Honda CB Unicorn 160 : Detailed Review

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  • Jan 9, 2015
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We find out if the new Honda CB Unicorn 160 lives up to the Unicorn moniker


Honda CB Unicorn 160


The 150cc segment is growing like never before. In it today, we have products ranging from as low as Rs 58,000 for the Bajaj Discover 150S right up to Rs 1.42 lakh for the Honda CBR 150R. With so many products on offer in such a wide price range, the 150cc segment is now divided into several sub-segments. Targeted towards the youth with a balance of style and efficiency, every second 150cc motorcycle sold comes from the sporty 150cc class. The latest entrant in this sub-segment is the Honda CB Unicorn 160. 


Now, the Honda CB Unicorn has been in the market for a while now and even then it is still one of the most sensible 150cc motorcycles to buy in the segment. It has a good engine, decent efficiency and a comfortable ride. Does the new Honda CB Unicorn 160 make for an equally sensible offering in the sporty 150cc class? 


Honda CB Unicorn 160 static


Design and Style: rating_3.0_rating

Give your product a good design and it's half the battle won, especially in this segment. The CB Unicorn 160 with its edgy lines looks amiable. The large trapezoidal headlight flanked by the small black windscreen gives the front a bold stance. The shrouds at the end of the tank add a little character especially when you look at it in profile. The plastic claddings under the tank could have been of better quality.The H-shaped taillight is a neat touch to the rear. While the overall design is pleasing, it isn't something that one would drool over. 


Funnily, even though Honda claims the CB Unicorn 160 to be a sporty offering, there is barely anything that reflects that attitude. The foot pegs are forward-set, the gear lever is the heel-toe kind and the tall handle bars make for an extremely commuter-like riding posture. We would have loved to see a bit of aggression at least in the riding posture, if not in the design. 


Honda CB Unicorn 160 engine


Engine and Performance: rating_4.0_rating

Aside from the difference in the looks department from its older sibling, the CB Unicorn 160 sports a new heart too. The 163.7cc unit makes 14.7PS and 14.6Nm. Now the 1.4PS and 2Nm bump over the CB Unicorn 150 might not seem a big one but consider that the CB Unicorn 160 is 10kg lighter than its older sibling and the equation changes altogether. 


Thumb the starter and the engine comes to life with a typical Honda smoothness. Twist the wrist and the CB Unicorn 160 is quick to respond and eager to go. While it feels tremendously comfortable in its mid-range, except for some vibes on the pegs and the handle bars, it doesn't quite complain when revved hard either. That said, it doesn't feel as vibey as either of its siblings and the credit for that goes to the counter balancer. The short gear ratios are ideal for city riding conditions but the top-cog is marginally taller for your highway hauls. 


Honda CB Unicorn 160 handling


Ride, handling and braking: rating_3.5_rating

Talking about riding in the city, the CB Unicorn 160’s softly sprung suspension ensures that it goes over potholes of all sizes without upsetting your back. Seating is comfortable and spending long hours on the saddle shouldn't be a task either. Though the ride quality is absolutely spot on for city roads, take it round a series of bends and it starts to feel out of place. Yes it is light, but that isn't just enough. To make matters worse, the feedback from the tyres isn't great either. With regards to braking, despite just having a disc up front, the CB Unicorn 160 has quite some bite. The top-end variant that we rode has been fitted with a Combi brake system too.



Honda CB Unicorn 160 in action


Price and Efficiency: rating_3.0_rating

Honda claims an overall efficiency of 62kmpl for the CB Unicorn 160. While the efficiency is just right vis-à-vis it's competition, it's the pricing that gives it a confused identity. With respect to segment, the CB Unicorn 160 sits between the standard CB Unicorn and the CB Trigger. But funnily, the base variant of the CB Unicorn 160 with front disc brakes has been priced at Rs 69,350 which is more expensive than the CB Trigger. But then the top-of-the-line CB Trigger with front-rear discs and CBS is more than Rs 3,500 more expensive than the front disc-CBS version of the CB Unicorn 160. And for those who are still not confused, remember the CB Unicorn 160 is more powerful too. 


Honda CB Unicorn 160 badge


Verdict: rating_3.5_rating

The CB Unicorn 160 then does make an interesting case for itself. It has that typically refined Honda engine and a decent ride quality too. And of course there is the efficiency. But things get a little complicated due to its pricing and product placement. So if you are on a tight budget looking to buy a 150cc offering from Honda, the base-variant of the CB Trigger should be the bike you bet your money on bearing in mind that it is a more premium offering. Not to forget that it has an equally good engine and great riding dynamics too. But of you want to pick up the top-of-the line model with the Combi Brake System, the CB Unicorn 160 with its more powerful engine is the bike for you.  


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