Ever since the Japanese auto major parted ways with its partner Hero in India, Honda has seemed to be in a hurry to overtake its erstwhile partner to the top of the leader-board. It has quickly risen to number 2, and is making noises about hitting the top spot soon, if the market remains slow.
In slow markets, it takes new products to attract the consumer. Honda’s latest offering, introduced a few weeks ago, is the CB Trigger, a 150-cc bike pitched at the enthusiast, but seems loathe to leave out the young commuter.
The Trigger seeks to replace the Dazzler, whose 149-cc engine is still doing duty. The changes are mostly in the body, and incorporated based on rider feedback.
For starters, the Trigger has an all-digital instrument console, modelled on the Biggest Brother, the 1-litre CB 1000R, with RPM, fuel gauge, clock and two trip meters — and of course, speed.
It also has the concealed rear single shocker of the Dazzler. The other major addition — call it advancement — is the fully covered chain drive, which is welcome in India’s climatic extremes.
The bike has good proportions, with a muscular-looking fuel tank, a tiny wind-breaker over the big headlights, and a rear-end tapering away into high-mounted splash-guard and LED tail lights. The footpegs are minimal, true to the sporty nature of the bike, though the forward placement and the heel-toe betray uncertainty: sporty or stodgy?
Speaking of sporty, the Trigger came through very ably while cornering, and took on the numerous traffic-islands of Delhi with elan. We did not push speeds, mindful of the prevailing monsoon, but at 60 kph, not once did it wobble while tackling twists and turns and roundabouts. This despite the fact that this is a tall bike, with a princely 175-mm ground clearance.
This bike has another technological first among small bikes — synchronised braking: step on the pedal, and it engages both front and rear brakes.
This has greatly enhanced the braking performance of the Trigger, and the dual-action brake is optional, though, available in the top variant with front-and-rear disc brakes. The cheaper variant has a rear drum brake, and there is a two-disc variant without the combined braking system (CBS) as well.
The bike is not without niggles. The key, for instance. Putting it into the slot and getting it to turn has been a struggle. But turning it off and extracting it has been even worse. Then there is a funny vibration as though a screw has worked loose, though we could not locate the cause. And this is a brand-new bike.
The Trigger’s power peaks at about 7,500 RPM, and the gearing is gradual, so you get to spend more time in each gear as you step through.
It can hit 60 in the second gear, and the traffic is already in the rear-view mirror, so beyond that you are on your own. When braking, the bike has enough torque so you really do not need to step down from the fifth gear unless you go below 35. Practical for city traffic.
Pushed to the limit, it acquits itself well. We hit 110 kph on the highway (which is about the limit), and it did not get blown off. Interestingly, the cute wind-breaker is actually functional, and throws the headwind at shoulder-height while riding upright.
You could probably ride it out of town for a weekend trip once in a while. The seat is comfortable enough, and the pillion is long enough, though the small footpegs may be an irritant.
Mileage? Well, that is hard to comment on, seeing that we were pushing the throttle. The company claims about 45 kph, but we would take that claim with a pinch of salt. Closer to 35 kpl would be our estimate for real-life conditions, with maybe 40-42 kpl if one rides in the safe-riding band of 40-50 kph.
So should you be looking at this bike? Well, if you are a Yamaha fan, or have been knocking about one of the smaller Pulsars, you would definitely find the Trigger interesting.
If you have got out of college and landed your first job, and want something that is not just a stodgy commuter, this should interest you. Impress the girlfriend? Well, though it is well-built, it does not have the out and out muscular looks of the Yamahas.
The Trigger is not cheap, mind you, coming in at Rs. 77,000 ex-showroom Delhi for the top variant, but unless you want to shell out even more and go into the 200-cc category, where action seems to be peaking, this should satisfy all your Red Bull needs. And it does have the Honda badge. But the question remains: why did Honda not throw in a couple of more muscular statements if it was targeting youth?