Honda CB Twister : Roadtest
“Wake up to a dream” is what the latest tagline from Honda says. One look at the new CB Twister and you know the reason behind the tagline. Up until now, the 100 cc commuter segment was only about "mileage kya hai" factor, but Honda seems to have upped the game further.
While bikes across this segment delivered in spades on the efficiency front they offered very little on the desirability front. I mean think about it, when was the last time you ever desired a 100 cc commuter? The Twister is here to just that, turn on the cool factor in the 100 cc segment. Standing in Candy palm green shade, the Twister pretty much looked like a scaled down CB 1000R. The design is simply stunning with edgy details all over. It’s also a pretty front biased design thanks to the big extended tank shrouds upfront, but mind you none of it looks excessive. The rear follows suite with the edgy muscular panels and a brilliant first of its kind plastic grab rail and a short stubby exhaust. Even the drive chain is exposed which adds to the sporty character of the bike. The only eyesore are the red twin red shock absorbers which look a little out of place in the otherwise radical theme. A mono-shock would really have done wonders. The headlight is housed inside a smart angular fairing with matt black visor giving a nice aggressive stance to the bike. The instrument console is dominated by a huge speedo with a fuel on the right along with the usual tell tale lights. Swing a leg over the bike and the first thing you notice is how comfortable the riding position is. The switches feel pretty good and so does the shapely but functional rear view mirrors. The only thing lacking in the switchgear department is a pass switch. Quality of everything from the palm grips to the switch gear is top notch.
Under that muscular 8 litre tank is an all new 4 cylinder air-cooled engine displacing a 109 cc. The unit makes 9 PS @ 8000 rpm and a maximum torque of 9 Nm @ 6000 rpm which takes it to the top of the chart in its segment. Thumb the starter and the typical makkhan refinement comes to the fore, one of the reasons being the rocker arms which are equipped with roller bearings as standard. To harness the power is 4-speed gearbox which is delightfully smooth and operates in one down three up pattern. The light clutch provides extremely positive shifts no matter what rpm one shifts at. With perfect city spec ratios, the Twister feels pretty enthusiastic off the line. Shift optimally and 60 km/h comes up in 6.7 seconds with a top speed being a shade under 100 km/h. But what impresses the most is the rideability. The Twister manages to trundle around easily at 20 km/h in its top cog without needing a downshift and also accelerates cleanly without lugging the engine. It’s only when one comes to a near halt that one has to go through the missionary downshifts.
Exiting the concrete jungle and entering your favourite set of twisties brings to light the excellent dynamics of the baby CB. On the chassis front, the Twister employs a double downtube frame which uses the engine as a stressed member while bumps are taken care of by telescopic forks upfront and a pair of red hydraulic shock absorbers clamped onto a rectangular box type swingarm. The setup endows the bike with some pretty serious cornering traits. The ride quality is firm but never gets uncomfortable at any point giving the bike a pretty balanced feel at all times making long commutes pleasurable. Another factor which aids long trips is the excellent fuel efficiency afforded by the bike. Around town, the bike recorded a figure of 69 kmpl while highways saw the bike returning 78.5 kmpl giving the Twister an overall figure of 71.3 kmpl. A full tank will easily see the bike cover 570 km before you have to fill up again.
With a price of Rs. 45,684 for the base version with kick start, alloy wheels and drum brakes and Rs. 52,082 (ex-showroom Mumbai) for the top end variant with disks, the Twister is expensive compared to its immediate rivals. However its does offer more style, more power, more refinement coupled with Honda reliability and quality making it worth the extra moolah. Like its other products, Honda is sure to start another long waiting queue with the Twister as well.