Exactly 4 years back in 2007, I started my hunt for a 150cc bike which I could proudly call my own.
The choice I had in those days was Bajaj Pulsar 150, Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme, TVS Apache 150 (the RTR wasn’t out by then) and the Honda Unicorn.
As a software engineer I had to commute 18 kms daily to reach office and back home in the crowded streets of Pune. Hence excellent fuel efficiency, light and easy handling, minimal maintenance was essential qualities that I was looking for.
My family already owned a Honda Activa then and so I thought it would be wise to choose another Honda vehicle over the other options, though I found it really tough to decide amongst the CBZ and Unicorn.
Somehow my family attributed major accidents to the overpowered Pulsar and so my parents had warned me strictly from purchasing it.
On a Sunday morning I went with all excitement to test ride the upgraded version of the Unicorn. That one ride was sufficient to convince me that this had to be the bike for me.
Finally on 1st July 2007, I took delivery of a spanking black Honda Unicorn. The shades of grey running along its body added to the elegance.
To be frank I was a novice at riding motorbikes and thanks to the feather touch self started I saved myself from embarrassment at many traffic junctions.
The bike was just perfectly balanced and on revving the engine it sails through very smoothly. The bike handles very well at corners and the gear shift is as precise as turning on-off an electric switch.
The seating position of the bike is not as sporty as the Pulsar or the CBZ but yes the Honda salesman did stress upon the seat and handle being ergonomically designed to offer comfort at longer rides. And I can say that this bike is pretty comfortable for long rides. I did a few 150 km rides in Pune and Goa and at the end of the day didn’t have a strained back as my friends on the Pulsars did.
The fuel efficiency of this bike was decent. The company claims 60kmpl but my calculations gave in the range of 55-60kmpl in the first two years of ownership which has now come down to 50-55kmpl.
One point to add here is that using premium fuels like SPEED,POWER etc does give the bike a significant kick in terms of pickup and the efficiency also improves by at least 2 kmpl. The firing of the engine is crisper and the bike feels more powerful.
The acceleration is very responsive and when you rev the bike it zooms past the road traffic with ease sans with very little noise.
On handling and control the bike grips the roads well and even at high speeds of 100km/hr if you suddenly release the throttle the bike immediately gets into your control like a slave.
Honda has really worked well on the front disc and weight distribution of the bike which saved me many a times from banging into trucks and other vehicles in front of me suddenly stopping. My reflexes usually end up jamming the disc hard and the bike doesn’t let you down and comes to a perfect halt.
The monoshock suspension works well and although it can be adjusted from Soft to Heavy, I never really could figure out the difference in both the modes. The front forks are also soft and responsive and absorb potholes well.
Well all these were the brownie points of my bike. Now coming to the not-so-nice areas of improvement that I personally felt were grey areas.
The rear braking of the bike is a little scary, especially on wet roads. On jamming the rear brake lever hard the bike skids and you tend to lose control. The skidding action takes the rear end of the bike towards the right and if you panic at that point you will surely lose control and hit the opposite vehicles. I have experienced this skidding effect quite a few times and may be the same is true on other bikes as well.
A second concern is, once you have a heavy pillion sitting behind (especially when the rider is 60 odd kilos like me) the bike seems to drag and the steering bar gets a little off balance. You feel as if the bike is tied to some heavy log behind and you’re dragging it along.
Other than these cons the bike has been a sheer delight to own. 4 years down and absolutely zero maintenance so far. My only (non regular service related) expense till date were the two times that I had to re-fill my aging battery with some electrolyte(Rs. 10 each) and a screw that I noticed missing from one of the side panels.
I serviced my bike regularly till I completed all the free servicing and post that I was a bit lazy and missed the targets by usually a few days. I never encountered a scenario in which I overshot the service mileage mark.
Paid services costed me around Rs. 350-400 which included Oil change charges. I have so far used only the recommended Honda 4-Stroke Oil.
I clocked around 16,000 kms in Pune and then shipped the bike to Goa, so far it has clocked somewhere in the range of 25,000 kms. In the last couple of years I’ve been caught only once by the Goan cops and I they let me go after just flashing my driving licence. I think they did not notice my MH registered number plate J.
Signing out with a message to drive safe and always keep the helmets on your heads while you enjoy your ride.
Ownership review of the Honda Unicron by Amey Salkar
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