you with reliability issues. The paint quality on this bike exceptional and it will last well with the overall life of the bike.
The CB Hornet 160R comes with the similar 162.71cc, air-cooled, four-stroke engine which also powers the humble CB Unicorn 160. Power and torque figures stand at 15.7bhp at 8500rpm and 1.5kgm at 6,500 respectively. The unit on the CB Hornet 160R is tuned for a peppier and spirited performance. Refinement level is damn smooth like a typical Honda and the meat of the power lies in the mid range of the power band.
The five speed gearbox present on this bike offered good and precise shifts. The clutch is progressive and light so you don’t have to worry about soar palms and choked up fingers in city traffic. We did notice that the engine starts knocking in the second gear when you try to maintain low speeds. So in order to speed up you need to slot the gear in to the first cog and throttle the bike and slot in to second and third gears aggressively beyond which everything feels sane and balanced. Maintaining 90-100kph on the highway is not a daunting task for this mill. In fact we got a speedo indicated top speed of 121 kph in an empty stretch on the highway which according to us is pretty impressive.
Swing a leg over and you will notice that seating position is slightly forward biased while the footpegs are mildly rear-set. The CB Hornet 160R comes loaded with a 17 inch 100/80 tubeless tyres at the front and a 140/70 section tubeless tyres at the rear. These provide ample grip and with a capable chassis it gives a lot of confidence to the rider to dip the bike into corners. The suspension on the front is a telescopic unit while the rear houses a monoshock mounted on a box type swingarm. The suspension managed to soak in all the potholes and undulated surfaces with a confident composure delivering a comfortable ride quality. Braking performance of the bike is also impressive with good bite and feedback while the CBS is a useful addition. The brake levers provided good and progressive feedback overall. Brakes are provided by Nissin, a 276mm petal disc unit on the front, and a 220mm disc at the rear.
The CB Hornet 160R misses out on an engine kill switch, again! The switches were of decent quality. The self starter worked fine and we didn’t face any starting troubles. The 35W headlamp puts on decent visibility on the roads. The LED tail lamp lits up pretty well thereby providing enough visibility to the vehicles approaching from the back. The translucent indicators also does its job well. There were no untidy or exposed wiring work to be seen on this bike.
The bike with its 12 litre of tank gave us an impressive economy of 43kmpl in the city when ridden sedately. On the highway we got an average economy of 48kmpl. You can expect an overall fuel economy of 45kmpl on this bike.
Compared to the Suzuki Gixxer and Yamaha FZ we feel that the bike is a bit over priced considering the price tag of around 1 lakh for the CBS variant. The bike looks stunning and is peppy to ride but when it comes to the refinement of the engine Honda needs to do a little bit of tweaking when compared to its peers from Suzuki and Yamaha. There is still no sight of the engine kill switch either. If you want a perfect commute partner for your everyday city jaunts and occasional highway endeavours with a decent performance then this is our pick.
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