When Honda brought in the X-Blade in March, they had us scratching our heads in wonder. You see, Honda already had the CB Unicorn 160 and the CB Hornet 160R on sale. Adding a third bike in the same segment, at more or less the same price, was indeed a bold move. Thankfully, the result has been to Honda’s advantage so far – a lot of which is thanks to the X-Blade’s edgy design. The Megatron-like headlight and the sharply sculpted fuel tank add heft to the X-Blade’s proportions. But the Blade really shines in terms of comfort and practicality. The suspension is set up firmly, but it’s not uncomfortable over bad roads – at least not until the going gets really rough. Add to that a long and low seat and wide handlebar, and you’ve a motorcycle that you won’t mind spending a day with.
On the track, the X-Blade managed a surprisingly good lap time. Consider this for a calculation, the TVS Apache RTR 160 – which, by the way, makes 16.1bhp – was just six-tenths of a second faster than the 13.9bhp X-Blade. On the street, a strong mid-range makes the X-Blade feel energetic and eager. The 13.9Nm torque, which is more than adequate, comes in quite low in the rev range. Extracting the maximum potential from the motor is a thoroughly enjoyable experience – as long as you can get used to mild vibes at around 7,000rpm. The notchy gearbox hits false neutrals rather frequently though, and it can get a bit annoying. For a commuter, the X-Blade does surprisingly well around corners too. The bike leans in easily, and its handling prowess is backed well by its tyres. And, although it misses out on combined braking system, it does have more than enough bite in the brakes.
While the X-Blade doesn’t do much to lure you into really falling for it, it doesn’t do anything objectionable either. It’s neither a front-bench scholar, nor the rear-bench rascal. The X-Blade is one of those products that quietly and slyly continue to bring in the numbers – something that Honda will be quite satisfied with.