Since '02 xBhp is different things to different people. From a close knit national community of bikers to India's only motorcycling lifestyle magazine and a place to make like-minded biker friends. Join us
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) Ltd. has managed a slew of launches in the past 12 months – 15 including the CB Shine SP launched yesterday. The 16th would be the 160cc Hornet scheduled sometime next month. Quite a feat, not just for the numbers but also for the variety, which if not an increasing complex production and inventory exercise for the company would surely be a knotty problem for the dealers! Too many models, differentiated mainly at times by features, stickering and marketing themes than by any solid technical changes. The Honda Shine has been shining though all through these years of its existence and the shine comes from the solid, reliable and value for money machinery on offer under the name. The CB Shine is the best seller motorcycle for HMSI (currently selling almost 8 lakh units per annum) and so it is not surprising that they wanted to give it an upgrade. This once though it is as much a technical upgrade as a cosmetic one.
The new Shine SP looks good now. And also more purposeful. The plastics look robust, the paint finish nice and clean, the visual proportions more filled up and the bike overall exudes a well built quality. The tech part is well taken care of by two major upgrades – the new 5 speed gearbox replacing the earlier 4 speed one and the Combined Braking System even though the latter is only in the top model. The Honda Eco Technology series 125cc 4 stroke engine puts out a healthy 10.5 bhp at 7500 rpm and a peak torque of 10.3 Nm at a lowish 5500 rpm. Nice promising specs which when combined with a 9.2:1 compression ratio do indicate an engine design that favours longevity as much as it does performance.
We were offered a short (actually very short) spin on the bike around the JW Marriot Hotel near the Delhi T3 terminal. In all honesty we couldn’t even get the bike into 5th gear (something Honda really wanted us to comment upon) before the ‘circuit’ was over but the ride did reveal a nice built to purpose machine that should be a pleasure to own. It is an urban tool, fit for the close quarter work through chaotic rush hour city traffic and has all the prerequisites in place to be that every day for weeks, months and years. The engine is typical Honda – smooth, silent and hopefully as efficient as Honda says it is. A longer review ride will throw more light on the last part. The clutch is light, the gears click into place and the low end torque is pleasantly good. The steering is intuitively light though the lightness could become a trifle problematic with a pillion who is substantially heavier than the pilot. Conjecture only because we only rode the bike solo. The brakes are sharp and the CBS does its job. Push only the rear brake pedal hard and you feel the front dive too. I have no idea of the braking force proportion with the CBS in use but for a rear drum equipped bike, the system displayed good functionality. The front brake alone is as good as it gets in a bike this size with nice feel and feedback. The suspension is plush, the seat really nice and the wide bars provide excellent leverage – both while the bike is rolling and when being pushed around for parking etc.
Our very short first ride didn’t throw up any unpleasant stuff about the bike. Small niggles that came up into awareness was the seemingly flimsy switch gear quality, especially the red starter button, the obtrusive ‘choke’ lever just below the horn button, dated looking round foot rests, RVM’s that were not really effective (the shape is fine but the reach of the stalks could have been more for better coverage) and I can bet that the standard 3 Ah battery on a self start bike with bulbs all around and not LED’s for brake lights and trafficators will turn out inadequate. Try the horn while braking and with the trafficator blinking and the horn will be more of a ‘siren like vee-vaa’ tone rather than a steady one.
All said and done though the Honda Shine SP is a worthy upgrade over the CB Shine and should prove to be a good value for money proposition for its buyer.
HONDA SHINE SP TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS