The new Honda CB Unicorn 160 is the latest entrant in the premium 150cc segment that has already some interesting offerings in the form of the Yamaha FZ-S and Suzuki Gixxer.
The past year has seen some very feisty offerings march up in the premium end of the 150cc segment giving customers the perfect mix of performance and practicality. While the Yamaha FZ has been ruling the roost for quite some time now, the manufacturer brought in the FZ V2.0 this year complete with fuel injection and improved efficiency offering a more potent package than ever. Suzuki on other hand was equally anxious to enter this space and brought in the Gixxer 155 (the GS150R did not work) that walked much on the footsteps of the FZ, giving it a tough time. Now, it is Japanese number three Honda that has launched its iteration in the 150cc space (post the CB Trigger’s lukewarm response) called the CB Unicorn 160. With appealing yet conservative styling and all-new 163cc engine, does the Honda have what it takes to compete against the Yamaha and Suzuki? We do a quick specification comparison to find out.
Design – Undoubtedly, the Honda CB Unicorn 160 disappoints in the styling department. Despite taking hints from the CX-01 concept, the bike lacks any urgency and aggression, which the Suzuki Gixxer and Yamaha FZ have been raved for. In comparison, Yamaha has retained the original silhouette on the FZ 2.0, but has made the bike leaner than the older model. The FZ manages to look a lot more stylish than Honda in this department and the aggression will certainly attract a lot of the young blood towards the bike. The same can be said about the Gixxer as well, which gets a similar muscular design language, but with softened lines and a splendid dual exhaust muffler that gives it a boyish charm in comparison to other bikes on offer. If outright styling is the need, it is hard to look past the FZ.
Dimensions – In terms of dimensions, it is the Suzuki Gixxer that is the longest of the lot at 2050 mm, while the Honda CB Unicorn 160 follows closely at 2045 mm. The Yamaha FZ 2.0 on the other is the shortest here measuring 1990 mm, which is also visible. In terms of width, all the three motorcycles are closely matched, while the Unicorn 160 is a tad bit taller than the competition at 1060 mm as opposed to the 1030 mm seen on the Gixxer and FZ models. The taller and leaner stance on the Unicorn however makes it look longer than its rivals.
Comfort – Even though looks are important, rider comfort makes a big difference in this segment and that’s what sets the Honda CB Unicorn 160 apart from rivals. While the FZ and Gixxer get a sportier riding position with rear positioned foot pegs, the CB Unicorn comes with an upright seating position and a wide handlebar with front set foot pegs. Moreover, the elongated single seat also seems to be more comfortable. Despite the missing aggression, customers will appreciate the riding position on the Unicorn that will offer easy riding in city conditions. All the three bikes also get an all-digital instrument console which is easy to read and it is here that the Honda can’t match the more stylish units seen on the Gixxer and FZ.
Powertrain – Honda’s major update comes with the all-new 163cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine producing 14.5 HP of power and 14.6 Nm of torque. The Gixxer on the other hand is slightly more powerful producing 14.8 HP of power from a smaller 155cc engine, which makes for a sporty punch. The Yamaha FZ 2.0 is the least powerful here with 13 HP on offer from a 149cc engine. However, what makes the FZ more performance ready is the inclusion of fuel injection system that offers better throttle response. The FZ also weighs 3 kgs lesser than its rivals and that also makes a big difference, while the retuned chassis has made the riding dynamics crisper than ever. The Honda however will be more easier to live with on a day-to-day basis with a well refined engine and rider friendly ergonomics.
Price – At Rs. 72,199/-, the Suzuki Gixxer offers smouldering looks, sporty and niggle free engine and definitely a lot more young appeal. Honda on the other hand managed to slip the CB Unicorn 160 right above the Gixxer in its top-spec variant and comes with the Combi-Braking System (CBS) which offers better stopping power. Lastly, the Yamaha FZ is for the poser and performance lover alike. The only bike in this comparison to get a FI system, the expensive price tag is justifiable.
Verdict – All the three bikes come with very potent powertrains that will easily be reliable over the years. However, if overall performance is considered, the Suzuki Gixxer manages to woo more effectively with a sporty punch. It is also the more affordable bike here and offers younger appeal. The Yamaha FZ 2.0 is the most expensive here, but comes with a much better riding experience and muscular looks that will fulfil your riding desires to the maximum. However, if it is comfort and performance that you crave, at Rs. 2500/- more than the Gixxer, you get a bigger engine on the Honda CB Unicorn 160 that can easily carry the rider and pillion in comfort and is more of a smart buy, if brand ‘Unicorn’ is anything to go by. Still, if we had to pick one, it would be the Suzuki Gixxer.