The Honda CB Unicorn was one of India’s best-selling 150cc motorcycles in India. It was quick on its feet, very refined, and efficient too, everything a premium commuter should be. It has been selling in good numbers month after month, but in the face of increasingly stiff competition, the CB Unicorn had begun to lose some of its sheen. Honda sensed this, and set about revamping its old workhorse. Behold, the CB Unicorn 160, the newest entrant in the premium commuter segment. We take it around for a long ride to find out just how well it performs.
Honda’s executive commuters have always had restrained styling, and the CB Unicorn 160 is no different. It may not have the visual pizzazz of a say, a Suzuki Gixxer or a Yamaha FZ16, but it looks pretty dapper and handsome. We think this sort of styling will definitely strike a chord with the mature audience.
As is the norm with Honda motorcycles, the Unicorn 160 is one well-built bike. The level of finish is definitely a couple of notches higher than the segment norm. It sure does feel like it can take quite a bit of beating.
The Unicorn 160 offers great ergonomics for both rider and pillion. The seat is spacious, the handlebar is wide, and the foot controls are set in the middle. This posture is very comfortable, and makes long commutes on this bike is a cinch.
Out goes the old 150cc unit, and in comes a brand-new 162cc motor. This engine is one of the key highlights of the Honda CB Unicorn 160. It feels really smooth, and is almost inaudible at low engine speeds. Regardless, it accelerates with gusto, getting to 80kmph quite quickly. Shifting gears though was our only bugbear on this bike, which felt hard and clunky at times.
Handling & Ride Quality
While the Unicorn 160 is quite nimble and agile to ride in traffic, a corner-carving demon it isn’t, given its commuter-focused ergos. Still, it does feel quite stable when taking corners at speed.
We found the ride quality to be slightly harsh, especially over large bumps and potholes. Small imperfections are filtered out reasonably well.
The CB Unicorn 160 comes equipped with a disc brake at the front and a drum brake at the rear, along with Combined Braking System, a mechanism that actuates both the front and the rear simultaneously when only the rear brake lever is depressed. This set-up offered strong deceleration, along with good feedback. In our braking test, the CB Unicorn 160 came to a halt from 50 kmph in 10.5 m, trumping many of its rivals in the process.
The bike comes with a fully-digital information display that look eerily similar to the one used on the CB Trigger. It is a very functional unit, with all required info presented in a neat layout that’s easy to read. Also included is an H-shaped LED tail-light, which gives it a distinctive look from the rear.
The base variant of both the Honda CB Unicorn 160 is priced at around Rs 72,500, while the top-of-the-line CBS variant is priced at around Rs 77,500 (ex-showroom, Delhi). While you can’t term it value for money per se, you won’t feel short-changed for what you get.
So, is the CB Unicorn 160 a worthy successor to the highly-popular previous-gen model? You bet it is! The bike carries over the core ethos of the original Unicorn, with a few crucial improvements, which give it an enhanced appeal. It looks sleek, is sufficiently powerful, very smooth, and quite comfortable to ride on a daily basis. On the flipside, it has gotten a lot more expensive, but then again, it is priced at par with most other bikes in the segment. For those who want a fuss-free bike for daily use that’s quick, yet understated, look no further than this masterpiece from Honda.
|Engine||Air Cooled, 4 Stroke|
|Power||14.5 bhp @ 8000 rpm|
|Torque||14.6 Nm @ 6000 rpm|
Rear:Spring Loaded Hydraulic Type (Monoshock)
|Fuel Tank Capacity||12|