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Honda CB Unicorn 160 long term review introduction

Rishaad Mody  /
13 Apr 2015

Five minutes into my first ride on the Unicorn 160 and it was clear what a big step the bike has taken over its siblings. Honda has kept the identity of the Unicorn intact but the engine feels smoother and torquier while the design is refreshed just enough so it's a little less boring. Riding the Unicorn in traffic is a doddle. The riding position couldn't be any more upright and the engine produces just enough power to be effortlessly quick in traffic. I also love how smooth the motor is and also how torquey and tractable it is - you can lug it around in high gears just as easily as you can rev it close to the redline. But the most interesting part of the engine is how efficient it is. A tank of fuel lasts for days and days and I enjoy riding past the same pumps I used to constantly frequent on my KTM 390 Duke.

Honda CB Unicorn 160

Which brings us to the question of why I'm not crazy about it. The same characteristics that make it an excellent commuter also make it a rather dull experience. For example, the awful heel-toe shifter that inadvertently drops a gear every time I stand on the pegs on a poor stretch of road. Or the nasty clunk the gearbox makes when it slots from first to second that sounds exactly like the average little 100cc commuter. The issue simply is that despite how good it is at its job, there's not much joy to be had on this motorcycle. I enjoyed the Gixxer much more last month because that eager little motorcycle puts a big smile on my face even on the most mundane of rides. The next time I'm broke and looking for an economical but quick replacement for my Duke, I know where to look.

Total mileage 1,267km,  date acquired  Jan'15  

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