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‘Elevated’ experience!

S. Muralidhar | Updated on October 08, 2021

Honda’s CB200X leverages an existing platform to offer what looks and feels like a soft-roader within a premium commuter. Will help you tackle effects of climate change, even if it can’t climb mountains

Honda is notoriously good with its ability to build multiple new two-wheelers each with their own unique positioning while sharing a common platform. The company’s myriad scooters is an example; so are a few of its motorcycles. One of the gaps in its extensive line-up is an affordably positioned adventure style bike and that is what the new CB200X will attempt to fill.

 

Honda engineers say that the new motorcycle will offer a dual character to satisfy the young urban adult’s urge to own a bike that can be a primary commuter during the weekdays and to allow him or her to explore the great outdoors during the weekend. It looks the part with its raised handlebar and half fairing front design with knuckle-guards.

But is it truly an off-roader; can it tackle the rough and tumble of a forest or hilly path? As I walk up to the bike with a late monsoon shower still pattering down in the outskirts of Mumbai, I’m thinking that at the very least, the CB200X can help me better tackle flooded roads and broken tarmac, and that in itself would be an achievement. It was time to find out.

Design

The CB200X is a medley of design elements. And if you see quite a bit of the Hornet 2.0 in it, you would be correct in guessing that the CB200X borrows heavily from the former. The CB nomenclature is also an indicator of its road bike status in Honda’s portfolio, while the ‘X’ is clearly an indicator of it, sort of, getting a crossover positioning. The front design of the CB200X is significantly different and in keeping with its semi-adventure bike stance and build.

The face plate and armour fascia design is thanks to the semi-fairing and the dual coloured panels that wrap around the headlamp. Some of the design elements have been inspired by Honda’s bigger bikes in the adventure class. The body side panels, the moulded long shrouds that are meant to emphasise the taller stance of the CB200X and the knuckle-guards with integrated turn indicators are eye-catching features in the front of the bike. These act as simple, yet very effective design elements that enhance the CB200X’s affordable adventure bike positioning.

The fuel tank has also been redesigned compared to the Hornet 2.0. But, much of the design of the CB200X from the engine backwards is pretty much identical to the Hornet 2.0.

For example, at the rear, the compact, X-shaped tail-lamp is a carryover. The split grab bar at the rear is also identical, though the stepped seat’s squabs are shaped differently compared to the Hornet and are also longer. So, a set of panniers or a storage box at the rear won’t leave you wanting more seat space.

The chassis, suspension and power unit are the same in both the bikes, but to connect the rest of the CB200X to its upright, ADV body-style, Honda engineers have also made changes to the handlebar. It is now raised by over 60mm (compared to the Hornet 2.0) and has been turned in closer towards the rider; consequently the rider’s posture is relaxed and upright. The rider’s seat height has also been marginally raised and set at 810mm.

 

Build and Features

The CB200X lists all LED lighting as one of the key features in its spec-sheet. The turn indicators integrated into the knuckle-guards are also LED winkers. The upswept muffler and exhaust tip adds to the ADV bike body style. The instrument cluster is a digital unit, again carried forward from the Hornet 2.0. This reverse LCD unit and its simplistic display is visible even under the glare of the afternoon sun. The digital display is also identical to the one in the Hornet 2.0; no additional connected bike features yet.

 

Performance

The engine and gearbox in the CB200X have been borrowed from the Hornet 2.0, and in the same state of tune too. The 184.4cc single cylinder, (PGM-Fi) fuel-injected engine puts out about 17bhp (12.7kW) of peak power and 16.1Nm of torque. The engine is a tested workhorse, and it is a refined unit. The focus for the engine is typically Honda, it delivers a measured ‘peppy’ performance. The air-cooled unit offers enough ‘go’ in the low and mid-rpm ranges. At 147kgs, the CB200X is just a shade heavier than the Hornet 2.0, so the performance of the power unit should feel very similar. Vibrations are well contained at idle, but creep up when you cross into 3-digit speeds. The CB200X is still an easy riding bike and working the 5-speed gearbox with its crisp shifts, while weaving through traffic in Navi Mumbai’s roads made for an interesting riding experience. In traffic, the bike manages to stay in top gears without any knocking setting in even while being ridden at slow speeds.

Featuring the golden upside down fork at the front and a mono shock at the rear, the suspension is also a carry over from the Hornet 2.0, so the ride quality is very similar.

The 17-inch rims are also of the same size as the former, but the tyres are different with a chunkier block pattern. The MRF Zapper Kurve tyres in the CB200X makes the ride just a shade firmer and are meant to offer better stability if you do decide to take it off-road. The 167mm ground clearance should also help in that endeavour, though the bike is not built for serious levels of off-reading. Some blame for the harsher ride on my test mule should probably go to the over-inflated tyres. Braking performance is good and comes off a 276mm disc at the front and a 220mm one at the rear. The CB200X gets a single channel ABS system.

Bottomline

The CB200X is a neat addition to Honda’s portfolio. To you as a buyer looking for more choice in the entry performance segment, the bike brings the option of a ADV body style within a sub-Rs 1.5 lakh price segment. There is a lot of equipment from the Hornet 2.0 and there are a lot of similarities in character too. Yet, the CB200X’s stance, riding position and the design uniqueness are good reasons for you to consider this over the Hornet. The CB200X has been priced at Rs 1.44 lakh (ex-showroom).

Published on October 08, 2021

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