It's been ages since I slung my leg over a commuter motorcycle, a segment I always steered away from as I thought them to be quite boring and slow. I got off the motorcycle ninety minutes later with a changed opinion on the segment and pleasantly surprised with the Dream Yuga.
Was this down to my changing perceptions or was it all credit to Honda's latest commuter?
The bike we have for the first ride is the top variant with electric start and alloy wheels and it fits the bill of a commuter. Understated and confirmative come to mind as I try to describe it.
The bike will be available in five colours brown, silver, grey, black and the colour that we have for testing - red. The instruments are laid out well in a basic twin pod layout with speedometer and odometer on the left and fuel gauge with the tell-tale lights on the right.
This is more or less the standard level of equipment in the segment. I wish Honda had given it more equipment in my heart of hearts, but I understand that this is the pragmatic way to spec this bike.
The switch gear is on the left handle bar and is similar to those on the CBR150R, easy to use with the only difference between the two being the addition of a pass switch on the Dream Yuga. On the right hand resides just the electric start button.
The engine has quite a bit of pep from its 110cc engine and is the same unit that we loved from the CB Twister, but it has been tuned for 8.6PS - still among the higher figures in the segment - and for more efficiency.
The gearing is quite low and in traffic on the way to work, I sometimes found myself crawling along in second gear in bumper to bumper traffic. On any other motorcycle I would probably have been in first. This low gearing is a boon in traffic and pulling away from the lights is a breeze. I even had the front end get slightly light in one spirited dash from the lights, when I slipped the clutch a little too much. The bike does get into fourth gear very quickly and you are in top gear before you cross 40kmph. This left me looking for fifth and I think the engine could easily take the extra cog. It would certainly help in the highway mileage figures with Honda claiming that the bike will deliver 72kmpl.
The riding position is neutral with your feet not too far forward and the reach to the handle bars seems just right. The ride quality is good over broken roads. The steering is light and the bike flicks easily through traffic. The suspension is neither too firm nor too soft but the seat is another matter. It seems too soft and after riding a distance of 30 kilometres I had a case of numb bum. A firmer seat might have made the ride more comfortable.
Another complaint I have with the Dream Yuga is the brakes, they are dull and the drum brake up front means that stopping with only the front brake is not an option. Even at speeds below 30kmph both brakes are needed to bring you to a stop before you dent a car bumper.
The Dream Yuga is available in three variants with the spoke wheels version priced at Rs 48,028, alloy wheeled for Rs 49,592 and Rs 51,678 for the alloy wheels and electric start, all prices being ex-Mumbai.
Delivery of the vehicles will start in July and Honda anticipates that it would take approximately a month to clear the existing bookings before delivery times become streamlined.