Honda CB Unicorn 150: Road Test Review
- Jun 17, 2017
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The 150cc segment of motorcycles can be divided in two categories – one for the performance-oriented buyer and the latter for the mature consumers. Sales of 150cc motorcycles have witnessed a significant surge in the recent past with every two-wheeler manufacturer focussing on performance oriented machines, and that has meant that options for the mature buyers have shrunk. The Honda Unicorn is the undisputed king of this 150cc segment and has two options – the Unicorn 160 and the standard bike which has been reintroduced. Hero MotoCorp, on the other hand, had launched the Achiever 150 many years ago as a substitute for the Unicorn. Sadly, for the largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the country, the Achiever 150 couldn’t really achieve its dream of dominating this segment. Sales of the Hero Achiever 150 was also sliding and to arrest this downfall it has introduced the new Achiever 150. It isn’t a sticker job in the name of an update like Hero motorcycles of the past but a new product with styling changes and mechanical updates.
Style Check: 7/10
The new Hero Achiever 150 isn’t a motorcycle that will get you eyeballs while riding or in the parking lot. It follows a very conservative and somewhat boring styling to appeal to the mature buyers which is its target audience. Also, the design of the new motorcycle isn’t drastically different from its predecessor. The bike sports a petite trapezoidal-shaped headlight and a nice looking fuel tank though the chrome Hero branding looks a bit loud. The tail unit is a simple affair and goes well with the overall design while it features an “old-school” chunky exhaust muffler with a chrome heat shield. But the skinny 100-section rear tyre on the new Achiever 150 makes the motorcycle look odd from the back. The engine has been finished in black which gives the bike a good contrast while the graphics has been redesigned with the “i3S” logo making its appearance on the centre panel. Paint quality on the motorcycle along with build quality looked impressive but the bunch of wire exiting below the headlight is an eyesore. Switch gear quality looks built to last and it gets handlebar-mounted choke.
Features List: 8/10
The biggest talking point of the new Hero Achiever 150 is the inclusion of the i3S (Idle Start Stop System) technology. This makes the new Achiever 150 the first motorcycle in the 150cc segment to be equipped with start-stop technology. After rolling to a stop, one has to engage neutral and after five seconds the engine gets shut off automatically. Depress the clutch to slot first gear and the motor gets switched on automatically. The start-stop technology can be beneficial if you encounter lot of traffic signals on your daily commute and the rider has the option to disengage it also. The new Hero Achiever 150 also gets AHO (Automatic Headlamp On) which is also a segment-first. The instrument cluster is a twin-pod analogue unit with a separate speedometer and tachometer. The analogue console does gel well with the overall design and is easy to read. The new Achiever 150 also gets a side stand indicator while the fuel gauge has been set at an offset.
Performance Test: 7/10
Talking about numbers, the new Hero Achiever 150 has the same power output as its predecessor – 13.4PS and 12.8Nm of peak torque. Even the bore and stroke hasn’t been changed; instead, the engineers have focussed on making the motor more refined with better low-end torque. The new Achiever 150’s mill is also BSIV-compliant. Hero claims an acceleration figure of 0-60kmph in five seconds which we couldn’t verify but I must add that the bike did feel fast in terms of acceleration. Being a short track we couldn’t really push the bike but till 70kmph the bike felt vibe free. Hero engineers have worked on improving the NVH levels and it shows. Low-end torque spread is also nice as the bike rolled on from 25kmph in fifth gear without any knocking. The heel-n-toe 5-speed gearbox offered crisp gear shifts. With respect to mileage, Hero claims a figure of 50kmpl in real world conditions which we need to verify after a proper road test.
Time to ride: 7/10
The tall handlebar and centre-set footpegs result in an upright and comfortable riding posture which will be appreciated by mature buyers. The seat also felt aptly cushioned and the tank is also easy to hold with your thighs. Suspension setup is a bit on the stiffer side but the ride quality is decent and much better than the previous model. Direction changes also felt effortless but the new Hero Achiever 150 isn’t a motorcycle for corner carving. The skinny 100-section rear tyre has to be the smallest in the segment and doesn’t give the rider the courage to push the bike through corners. But the small width means there is less rolling resistance, which results in better fuel efficiency. The new Achiever 150 gets the option of drum brake or disc brake at front and our test bike was the latter. The disc brake provided good bite and feedback through the lever.
The Hero Achiever 150 is a good option for a buyer that’s in the hunt for a reliable, refined and comfortable 150cc motorcycle. The engine offers decent punch for the highway run and the flickable nature is a boon in traffic. The long seat means that the motorcycle is also pillion friendly and the 50kmpl mileage figure is also good for a 150cc motorcycle. The styling isn’t visually appealing and the skinny rear tyre might put off many. The Hero brand commands unmatched trust among Indian buyers and the huge dealership network is also a boon.
The i3S tech will only be useful for urban riders but it is a neat addition nonetheless. The new Achiever 150 has been priced at Rs 61,800 for the drum variant while the disc brake caries just a premium of Rs 1,000 and will be my pick of the two. Its arch rival, the Honda Unicorn carries a sticker price of Rs 69,305 (ex-showroom), which makes the new Achiever 150 a fantastic value for money proposition also.