We have just received our test CBR150R and here is everything you need to know about the motorcycle
Is this a mini-CBR250R, then?
Well, yes and no. Under the skin the relation between the 150 and the 250 is weak. They share only the most basic of components but little else. The engines are both DOHC 4-valve units but they are completely different. Similarly where the CBR250R uses a trellis type diamond frame, the 150 uses a steel twin spar frame. The similarities then, are most visual.
We have just received our test CBR150R and here is everything you need to know about the motorcycle.
The body panels look similar to each other though the 150 looks skinnier, trimmer and therefore more muscular and svelte. The meters are nearly identical though the CBR150R does not get the silver trim and ends up looking cheaper. Stunner-style switchgear (no engine kill or day flash) makes the bike look and feel a bit cheap.
Also in the same why-oh-why set is the shiny black finish of the twin spars. That aside though, it is a proper Honda. Which means glossy paint, panels that fit neatly and a motorcycle that feels solid. Strangely enough though, the mirror mounts are loose on our bike, just like our long termer used to have.
17.82PS makes this a rocking motorcycle, no?
Erm, it isn't that straight forward unfortunately. The torque peak is high (12.66Nm at 8500rpm), the engine is oversquare and peak power - 17.82PS - sits at a lofty 10,500, a full 2000rpm higher than the R15. This makes the motorcycle rev hungry - which in my book isn't always a bad thing. However, in traffic, the specs don't seem to pan out. We haven't tested the motorcycle for performance just yet, but the CBR feels less responsive than the R15 in traffic and even when revved to the moon, performance seems a bit less than expected.
This is even more strange when you consider that the motorcycle weighs 136kg, exactly the same as the R15. However, one trusted source who happened to put in a couple of laps at the Kari Motor Speedway suggested that the motorcycle does okay at the racetrack, but only if the revs are kept up high all the time.
This is the sort of ride quality and handling balance that I would have liked to have seen on the CBR250R, to be honest. It appears almost as if Honda have put the 250's suspension on the 150 and the lighter weight of the 150 allows the settings to really shine.
Ride quality is well damped and on the sporty side but immensely likeable and the motorcycle feels noticeably heavier in side to side transitions than the R15 or the Duke 200 but feels neutral, confident and poised.
The Zappers on the bike, though, feel like harder compound tyres than the Yamaha or the KTM - which is good for longevity, but not for cornering grip. It feels compact, purposeful and therefore, very nice.
So what is it exactly?
I think the CBR is a bit odd, that's my initial assessment of it. It's a high quality motorcycle, one that will make a very good commuter. The odd bit is that in there is a high revving engine that doesn't like low revs even more intensely than the R15. I'm hoping that over a longer term of riding, this impression will change and clear up.
Hey what about the price?
Oh yes, Honda have priced the motorcycle at approximately Rs 3,000 more than the KTM 200 Duke in Mumbai for the base variant, the Deluxe being another Rs 1,000 on top (the stickering in the bike above is the Deluxe bit). This means a premium of roughly Rs 10,000 over the Yamaha YZF-R15 which makes it thought-provokingly expensive in this segment.