- Published On: 16 April 2018
- 6 min read
Honda fills the area between the Hornet and Unicorn 160R with the X Blade.
In India, the entry-level sporty bike segment is an overcrowded space. There are at least two or more offerings from almost every bike maker and Honda has yet another entrant called the X Blade. It sits between the Unicorn 160 and Hornet in the company’s line up and looks very dramatic in terms of styling. But, is there more to the X Blade than its styling? Let’s find out.
On the outside
Honda has taken a new approach to the styling of the bike; it features no old cycle parts from other offerings in the company’s line up. Every panel on the X Blade is new and the side panels are also extensively styled – one could even call it a bit over styled. The motorcycle has a large number of textures and finishes on all of its panels, which may be a bit too many. However, The X Blade does look to be aggressive and modern. It also has a few unique touches like a large flyscreen, differently positioned indicators and large grab rails.
However, once you hop on to the bike, its sporty intentions shows. The handlebar is low and flat and the seat is spacious but on the firm side. The X Blade is very simple in terms of features, it is only available in one trim level with a 276mm disc up front but it doesn’t get CBS or ABS. Interestingly, the instrument cluster on the bike is different to any of the other 160cc bikes Honda makes. This unit also has a gear position indicator and hazard lights.
How does it perform?
The X Blade does appear to look the sportiest of the company’s three 160cc motorcycles. However, it isn’t the sportiest and the bike makes only 13.9hp and 13.9Nm of torque. It does this while being paired to a five-speed gearbox which works pretty well.
When we rode the bike on the streets, we found it to be decently entertaining. It has a nice idle sound to it and is nothing like the sound one would find on the docile Unicorn 150. Plonk it into first and it gets off the line pretty quickly and it has a decently strong mid-range. It works well where it was intended to, in the city but doesn’t feel as powerful as the RTR 160 4V and NS160. The engine does sound good when being ridden hard, but it does cause vibrations once you cross 6,000rpm. The X Blade clearly isn’t a bike with racetrack capabilities however; it will manage to satisfy you with its performance in the city.
How does it ride?
The Honda X Blade does feel light on its feet while delivering good handling capabilities. The bike isn’t as sharp as the RTR 160 or as natural as the Suzuki Gixxer but, it does do its job sufficiently. This bike rides on an 80/100 R17 tyre at the front that is the shared with Honda’s other 160s. However, this bike gets a 130 section rear tyre while the Unicorn gets a 110 and the Hornet gets a 140. The wheelbase on the X Blade is shorter than the Hornet and Unicorn. The 140kg kerb weight makes it 6kg heavier than the non-CBS UNicron160 and 2kg more than the non-CBS Hornet.
The way you sit on the bike is enthusiastic however, we feel a higher-set handlebar would make it considerably more flickable. We wish Honda had taken the adventure approach with this bike because it has the styling and performance to suit one. Nonetheless, the front fork is a slim unit but handles rough surfaces pretty well; the same can be said about the monoshock. On really bad patches, the X Blade doesn’t feel smooth but it stays in control.
The braking on the motorcycle performs in a regular manner. The motorcycle comes to a halt without drama but the lever does lack feel. The braking will improve considerably once the bike maker offers CBS for it.
Should I buy one?
The X Blade is for those who find the Unicorn 160 a bit bland and the Hornet too expensive. Even though the X Blade is priced lower than the Hornet, it is nicer is some ways and looks stylish as well. It uses a LED headlight with an interestingly designed cowl. The bike does miss out on ABS/CBS and a little power but that’s not a huge problem.
Coming to the prices, the X Blade costs Rs 78,500 – which is higher than the top-spec CB Unicorn 160 that features CBS and is priced at Rs 76,116. The pricing also puts it below the base Hornet 160R that costs Rs 84,675 (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi). Honda has indeed filled the gap between the two motorcycles but, we hope the manufacturer goes about introducing something though-provoking next.