Propelling the Honda CB Shine SP is a 125cc single-cylinder engine that delivers 10.5bhp and 10.3Nm of torque via a five-speed transmission. However, these credentials only tell you half the story. The CB Shine SP for a 125cc commuter is surprisingly peppy. The engine revs up quickly; it has a crisp throttle response; and it refuses to lose steam, even at the top. It almost feels likes a small capacity streetfighter than a commuter. Its relatively light weight – 124kg to be precise – has a lot to do with it as well.
So, not only does the CB Shine SP’s engine feel lively, the bike as a whole feels light on its feet. It is easy to manoeuvre and carve through traffic; easy to park and negotiate narrow lanes with; and it isn’t out of its depth around bends either. The CB Shine has good highway manners too, and it isn’t affected by crosswinds much. It is stable and composed even while gunning it at 100kmph. On the NVH front, the CB Shine SP did feel a bit buzzy at high revs, but compared to the Shine with the 4-speed ‘box, it’s as calm as a saint.
Braking is another aspect where the CB Shine SP, well, shines. It has a 240mm disc brake with a two-pot Nissin calliper at the front and a 130mm drum brake at the rear. And it also gets Combi-Brakes. The Combi-Brake system automatically activates the front brake whenever the rear brake is applied, thereby improving the overall braking performance. It is most effective is slippery conditions. It is a Rs 4,500 optional extra on the Shine SP, but certainly worth it. The front brake feel is progressive and it has sufficient bite. It does tend to lock up at times but that’s mainly down to the tyres, and possibly the limited travel on the front suspension.
Unlike its other four-gear counterparts, the CB Shine SP gets a one-down four-up gearbox, which makes it a lot more convenient to use than the four-up transmissions. The five-speed gearbox not only improves the CB Shine SP's usability but also helped us extract 65.1kmpl in standard city conditions. Helping CB Shine SP's cause is the Honda Eco Technology, which improves combustion by significantly reducing friction, cutting weight and optimising the transmission. While 65.1kmpl might be marginally less than what the other 125cc motorcycles might return, this figure is not bad at all for such a spirited motorcycle.