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Scared to experiment

The great demand for Honda’s bikes has got the company to settle into a comfort zone. Its new Dazzler isn't any different to ride from the Unicorn we first saw five years ago.

entertainment Updated: Jun 16, 2010 13:34 IST

Honda India is facing a problem which all its rivals would give an arm and a leg to have — an unabated demand for its bikes and scooters. But long waiting periods are leading to customer dissatisfaction and the company has begun work on a new two-wheeler factory.

Meanwhile, it has also launched the upmarket and sporty CB Unicorn Dazzler, which should add more excitement to Honda showrooms that are already buzzing with the recently introduced CB Twister.

Looks
The Dazzler’s side profile and rear look similar to the Hero Honda Hunk. There are styling cues from Honda’s top-of-the-line VFR 1200F, seen in its headlight and floating cowls. All the lower sections are black, including its smart engine cases, smoothly sculpted alloy footrest mounts and sleek silencer. The handlebar is black-powder-coated too.

This new Honda gets digital instruments with an analogue rev counter dominating its face and an inset digital speedometer, odometer clock and fuel gauge. The Dazzler comes with freshly styled mirrors, grips, switches and control levers, all imparting a Honda-typical high-quality feel. Bar end weights are standard. The fuel tank can hold 12 litres and comes with a smart filler lid. It looks massive, as do the flank panels. A maintenance-free battery is standard.

The Dazzler comes with a bi-coloured seat and tail. Its chain is exposed and the bike sports 3D decals. It packs the same high overall quality found on all Hondas and will be sold in gold, black, silver or red. The Dazzler engine is similar to the Unicorn’s — a single-cylinder, air-cooled, twin-valve unit that displaces an identical 149.1 cc.

There’s a viscous air filter, and the new motorcycle complies with BS III norms. The bike gets a CV-type carburettor and uses a five-speed gearbox that shifts in a one-down, four-up pattern.

Ride
What’s disappointing is that the Dazzler develops only 14 bhp (at 8500 rpm) of maximum power and 1.3 kgm of torque at 6500 rpm.

While it’s interesting to note that both values are achieved at a higher rpm than the Unicorn, which will make for more exciting power delivery, we fail to understand why Honda has been so conservative, not giving the Dazzler a higher-capacity engine and more power.

The new bike comes with a diamond-type single downtube frame, holding onto its engine as a stressed member. Suspension is standard telescopic front forks, and a monoshock working with a rectangle section swingarm at the rear.

The CB Unicorn Dazzler should be more entertaining to ride than the older Unicorn, with quicker, relatively nimble handling as it comes with a shorter 1328 mm wheelbase and rides on 17-inch rims. Tubeless tyres are stock kit as is the welcome addition of disc brakes both in front and at the rear.

Handling
We are yet to ride a Dazzler but given Honda’s reputation, we’re confident this is going to be a refined, sweet-handling motorcycle.

The Dazzler is stylish with upmarket features like a digital instruments stack, monoshock, 17-inch tubeless tyres and disc brakes front and rear. But enthusiasts might feel let down at first glimpse, and that’s because we’ve enjoyed all this on the Unicorn for five years. Which is long enough for a company like Honda to have turned adventurous and started making bolder moves in India.

Price: Rs 62,900 (ex-showroom, Delhi)
On sale: Now
L/W/H: 2073/ 754/ 1085 mm
Wheelbase: 1328 mm
Ground clearance: 141 mm
Fuel tank capacity: 12 litres
Kerb weight: 138 kg
Engine layout: Single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke
Displacement: 149.1 cc
Power: 14 bhp at 8500 rpm
Torque: 1.3 kgm at 6500 rpm
Gearbox: 5-speed, 1-down, 4-up
Front suspension: Telescopic forks
Rear suspension: Monoshock, rectangular swingarm
Front brake: 240 mm disc
Rear brake: 220 mm disc
Wheels: 6-spoke alloy
Rim size (f-r): 17 inches
Tyre size (f-r): 80/100 x 17- 110/80 x 17 inches

Verdict
Honda should have made the Dazzler sportier, more aggressive and should have given the new bike some more power. Honestly, we cannot see enough punch in the Dazzler to set it apart from the Unicorn.
Autocar India