Yamaha Saluto is here to fight in entry level 125cc motorcycles that offer basic necessities with a little extra power, we pit it against the largest selling Honda CB Shine
Honda and Yamaha have been fighting out their battles since ages. Whether it was the battle of the Fireblade vs the R1 or whether its 100cc scooters. The battle has been fought in every single country and the new found land of these super giants is India. Honda and Yamaha entry timing very pretty similar and while Honda was selling commuter motorcycles. Yamaha came with sportier motorcycles.
Now when Honda is looking sporty motorcycles, Yamaha is looking at commuter motorcycles. Needless to say both companies are also looking at the commuter and sporty motorcycles at the same time but with less attention. Yamaha has launched the 125cc Saluto to challenge the likes of 125cc motorcycles and who better to put in the competition with the segment leader in the 125cc, the Honda CB Shine. So what will it be? Will the CB Shine, shine against the Saluto or will the Saluto will get all the salutes? We find out!
Styling – Yamaha Saluto Vs Honda Shine
Surely the Saluto here is, the fresher design of the lot. Its design has a more dynamic appeal to it and the side panels, headlight and the rear designed panel project dynamic lines clearly. Electric graphics on the Saluto also make it stand out. Some of the parts are shared from the Yamaha SZ-R. Exhaust on Saluto is longer and yet again, follows the dynamic design the Saluto has. Honda CB Shine on the other hand is more conservative in its design and is seriously dated in the aesthetics part.
There are have tweaks to the graphics and colors, but still, it nowhere matches the Saluto which is fresh and cannot match the dynamic design on any aspect with its same old headlight, tail-light and exhaust units and boring looking tank. Top marks to Saluto for this design as it should appeal to youth and conservative adults. CB Shine remains the same and hence it isn’t far behind because it serves the purpose well of the designated target. Both motorcycles are high quality motorcycles that have a good fit and finish levels, but the Yamaha excels slightly ahead of fresh parts being used.
Practicality – Yamaha Saluto Vs Honda Shine
Both have an upright seating position with raised handlebars to give a comfortable position to the rider. The seats cushioning too on both these bikes is well done, short and long journeys should be comfortable enough. Both bikes have frontset footpegs and which liberate a lot of room for the pillion riders for a comfortable ride.
Both have nearly identical seat lengths which is long enough for two people to sit in comfort. Mirrors are well mounted for big and small riders alike as they show clearly what is behind. Yamaha has a puny 7.6l fuel tank, meanwhile the Shine tank has 10.5l fuel capacity.
Switchgear on both these bikes is similar as Yamaha has also gone the Honda way and given all switches on the right side, meanwhile the right switch housing has only a starter button. Something Honda has since ages and willing to change and now Yamaha joins the party, not a good sign at all.
Cluster wise yet again Shine pod’s are age old, but fonts and essential lights are there which are decently modern enough. Yet again the dynamism of the Yamaha is seen here with fresh twin-pod design and has the basic essentials as well, nothing extraordinary. Both these bikes lack tachometers.
Performance – Yamaha Saluto Vs Honda Shine
Both these bikes come with 125cc engines, 4-speed gearboxes and have 2-valve layout. However, this is where the similarities end. The 125cc engine on the Saluto makes 8.3 BHP at 7000 RPM and 10.1 Nm of torque at 4500 RPM. The CB Shine produces 11 BHP at 7500 RPM and 10 NM of torque at 5500 RPM. While the Honda engines come with HET technology that boosts performance and enhances efficiency, Yamaha is not behind at this tech and now have Blue Core technology with them that does the same as well.
Both have smooth and refined engines even at redline and even when maxed out. Honda engine is typical unit which has linear power delivery and makes a good mid-range and top-end power. Yamaha also has the same power band and the power delivery is linear as well. However, the Yamaha engine does feel peppier in nature and it feels very sprightly of the lot.
Reason for peppier power delivery is because Blue Core tech as sampled on Yamaha scooters as well does not make it absolutely dull engine in the name of fuel efficiency. HET makes very light difference when compared to the normal Honda engine and that is intake and exhaust noise.
However, come to the sprightly part, Yamaha lacks in horsepower, but it makes it with shorter gearing and a whopping 11 kgs lighter kerb weight of the Saluto. Torque and power also come down in the rev range when compared to shine. Driveability of both engines in the city and highway is the same and you don’t feel the power deficit.
Top-end power is where Honda shines as it has a higher top-speed of 95 km/hrs meanwhile the Saluto does top out around 85 km/hr and reaches there quickly. Our engine was new and we reckon it can reach 90 km/hr. Shine returns 59-60 km/l and the Saluto returns 63-65 km/l liter, which is good enough, given the fact they have a little more power over 100cc and the fuel economy deficit is less as well. This round is a tie as both are superior when it comes engine technologies.
Dynamics – Yamaha Saluto Vs Honda Shine
We are sorry to report, but we are getting to facts first. The Yamaha Saluto isn’t fun to ride motorcycle. The bike does not feel nimble and agile in the corners and lack of good compound rubber is also its weakness. Turn-in is good, but past that, and it is plain disappointment. It is nimble in the city and very easy to ride in town or highway as stability is good, but it’s not a fun to ride motorcycle. Meanwhile, the Honda CB Shine continues to remain the same nimble, agile neutral motorcycle.
The grip is good from premium MRF tyres, which is way better than the Ceat tyres seen on the Saluto. Both bikes have same suspension setup, front and rear and despite that Honda feels better thanks to better rear suspension tuning and good tyres. The ride quality is good on both these motorcycles. Brakes on both these bikes are good, but the Saluto lacks disc brakes ,which the Shine offers on top-end variant. This round shockingly goes to Honda CB Shine.
Verdict – Yamaha Saluto Vs Honda Shine
Yamaha Saluto is here to fight the base variant of the CB Shine and does it quite well. It offers the same qualities of the CB Shine. Yamaha betters the pricing of the Yamaha Saluto, and is almost Rs. 3500/- less than the CB Shine as well. Yamaha says if you want a more premium 125cc motorcycle go and get the 125cc Yamaha SS. A motorcycle which has better features, dynamics and a disc brake on offer that too at the same price of CB Shine variant that comes with disc brakes. Who wins this test then? Frankly, we are not being politically right here, but it’s genuinely hard to choose.
Only if the Yamaha Saluto had the Yamaha DNA when it comes to handling and couple that with value for money pricing, we would give it the thumbs up. Meanwhile, CB Shine has everything you need as one whole brand. Honda is also way ahead of its competition in sales as the CB Shine is world’s largest selling 125cc motorcycle. It extremely difficult to say, but these motorcycles are so closely matched. However, we’d pick the Saluto over the Shine and that’s the end of it, there you go, phew!
Yamaha Saluto – Drum/Alloy/Electric – Rs. 52,000/-
Honda CB Shine – Drum/Alloy/Electric – Rs. 55,329/-
(Ex-Showroom New Delhi)
Pictures – Swapnil Jadhav