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Honda CBR 150R
Honda has gone very aggressive in the Indian 2-wheeler market. The Japanese automaker was quick in bringing in the new Honda CBR250R to India, pricing it very aggressively in the performance motorcycle segment. The company showcased a range of products at the 2012 Auto Expo, one of which was the Honda CBR150R. The CBR150R is an entry level sports bike and Honda believes it is a ‘true racing sensation’. We take it for a quick spin to find out if it really has the CBR DNA in it.
Styling – The Honda CBR150R looks very similar to its elder sibling, the CBR250R. The styling is quite appealing and the bike looks quite big for a 150cc machine. The VFR1200 inspired Y-shaped headlight has black surrounds around the twin pilot lights, while the CBR1000RR inspired fairing adorns graphics, which extend to the tank. These minor changes differentiate it from its elder sibling. Even the tail light of the Honda CBR150R is the same as the Honda CBR250R, which is a non-LED unit. In fact the only difference between the 150R and 250R is the slightly shorter yet differently shaped exhaust and black colored alloy wheels in the 150R.
However look closely and you will realize the Honda CBR150R is a more compact motorcycle. The shorter wheelbase gives it a very sporty stance. The front tyres are 100/80-17 and the rear tyres are 130/70-17, which are smaller than the ones found on the CBR250R. The number plate mounting is not at a good position, as the front mudguard hits it when you go over potholed roads. Honda has also given the CBR150R very different colors, which are not available on the CBR250R. These colors have a dual paint scheme, giving the baby CBR a very youthful appearance. The colors are the only difference between Standard and Deluxe variants of the bike.
Instrument Cluster and Switch Gear – The console of the Honda CBR150R and 250R are identical too but there is no silver surround on the baby CBR. Instead of the splash of neon on the 250R’s analog tachometer, the one found on the 150R is all black. The tachometer is numbered till 13,000 RPM, instead of 12,000 RPM on the 250R. The digital display houses an array of data, right from time, odometer, trip meter, fuel meter, speedometer and engine temperature. Below the digital display lies the mode and rest buttons, with hazard and warning lights stacked up on either sides. The cluster is very easy to read but the all black theme looks quite plain and boring. The digital display has an orange backlit instead of the blue backlit on the CBR250R.
The switch gear quality is not impressive and comes straight from the CB Stunner. Even the foot pegs come from the Stunner. The head light activation switches are thus placed quite unconventionally on the left side and there is no engine kill switch. This is simply not acceptable for a premium 150cc motorcycle. Honda should have lifted the switch gear from the CBR250R instead, which has much better switch gear positioning.
Performance and Gearbox – Powering the Honda CBR150R is a 149.4cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-vavlve engine which is short stroke in nature, resulting in a very different power delivery pattern. Armed with Honda’s Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) technology, the CBR150R’s fuel delivery is smooth. Maximum power of 17.6 BHP comes in at a rather high 10,500 RPM, while peak torque of just 12.66 Nm comes at 8500 RPM. Clearly these figures don’t make you sit up and take notice but once on the road, things are quite different.
While the Honda CBR150R might not have a lot of torque, the bike weighs just 138 kgs, which gives it a very good power to weight ratio. However even with such a good power to weight ratio, the CBR150R produces torque very high up the revv range, making progress very slow in city riding conditions. Thankfully the Honda motor loves revving and one twist of the throttle and the Honda CBR150R rushes to the redline with complete authority. The bike really starts moving once you hit 8000 RPM and quickly hits its redline at around 11700 RPM.
While most might not like the lack of low end grunt in the Honda CBR150R, we feel it just amplifies the top end performance. The way the baby CBR pulls once it hits 8500 RPM is simply astonishing. The CBR150R is not a bike for city riding, it is for the open roads. You will find yourself smacking the throttle most of the times, trying to extract each and every bit of power from this compact Honda engine. The top end power results in the CBR150R doing 0 – 100 km/h in less than 12 seconds. It also pulls from there very quickly and doesn’t feel out of breath till 130 km/h.
The 6-speed gearbox is smooth and slots into every gear sharply. The clutch is light too and the 150cc motor feels slightly gruff at idle. However as speed increases, the engine settles down and feels refined like every other Honda engine. It does sound vocal near its redline though. One can expect the CBR150R to deliver a mileage of around 35-40 km/l, which gives it a range of around 500 kms on a full tank of fuel.
Ride, Handling and Braking – Armed with a perimeter frame, the CBR150R has a fantastic balance of ride and handling. Ride quality is not too soft but neither too stiff, absorbing most of the bumps on the roads with ease. However it is the handling which is simply astounding. One can quickly change direction on the Honda CBR150R and that too with utmost precision. Our test bike came equipped with TVS tyres, which gave up grip much before the chassis did. The riding position also plays a pivotal role in inspiring the rider to push harder. The handlebars are placed perfectly and are not too sporty. Thanks to the drooping handlebars, one doesn’t feel the weight of the bike at all.
The seat is comfortable and the riding position makes you crouch slightly. But still there is absolutely no pressure on your wrists or back, thereby enabling the rider to stay on the saddle for longer durations. The light weight of the bike also helps in this regard. High speed stability is spot on too and you simply won’t realize how fast you are going. The front and rear disc setup gives the CBR150R very good braking performance along with tremendous feedback. Although we are a bit disappointed on the lack of ABS (even as an option).
Conclusion – The CBR150R is a totally different motorcycle than the CBR250R in almost every way. There are some rough edges and the pricing is on the higher side as well (compared to its arch rival the Yamaha R15). However when you factor in the riding dynamics of this Honda, you are totally blown away. It might seem expensive but the joy of riding at high revvs is totally unparallelled and that is where the CBR150R delivers in leaps and bounds.
* High revving engine
Whats Not So Cool
* Low end torque