What do you think is important in a bike to win the hearts of customers? Is it the looks, engine or the brand? I know it sounds a little strange to start a review session with question marks. But there is a reason behind this. The latest iteration of the iconic Unicorn model from Honda – CB Unicorn forces me to place the above doubts in front of you.
When we think of a product from Honda, it is quite natural that we attach a lot of expectations to it. Unicorn brand is the eldest of the motorcycles from Honda in India. Launched in India in 2005, Unicorn was the one to give Bajaj Pulsar a run for its money. Despite all the competition, Unicorn is still considered as one of the top in 150cc premium segment.
CB Unicorn, the youngest of the Unicorns from Honda has a lot to excite you but falls short in a few departments. Let me take you through the specifications, unique propositions, good and not so good things about the bike one by one.
Engine : With the goodness of Honda
CB Unicorn is equipped with a 149.1cc 4-stroke air cooled SI Engine. The 13.3bhp@8000rpm power and 1.3Kg-m@5500rpm torque makes it a powerful machine. 5 speed constant mesh transmission with 1Down- 4 Up gear shifting keeps up with the new age pattern.
Comes with an Advanced Design Diamond Frame Chassis, CB Unicorn is the lengthiest bike in its class with 2095mm. The 1100mm height makes it a tall man’s darling and a do not buy for short chaps. A total weight of 150Kg+ helps in getting a better road grip and control of the vehicle.
Front: 240mm Disc & Rear: 130mm Drum. It was surprising and rather disappointing to know that CB Unicorn doesn’t have a variant with Front & Rear Disc brakes. Braking and controlling of the bike appears to be ok, but front disc brake sometimes irritates you with a nasty sound (when applied fully) which I have never experienced in any other bikes.
This is one area where I find Honda CB Unicorn way behind its contemporaries. In a time when GRS has been considered and accepted as a must have feature to offer that little extra comfort, Honda still boasts of its Advanced Technology Mono Rear Suspension which is without GRS technology and has only 3 level adjustment option. I own and commute in a CB Unicorn and find the rear suspension stiff even after trying soft, medium and hard level adjustments. Telescopic Fork front suspension is in line with what other players in its class offer.
Cold Start Issues
Most common problem with the bike has been the cold start issue. If kept idle (Engine turned off) for more than 4 hours or so, your CB Unicorn refuses to get up in one shot, and takes a couple of minutes to turn on. Only half the job done there because, it takes another couple of minutes to warm up.
Observation & Verdict
The best thing about this bike is the fact that it comes with a Honda engine. The smoothness and vigour of the engine is a real feel good factor. The engine sound is so smooth that the rider himself wouldn’t hear when not accelerated. The bike gives an average mileage of 50kmpl and nothing to grumble in this regard. The bike is sluggish in pick up and pulling, so not an ideal select for those who crave speed. The Cold start problem gets you pissed off in the mornings.
I think now you know why I raised a couple of questions in the beginning of this discussion. This bike has got the looks to die for, famous Honda Engine and is a trusted Honda brand product. Despite these advantages, the CB Unicorn fails to be a complete no nonsense bike.
Video review: real user