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Review: Honda CB Trigger

Driven June 2013

Review: Honda CB Trigger

The Honda Unicorn is one of the greatest success stories in the Indian two-wheeler world. More than a decade after its birth, it still brings smiles on the faces of the Jap marque’s salespersons. But some of the number-crunching people sitting inside HQ have stumbled upon some data. The segment that the Unicorn operates in is one of the strongest in India for quite some time now. Interestingly, while Honda’s sales have grown, it doesn’t hold a major stake here and that is bothersome.

The number-crunching people deciphered that the reason Honda doesn’t have a majority stake here is because the Unicorn is… for want of another word… too ‘decent’. Yamaha’s FZ series and Bajaj’s Pulsar hold sway here and they have a sportier image compared to the Unicorn.

The CB Dazzler, launched exactly three years ago, didn’t really turn the tide in Honda’s favour. An off-shoot of the Unicorn, its supposedly more aggressive styling and stance was supposed to match the FZs and Pulsars of the world. We all know what happened next. The model has been discontinued – possibly, the first Honda two-wheeler to actually cease production in India. Nevertheless, its replacement is the CB Trigger.

Using a modified diamond frame as in the erstwhile Dazzler, Honda designers have managed to build a reasonably fresh-looking bike. The tank looks bigger and has prominent wedges. The seat is angular but not too much, so the pillion can sit comfortably. The riding stance is a bit on the sportier side, although Honda engineers insist it is more upright. The wheels and tyres are the same 17-inchers with a mono-shock at the rear. The exhaust is a much bigger unit now and nowhere as cool to look at as the one on the FZ.

The 149.1cc unit is the same as in the Unicorn, but peak power is marginally up to 14bhp, which should help attain a slightly higher top speed. Strangely, peak torque is down to 12.5Nm. Weight is also marginally lesser –  a kilogram - than the CB Dazzler. On the move, the CB Trigger feels agile and is quick off the blocks. The engine is refined and you can easily touch three-digit speeds given a decent stretch of road. Importantly, grip levels are high and you feel planted on the road on any speed that you might be doing.

The Trigger is a safe bike to flick around corners, or do quick lane changes with or just come to a sudden stop. On the top variant, there is the option of having a rear 220mm disc brake and the Honda Combi Braking System (CBS) that will slow down the front wheel every time you use the foot brake just so to improve braking efficiency.

The CB Trigger is a step-up from the Dazzler. It looks better, is more refined and offers the right balance between having a sporty, yet, comfortable bike. If you choose the CBS variant, the price gets uncomfortably high, which is a bit of deterrent in what is otherwise a decent overall package. But it has formidable rivals to fight in the quicker and cheaper Pulsar 150 DTS-i and the better-looking and equally agile FZ S. This is going to be close, but Honda has a strong chance of getting un-decent with the CB Trigger.

The numbers
1cyl, 149.1cc, 14bhp, 12.5Nm, Fuel tank - 15 litres, telescopic forks, rear monoshock, FE: Highway - 52kpl, City - 34kpl, Overall - 42kpl, top speed: 117kph (estimated), Rs 90,095 (CBS variant, on-road, Mumbai).

The verdict
A sportier looking cousin of Unicorn. Has a good balance of firm ride and good handling. Honda wants a premium for it though.

Girish Karkera

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