The CB Unicorn always had an upright riding position with a wide handlebar and thankfully nothing has changed here. With nicely carved recesses on the fuel tank, the bike is perfect for comfort in the city. Thanks to this commuter riding position, there isn't any weight on your wrists. The long seat is nicely cushioned with the right balance of being soft and firm adding to the comfort. I did not feel even the slightest discomfort after a considerable amount of time in the saddle. The seat height isn't much and doesn’t taper upwards towards the pillion end, making it easy to climb on.
The engine starts with a crisp note as you thumb the starter. It settles into a smooth idle making it hardly audible. Even when you blip the throttle, the mill feels very eager to be revved. Also, unless you twist the throttle hard, you won't hear the engine. Even post 7,000rpm on the run, the refined engine doesn't sound bad at all. The throttle response is quick and the feedback is crisp too. While the 149.10cc, single-cylinder engine producing 13.14bhp and 12.84Nm of torque may not possess the outright grunt like that of the rivals like the Pulsar, but it makes up for it with its refinement and flexibility. It has a creamy, mid-range that will help you crawl even in a lower gear. That said, it isn't very torquey at low revs, but accelerates cleanly and linearly with a steady twist of the throttle. You won't find the need to downshift constantly even on the highway. And even if you do need to for a quick overtake, the engine and gearbox respond well. The motor revs cleanly while redlining at 10,000rpm. In the city, you will be happy weaving speeds around traffic while hovering between 3,000rpm and 5,000rpm. Then, out on the highway, you can reach triple digit easily post the 8,000rpm mark. However, it feels best to cruise at around 70-80kmph, when the tacho needle is hovering around 6,000-7,000rpm. At almost all times, things remain reasonably calm with slight vibrations filtering through the foot pegs beyond 4000rpm. The clutch is light and the good quality of the gearshifts from the five-speed unit amazed me. The one down four up gearshift pattern works efficiently without any false neutrals. Honda has tuned the gearbox well for city use and the gear shift actions are smooth. That said, the motorcycle won’t be bad for touring either. On our fuel efficiency run the bike returned a fuel economy of 55.03kmpl which is a very decent figure for a bike weighing 146kg.
The Unicorn will not build up the enthusiasm in you to charge at corners, but its chassis feels nimble to change direction with ease. The motorcycle's front isn't as light as you would expect a commuter bike to be, but then it gives a nice and planted feel even during a quick manoeuvre. The MRF Nylogrip Zappers (2.75-18 up front and 100/90-18 at the rear) provide sufficient grip and are tubeless tyres to reduce the hassle of punctures. The Unicorn's telescopic front and monoshock rear suspension are tuned comfort rather than handling, but are damped nicely to ensure a good ride quality particularly without thudding through potholes. Speed bumps, large potholes and even sharper obstacles are taken in its stride with ease. Braking duties are taken care of by a 130mm drum brake at the rear and a 240mm disc brake in the front. The rear brake is pretty mediocre in terms of feel and even the front brake isn't that sharp. It gets that bite only on giving the lever a good pull. Nonetheless, they aren't intimidating and work well to bring the bike to a halt.