Honda CB Hornet 160R : Detailed Review

We take a short spin on the sunny roads of Goa to find out whether the new Honda CB Hornet 160R can make a mark for itself in the fiercely contested premium 150cc market

Honda CB Hornet 160R

The 150cc segment can be seen as the stepping stone in terms of performance with respect to the Indian market. The 150cc motorcycles offer a great mix of performance, frugality and affordability. In the form of the Honda Unicorn and now the Unicorn 160, the Japanese two-wheeler giant has tasted great success. But when it comes to premium 150cc offerings, its track record is unimpressive in the form of the Honda CB Dazzler and later the CB Trigger which failed to make a mark in the sales chart. Also Watch: Honda CB Hornet 160R WalkAround Video

CB Hornet 160R

Undeterred, Honda plans to get third time lucky with the new CB Hornet 160R - a premium 150cc motorcycle based on the Unicorn 160. Can the new Honda CB Hornet 160R turn the tides for the Japanese manufacturer in the premium 150cc segment? Read on to get the answer.

Honda CB Hornet 160R static

Design & Features: 

Buyers in the premium 150cc segment want an aggressively styled and modern looking motorcycle. And this is one area where the Dazzler and Trigger failed to impress. Honda seems to have understood this fact and we must say that the Honda CB Hornet 160R is a striking looking motorcycle. One is welcomed with a trapezoidal headlamp unit with twin pilot lamps neatly integrated into it, while the large tank and edgy fuel tank extensions give the motorcycle a sharp looking profile. The rear section is petite with split grab rails and the X-shaped LED tail lamp endows the Hornet 160 with a unique looking tail section.

Honda CB Hornet 160R tank

Other interesting bits on the new bike includes multi-spoke alloy wheels, stubby exhaust muffler and bare carbon finish on fuel tank and centre body panel. The all-digital console is a straight lift from the Unicorn 160 and a redesigned console would have been more welcome. Fit and finish is good but the switchgear feels a generation old and needs to be updated. Engine kill switch has been given a miss, which is unacceptable on a premium bike. We also didn't like the quality of the switchgear on the CB Hornet 160R and thought it could have been better. 

Honda CB Hornet 160R engine

Engine & Performance: 

The engine used on the CB Hornet 160 is exactly the same unit as seen on the Unicorn 160. But the powerplant has been tweaked to extract more juice out of it. The 162.7cc air-cooled motor churns out 15.9PS of max power and peak torque rating of 14.8Nm. This makes the new 150cc motorcycle around 1.4PS and 0.2Nm of torque more than the Unicorn 160. Power is transmitted to the rear wheel by a 5-speed gearbox.

The engine has a high-revving nature and one needs to feed in the revs for the power band to kick in which is a trait similar to higher displacement Honda motors. Acceleration is good for a 150cc motorcycle but the CB Hornet 160R feels a bit strained above 90kmph with vibes kicking in through pegs and handlebar. In-gear acceleration is also decent which is helpful while overtaking on the highways.

Honda CB Hornet 160R in action

The 5-speed gearbox is notchy especially from 1st to 2nd gear which is similar trait to the Honda Unicorn 160. But the gear ratios have been well distributed specifically for riding in traffic. Honda hasn’t released fuel efficiency figures for the Hornet 160 and we couldn’t test it in Goa as it was a short ride, but going by our past experience with the Unicorn 160, it is safe to assume a mileage figure of around 45kmpl overall. Also Watch: Honda CB Hornet 160R WalkAround Video

Honda CB Hornet 160R cornering pic

Ride, Handling & Braking:

The Honda CB Hornet 160R employs a diamond-type frame as seen on the Unicorn 160. Handling of the motorcycle is impressive as it dives into corners with great enthusiasm. Improving the handling dynamics further is the 140mm section chunky rear tyre that aids the rider in increasing the lean angle of the motorcycle.

Honda CB Hornet 160R handle bars

Riding posture on the bike is upright with the flat and wide handle bar feeling nice to hold, and you get a sensation of riding a higher displacement streetbike. The footpegs are mildly rear-set which gels well with the overall dynamics of the Hornet 160R and a toe only gear shifter has been provided. The seats feel a bit stiff and one cannot snugly hold the fuel tank which is a bit disappointing. The new Honda 150cc motorcycle employs telescopic front forks and monoshock unit at the back and the overall ride quality is good as it swallowed undulations and broken roads without any trouble.

Honda CB Hornet 160R rear disc

Braking is done by petal disc brakes (a first for any production Honda bike in India) at both ends and the bike we tested was the CBS version, and overall braking performance was decent. They provide good bite but better progression from the levers would have been welcome. 

Honda CB Hornet 160R rear


In the form of the CB Hornet 160R, Honda now finally has a competitive offering in the premium 150cc motorcycle segment. It looks the part with its sporty styling and chiselled lines making it a visually attractive bike. Performance of the motorcycle is also good with respect to its rivals and it offers decent fuel efficiency as well. But the current Rs 79, 900 (ex-showroom Delhi pricing for the non CBS variant) is on the higher side with respect to competition. It seems that Honda have got it right the third time around but whether the customers will give the Japanese bikemaker a third chance to success is something only time will tell. Also Watch: Honda CB Hornet 160R WalkAround Video


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