The war that is being waged in the executive commuter bike segment is just as intense, if not more, as the war in the 150cc plus performance (so-called) segment. The latest to join the others in the mileage melee with the likes of Hero Motor Corp’s Splendor and Passion, Yamaha YBR 110, the Suzuki Hayate and Bajaj Platina is Honda’s latest offering, the Dream Yuga.

The question that loomed large over all else was why Honda has bothered to introduce another 110cc in the market, while the CB Twister was still in the market, and doing pretty well too. The 125cc Honda Shine also has a good hold over the market, then why a new frugal sibling?

I got the answer when I actually got to test the bike. The Dream Yuga is as simplistic as it gets – fulfilling the prerequisites that this segment demands, and nothing more than that. But more importantly, it also delivers on the Honda promises of reliability and long term value.

But there were other questions in my head about the Dream Yuga, so to find the answers I got down to riding this bike where it actually belongs – crowded city streets.

Styling and Build

Although the Dream Yuga sports an engine identical to the CB Twister, it looks nothing like it. Barring Honda’s trademark beak-style headlamp, and the aerodynamic the front cowl, it a totally different bike. Body graphics start from the eight-litre tank and run all along the body. Honda has done a good paint job on the Dream Yuga, and the review unit I received had an impressive metallic shade of red. The front fender is of the same colour as the body, and so is the rear grab-rail.

The top end variant that I tested featured matte-black 18-inch, six-spoke alloy wheels. Even the exhaust and the air-cooled engine come daubed in matte-black paint. In fact, the minimal use of chrome gives the bike a very city-friendly look. The instrument cluster is laid out in a twin pod format, and consists of the odometer and speedometer on one side and the fuel-gauge and tell-tale lights on the other side. Like other bikes in this segment, it does not feature a tachometer, but it wouldn’t have hurt Honda to add a tripmeter, for the sake of commuters who love keeping a track of their fuel consumption.

The left-hand side of the handle-bar has all the electricals, save the ignition switch, which is not on the right hand side. As with the Hayate and Passion Pro, the Dream Yuga also does not come with an engine kill switch. The switches feel a little plasticky and just above average. The inclusion of a pass switch is a good decision.

Performance

The Dream Yuga is powered by the same 109cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine that the CB Twister runs on, with a slight variation. The engine manages to produce a maximum power of 8.5bhp at 7500rpm, and generates a peak torque of 0.9kgm at 5500rpm.

The engine incorporates Honda’s Intelligent Ignition Control System, which manages to keep the throttle responsive at all times. The bike performed well where it mattered – choked streets. Weighing 108 kgs, coupled with the peppy engine, the Dream Yuga manages to weave in and out of traffic very easily.

The 4-speed gearbox is laid out in an all-up manner, and by 40kmph, it can already be on top gear. While such short gearing system would improve fuel efficiency in heavy traffic and regular city riding conditions, I sorely missed a fifth gear on open stretches of road. The gears register with a resounding “thunk”, though shift quality was fine.

The Dream Yuga comes with 130mm drum brakes, which were a huge disappointment. They perform decently in heavy traffic, although I needed to use both front and rear brakes together to stop in time, as the rear brake alone was not responsive enough at higher speeds. On stretches where I accelerated hard and needed to decelerate quickly, I missed the reassuring feel of disc brakes. Asking for a rear disc for this segment is too much, but a front disc would’ve made braking a lot more efficient.

I could accelerate to speeds of up to 90-100 kmph. But after 80 kmph, the bike starts to send up a lot of vibration. Honda claims the mileage to be approximately 72 kilometers to the litre, under standard test conditions.

Riding Comfort

The Dream Yuga features a long seat, which was very comfortable while riding inside the city. I’m guessing that the pillion rider will also have a lot of room on it. The thing that bothered me a bit was that it wasn’t as wide enough as I would’ve wished for. The seat also felt a little too soft for longer rides. But as this motorcycle is pitched for riding inside the city, it shouldn’t be a disheartening factor.

The front telescopic fork suspension absorbs shocks from potholes quite easily, and the rear tube-type hydraulic shock absorbers fared well on the roughest by-lanes. A clean ground clearance of 161mm coupled with these shock-absorbers gave me a very comfortable ride in the busiest and bumpiest of Chennai’s roads.

Cornering comes as a delight on this commuter. The short turning radius ensured that I could easily negotiate those tricky short-cuts which I usually avoid on the way to work. The 80/100 tyres seemed frail at first, but they were quite grippy on the road. I was further impressed because I tested the bike on roads that were freshly rained-on, and the Dream Yuga was rock steady around the corners.

Bottomline

If you’re looking for a bike that wins you the traffic signal drag race, then this is not your thing. But if you’re looking at something that appeases your fill-and-forget philosophy, then you might consider this as an option.

The Dream Yuga might just be Honda’s best launch in this segment, as this bike stays as simple as possible, while churning out good numbers on mileage and am guessing on economical maintenance too. Shine has already grabbed its fair share of the market – it remains to be seen if this dream actually works out for Honda.

The Dream Yuga is available in three variants and in five colours starting from an ex-showroom price (Delhi) of Rs 44,642.

sabyasachi.b@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 21, 2012)
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