Honda CB200X First Ride Review | An XPulse 200 rival or is it?

Honda CB200X Review | Some say (including Honda) that the CB200X is meant for the road and they're not wrong. Upside down forks, alloy wheels don't particularly scream off-road. So, who is the CB200X going after?

By:Updated: Sep 25, 2021 1:58 PM
Honda CB200X Review images

What XPulse 200 is to Hero MotoCorp, Himalayan is to Royal Enfield, 250 Adventure is to KTM and G310GS is to BMW Motorrad, the CB200X is to Honda. There’s been a waft of entry-level adventure bikes ever since the Himalayan came along and disrupted the market with an affordable and accessible ADV. Some say (including Honda) that the CB200X is meant for the road and they’re not wrong. Upside down forks, alloy wheels don’t particularly scream off-road. So, what is the CB200X going after?

To look at

To begin with, it’s better looking. So, the CB200X is based on the Hornet 2.0 with the same engine. But with some fairing at the front, golden forks and raised handlebars, the CB200X boasts a stronger presence on the road than the Hornet or even the XPulse 200. Gets LED lighting all around, y-shaped alloy wheels, and a fully digital instrument cluster. It definitely carries a touring bike appeal to it with a tall windscreen which does a good job of wind protection. Other ADV-like features include knuckle guards with LED turn indicators integrated into them. Although, it could help if it had touring style grab rails that help mount luggage.

To ride it

The CB200X is powered by the same engine as the Hornet which means it makes the same 17 hp at 8,500 rpm and 16 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm. And so the engine performs at its best in the mid-range of the rpm and offers not a lot of grunt in the down-low. Although, engine refinement remains impressive as it sits vibration-free even until 6-7,000 rpm and there aren’t any complaints above that either unless you’re really red-lining it. The bike is about 5 kg heavier than the Hornet but at 147 kg, it is still lightweight and doesn’t lose its agility. Attaining speeds of 100 km/h does not feel like hard work for the engine. It’s beyond this when it’ll start to struggle.

The clutch operation is light on the fingers and the bike feels very light on the handlebars that are now also closer to the rider. It isn’t very heavy, to begin with at a kerb weight of 147 kg. The ergonomics of the motorcycle promise an upright and commanding stance. It may not be an adventure bike, but you do sit on it as one with its wide, raised handlebars and neutrally placed footpegs that let you stand on them (the tank design also supports standing up).

The 37mm forks and the monoshock are set to offer a plush and comfy disposition but it remains firm enough to avoid nose dives under braking. This combined with a large, well-cushioned seat, the CB200X is a comfortable place to spend time on. While this setup will allow mild off-roading, do not be expecting to take this bike out on a dirt track as the forks are upside down with 130mm travel in them (consider this in comparison with the XPulse 200’s 190mm).

 

The brakes are aptly bitey on the CB200X and it gets a single-channel ABS. Now, ABS only on the front wheel is rather sufficient for anything under 20 bhp and it gives you the opportunity to train yourself to handle rear wheel lock on a small, lightweight bike (something one can practice on speeds as low as 20-30 km/h). However, considering that dual-channel ABS is something really sought after in the market, it could perhaps help if Honda offered it as an optional extra.

Honda CB200X Price and Specifications:

Engine – 184.4cc single-cylinder
Power – 17 hp at 8,500 rpm
Torque – 16 Nm at 6,000 rpm
Five-speed transmission

LED lighting
Suspension – USD forks & monoshock
Suspension travel – 130 mm

Brakes – 276 mm disc (front), 220 mm disc (rear)
Tyres – 17” 110 section (front), 17” 140 (rear)

Ground clearance – 167 mm
Seat height – 810 mm
Kerb weight – 147 kg
Fuel tank capacity – 12 litres

Price – Rs 1,44,500 (ex-showroom)

To buy it?

To answer the question from the beginning, the CB200X is not going after the off-road enthusiast. It’s perhaps meant for someone looking for good looks, comfort, weekend rides no longer than 150-200 km, and reliability. The trouble is though that its streetfighter sibling Hornet 2.0 will do all of the things that the CB200X will, whilst saving you about Rs 13,000. So, why would you consider a CB200X? There’s probably more than one reason – you could expect a little more comfort from the CB200X owing to the riding position and the wide seat and handlebars. Plus, the bike can prepare one for an ADV if they’re a complete stranger to the segment, and definitely looks great with a clear CB500X appeal to it.

If I may say so:

While Honda is not chasing a purpose-built bike segment, they could consider that takers of off-road capability are on the rise. The XPulse 200 did begin a crop of riders who take their motorcycles to trails and dirt tracks. These entry-level off-road motorcycles in our market today could pioneer the love for building a dirt bike, strapping it on the flatbed of an SUV and going to a dirt track on weekends (something very popular in western countries). And Honda could be a part of this crusade if we saw an off-road-friendly version of the CB200X.

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