Honda’s Unicorn has been dipped into the fountain of youth, and the re-energized and refreshed motorcycle - long a favourite among the executive segment of riders - has emerged better than ever. The CB Unicorn has grown a bit in size. The internals are now up to a 63.0 mm stroke (from 57.8mm), and the engine capacity now up to 162.71cc (from 149.1cc). This increase in piston stroke adds 0.4 kW of power and 0.9 Nm of torque, making the already competent Unicorn an even better road bike in terms of maintaining its position on the everyday roads and in rideability and fun.
More improvements to the Honda CB Unicorn 160 are the BSIV engine specs and the AHO. What do they mean? BSIV is the Indian standard for fuel emissions (comparable to Euro standards) which means the engine components are designed to suit international emission standards, thereby contributing to a cleaner environment. In this regard, the CB Unicorn also features an Evaporative Emission Control System (collecting un-burnt fuel vapour in a canister and feeding the vapour back into the fuel tank).
The AHO (Auto Headlight On) feature switches on head and taillight when the engine fires up. This feature offers a higher level of visibility and thus safety on the crowded roadway, where sometimes a motorcycle, being a relatively small and single track vehicle, could be missed by an insufficiently-alert motorist. As we’ve seen, a headlight coming at you, even in broad daylight, pops brightly out of the scenery of the mass of vehicles of varying sizes.The CB Unicorn is not about glamour or sport, but about dignity, dependability, and trust. Like a favourite relation you’ve grown up with; a solid personal connection.
Launched in 2005, the Unicorn has always been a dignified bike and through all its changes - minor and major - has maintained its dignified character. Importantly, the Unicorn by stature and very nature, helps upkeep the dignity and social standing of its executive and independent-rider type that has long been its user segment. In our time out on the roads with past Unicorns, we’ve found that the bike always enjoyed enviable street presence; and how. I’ve had many a driver or fellow rider pull up alongside of our test Unicorn for a closer look. And maybe to bask in the company of the Unicorn, too. Today, over a decade after the Unicorn made its maiden appearance, it is still a bike that does not go un-noticed on the roads.
The CB Unicorn 160 has a fully digital meter panel. The rev counter (tacho) occupies the upper horizontal strip reading from 0 revs to 9,250, and on to the 11,500 redline. Max power is said to be produced around the 8000 rpm mark, so it is the count-on-the-fingers-of-one-hand few riders who are likely to want to take the Unicorn beyond the 8-grand mark. The lower left of the meter unit is for the fuel guage, while the centre lower segment shows your road speed in kms, and on the right lower are the odometer and clock.
While I found the front suspension of our test Unicorn reading the road firmly and conveying to me the road peculiarities in a comfortable manner, the hefty rear mono-suspension unit often kicked back hard-ish as we progressed. “Firm is good,” I thought, “but giving me the occasional kick in the direction of my rear!” Could it have been that the mono-suspension unit would have been happier with a bit of adjustment, I asked myself. We don’t adjust settings on our test bikes; we ride them as given. Was the rear tyre air pressure ok, I wondered.
I’ve spoken of the Unicorn in loving tones as I’ve experienced the sweet nature of the Unicorn from our previous meetings. Riding this CB Unicorn 160 was indeed one more such friendly and enjoyable experience with the controls all coming to hand easily and the riding stance and everything - the fuel tank shape and size, the positioning of brake and gear controls in relation to saddle, the full views rearward in the mirrors, the easy to ride nature of the bike - all combined to deliver a comfortable and enjoyable ride.
More than on most other bikes we’ve ridden, the clutch lever was sweet and gear changes, with or without the clutch being squeezed, was equally sweet. One small point, but which took away a little bit from the smoothness of the ride, was that the clutch itself needed a bit of adjustment to reduce the lateness and suddenness of the bite.
Being once again aboard a Honda Unicorn reminded me of the joy and fun and positive feelings we’ve built up over a number of meetings with this well designed motorcycle. The usual Honda strong and solid impression comes through from the moment you take the handlebar grips into your hands. The Wing proudly flying on the fuel tank side pods declares pure ‘Honda’ and the bike feels so easy to ride, and especially so easy to lean the bike mere minutes into our test ride and, in the usual Honda fashion, all of one piece.
The fabled, mythical unicorn’s special feature is its ability to survive; its ultimate power its invincibility. The Honda CB Unicorn 160 is refreshed and renewed and ready for yet another generation of rider. Honda’s Unicorn as we’ve known from earlier iterations has always distanced itself from other two-wheeled offerings. It has never been run of the mill; never a me-too motorcycle. As then, so now.
THE HONDA CB UNICORN 160
The Unicorn was originally launched in Sri Lanka back in 2008 by Honda Distributors Stafford Motor Company (Pvt) Limited.
As Ruveendra Fernando, the Senior Executive-Marketing, Stafford Motors Two Wheeler Division, tells us :-
“The Honda CB Unicorn 160 is a premium motorcycle and was launched in September 2017. The Unicorn brand is well known and respected and has met with instant good response. The CB Unicorn has the HET (Honda Eco Technology) engine, confirms to the most modern Bharat Stage IV emission standards, AHO (Auto Headlight On), has a wider handle and gives a better turning circle (45 degrees), disc brake, tubeless tyres, fully digital meter, Maintenance Free battery, and viscous air filter.”
“The customer base for the CB Unicorn 160 is typically in the 25-35 year age group, executive, businessman, and independent self-employed person. The CB Unicorn 160 is ideal for the person who wants the latest product, and looks for reward and prestige. This person chooses protective and caring brands, and wants to enjoy pride of ownership of a high level motorcycle. The CB Unicorn 160 has won the Motorcycle of the Year Award (up to 160cc) at the Zeegnition Auto Awards 2016 in India.”
The current Honda model range in Sri Lanka caters to all types of two-wheeler users : - 110cc Navi, CD Dream 110, Activa 3G, Activa i, Dio, CBF Twister, 125cc Shine, 160cc CB Unicorn 160, CB Hornet 160R, and the 250cc CBR 250R.
HONDA CB UNICORN 160
Air-cooled 4-stroke single-cylinder
57.3 x 63.0 mm Bore x Stroke
10:1 Compression Ratio
Electric / Kick
CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR
Wheelbase 1324 mm
Tyres Front 80/100 x 17
Rear 110/80 x 17
Brakes Front Disc
Suspension Front Telescopic
Rear Mono shock
DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES
Length 2045 mm
Width 757 mm
Height 1060 mm
Weight 135 kg
Fuel tank 12 lit
COLOURS Black Matte Grey White Red
Warranty 2 years/30,000 kms
HOW MUCH Rs 349,500/-