Honda CBR 150R
The Honda CBR 150R is here. It looks familiar and is probably one of Honda’s more aggressive moves to take a more prominent stand in the India motorcycles market. We saw it first at the Auto Expo 2012 and it suddenly raised a lot of interesting questions. A certain 150 cc motorcycle, now, suddenly had competition from what probably is its only equal competitor. The CBR 150R much like the CBR 250R takes in design cues from the VFR 1200 and on-road you could almost mistake the CBR 150/250 for each other. But then, the similarity ends there. So then, how good is the CBR 150R? Read on.
Engine and Performance
The CBR 150R is powered by a light 149.4 cc engine with double overhead camshafts and 4 valves. Add to that the short stroke engine and quite expectedly the CBR 150R rev’s easy and high. This 150 picks up speed quite fast and moves on to a speedo indicated top speed of 140 kmph and in fact we actually touched 144kmph on slight down slope. The Honda PGM-Fi system has definitely made its presence felt on this bike with absolutely no knocking even at a 22 kmph in 3rd gear and it pulled away pretty much cleanly, pretty good considering that this 150 has its peak torque of 12.6 Nm coming in at a high 8.5 k RPM. Yes it is a little bit of a slouch in the city, but like we said, keep the RPM’s high and this bike will fly. The rev-limiter cuts in softly at 11.5K and we say softly because it is really soft. The gearbox is pretty sharp and even after pushing the bike all morning the shifts were still smooth and confident. An interesting point was the very tall 5th gear and it took its time to hit the limiter. The zero to hundred comes up in a healthy ~11.5 seconds, not bad by any standards. Keep your shifts at 10.5k RPM and you will hit speeds that will put almost all other 150’s to shame. The engine will cruise easily all day at 90-100Kmph at about 7.5 – 8 k RPM in top gear.
Look and Feel and Build Quality
Depending on how you look at it, the close resemblance to its elder sibling might be an advantage or not. We personally feel the CBR 150R looks more proportional than its elder brother. The alloys and the engine case get the black treatment and it definitely looks good. The body, the tyres all jell together quite well. The bike feels compact, light and fast. The build quality is definitely on par with what you would expect from a Honda. Panels are good with decent finish and no panel gaps. The exhaust has a nice short stubby design and a rather decent bassy exhaust note. The one thing that we are really disappointed with is the cheap switch gear. Both seats (rider and pillion) are quite soft and comfortable, and in particular the pillion seat is really comfortable with very usable rear grabs rails. Surprisingly the bike comes with the normal chain set, one would usually expect a O-ring or the better off X ring set on a premium motorcycle.
Handling and Braking
Swing your leg over the CBR 150R and you immediately notice how light the bike is. Your legs take a rather sporty stance and you lean forward to a rather aggressive riding position. Start moving and you realise its ever so easy to manoeuvre the CBR 150R. Go a bit aggressive into a corner and you get quite a lot of confidence from the bike, with it silently urging you to push harder. The perimeter frame and the firm suspensions keep you planted on the tarmac but we wish it had stickier rubbers as the stock MRF’s seem quite hard. The stock tyres will definitely go the distance but definitely not an enthusiast’s choice. We did not experience much nose dive and the CBR 150R did not loose it’s composure even on very hard braking. In short the bike handles like a gem and the 276 mm front disc coupled with the 220 mm rear disc do a very good job at stopping you in hurry, a bit spongy but nothing to complain about.
Accessories and Key features
The CBR 150R comes standard with an orange backlit digital meter which is clear and bright and shows basic information like the fuel tank status, turn indicators, speed, odometer, temperature and an analogue tachometer. The CBR 150R comes with very basic tool kit with just two spanners and a screwdriver. Like we said earlier the switch gear quality is a disappointment and misses out the two things that we think are quite important, a pass switch and an engine kill switch. Similar to its elder brother you can lock the handle to only one side, the left. Tubeless tyres are standard on the bike and are definitely an advantage. Check out the part by part gallery of the CBR 150R for more detailed photographs.
Value for Money
The CBR 150R gave us a pretty decent mileage of 40 kmpl even after hard riding. We got a maximum of 48 kmpl on the highway and obviously that number will go up if you can go easy on the throttle and keep it below the 7.5k RPM range, but that’s not going to be easy on this bike. We still have not got hold of the parts catalogue so we cannot comment yet on the cost of spares but it definitely would be practically priced. Now at this point, the regular chain and hard stock tyres might look good as these are a bit easier on the pocket from a maintenance point of view. But then again an open normal chain might actually backfire unless regularly maintained.
The Honda CBR 150R is more of an all-rounder than a purpose built motorcycle. It performs very well under different scenarios and would be more of a choice to people looking for a motorcycle that can do it all with minimum fuss. The stock set up that the bike comes with definitely suggests the same. To be honest, with a premium pricing of Rs 1,16,385 (ex-showroom) for the Standard and Rs. 1,17,385 (ex-showroom) for the Deluxe variant, it does miss out on some things that you pretty much take for granted on a motorcycle that’s priced in this bracket. Yes it’s a tough choice once you are considering your options in the price bracket, but the all-rounder capability mixed with a touch of practicality definitely gives it a competitive edge.
|Design||Single-cylinder, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4 valves|
|Torque||12.6 Nm @ 8500 RPM|
|Power||13.1 Kw (17.6 BHP) @ 10,500 RPM|
|Starting aid||Electric starter|
|Cooling system||Liquid cooled|
|Clutch||Constant Mesh – Wet sump|
|Frame||Twin Tube Diamond (Pentagon type)|
|Rear Shock absorber||Linked type Monoshock|
|Brake system Front||Disc brake with two piston brake caliper|
|Brake system Rear||Disc brake with one piston brake caliper|
|Brake discs – diameter front||276 mm|
|Brake discs – diameter rear||220 mm|
|Wheel base||1,305 mm|
|Ground clearance (unloaded)||190 mm|
|Seat height (unloaded)||793 mm|
|Total fuel tank capacity approx.||13 l Normal unleaded petrol|
|Battery||12 Volt 6 Amp maintenance free|
|Head lights||12V 60/55 W H4|