If there is one segment that is any two-wheeler manufacturer’s priority then it surely revolves around 150cc motorcycles. From a long time motorcycles from Bajaj, Yamaha and TVS have ruled this segment and if anybody wanted to break free from their daily 125cc commuter motorcycles to a sporty 150cc offering then their choices were restricted only to Pulsars, Apaches or the FZ16s. Though HMSI had one of the most prominent offering in this segment, the CB Unicorn 150 which sold really well but its design was only restricted to cater the commuter set of people. Honda even played with offering such as Dazzler and Trigger which were quite not enough to create ripples in the Indian automotive market.
Then at the RevFest last year, Honda surprised everybody by showing the all new CB Hornet 160R and confirmed that it is a production ready model and not just another concept. The first look of the Hornet looked like finally Honda has done what was needed from a long time and the bike looked inspired from the CX-01 concept that was showcased at the 2014 AutoExpo. We even got a chance of riding the Hornet 160R at the time of its launch but it was perhaps just a small 5 kilometre ride that left us unsatisfied and so this time we decided to take it out on a longer spin and find out if the Hornet really has what it takes to be the next segment leader.
Some say the Hornet 160R is the best looking motorcycle of its segment. We don’t really disagree because Hornet does look striking irrespective of the angle from which you are gazing at it. It has a nicely designed fuel tank, a really fat rear tyre that makes it look really good and not to forget those X-Shaped rear tail light that look amazing especially when light-up at night. The shrouds that protrude out from the tank really spice up its flavour, also the carbon-fibre like tank stripe on the top complements its Neo Orange colour. Its headlight assembly gels well with the overall design language of the bike and it look just perfectly made. Its 5-Spoke split wheels are shod with MRF Zapper tyres that despite complementing its masculine looks also provide decent grip. So overall Hornet really is a decent looking motorcycle with impeccable build-quality. The only thing that is a let down on the Hornet is that it doesn’t have an engine kill switch button and also it carries its digital meter from the CB Unicorn 160 that though is a nicely readable display but doesn’t show information like the gear indicator and shift light.
Engine and Performance –
Though Hornet carries the same engine as seen on the CB Unicorn 160 but this unit is tuned to produce slightly more power and torque. The engine feels really refined and does not produce any vibrations even at higher rpms. It delivers 15.5bhp of maximum power at 8,500rpm and 14.7Nm of peak torque at 6,500rpm. Hornet is quick to accelerate and crosses 60km/hr in exact 5 seconds, also it touches 115km/hr mark on top gear. It doesn’t feels out of breath no matter how hard you are revving it. This engine easily returns more than 50km to a litre of mileage in mixed conditions. It delivers as expected from a 150cc engine and it does it at ease. Following the stricken emission norms this engine also complies with the BS-IV regulations.
Ride and Handling –
The wide and flat handle bar on the Hornet makes it feel like riding a little super-moto bike and it sure adds to the fun factor. Handling is how it is supposed to be but try not to lean much as we found it bit scary to lean on the Hornet sometimes. The suspension doesn’t feel bumpy at all and is stiff at the same time. They have tuned it perfectly for the daily city rides and it is set up so as to soak all the bumps comfortably and even the deepest crevices won’t shake the ride. Unlike the trending split seats, the Hornet comes with a single elongated seat that sure looks great but is just moderately comfortable. One of the best thing about riding a Hornet is its brakes, it comes with 3 pot Nissin calliper brakes at front which has enormous amount of braking power and you will need just a tap of finger to stop the ride irrespective of the speed. It comes equipped with 276mm disc at front and 130mm drum at rear. It is also offered with a rear disc brake (CBS) variant that is priced slightly higher than its drum variant. The bike doesn’t wobble at high speeds and its 140mm rear tyre shows its significance when doing speeds above 100km/hr.
Honda took quite some time to come up with a product like this one and they have finally mixed the comfort and efficiency of a commuter in such a stylish package. The Hornet looks alluring and should be a highly reliable product being a Honda. Competing against the Suzuki Gixxer 150 and Yamaha FZ16, Hornet should be able to attract a large set of buyers in this segment. Not only is it priced very nicely but also it has all the right elements to become the next big thing of its segment.
Photography - Mohd. Nasir