Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, which started 2015 by announcing a product blitzkrieg of 15 new models, launched its last product of the year in December, which we recently took for a spin. Called the CB Hornet 160R, it is Honda’s attempt to attract the youth, somewhat on the lines of what the Gixxer so successfully did for Suzuki and what the FZ series has been doing for Yamaha for so many years.
Heralding what Honda call a new era of street-naked sports biking in India, the CB Hornet 160R looks the part. The headlight assembly, with twin position lamps and upward facing side indicators, especially looks sharp. Forward leaning tank shrouds with carbon pattern cover add the required muscular look to the bike. The meter display is fully digital and enhances overall sophistication levels. The best part, however, is the rear—the X-shaped LED tail light makes the CB Hornet 160R stand apart.
The CB Hornet 160R comes with a 162.71cc engine that has a compression ratio of 10:1. It develops a peak power of 15.7bhp and a torque of 14.76Nm. The powerband appears to be top-centric, which means that it is more fun riding this bike as the engine redlines. The company says that the engine is equipped with a counter-balancer to reduce vibrations at high RPM. Overall, the engine is quite smooth, the transmission is quick and the clutch is light. Honda also claims that this motor complies with the BS-IV norms that will come into effect from 2017. The gear pattern is 1-N-2-3-4-5 and the claimed top speed is 110kph. Honda has not disclosed fuel-efficiency figures. Honda also claims that the motorcycle comes fitted with a maintenance-free and leakage-proof battery.
Even though the foot-pegs have been pulled back to give the rider a more sporty stance than a commuter bike, its riding position fairly upright. This means long-distance commutes on the CB Hornet 160R should be comfortable. The handlebar is straight, wide and in easy reach, leading to better control over the motorcycle at most speeds. Both handling and cornering are confidence inspiring, especially on good roads. The front suspension is telescopic forks, and the rear has a monoshock, mounted on a box-section swing-arm. What help the bike’s handling are perfectly chosen wheels and tyres. The CB Hornet 160R comes with 17-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels, shod with 100/80 section tubeless tyres at front and 140/70 section tubeless tyres at the rear. You get the option of buying either the disc and drum brake variant, or the twin disc one. In the latter, there is a 276mm dual petal disc unit at the front, while the rear has a 220mm disc. The double disc brake variant also comes with Honda’s Combi Brake System (CBS), for better stability in short braking distances. The bike also gets three-pot brake calliper to maintain braking efficiency.
In another first for the company, the CB Hornet 160R is available for sale via an Android app, launched especially to attract young buyers. Available in two variants and five colours, Honda has priced the CB Hornet 160R at a mild premium over the competition—the disc plus drum variant (STD) is priced R79,990, while the all-disc (CBS) is priced R84,400 (ex-showroom, Delhi). For a company whose growth in 2015 was primarily driven by strong demand for scooters, the CB Hornet 160R sets the pace for this year in the motorcycle segment.