The Honda CB Unicorn has went on making its huge reputation since last 10 years as a simple and reliable 150cc commuter, which offers the performance of a 150cc motorcycle in a gentle package. It carries all the Honda genes of being a frugal and refined motorcycle, yet performing on par with other 150cc contenders. This was the same motorcycle, with which Honda made its foray into the motorcycling arena along with CB Shine, while treading on its own path while simultaneously operating with the then Hero Honda (Now Hero Motocorp). The motorcycle has timely undergone many upgrades which maintain its freshness as a viable choice in 150cc segment.
The Honda CB Unicorn follows a very simplistic approach of design, and may not appeal to those motorcyclists who love flashy graphics, muscular stance and gizmos on their ride. Nevertheless, it looks smart with a decent profile, featuring a bikini fairing around its simple headlamp, adorned with chrome finish above headlamp and flanked by clear lens blinkers. The side profile also looks plain with fuel tank showcasing good curvy knee recesses. The rear view of the CB Shine gels well with the overall design, with a large tail lamp. The instrument console too maintains the continuity of 'down-to-earth' manner, with a three-pod cluster showcasing speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip meter, fuel gauge and other tell tale lights. The absence of any graphics make the silhoutte of the bike look simple and sober. The built and fit and finish is easily the best in class, a quality which has kept CB Unicorn outstanding amongst its rivals, in a typical Honda fashion. Overall, the motorcycle may not turn many heads on the road, but still it is one of those motorcycles which your father may equally praise, if you do so.
Powering this 'mid-sized' motorcycle of Honda is a 149.1cc, 4-stroke, air cooled engine, which manages to make a decent 13.5 PS of power and 12.7 Nm of torque. The CB Unicorn has always been known for being a torquey motorcycle, and it still manages to live up its legacy, with a fabulous mid range performance, which makes this motorcycle so easy to ride even on higher steep climbs. The motor is a gem which makes the full use of the smooth gear ratios of the 5-speed gearbox. The motorcycle is a perennial of refinement and it's difficult to tell whether the engine is running, if kept idle.
Handling and ride quality of CB Unicorn continues to be impressive with a suspension set up of telescopic front forks and a monoshock at the rear. The Unicorn was the first ever Indian motorcycle to feature the rear monoshock suspension. The chassis is light and flexible and the CB Unicorn loves to be thrown around corners. And thanks to a stress-free engine, it is not at all a tiring machine in traffic, and the punchy motor makes it an advantage over the regular 100 and 125cc commuters, once you twist the throttle on open stretches. Brakes are in perfect rhythm with other mechanicals, and the standard front disc brake is a huge relief on safety front. Fuel economy is excellent for a motorcycle of this segment, which makes it even more desirable.
Satisfying on all the aspects, the CB Unicorn is a perfect step-up option for those who want a frugal and reliable 150cc commuter and always wished that their motorcycle could have a bit more power for highways. Though the styling may look dated, but that's not the CB Unicorn's bull's eye, but where the CB Unicorn perfectly hits the dart is the performance, fuel efficiency and refinement, which are the most important characters for a motorcycle for setting up a benchmark. And it is this brilliance of Honda CB Unicorn, that even after more than 10 years of its existence and in the face of ultra modern and flashy 150cc motorcycles, it still makes a sense for itself.