Honda CB Hornet 160R Review, Road Test

Honda CB Hornet 160R (2)

Honda CB Hornet 160R is here take the crown in terms of performance from the Gixxer and volumes from the FZ does it have it we tell you all here

Honda just like Hero hasn’t tasted success in the premium segment despite high displacement engine-d motorcycle. The real meat lied between somewhere 150 and 200cc segment, which was under one lakh and even bought volumes means profits can be all time from these products and in the fiscal report too.

Karizma for Hero worked well just as how much CBR 250R worked for Honda, not so good at last but the initial hype delivered helped them as much as they could and post that Bajaj and KTM took over along with TVS and Yamaha.

Honda CB Hornet Price in India:

Honda CB Hornet STD 160R – 80,430
Honda CB Hornet CBS 160R – 84,930

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Suzuki is also finally here, the company which enters ever party last is also here which prompted Honda to do something. Bring the iconic Hornet name into India and give it whatever they can have and make it a sensible package. Did they succeed? We find out as we drop the bike back to Honda after 945 kms of testing and comparing it and giving you detailed road test that isn’t available on the market now.

Honda CB Hornet 160R Review


Design wise it is clearly the most muscular bike in its category and slightly above its category as well. The last time we saw so much muscle was in a factory near Pune. Chiselled tank, large extensions, and meaty looking tail and a X shaped tail-lamps remind of a bigger bike indeed. Multi spoke alloy wheels and petal disc also add to the flair of the design. Exhaust borrowed from the CBR 150R with minimum changes further accentuates the design language.

Carbon fibre is used on the side panels and on the tank cladding gives it a sporty and purposeful look. Side profile front tank to side panel reminds us of Gixxer and beyond that to the tail-piece reminds of the Yamaha FZ as the panels are shaped very similar to these two bikes respectively. Overall, the most substantial bike in the segment is guaranteed with the Hornet.

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Rear sets are finally available on a Honda bike which is meant for the masses. Upright riding position and wide handlebars give it a comfortable and yet a sporty stance. Seats for rider and pillion are great and you sit a tad bit higher, which again reminds of the Pulsar and KTM’s of today. Despite the fact that seat height is just about OK for short riders, but tall riders of the world rejoice as it endless legroom and will fit most perfectly.

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However, in the process of providing more legroom, we have to lift our foot of the pegs to shift into higher gear, an ergonomic issue forgotten by Honda, which isn’t acceptable at any cost. This is clearly done over the Unicorn 160 as it comes with heel and toe shifter and since the Hornet 160R does not have it, it is clearly a pain in the foot, bottom and mind.

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Equipment and features:

The Hornet 160R deserves this new section where will tell you what’s there and what’s missing on the bike. Full DC lighting, gear shift indicator, power and eco mode, engine kill switch, spring loaded rider pegs are missing on the bike. On the plus side much criticized hinged fuel cap is finally here along with LED tail lamps. Half DC lighting helps as pilot lamps and LED Lamps stay on and don’t flickr. Switchgear remains the same and Speedo shows nothing much more than essentials.

Honda CB Hornet 160R Review Performance

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Clearly the engine is the biggest of the lot at 163cc than the competition and hence it makes almost 16 PS (15.9 exactly) and 14.6 Nm of torque. This 2-valve, air-cooled motor is the most powerful naked 150-160cc bike of the lot. Engine over our long termer Unicorn 160 has a much linear power band and the punchy feeling is gone.

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However, it still has a freight train inspired mid range and top-end with adequate low-end, which isn’t like the Unicorn 160 in feel, but it does the job very well in the city so no questions asked here. This is happening because Honda has gone with a massive 47 tooth rear sprocket, which is larger than the 150’s they created over the past which had 44-45 teeth rear sprocket.

Linear power band is also done and fueling has been sorted to make sure it meets the BSIV emission that Honda said this bike passes. NVH levels are fantastic, vibrations are bare minimum and despite revving it high it doesn’t make coarse or loud sounds which makes the engine of the year we tested in this category as it has the show along with the go along with great refinement levels.

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Our Goa-Mumbai saw us going through the tightest twisty to never ending highways and sweepers in between. We ended up witnessing a top-speed of 124 km/hr with luggage and a heavy rider on the speedo, which is clearly impressive and unseen in this segment. We could cruise silently along 100-109 km/hr without any stress to the engine. A week road test later revealed that we got 48 km/l on highway and city duties. Goa-Mumbai trip fuel efficiency was at 43 km/l. It Should get better as the engine was new.

Honda CB Hornet 160R Review Dynamics

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Armed with a beefier chassis than the Unicorn along with fat front forks which are borrowed from the CBR150R with reduced travel and revised damping rate it is by far the most sportiest front-end we have ever witnessed on a Honda yet and it deserves to be here. All though raked out and a long wheelbase means it turns decently quick and because of the wheelbase, the Honda stays stable and solid through the corners.

Honda CB Hornet 160R (1)

Extra weight and long wheelbase also mean highway stability was excellent throughout our journey and it was no where near the scary Unicorn 160 at similar high speeds. Our soft suspension tuning of the rear did not help us explore the entire chassis and flicking from turn to turn made us realize this. Braking is really good, feel is still sort of wooden but the braking is excellent and stops before time. Three pot caliper at the front in, which the middle pot works for the CBS engages when the rear brake is depressed.

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However, a few clicks on the pre-load it should be as good as the competition and rewarding to the rider at the same time. Tyres are good and fat on both end, they provide good grip. However, they are not radial tyre which does help that bit extra in handling, efficiency and performance.

Honda CB Hornet 160R Review Verdict

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There has been some talks around the competition of the Hornet. The Hornet is the first attempt by the company with the product and it lives upto the sub-brand name, Hornet. It has a bigger motor, better brakes, CBS safety option, offers better fuel efficiency, more performance than others and is priced well and as good as the market leader. For that you finally get a hinged fuel cap, but engine kill switch and other things are still missing because Honda is being a Honda.

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The company isn’t giving what’s a luxury, but what is a necessity. It has charged the premium for safety, quality and the riding experience with a bigger motor than the competition, that it delivers in spades. Honda has clearly the highest reach in terms of dealership against its competition from other Japanese too, which makes things easier for everyone in the market. What you are paying for is a riding experience that comes with Honda and this time in a sporty manner which makes it a deal you can’t ignore.

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Pros –

  • Great aesthetics
  • Segment best power and efficiency
  • Brakes and CBS
  • Dynamics and stability

Cons –

  • Missing features even at this price point
  • No Radial tyres

Honda CB Hornet 160R Review, Road Test Picture Gallery

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honda-cb-hornet-160r-review-road-test-541441Honda CB Hornet 160R is here take the crown in terms of performance from the Gixxer and volumes from the FZ does it have it we tell you all here Honda just like Hero hasn't tasted success in the premium segment despite high displacement engine-d...