Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

Honda 2 Wheelers India first showcased the new X-Blade in the country at Auto Expo 2018. About a month later, the rather sporty-looking 160cc commuter motorcycle was launched at Rs 78,500 ex-showroom (Delhi). The edgy styling was quite a refresh from the conventional uninspiring design language of commuter motorcycles.

The X-Blade shares the same mechanicals as the Japanese brand's successful Honda CB Hornet and can be even considered as its in-house competitor. However, the X-Blade debuted with a full-LED headlamp unit — a first-in-segment feature.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

Here's everything you need to know about the 2018 Honda X-Blade!

Design & Styling

As mentioned before, the styling of the Honda X-Blade is unlike the usuals on the Indian commuter motorcycle segment. The body panels follow a sharp theme and curved proportions are kept to a minimum; the seat and exhaust being the only exceptions.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

The ‘Robo-face' full-LED headlamp does resemble a non-biological face when lit up and has got a small windshield on top of it. The protruding tank shrouds give a sense of agility to the X-Blade and the dual-tone paint scheme further accentuates it.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

The side profile highlights an ergonomic seating position in a sporty package. The design really stands out against the blacked-out theme and the metallic grey panels. Even the grab rails and the engine guard (optional) have been given adequate attention to aesthetics. Faux carbon-fibre-look-alike panels are also part of the design.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

The 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels look good and are accompanied by a 276mm petal disc brake at the front, while the rear makes do with a 130mm drum brake. The tyres are tubeless.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

At the rear, the LED tail lamp has got a unique shape which goes really well with the overall design. The clear-lens indicators, narrow number plate mount and the tyre hugger form the other elements of the rear profile. The silencer has a matte finish and carries some chrome bits too.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

In total, the Honda X-Blade is quite a looker in the current commuter motorcycle segment.

Engine, Performance & Riding Impressions

The Honda X-Blade draws power from a 162.71cc air-cooled single-cylinder engine which makes 13.93bhp at 8,500rpm and 13.9Nm of torque at 6000rpm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed gearbox. The power plant is the same as on the Honda CB Hornet 160R and CB Unicorn 160.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

The transmission on the Honda X-Blade is a link-type shifter which promises smooth shifts. Throttle response is pretty decent for a motorcycle at this price point and engine size; making the Honda X-Blade an ideal motorcycle for the city.

The dual-outlet muffler, on the other hand, creates a sweet exhaust note too, for a single-cylinder.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

The brand's HET (Honda Eco Technology) power plant gives a good balance between performance and fuel efficiency, by providing optimal combustion at all throttle inputs. All Honda products sold in the country employ this technology.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

At a kerb weight of 140kg, the X-Blade is quite light for easy manoeuvring in tight traffic conditions. The handlebar is at the right position for any rider of any size to easily get used to the motorcycle, and the ride quality is also good in typical Honda fashion.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

The suspension duties are carried out by a conventional telescopic fork set at the front and a rear mono-shock. They are not as soft as you would expect on a commuter motorcycle but offers just the right amount of damping. We felt the tyres could've been better (and wider) since fast corners might make them wobble a bit. However, if you use the X-Blade just for average-speed commuting, everything would be just fine.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

Coming to the brakes, the Honda X-Blade misses out on ABS, unlike the CB Hornet. But to be honest, the bite from the 276mm front disc and the 130mm rear drum brakes are good enough for normal runs. Still, combined with the relatively-narrow tyres, hard braking at good speeds could be a bit of challenge for some.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

At a ground clearance of 160mm, the Honda X-Blade rides high enough to avoid most of the undulations seen on our roads. The seating is set at a height of 785mm from the ground, which is about perfect for the average Indian rider.

To sum up, the Honda X-Blade is essentially just a commuter from a rider's perspective but in an attractive skin.

Specifications Overview

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

The Honda X-Blade showcases decent performance without compromising much on fuel efficiency. Here are its main specifications:

Engine Air-Cooled Single-Cylinder
Fuelling Carburetted
Displacement (cc) 162.71
Power (bhp) 13.93
Torque (Nm) 13.9
No. Of Gears 5
Kerb Weight (kg) 140
Ground Clearance (mm) 160
Front | Rear Tyres (mm) 80/100 R17 | 130/70 R17
Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres) 12

Mileage & Colours

With a claimed mileage figure of around 45 – 50km/l, the Honda X-Blade is a reasonable buy in the commuter motorcycle market. Combined with the 12-litre fuel tank capacity, the X-Blade promises decent riding range for both urban and rural use. However, it won’t be an ideal choice for long rides.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

The 2018 Honda X-Blade is available in a choice five colours: Pearl Spartan Red (review bike), Matte Frozen Silver, Matte Marshan Green Metallic, Matte Marvel Blue Metallic and Pearl Igneous Black.

Key Features

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

One of the main aspects in which the new Honda X-Blade excels is features. The commuter bike does offer enough to justify its price tag; again in a stylish package. Below are some of the key features and highlights of the Honda X-Blade:

  • Full-LED headlamp and tail lamp
  • Fully-digital instrument console
  • Service indicator
  • Gear-position indicator
  • Hazard switch
  • Low-maintenance seal chain
  • Rear tyre hugger
  • Monoshock suspension
  • Dual-outlet muffler

Accessories & Warranty

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

Those who wish to make their Honda X-Blade a bit more unique can also opt for the genuine accessories offered by the brand. The accessories include both cosmetic enhancements and protective elements as given below:

  • Knee & saree guards
  • Engine guard or bash plate
  • Seat covers
  • Handle grips
  • Helmet lock
  • Coloured bar-ends
  • Rim stickers
  • Body cover
Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

All Honda two-wheelers come with a warranty period of two years or 32,000 kilometres; whichever comes earlier. An extended warranty program can also be availed in the following format:

  • 12 months / 16,000kms
  • 24 months / 28,000kms
  • 36 months / 40,000kms

Service Intervals

  • 750 – 1000kms / 15 – 30 days
  • 5500 – 6000kms / 165 – 180 days
  • 11,500 – 12,000kms / 350 – 365 days

Paid Service Frequency

  • 6000 kilometres / 6 months

Competitors

The 160cc motorcycle segment in India is quite unique since it has got both commuters and entry-level sports models competing against each other. While the X-Blade is essentially a commuter in a sporty clothing, most of the other 160cc two-wheelers are a bit stronger on the performance side.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

While considering the pricing too, the Honda X-Blade has got four main rivals: Suzuki Gixxer 160, TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, Bajaj Pulsar NS 160 and Hero Xtreme Sports.

Fact Check

Here's a brief comparison of the Honda X-Blade with its main competitors:

Models Power/Torque (bhp/Nm) Mileage (km/l) Starting Price*
Honda X-Blade 13.9/13.9 48 Rs 81,429
Suzuki Gixxer 160 14/14 54 Rs 82,313
TVS Apache RTR 160 4V 16.5/14.8 42 Rs 82,733
Bajaj Pulsar NS 160 15.7/14.6 45 Rs 82,496
Hero Xtreme Sports 15.6/13.5 48 Rs 77,600

As you can see, the Honda X-Blade is a bit low on engine output but makes up for it in terms of pricing and mileage.

Honda X-Blade Review — A Style Statement In The Commuter Segment

Verdict

The Honda X-Blade is the perfect choice for young professionals who are looking forward to buying a commuter motorcyclewhile giving adequate importance to styling. The motorcycle can be used as a daily workhorse in the morning traffic, common in some of the major cities in India. Decent mileage figures and the refined Honda engine are also some strong factors which make the X-Blade a sensible option.

Abhinand Venugopal Thinks!

The Honda X-Blade is a brilliant motorcycle for the price. But at the end of the day, the absence of at least a single-channel ABS is a letdown. Honda knows that the X-Blade will perform even better on the market if they introduce an ABS version of it. However, this could affect the sales of the Honda CB Hornet which does come with an ABS and a rear disc brake, but at a higher price tag.

On-Road Price (Bangalore): Rs 1,01,347
Booking Amount: Rs 5000

(Writing By Abhinand Venugopal; Photography by Abijith Vilangil)

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