Premium 150cc bikes can be considered as the master of all trades. They are nimble and light enough to be used on a daily basis, sufficiently powerful for cruising at highway speeds, and are pretty efficient to boot. This is one of the most popular segments in India, especially with the younger generation.
The Hero Xtreme Sports and the Honda CB Unicorn 160 are two of the newest kids on the premium 150cc block. We put them through our testing routine to find out which one has the qualities to be the future segment leader.
The bikes we have here are quite stylish in their own distinct ways. While the Unicorn 160 exudes an air of class with its subtle, contemporary lines, the Xtreme Sports looks sharp and fetching, more so in this vibrant shade of Pyro Orange. As far design goes, both the Honda and the Hero live up to their premium billing, and are attractively styled.
With regards to the quality of build, the Unicorn wins it hands down. All panels seem well-fit, and the bike feels quite sturdy. One sore point though is the switch gear, which looks out of place on a premium bike such as this.
While the overall build quality on the Xtreme Sports is good, there are still a few areas where Hero could improve on, such as the fitment of the side panels.
The Unicorn 160 offers both the rider and the pillion a spacious seat, replete with great ergonomics. The handlebar is wide, and the foot controls are set in the middle. This provides for a very comfortable riding posture, which makes long commutes on this bike is a cinch, even with two on-board.
The Xtreme Sports on the other hand has a sporty riding posture, with split seats, clip-on handlebars and foot pegs that are set slightly rearward. This posture is reasonably comfortable, although not as comfortable as the Honda. Pillion comfort is pretty good, with a sizeable rear seat and well-positioned foot pegs.
On the performance front, both bikes are very closely matched. While the Xtreme Sports is more powerful, the Unicorn 160 produces more torque, and is a good 11 kilos lighter than the former. This brings them both onto an even scale.
The Unicorn 160 feels very energetic and sprightly from the get go, offering strong acceleration till the high revs, when it seems to run out of breath. The Xtreme Sports is quick too, accelerating with a sense of urgency. It reaches 90 kmph effortlessly, post which progress starts to slow down.
In terms of engine refinement, the Honda’s engine is unmatched. It has a buttery-smooth feel to it, and at low speeds, it is almost inaudible. The Hero’s engine feels slightly louder and coarse in comparison. Gear shift quality was better on the Hero; shifting gears on the Unicorn felt clunky at times.
Handling & Ride Quality
Dynamically, both the Honda CB Unicorn 160 and the Hero Xtreme Sports are on an even keel. The Unicorn is nimble and agile when riding thorough traffic. While the commuter-style ergonomics aren’t exactly confidence inspiring, it feels quite stable when cornering at speed. Ride quality is a mixed bag. While the suspension is adept at absorbing small road imperfections, large ones tend to catch it unawares.
Even with all its sporting pretentions, the Xtreme Sports doesn’t excite dynamically. Although it is fairly maneuverable through city traffic, when cornering, the bike doesn’t feel balanced. Ride quality though is pretty good. The telescopic forks at the front and the twin gas-charged shocks at the rear soak up bumps and potholes effectively, thereby ensuring a comfortable ride.
While both the bikes we tested were equipped with a disc brake at the front, and a drum brake at the rear, it was the CB Unicorn 160 that came out on top. Its brakes offered strong and controlled deceleration, along with good feedback.
The Xtreme Sports’ brakes weren’t as good. Although the front offered decent stopping power, the rear felt weak and wooden. We’ve ridden the standard Xtreme fitted with the optional rear disc brake, and can say for sure that it feels much better. We reckon the same should hold good for the Xtreme Sports.
The CB Unicorn 160 comes equipped with a neat fully-digital instrument cluster, whereas the Xtreme Sports gets a sporty-looking digital-analogue combo console. In order to give the dials a neat and uncluttered look, Hero repositioned the key slot to the right side of the headlight. We found it to be odd and counterintuitive, not to mention difficult to find in low light.
The base variant of both the Honda CB Unicorn 160 and the Hero Xtreme Sports are priced at around Rs 72,500. The top-of-the-line CBS variant of the Honda is priced at around Rs 77,500, whereas the rear-disc equipped Xtreme Sports retails at around Rs 75,500.
So, let’s say you’re in the market for one of these premium 150cc bikes. Which one should you pick? Well, both the Honda CB Unicorn 160 and the Hero Xtreme Sports are similar across many aspects. If you want a simple and elegant 150cc motorcycle that’s smooth and powerful, we suggest you check out the CB Unicorn 160, whereas if you are looking for a stylish performance bike that’s fast, comfortable and sporty, take a closer look at the Hero Xtreme Sports.
|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|