Honda's approach in the premium commuter segment has always been a lethargic one, as they were more involved in expanding its scooter lineup than bring in a whole new 150cc motorcycle. Honda has replaced the legendary Unicorn with a new Unicorn 160,where the new design language and the new 162.7cc long stroke engine debuted. Many Honda fanatics like myself have waited for more than a year for a stylish commuter bike, but for no avail. Honda has Unveiled the CB Hornet 160R at the RevFest, which literally made people's jaws fall on the floor. The overall design has been a modified version of the CX-01 concept, with Honda's new and refreshing design language to top with. Once launched, this will compete with the likes of the Yamahas and Suzukis which have been dominating this section of the sales chart.
Powering the Hornet is the same 162.7 cc long strike engine on the Unicorn 160. Honda has not revealed any technical specifications, but expect the power to be similar to that of the Unicorn. However, a performance tweak would be an icing on the cake. The short and stubby exhaust looks good and gels with the overall styling of the bike.
The Hornet's front fascia is a bit identical to the one on the Unicorn 160, and the twin pilot lamps are a welcome addition. The front forks are conventional telescopic forks which are a tad beefier than the ones on the Unicorn, almost of the same diameter of the CBR 150R. The rear has a Monoshock with preload adjustability. The X shaped rear taillight also reminds the CB Unicorn 160. Switch gear and the instrument console are a bit of a letdown, as they are lifted directly from the Unicorn 160. The Basic switchgear lacks even a kill switch, whereas the instrument cluster is a bit small to read from a distance. Hope Honda works on these aspects and bring some changes in the final production model.
The CB Hornet 160R gets Nissin petal disc brakes both at rear and upfront, with Honda's trademark CBS system. The front has a 3 piston unit whereas the rear has a single piston caliper. Tires are from MRF, with the new Zapper-S1 130/70 17 radial tire at the rear and the Zapper FX1 100/80 17 at the front. These tires are supposedly of a softer compound when compared to the S, to provide exceptional grip on the tarmac.
On the whole, HMSI has finally entered the premium commuter segment with a competitive product. The Hornet might be priced at a competitive price of about 72,000 INR (Ex-showroom, Delhi) which might eat up the sales charts of Yamaha and Suzuki when launched.
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