The Honda CB Hornet 160R matches its competition on several counts while offering interesting goodies and a refined 160cc motor with more power.
When the CB Unicorn 160 arrived last year, it felt a tad bit disappointing as we expected Honda to make the new generation model sportier attracting a younger demographic. However, the automaker was tight-lipped about the Hornet project as a replacement to the Trigger which was revealed earlier this year and pretty much covers up for everything that the Unicorn 160 lacks. Hence, with increased power, sporty looks and slightly sophisticated equipment on board, how does the new CB Hornet 160R fair against its rivals? We do a quick spec comparison and find out.
Design – A fancy-looking Honda is a rare sight and we must say the CB Hornet 160R caught our attention quickly. The fuel tank is eye grabbing with the integrated bikini fairing while the step up single seat offers a sporty look. With a slender profile, the Hornet looks taller than its rivals while also distinguishing more effectively over the stubby Suzuki Gixxer and Yamaha FZ-S V2.0. On the other hand, the TVS Apache RTR 160 manages to stand out despite the age and looks on par to its rivals. All bikes get alloy wheels here while the Hornet goes one up equipped with split spokes while the Gixxer gets the multi-spoke alloys that look very smart.
Dimensions – The TVS Apache RTR 160 is the longest and tallest bike here but makes do with the smallest wheelbase measuring just 1300 mm. In contrast, the Honda CB Hornet 160R gets the longest wheelbase at 1345 mm while the wheelbase on the Gixxer and FZ-S measures 1330 mm respectively. The Honda is marginally narrower than the Gixxer while being relatively taller than the other Japanese rivals. The Apache’s smaller wheelbase does compromise on seat space while the Gixxer and FZ are known to accommodate the pillion with ease. We see no such problem on the Hornet either with the wide seat.
Underneath, all bikes use a tubular frame while high speed stability should be better on the Hornet given the longer wheelbase while already being appreciable on the other motorcycles. Ground clearance is fairly similar on all bikes, being lowest on the FZ-S and Gixxer at 160 mm and highest on the Apache RTR 160 at 165 mm. The Hornet sits in the middle at 164 mm. That said, the Gixxer was recently updated with a skid plate to combat the low ground clearance issue.
Features – Save for the TVS Apache, all offerings get an all digital instrument console that feature the essentials in a compact yet readable layout. All bikes sport telescopic forks at the front while a monoshock unit is available on the CB Hornet 160R, Gixxer and FZ-S. The TVS Apache 160 comes with Nitrox gas filled twin shock absorbers at the rear which is barbarian in today’s times. Nevertheless, it is the only bike to get LED DRLs which is missing on other models. The FZ-S is the only bike to offer a conventional tail lamp while the other bikes get an LED unit.
Braking performance is competitive on all models with a front disc and drum at the rear. The Apache and Hornet get optional rear disc brakes that compliment the power on offer while Honda goes a notch further by adding petal discs and its famed Combi-Braking System (CBS) for effective stopping power. The CB Hornet also gets the largest front disc in the segment measuring 276 mm. Lastly, fuel efficiency claim is highest on the Suzuki Gixxer returning 63.5 km/l while the Hornet comes in second returning 60 km/l. Realistically, sane riding will help return between 45-50 km/l on either model.
Powertrain – Things are pretty much favouring the Honda CB Hornet 160R till now with the right styling and features on par with the competition. In terms of power too, the Japanese offering gets the biggest engine and highest power output on paper. It also has the highest kerb weight at 142 kgs (140 kgs on the Standard variant) but we do expect the motorcycle to be quick off the line. The Apache and Gixxer are proven products here in terms of performance, getting the second best figures while the Yamaha FZ-S offers the lowest output but does not discount on performance, as it is equipped with fuel-injection. However, the FZ-S does not offer top-end performance which feels a bit disappointing and this is where we expect the Honda CB Hornet 160R to make a statement.
Verdict – Honda has introduced a cleverly thought out package with the CB Hornet 160R that looks good and packs a considerable amount of power coming from a refined motor. Contrary to expectations, Honda has priced the Hornet sanely, especially when you consider that the Yamaha FZ-S is the most expensive offering in this comparison while making the least power. In essence, the Hornet competes closely with the Gixxer in the segment and offers several innovative features to make the package compelling. Add the brand’s strong reputation and nationwide presence and the Hornet feels like a potent seller that will be clocking volumes fast.