Honda CB Unicorn 160 First Ride Review

09 August 2015, 11:30 AM Pratheek Kunder

First ride review

What is it?

The CB Unicorn 160 is essentially the new Unicorn 150. And, with its bigger, more powerful engine, more upmarket styling and added features, the CB Unicorn 160, intends to cater to consumers who want the fuel efficiency and comfort of a commuter but with younger, sportier styling. And for the most part, Honda seems to have succeeded at it.

For one, the 160 looks fresher, beefier and more presentable than the older Unicorn. We also believe the slight increase in capacity should give this new CB Unicorn 160 an edge over its traditional rivals in the minds of customers. And as we write this, its sales numbers clearly indicate, the 160 is turning out to be a popular choice.

How does it ride?

The DNA of the older Unicorn shines through on the newer motorcycle. And, it is clearly designed to offer comfort above all. The telescopic suspension at the front and the monoshock at the rear have been well tuned for city rides. Having said that, the ride quality isn’t exactly plush. With the upright riding position coupled with the long comfortable seat, the CB Unicorn 160 is a good option for daily commuting.

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Honda CB Unicorn 160

Honda CB Unicorn 160

  • Displacement162.71 cc
  • Mileage - ARAI62 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)14.5 bhp
  • Kerb Weight134 kg
  • ;

Last known Ex‑showroom price

 77,545

And because it weighs just 136kg, it is easy to manage in heavy traffic. It handles well at higher speeds , especially in a straight line, and it’s not ponderous around bends either. But, it isn’t a handling benchmark in its class by any stretch. The tyres aren’t the grippiest either, especially in the wet.

As for the engine, the 163cc engine is mostly new. It is based on the older 153c unit, but it retains the older engine’s charms of refinement and linear power delivery. And given it now makes 14.5bhp of max power and 15Nm of peak torque it is peppier than the older engine both when it comes to initial pickup and during roll ons.  

The CB Unicorn 160 takes off with ease thanks to a torquey low end (this comes from someone whose weight is close to 100kg). But, what impressed me the most is the mid-range where you could stay as low as 35kmph in fifth gear.  If you plan to cruise, the fifth gear won’t disappoint you in terms of performance and fuel efficiency either. We also like the exhaust note, and the fact that the five-speed gearbox – as on the 150 – is slick and precise.

There are hardly any vibrations at idle either. But, yes, as one goes up the rpm range, vibrations can be felt on the foot pegs and the handlebar, but these are marginal and quite acceptable. While the Japanese manufacturer claims an ARAI fuel efficiency of 62kmpl, thanks to the HET, the real world figure will be lower and we will get this figure when we do a road test. In terms of braking, the CB Unicorn 160 does a fine job thanks to the combi-braking system (CBS). When you hit the foot brake, equal amount of energy is applied to both front and rear brakes adding to the stability.

Anything else you should know?

Above all: The CB Unicorn 160 is still a conservatively designed motorcycle. While I admit that it looks better than its predecessor, the bike needs some tweaking to match upto its rivals. With the new trapezoidal headlamp unit and sharp fuel tank, the front fascia of the CB Unicorn 160 doesn’t look as contemporary as it should. However, the nicely designed tank shrouds gets our thumbs up.

We like the neatly designed instrument cluster as well; the digital unit is easy to read, informative, and buttons to change and adjust the trip meter, require little effort to operate.  Also, the Honda CB Unicorn 160 is available in three colours – red, grey and black.

Why should you buy one?

You should buy the CB Unicorn 160 if you are looking for a motorcycle that offers decent design, good fuel efficiency and excellent reliability. It will prove to be a good companion on daily rides to office as well as for that weekend ride to your favourite highway dhaba. However, if you like your ride to grab attention, there are better alternatives out there.

Where does it fit in?

In the ever-growing 150cc-160cc-motorcycle segment, the Honda CB Unicorn 160 is your commuter centric, no-nonsense bike. For those looking for a stylish Honda in this class, there’s now the CB Hornet 160R. So, the Unicorn has its space properly defined. The Unicorn’s traditional rivals are the Hero Hunk, the TVS Apache RTR 160 and the Bajaj Pulsar. And without doubt, the Unicorn currently is the most modern of the lot. It is mechanically sound too. So, all in all, the CB Unicorn 160 is a good purchase decision.

 

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