Honda CB Hornet 160 In 2020

 As you all know, we have been getting an awful lot of requests to review the Hornet 160R on PowerDrift. And for good reason. It has helped Honda claw it's way back inthe 150cc segment after many a years. And a lot of that has to do with the factthat this is one of the best looking 150cc naked that Honda has come up with in a long time. The tank is muscular and chiseled. The exhaust is compact and sporty. At the back you have a chunky 140 section rear tyre. And the beautiful LED taillight is, in my opinion, the best of the lot. And complementing this aggressive design is the motor. Now this pumps out the best in class torque and the second highest power figures after the AS 150. And this despite this motor adhering to the BS IV norms. You also get petal discs, front and back. In fact the 276mm front disc is the biggest in class. And the only one to be equipped with a Nissin 3 port caliper. And this is the only bike in the segment to offer CBS. But for a bike which has so many braggingrights, it doesn't get an engine kill-switch. And I have no idea why. Nonetheless, this makes for one hell of a brochure doesn't it? So let's see how all of this translates to,on the road. The Hornet really puts Honda's refinement quotient to the test. I mean, as far as the transmissions go, this 5-Speed transmission is typical Honda. It's smooth, it's precise, it's a delight to work with. The engine though is something else. That's because Hondas for me have always been about mid-range, about usable power. And that's not the case with the Hornet because it's been geared really tall. So, even though it makes the best in class torque, it doesn't have the mid range, the oomph of let's say the Gixxer. It really comes into it's own only after 7000 rpm. And at that point it also gets quite loud and uncharacteristically vibey. I mean the vibes are still less that the Gixxer at full whack, but you can't compare the refinement to let's say the FZ-S. But in terms of character, the brakes live up to the numbers that they crunch. The big disc and the Nissin caliper, lendpossibly the strongest bite in class. But I'm not too fond of the CBS system because it robs you of your feedback and is also rather intrusive. Another thing which really took me by surprise was, just how stiffly sprung the suspension is on the Hornet. I mean, it can make for a rather jarring ride on bad roads. But then again, show the Hornet a set of twisties, and you have a wide grin on your face. Compounded by these tall and wide handlebars means the Hornet takes into corners really nicely, really easily and then you have thewide section rear tyre which gives you a lot of composure when the bikes is leaned over in a corner. I mean sure, it doesn't have the front endfeel of the Gixxer, nor the sporty ergonomics but if you put the stickier MRFs from the Gixxer onto this bike, I have a feeling this will be even more fun in corners. So which bike should you go for? Especially if the top-end Gixxer with therear disc costs pretty much the same as this bike right here with the CBS. And also share the same fuel economies, pretty much. This one definitely looks better, looks bigger, looks brawnier. If you ask me, I think I'll still go ahead with the Gixxer, because I still feel it's the most engaging bike in this segment. I love how it's raw, how it puts it's power down and especially the way it handles. The Hornet is not really very far behind in terms of performance, in fact has stronger brakes, and if you find a long enough stretch of road, I'm pretty sure you'll clock a higher top speed. The power deliver is not as punchy, it's alot more linear and the handling though, really good. It's not up to the same level as the Gixxer. I mean when you ride these two motorcycles back to back, the Hornet almost feels a lot more civilized, a lot more mature, you know, a lot more laid back. Something which a big chunk of this segment's target audience seems to prefer, especially when you look at the sales figures of these two motorcycles in the last 6 months. So I guess, ultimately the choice is yours. How do like your Martini? Shaken or stirred? 

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