Honda has positioned the X Blade to attract youngsters and millennials, and for this purpose, it has adopted a very aggressive design language. The basic silhouette is reminiscent of the Honda CB Hornet 160R, but the company’s designers have given it sharper panels to increase its visual appeal. The X Blade also features a taller fly screen, an underbelly cowl, chunky grab rails and a redesigned LED tail-lamp. The overall styling of the Honda X-Blade is impressive, barring the twin-outlet muffler which doesn’t flow well with the design.
Termed by Honda as ‘Robo-face’, the bike’s edgy headlight is an all-LED unit, which makes it a segment-first. The motorcycle also gets a full-digital console, like the one found on the Hornet, but with the addition of a gear position indicator, service indicator, hazard lights and a white backlight.
Powering the Honda X Blade is the same 162.7cc, air-cooled motor from the CB Hornet 160R. However, on the X Blade, the engine makes 13.9hp at 8,500rpm and 13.9Nm of torque at 6,000rpm, which is lower than the Hornet's 15hp and 14.76Nm. Like the Hornet, the engine is mated to a five-speed gearbox. Honda engineers have equipped the X Blade with 100/80 R17 and 130/70 R17 at the front and rear, respectively. The Hornet gets 100/80 R17 front and 140/70 R17 rear tyres. Braking duties are carried out by a disc brake at the front and a drum unit at the back. What's surprising is that a rear disc brake isn’t even offered as an option. Neither is the option of CBS or ABS.
Honda has launched the new X Blade at Rs 78,500 making it Rs 3,859 is cheaper than the CB Hornet 160R, which retails for Rs 82,359. The bike made its debut at Auto Expo 2018, with bookings opening shortly after. In terms of competition, the bike takes on the TVS Apache RTR 160, the Yamaha SZ-RR and the Hero Xtreme Sports. The Honda X Blade is available in five colour options – Matte Marvel Blue Metallic, Pearl Igneous Black, Matte Frozen Silver, Pearl Spartan Red and Matte Marshal Green Metallic.
There’s an ‘adventure’ version
The Honda X Blade Adventure features a more pronounced windscreen, hand guards and a carrier at the rear. Honda said they might launch the adventure kit for the Honda X Blade if they receive a positive response. This kit will be similar to what Honda offers for the Navi. Other additions on the Honda X Blade Adventure include matte grey paint and camouflage graphics on fuel tank extensions. The rear carrier looks sturdy enough to fix a tail box or additional luggage while touring.
However, all the updates made on the Honda X Blade Adventure are purely cosmetic and there’s nothing in the way of chassis modifications or the likes of long travel suspension, spoked wheels and knobby tyres to improve its off-road credentials.
(All prices, ex-showroom, Delhi)
Honda two-wheelers at Auto Expo first look video