It all started with the Honda Unicorn 150. Its legendary build quality and refinement won hearts of many riders in the country. Slowly, the competition moved to higher capacity engines and to fend off its rivals, Honda introduced the CB Unicorn 160. However, the design was relatively sober when compared to the FZs and Gixxers in the market. Honda knew it could do more, and thus launched the masculine CB Hornet 160R. Over the years, it has been raking in healthy numbers in the sales chart. Later, to cater to the more budget-conscious enthusiasts, the Japanese marque brought in the X-Blade, which sits right between the more affordable Unicorn 160 and the cream-of-the-crop CB Hornet 160R. Here are the differences that set each motorcycle apart:
Among the trio of 160cc Hondas, the CB Unicorn 160 has the most conservative look. However, the design is smart, with subtle tank extensions and a clean tail section adorning the ‘H’-shaped LED tail light. The riding position is ergonomically designed for optimum comfort. The X-Blade, on the other hand, has quite a radical design. The Decepticon-like LED headlamp will surely turn erm… heads. The tank section is also aggressively designed with lots of cuts and slashes. Same is the case with the rear section that houses groovy grab rails, a shapely tyre hugger, and a T-shaped LED tail lamp. It even gets a dual-exit chrome-tipped exhaust for added aesthetics.
The Honda CB Hornet 160R has sporty and muscular proportions that are in line with other motorcycles in the 160cc naked segment. A small flyscreen adorns the top of the LED headlamp, and the wide handlebars help in easy manoeuvrability of the motorcycle. At the rear, a fat 140-section rubber with a stubby exhaust and an X-shaped LED tail light complement the macho appearance. While all three motorcycles feature digital instrumentation, the X-Blade is the only one to feature a gear-shift indicator. The Hornet and the X-Blade also come with a hazard lamp switch and a low-maintenance seal chain for better durability.
All the three motorcycles draw power from an air-cooled, single-cylinder, 162.71cc H.E.T. engine working in conjunction with a 5-speed transmission. However, the powerplant is in a different state of tune on each bike. The Unicorn is the least powerful among the lot, making just 14.01PS at 8000rpm and 13.92Nm at 6000rpm. The X-Blade makes slightly more power at 14.12PS, which arrives at 8500rpm, and 13.9Nm at the same rpm as the Unicorn 160. Being the most expensive among the three, the CB Hornet 160R punches out 15.09PS at 8500rpm and 14.5Nm at 6500rpm.
The Unicorn 160, X-Blade and the Hornet not only share the same diamond-type frame but also the suspension setup i.e. telescopic forks at the front and a monoshock at the rear. Coming to the braking aspect, the Unicorn’s front end features a 240mm disc and a 130mm rear drum, with CBS (combi brake system) as an option. The X-Blade sports a larger 276mm petal disc and a 130mm drum. However, there is no CBS, even as an option.
The Honda CB Hornet 160R comes in a range of brake combinations. The Standard version comes with a 276mm front petal disc and a 130mm rear drum. The CBS variant comes with discs on both ends, with the rear measuring 220mm. The ABS variant of the Standard model comes with a 130mm drum at the rear, whereas the DLX variant comes with a rear disc. However, both the ABS variants feature a single-channel unit only.
All three models get 17-inch alloy wheels, albeit with varying rubber size. For instance, the Unicorn and the X-Blade come wrapped with 80/100 section rubber up front. At the rear, the Unicorn makes do with a 110/80 section tyre, while the X-Blade is shod with a fatter 130/70 section tyre. The Hornet gets beefier rubber on both wheels, with the front measuring 100/80 and the rear measuring 140/70.
The Unicorn 160 and the X-Blade are closely priced, with the former costing Rs 74,618 for the non-CBS variant; and the CBS version setting you back by Rs 77,066. The X-Blade, on the other hand, comes in only one variant, which is priced at Rs 79,059.
The prices of the Hornet start from Rs 85,234 for the Standard version and go upto 89,734 for the CBS variant. Honda also offers single-channel ABS for both the rear disc (DLX – Rs 93,234) as well as the drum (STD – Rs 90,734) variant.
The Honda CB Unicorn 160 is more of an executive commuter for riders who are looking for a little more zing over the 150cc Unicorn, but without straying too much from the design language. Young riders who are under a strict budget may find the X-Blade alluring, thanks to the touring-friendly ergonomics and an aggressive design language.
The CB Hornet 160R is for the discerning rider who is looking for a sporty and premium 160cc motorcycle that offers looks, more performance and better safety, thanks to the optional ABS.
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