Honda CB Shine SP Review
With the new CB Shine SP, Honda aims to fill the void of a five-speed commuter bike in the 125cc segment. The idea is pretty simple: improve the premium quotient and usability by offering an extra gear and some prominent styling upgrade. But, how well does it work? And is it worth the extra money?
What is it?
As far as the monikers go, the CB Shine is one of the most important and significant names in Honda's Indian line-up. The 125cc commuter occupies the mantle as Honda's top-selling motorcycle globally, and the volumes generated in India make up for a major chunk of these numbers. While the success story has been going strong for quite some time now, the CB Shine has not seen any major upgrades since its launch apart from a few cosmetic makeovers. With the new CB Shine SP, Honda aims to fill the void of a five-speed commuter bike in the 125cc segment. The idea is pretty simple: improve the premium quotient and usability by offering an extra gear and some prominent styling upgrade. But, how well does it work? And is it worth the extra money?
How does it ride?
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.
Anything else I should know?
Despite its conservative styling, the metallic blue paint of this bike exudes a natural elegance, which makes it stand out of the crowd. The subtle changes in the styling might not make it look starkly different from the regular CB Shine, but are enough to warrant a second look. The commuter-oriented handlebar and the footpeg positioning, along with elongated seat make the CB Shine SP a very comfortable motorcycle to live with. Subtle touches like the rubber coating on the grab rails and the chrome plate on the exhaust add a premium feel to the motorcycle. In true Honda fashion, fit and finish of the motorcycle is top notch.
The switchgear, nice and solid, is the same unit seen in the rest of Honda's commuter range. The instrument cluster is made up of an analogue speedometer and a digital display, which integrates the odometer, trip meter and the fuel gauge. The rear suspension comes with five-step preload adjustability. The rest of the motorcycle is pretty basic though it does come in four other opulent metallic paint schemes – black, white, red and grey.
Why should I buy one?
The Honda CB Shine SP is a fantastic commuter. It is light and easy to ride and it is fuel-efficient. But more importantly, it isn’t boring. If you want to infuse some fun into your mundane commutes, but are restricted by the need for good fuel efficiency, the CB Shine SP would be the perfect bike for you. Honda offers the CB Shine SP in three variants – drum, front disc and CBS. While the disc brake variant in itself would be a good buy, I would suggest you opt for the CBS variant. It is well worth the extra money.
Where does it fit in?
The 125cc commuter motorcycle segment is nothing short of a modern-day Colosseum, with five other gladiators fighting a losing battle against the standard Honda CB Shine. The CB Shine SP, like the standard model, rivals the likes of the Bajaj Discover 125, Suzuki SlingShot Plus, Hero Glamour, Hero Ignitor, Yamaha Saluto and the TVS Phoenix. Now, if I ever have to buy a commuter motorcycle, the CB Shine SP will be the bike I'll bet my money on.
Photography by Kapil Angane
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