A futuristic bike 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Positioned between the Hornet 160R and CB Unicorn 160, the Honda X Blade is stylish and performs well

Honda’s new X Blade adds to the already crowded entry-level performance motorcycle segment. Positioned between CB Unicorn 160 and CB Hornet 160R, the X Blade looks sporty and aggressive. Rather than share the parts bin with the company’s other offerings, the X Blade flaunts an all new body. Every panel is new and does not have any semblance with the other offering from Honda. Sharp in its styling with attention to detail, the X Blade looks futuristic. 

Tall screen at front

Pulling away from what has been offered by Honda in this region, the X Blade has a seemingly tall screen at front. The indicators are set higher whereas the two-tone paint scheme with the lower half finished in matt black makes for a sporty orientation. 

The 17-inch dia alloy at front is fitted with a 276mm dia disc brake. The 12-litre fuel tank marks an amalgamation of various planes and surfaces to make an interesting form that adds to the bike’s styling, making it look a bit over-styled perhaps. If the side panels make for an interesting combination of surfaces and planes, the rear contains chunky grab rails. Mount the bike, and the riding position calls for a slight lean-forward. The seat is firm and supportive, and the foot pegs are slightly rear-set. Drawing attention is the digital instrument panel. It features a gear position indicator and hazard lights as somewhat unique offerings. 

Easy to ride

The 14bhp single-cylinder 162.7cc engine is marginally more powerful than the CB Unicorn and a shade less than that of the Hornet. It is mated to a five-speed transmission. Settling down to a fairly refined idle, the X Blade takes off with verve. Exhibiting a strong mid-range, the bike feels quicker than many other bikes in its category. It may not be as aggressive as the Pulsar NS160 or the new Apache RTR 160 4V, but is easy to ride and inspires confidence. The ratios are well-engineered and the gear change action is precise and light. 

Some vibes do make themselves felt at a little past 6000rpm, but it is not annoying. Inspiring confidence, the bike handles well. The 80/100 profile front and 130/70 rear tubeless tyres grip well. Weighing 140kg, the X Blade makes for an enthusiastic riding experience. Ride over a variety of surfaces is pliant. At times, especially when tackling certain undulations, there is a stiff edge to the ride, but overall it is well composed. The brakes exert a strong bite. The front disc and rear drum combination does an efficient job of shedding speed. 

Priced at Rs 78,500 ex-showroom, the X Blade is stylish and capable. 

Pros: Stylish, performance
Cons: Not the sportiest in its category though looks might suggest

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