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An excellent Honda for the city!

January 25, 2015 15:33 IST

The Honda CB Unicorn 160 has a very good engine, offering excellent performance, says Faisal Ali Khan of

Honda CB Unicorn 160

The Honda CB Unicorn needs no introduction because it is one of the oldest yet highest selling bikes in the 150cc segment. The Unicorn was Honda's first motorcycle in India, when it was launched in 2005 and till date the same model is on sale sans major upgrades.

Honda has now launched the Unicorn 160, a more powerful version of the bike, targeted at younger buyers.

Honda CB Unicorn 160

The CB Unicorn 160 carries a very conservative design, something which is very Honda like. The design isn't sporty, nor is it offensive but the Unicorn won't turn heads. The headlight and tank do take some design inspiration from the CX-01 concept which was showcased at the Auto Expo last year.

The bike is compact and the highlight is the H shaped LED tail light. The long seat, single-piece grab rail and full chain case clearly convey the design to be commuter-friendly and not sporty.

The saree guard is one of the best designed we have seen in this segment.

Honda CB Unicorn 160

The console on the Honda Unicorn 160 is very similar to the one seen on the Trigger but it isn't identical as there are multiple changes to the placement of some meters.

The all digital instrument cluster is easy to read and gets all basic features including a clock and twin trip meters. While the overall quality is good, the switchgear feels too basic and Honda has omitted an engine kill switch yet again.

Honda CB Unicorn 160

The Honda CB Unicorn 160 is powered by a 162.71cc, single-cylinder engine which generates 14.5 BHP and 14.61 Nm. While the company claims this is an all new motor, it is actually based on the old 149cc mill that powers a range of Hero and Honda bikes in India.

Honda has used the old motor and increased the stroke to increase cubic capacity. But it has also made other changes including the incorporation of new bearings and new sleeve design.

The crankcase has been redesigned as well and a counter balancer has been added which ensures reduction in vibrations.

Honda CB Unicorn 160

The motor is very smooth and the Unicorn 160 is quite fast too, taking just 16.15 seconds to do the 0-100 km/hr sprint as per our VBOX tests.

Crucially though, the engine has decent low-end grunt and a very good mid-range, redline coming in at 11,300 RPM. The motor sounds throaty and the gearing is very tall, the gearbox being smooth to operate.

Top speed is claimed to be 106 km/hr but we managed 122 km/hr on the speedometer, the real speed being 114 km/hr. One can expect a mileage of 50 km/l from the Unicorn 160.

Honda CB Unicorn 160

The Honda CB Unicorn 160 has good underpinnings which gives it a good balance. Handling is good but the commuter oriented riding position (with front set pegs and an upright seating) doesn't inspire confidence to ride hard.

The front suspension is soft while the rear is stiff so ride quality isn't very good on bad roads although it's still very compliant on smooth tarmac.

Our test model came with CBS and although there is no rear disc brake, stopping power is more than adequate.

Honda CB Unicorn 160

The Honda CB Unicorn 160 might have a lot of power but it's not a bike for enthusiasts as the riding position is too conservative for sporty riding. This motorcycle does excel in other areas and has ample performance on offer with good comfort for both rider and pillion.

Priced at Rs 91,000 for the top variant, the CB Unicorn is an excellent bike for the city.

Faisal Ali Khan