We put the baby CBR 150R through its paces – road test review
It was a cloudy dusk with sun bidding adieu to another day, wrapping the horizon over it and the orange sky was nature’s way of complementing the brilliant machine between my legs, err, beneath me. Delhi’s August used to be hot. Now, it is wet, and yes the humid air will also force you to wipe your face more than often.
Inside a proper riding gear consisting of a jacket, pair of gloves, and helmet, the situation was a little more than…exciting. With vehicles disappearing in the rear view mirrors, which do not vibrate at all, I was starting to smile (and grin occasionally too) through the tinted visor. Oh boy, this piece of engineering by Honda was making me happy….and also concerned about what more it could do!
The tranquillity continued with each gear shift and throttle action. Tucked neatly behind the transparent visor and hugging the big fuel holder, I entered one of the many cloverleaf paths in Delhi leading to an over bridge and sweet it was. Just a flick and she glided smoothly and silently over the turn, expanding that smile and making me more curious about the ability of this 150cc sports bike
which Honda christened as CBR 150R.
As subtle it may sound, the 150cc bike does not likes posers. The CBR 150R might look like a matured persona with broad shoulders, bigger rubber and distinctive feature, trust me, it never acts like one – it is a hooligan on road, one that loves being pushed and lusts being forced to scream again and again. Push the starter and Honda’s trademark silence overtakes the situation. Quiet – that’s about
the only sound the CBR makes at under 4000rpm. The spilt seats are overly comfortable and riding position is very forgiving when compared to the rival(s) in the market. A slight nudge engages the first of the six gears. The 149.4cc Liquid cooled, 4- stroke engine with DOHC 4-valves is a very high revving engine producing peak power at 10500 rpm. The 17.6 horses, slightly more than its direct rival the R15, exhale through the aesthetically designed exhaust. Fuel burns via injectors in the 150cc internal combustion liquid engine, which uses liquid cooling technology to keep temperature down. Churning out a maximum torque of 12.66 Nm at
8500 rpm, the 150R needs constant attention, from your head, heart and right wrist.
Honda charges a bomb for this 150cc performance oriented bike and how do they explain the sticker price that makes it the costliest of the segment? Well, Honda has its own reasons and I decided to find my own set of reasons behind the pricing strategy of Honda. The CBR 150R is designed on lines Honda flagship sports tourer the VFR, the same bike which also inspires the design and aesthetics
of CBR 250R. The dual layer body cowl, with trademark CBR bulging headlamps couples with the eye-catching colour schemes stimulates the brain of onlooker to give it a second look, no matter if the machine is static or doing speed runs on highway, you ought to turn heads. Is that it? Looks and nothing else? Hold your thoughts. The Japanese giant is known for their knowledge in engines
and every move on the tarmac was supported by the single-pot masterpiece. Switch on your sports- mode and there will not be a single time you will feel neglected but then, the 150R requires your constant attention too. The power tops at more than 10000 rpm and this fact was evident every time I revved. With very little torque to play around, which does hit its city riding abilities, your left
foot will be busy playing with the gear shifter more than often in heavy or slow traffic. The 6-speed gearbox begs you to pull the throttle to its maximum every time, if you want to feel those 17 horses working beneath you of course and most of the time, the tachometer needle in neatly designed cluster, will hover beyond the 5000 rpm and in the process leave its main rival, the R15, in the dust, but just about! The instrument panel is pleasure to look at, a big dial working as tachometer has a small LCD just beneath it, informing you about all the happenings in the bike. The LCD shows current speed, fuel level, radiator temperature, odometer, trip-meter and clock. Small housings on either side of the main pod house the turn indicators and the high-beam indicator – now all this is very similar to its elder sibling, the CBR250R.
Tackling the bike on highways and city routes is not a big deal. Comfortable as it can be, Honda burned their midnight oil to make sure your office chair backaches is not aggravated by the seating posture. Wide seat, comfortable position of handles and rubberised foot-pegs, makes this performance-oriented bike very forgiving while riding for long distance. The short turning radius with low seating height makes it easy to manoeuvre through flood of vehicles on a slow stretch.
Built around the Diamond type chassis, the CBR 150R loves corners as much as the straight stretch. The MRF spec 17-inch rubbers provides ample grip while taking tight corners and infuses more confidence in you, so much so, that the next time you will for sure try to take the corner at a higher speed and it goes on. On the straights, the aerodynamically designed body and visor cuts through
the air and keeps the machine stable during the high-speed runs, which can be as fast as just over an indicated 130km/h, if you get a chance and tarmac. For those emergency situations, Honda equipped the bike with world-class Nissin callipers with 276mm of disc in front and 220mm of metal piece doing the work from rear. The hydraulic disc brakes do good bite in them making them potent
enough to use them confidently in situations, which demands quick stopping. No optional ABS though.
The fact that the bike comes from a Honda stable can be seen all over the machine. The switchgear, even though misses out on two important features, has been designed to make sure that you do not miss those added features. Switchgear does not have engine kill switch and flasher, which is compensated by the well thought high-beam switch which can double as a flasher.
After spending a brief period with the bike, I tried to look for the negatives and yes, I am pretty good at it. Even though the bike carries a Honda emblem, the sticker price of Rs. 1,17,285 (ex-shoowroom Delhi) is 7-8k more than the R15 which has better handling and more features. But then again, the resemblance to the CBR250R is so much, people easily mistake you to be riding the Rs 1.5 lac bike –
now this surely works in its favour big time. Right then, if you can shell out that little extra (6% over the R15) and live with a slightly weak low-end, the smallest CBR does ring the right bells.