The Honda X-Blade! The name reminds me of these Beyblade toys which was a big favourite of mine while growing up. Plus, Honda always had an affinity for the word 'blade'. Yes, I am referring to the CBR1000RR which also sells as the Fireblade in some countries. But no, there is no connection here. The Honda X-Blade is a simple 160 cc commuter motorcycle while the Fireblade is a full blown sportbike with mental performance. Done with the 'blade' references, let's start with the review already.
Usually, if a manufacturer has two or three models in the same segment (Honda has the Unicorn 160 and the CB Hornet 160R), there are usually a lot of shared body and cycle parts. But we are happy to say that with the exception of the cycle parts, the Honda X-Blade gets brand new body-parts. The side panels, the fuel tank, the headlamp unit and the instrument console are all different. And that is a good thing. Honda has its heart in the right direction. The design, well, it is quirky! The X-Blade definitely looks very different than any other motorcycle from the 150-160 cc segments. The crown jewel in the design, if we could call it so, will be the headlamp. Honda calls it the 'Robo-face' headlamp and we dare not disagree with them on that. It does attract attention on the road. And when a 160 cc bike does that, it's saying something! Apart from that, the chiselled fuel tank with faux carbon finish on top surrounding the fuel cap, only adds to the sporty demeanour. The fit and finish of the bike along with the materials used is better than the current crop of Honda motorcycles.
To begin with, the headlamp is a full LED unit and the illumination is definitely better than regular halogen lamps. Then, there is a fully digital instrument console which houses the speedometer, odometer, the rev counter along with the fuel gauge and the gear position indicator. The T-shaped tail lamp looks quite cool and is an LED unit as well. The X-Blade gets the same engine as the CB Hornet 160R, which is a 162.71 cc single-cylinder engine. The engine on the X-Blade makes 13.93 bhp at 8,500 rpm and peak torque is rated at 13.9 Nm at 6,000 rpm. In comparison, the CB Hornet 160R makes 14.9 bhp at 8,500 rpm and 14.5 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm. This is just about 1 bhp and 0.6 Nm less than what the engine on the Hornet makes. But the point made here is the fact that the X-Blade makes almost the same amount of torque at 500 rpms less, which means accessing the torque becomes easier.
It is a flickable motorcycle alright. Filtering through traffic is done easily enough and while the bike is not exactly a corner-carver, it remains neutral and gets the job done. With a kerb weight of 140kg, it is easy for the rider to muscle the bike through the narrowest of gaps on a traffic laden road and that is where the X-Blade kind of shines, in the urban chaos.And it rides pretty decent too. The suspension is just about stiff to keep things even. The bike gets 33 mm telescopic forks up front and a monoshock (adjustable for pre-load) at the rear which is not exactly pliant but not back-breaking stiff either. Regular potholes and bumps will be ironed out easily enough. Oh! The one thing which we found to be a pain was the seat. A couple of hours on the saddle could possibly make your bum sore. We wish Honda had fitted a slightly softer seat on the X-Blade.
The Honda X-Blade is priced at 2.80 lakhs and its chief rivals will be the newly launched TVS Apache RTR 160, Bajaj Pulsar NS160 and the Suzuki Gixxer. The X-Blade also has rivals in its two siblings, the Honda Unicorn 160.The other sibling rival is the Honda CB Hornet 160R.This shows that Honda has positioned the X-Blade right in between the Unicorn 160 and the CB Hornet 160R, thereby trying to cover all bases in the 150 cc - 160 cc segment.The story gets particularly interesting because for customers who have narrowed their choices to the X-Blade and the Hornet. Apart from the looks and the prices, there aren't many differences between the two. Sure, the engine specifications are a little different but in the real world, the difference in performance will be hardly perceptible.