Apr 11, 2007

Honda Unicorn Riding Impression

Someone wanted a riding impression of the new Unicorn. So here it is.

What an amazing, outstanding, superb, Pulsar thrashing little 150 this has become. The new Unicorn, ladies and gentlemen, is nothing short of outstanding. Hell, I'd go so far as to say the upgraded Unicorn is as different from the old Unicorn as the colour red is from blue.

A quick summary of the new features first. Alloy wheels. Black engine with red Honda text on crankcase cover. Polished fins and a nice new cam cover. Tweaked fairing with chrome strip. New graphics. Chrome on middle body panel a la CBZX or Platina. Ooh, help me up if I swoon.

Going into corners, the sharp touch of chrome in your visor is a treat. It allows you to point the bike better and works as if you had a shiny crosshair to aim at the apex. The alloy wheels now bring the bike up to feature just-below-par with its competition. Why? Because now that Honda has alloys, everyone else has digital tachos, twin pilot lamps, LED tail lamps... Uh oh. The sole Honda USP is the monoshock. Which, the astute among you will note, was exactly what the USP of the old Unicorn was.

At a very fundamental level, I think Honda has miscalculated once more. Once more, the Indian manufacturers have evaded Big Red. I don't how long an aggressive, overachieving giant like Honda can countenance such insolence, but for the moment, I can't see then really reacting in any major fashion. It took then from 2005 Diwali till now to announce these 'major' upgrades... which is the sort of time frame in which people like Bajaj and TVS create new platforms (or two) from scratch.

So, how is it to ride. Same as the old one. Great motor, lovely torquey feel, slightly weak on the top end. Neutral, confident handler, overtly stiff on the ride front until you find yourself a 100 kg wife who agrees to sit pillion with you everywhere. Still a nice bike to ride and still not the best value for money, not the best 150 performer, or the most attractive 150cc buying proposition.

What would I have done? I'd have junked all the plastics for more aggro looks. I'd have the CBZX motor (14.2 bhp) in it. I'd have softened the rear shock just a little bit to make the one-up 150cc crowd happier. I would also have thrown the bikini fairing into the recyclable plastic bin and drawn up a new one. Maybe with twin headlamps. Maybe I'd put twin naked headlamps. And I'd have gone ballistic on the features. And that, was if I were being conservative. If I were willing to stick the old neck out a bit... I'd bump displacement to 180cc, keep the mileage in check, make 15.5 bhp and give everyone a headache. Sadly for you guys, I'm not Honda.


Anonymous said...

Honda need their collective arses kicked into orbit. They are Honda - the world's biggest, most respected motorcycle company in the world, and what do they have in India? Two piddly little scooters and two crappy little commuter bikes - all of them outdated, low-spec, poor performers.

Look at Bajaj and TVS. At least they are TRYING, and that's more than what can be said about HMSI. Jesus Christ!

I hope someone like Zongshen (a Chinese company which is now the biggest two-wheeler manufacturing company in the world, in terms of volumes) comes to India and kicks Honda's ass. That is, what's left of it after Bajaj and TVS are done with the stupid Japs.

xh said...

Unicorn is a sweet handler. When it was time for me to look for a new bike, ther ewas not much choice for me - it was eitehr Unicorn or Karizma, but Zma was out of my budget. Alloy wheels, yeah sure looks nice. And they are easy to clean. But apart from that, I dont feel any need for them. The new Uni looks nice, and I hope it will draw more ppl towards it.

Satish said...

wel talkin abt the luks, the new unicorn is definitely better than the older version, but providin a digi meter wld hav enhanced its featurez more.
stil the best part in unicorn is the ridin comfort. i hav ridden many bikes bt the comfort n smoothnes which the unicorn offers both for the rider n the pillion iz gr8. i m myself havin the new version of unicorn n it is an economy bike in its range of bikes(150cc) coz the on road price of the bike iz 65000 n the mileage which i m gettin iz 50-55 kmpl.if the unicorn iz givin this mileage to a college goin student like me then the mileage wld b even better if the rider is a careful handler of the bike.
anywayz gr8 job by hmsi.

Vishnu D H said...

finally bajaj has come out with its pulsar 220 ...
tvs has come out with its rtr 160
hero honda with its cbz xtreme

wat does honda come out with ? a little modified version of its old unicorn ?!?!? god ... give me a break . i have a honda unicorn . personally i was waiting for something new really 'new' . i thought when i heard that a unicorn sports is gonna come , would kick pulsar out of sales .... but .... hmsi have really disappointed me (and lots more )

hope the hmsi ppl understand soon and start to correct their follies

agreed that uni has the best of comfort and mileage ..... i have exp them ...... but still , looks need to improved with more features and a better performance engine ....

yogesh.wordpress said...

if u manage the looks of honda unicorn than u'll gets a mileage better than any other 150cc bikes in india...........a decent a trustworthy engine....