2016 Honda CB Hornet 160R: Specs at a glance

  • Displacement: 162.71 cc
  • Max. Power: 15.66 Bhp @ 8500 rpm
  • Max. Torque: 14.76 NM @ 6500 rpm
  • Gears: 5
  • Cylinders: Single
  • Curb Weight: 142Kg
  • Ground Clearance: 164 mm
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 12 Litres
  • Top Speed: 110 Kmph

Honda’s latest launch, the Hornet 160R, is their third venture into the premium 150cc motorcycle segment. In a new urban street fighter outfit, the Hornet 160R looks to steal the crowns from the “King of the Road” Yamaha FZ16 V2.0 and the more recent Suzuki Gixxer 150, which are both dominating this segment in Sri Lanka. The company’s CB Dazzle and CB Trigger 150, their previous ventures in this segment, both failed to woo buyers away from the FZ16 (Yammie) or Gixxer.

Hornet 160R Design

We wanted to know whether Honda had rolled out a yammie killer from their Indian operations. Looks can be subjective, that being said the Hornet 160R undoubtedly is the best looking bike to have come out of Honda India in recent years. The company’s intent was a bike to capture the imagination of the youth and still be a viable commuter. This motorcycle says exactly that, with a futuristic design we are used to seeing only in bigger 600cc and up segments. Styling definitely was on the top of the list of priorities for the designers at Honda, and it shows.

2016 Honda CB Hornet 160R

The first to catch my attention was the tank’s creases and curves which start where the rider’s knee comes in contact with the tank on both sides. I am guilty of owning a Yammie back in 2010, the year Yamaha installed a kicker (kick starter) as standard option. On bad days the kicker has saved me a lot of time trying to fix things to get a spark. Yes. The Hornet has a kicker as standard on both variants of the bike along with the ignition button. My yammie came with plastic body panels over the actual tank to look beefier. In the Hornet’s case, this is an actual metal tank with the classic metal Honda emblems and looks that much better when compared to plastic panels. The headlamps look similar to the unit that comes with the big bad and no nonsense CB1000R, accompanied by two pilot lights and a black bikini fairing which stays out of sight until you actually look closer. The X Tail Lamps are refreshing on a naked street bike of this category. The exhaust on the yammie was the first time we saw an upward slanted heat resisting system fitted to a 150cc segment motorbike. No surprises, the Hornet has checked this off their list, including an upward slanted exhaust styled with a bit of their own unique flair. Over the years I have learnt that looks and size don’t necessarily mean performance, comfort or safety.

Hornet 160R Performance

To figure out whether the Hornet 160R delivered where it matters, I got on, turned the ignition ON and pressed “START”. The engine came to life quietly and instantly. Now, I am not a big fan of quiet motors, I prefer the growl and rumble of the older street racers, it does tell me that they’ve refined the motor on the Hornet compared to that of the CB Unicorn 160, which shares the same engine. The sound is crisp and perfectly suited for riding to work on a Monday morning. Moving from a standstill, the Hornet pulls away with ease and stays glued to the road as it goes through all five of its gears. The mechanical sound when engaging a gear unfortunately is almost absent in the Hornet and I am very uncomfortable feeling the gear engage and unable to hear it. However the Hornet had a trick up its sleeve, push it past 6500 rpm and queue the montage of throaty street racers from the 90s. Huge grin on my face, I started to push the 160R through its paces and it delivered at each and every turn. Pushing the bike on open city roads is this motor’s calling, I’d be a little more tentative to gun it down long straight stretches as the engine isn’t built for sustained high rev cruising.

Honda CB Hornet 160R 2016

As I pull the throttle hard at each gear and downshift to zip through the streets, the bike was able to pick up and drop power at will. Impressive power Honda! The rear tyre is one of the main reasons the bikes feels the way it does. Honda has chosen a Zapper S1 for this motor, coupling it with the industry standard monoshock suspension.  For the rider, Honda has offered a well balanced and refined engine to take care of achieving power when asked for, and be absolutely calm when trying to be economical and safe. Sadly switch control gear didn’t feel well built and is a little bit of a let down compared to the rest of the bike. Considering all the above though, this by far was the biggest issue for me. The rest of the view however was pleasant.

The side mirrors, instrument cluster, tank cowl, headlamp casing and even the tank creases brought the bike together to become the visually appealing road warrior that is the Hornet 160R. The sitting position, upfront and straight is better for the daily rider. Fear not those back pains, the Hornet feels very comfortable to maneuver in traffic and corners. A little more foam in the seats though would be nice, especially when you are on the bumpier roads (which are pretty much all of them). Peak power output comes at around 6500rpm, but the bike does start to vibrate after 95 kmph with the engine gasping for power. Disheartening nonetheless but let me ask you, if you aren’t an actual racer, how often do you ride above 100kmph on Sri Lankan Roads? Most engines of this size aren’t built for sustained speeds of 100kmph+, so don’t take this as a black mark against the Hornet.

Hornet 160R Overall Impression

Honda has clearly created this bike for those who want some fun but also need a viable means of getting around. Clearly they have achieved what they set out to do. So, if you are out shopping for a new bike, to go to work and having some fun on our traffic clogged roads, this should definitely be on your list to check out.

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