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Review: Honda Dream Yuga
Driven September 2012
Don’t say the ‘H-word’. I mean other than ‘Honda’. What you should focus on is this new motorcycle’s name - the Dream Yuga. It combines a legendary name from Honda’s chequered history with an Indian word. It probably means that this motorcycle represents Honda’s dream for its new era in India. If their track record is anything to go by, everyone should essentially run for cover.
There are moments where I have to get out of my redlining mind and fit into the psyche of a commuter. And I don’t particularly like such times. Fortunately, this is not one of them. What you see here is possibly the most important motorcycle India has seen in recent times, never mind the adrenaline/ego-boosters you always see us riding. With 110cc, 8.5bhp and 8.9Nm, the Dream Yuga hardly seems like the sort of motorcycle that’d set this magazine’s pages on fire. It’s no supermodel, that’s for sure. If you’re wondering where you’ve seen it before, it’s probably next to the entry titled ‘commuter’ in your average pictionary. The fairing, tank and panels are as convenient as an arranged marriage. Whether either is safe is anyone’s guess.
If you want a bit more spice, there’s always the Twister, though. The Dream Yuga looks anonymous enough to blend right in with the multitudes you see outside any given Mumbai railway station. But then, that’s exactly the crowd Honda intends to put onto two wheels. And give them a chance to avoid arranged marriages - motorcycles surely are a better way to woo the fairer sex, eh? Anyway, let’s move on.
Ride quality is surely better than the bump and grind of local trains, minus the sweat of dirty armpits gushing down on you. The tiny proportions make sure you can slip between the most annoying of autorickshaws careening up and down your commute. And as long as you don’t venture too far beyond city limits, the seat will take care of your overworked backside, so you always arrive for the next appointment without feeling fatigued. What takes the cake, though, is the Dream Yuga’s willingness to handle.
With a turning circle that is almost unbelievable after the recent raft of motorcycles I’ve been riding, I had a blast riding the Dream Yuga in traffic. No angle is too weird, no gap too small - just point, squirt and you’re through. This Honda is very stable and thanks to the tubeless MRF rubber, grip is very good too. While I normally have reservations about drum brakes - and I still maintain that the Dream Yuga should get a disc as an option - the front one on this bike is pretty good. It even pulls stoppies. Really. And it’s really nice to see that Honda’s retained the fun-to-ride quotient in the Dream Yuga.
This little Honda’s motor is no fire breather, sure, but it’s an eager little number. For heaven’s sake, it’s even happy to pop enthusiastic wheelies. Gearshifts are smooth and precise, though I’m not a fan of the all-up shift pattern. It’s a telling sign of whom the Dream Yuga’s aimed at, though. Acceleration is sprightly and keeps up the enthusiasm until around 70kph. But the only number that matters with this motorcycle is kpl, 0-60 and top speed be damned. The number’s a claimed 72kpl, by the way. I’d say ‘Fill it, shut it, forget it’, if I could. But for once, a commuter is more than just a number.
This is a motorcycle named after a motorcycle that mobilised countless people around the world. And it's a potent statement from Honda; they're out to get the lion’s share of the market. And I’d be stupid to put this past them - they're aiming to better themselves, all said and done. After all, it’s their Hero-ic motor that that put generations of Indians on two wheels, right?
110cc, single cylinder, 8.5bhp, 8.9Nm, 4M, 105kg, Rs 58,167 (on-road, Mumbai)
The standard for basic commuters just got reset.