Honda X Blade bike: A hybrid between 'naked sports' and 'adventure'
Each panel is styled in great detail and on the whole, the X Blade makes a sharp, futuristic impression and appears to be somewhat of a hybrid between ‘naked sports’ and ‘adventure’. The latter cue is visible in the tall-ish windscreen, the high-set turn indicators, the tank pad- esque panels and the chunky, generously designed grab rails. Swing a leg over it, though, and it feels instantly sporty
For the X Blade, Honda has decided to go the whole hog and steer clear of the parts bin. In other words, every single panel on the X Blade is new. Each panel is styled in great detail and on the whole, the X Blade makes a sharp, futuristic impression and appears to be somewhat of a hybrid between ‘naked sports’ and ‘adventure’. The latter cue is visible in the tall-ish windscreen, the high-set turn indicators, the tank pad-esque panels and the chunky, generously designed grab rails. Swing a leg over it, though, and it feels instantly sporty. The conventional handlebar is a lower, flatter unit than on the Hornet and the pegs are as rear-set as the Hornet, too. The completely new seat is spacious but borders on ‘sporty’ and is firm.
The X-Blade’s 162.7cc motor produces 13.9hp at 8,500rpm, which is 0.1hp more than the CB Unicorn 160 but 0.9hp less than the Hornet. On the torque front the X Blade, with 13.9Nm at 6,000rpm, is level with the CB Unicorn 160 and 0.6Nm lower than the Hornet. Transmission is a five-speed unit and it’s fairly slick. Out on the streets, the X Blade comes across as fairly entertaining. Snick it into first and it takes off in an energetic manner, and it certainly has a strong mid-range, which you will enjoy in the city. It’s fast enough in the urban cut and thrust where it really belongs and while it doesn’t seem as potent as the Bajaj Pulsar NS160 or the TV Apache RTR 160 4V, it’s decently quick in real-world usage. This isn’t a motorcycle with racetrack aspirations, however, and in an urban context, it performance will leave you satisfied if not exactly thrilled. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to lose sleep over either.
Honda X Blade features and price details:
The X Blade is quite agile on its well-endowed feet (or tyres, rather) and it comes across as a stable handling package. It lacks the razor-sharpness of the Apache RTR 160 4V (not that they compete directly, but it’s the best reference point) or the natural, effortless handling of the Suzuki Gixxer, but it’s confident and indulgent in its own right. The riding position, meanwhile, sets the tone for enthusiastic riding although I feel a taller handlebar (even if visually commuter-ish) would add more leverage and suit its urban flick ability better. Over bad roads, the X Blade isn’t overtly plush but it doesn’t lose composure either. I just found myself having to be a bit careful over bad stretches thanks to the flatter, lower handlebar. The same stretch wasn’t as demanding of my attention on the Hornet, for example. The brakes, meanwhile, function in a nondescript manner. The bike stops without drama but the front brake lever did come across as a bit wooden and could do with better feel. The 130mm drum at the rear works intuitively, though.
The X Blade is priced at Rs 78,500 higher than the top variant of the CB Unicorn 160 (CBS, front disc: Rs 76,116) and lower than the base Hornet 160R (front disc: Rs 84,675) (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi). Tightly wedged between two formidable siblings as it is, the X Blade is a stylish motorcycle with a lot of merits, even if none of them are ground-breaking in any way.
(By Ruman Devmane, DNA)
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