While the overall silhouette is similar, most of the body panels have been changed for India

Honda’s new Hornet 2.0 is not just a replacement with incremental improvements, it also gets a bigger engine along with a new chassis and the promise of a sportier character.The Hornet 2.0 is based on the international-spec Honda CB190R, but with plenty of changes. While the overall silhouette is similar, most of the body panels have been changed for India.

The LED headlamp is redone while the gold-coloured USD fork is unique in this segment. A new engine cowl also adds to the sporty stance. With its larger tank extensions, the body looks taut and muscular but the tank still holds the same 12 litres of fuel. The ignition key slot is now placed at the front of the fuel tank. A new split-seat set-up creates a sportier appearance, and the quarter panels at the rear have a more interesting design.

Facing the rider is a negative LCD display with five levels of adjustable brightness, two trip meters, a battery voltage meter and a gear-position indicator. However, the side plastic panels felt a little flimsy and the body-coloured mirrors are quite tacky. The riding position is upright; the seat height is decent and should suit riders of most sizes.

Specifications

  • Engine 184.4cc, single-cylinder, fuel-injected
  • Max Power 17.3hp at 8500rpm
  • Max Torque 16.1Nm at 6000rpm
  • Gearbox 5-speed
  • L/W/H 2047/783/1064mm
  • Wheelbase 1355mm
  • Weight 142kg
  • Ground Clearance 167mm
  • Fuel Tank Capacity 12 litres
  • Brakes (F|R) 276mm disc| 220mm disc
  • Front Suspension USD fork
  • Rear Suspension Monoshock
  • Front Tyre 110/70-17
  • Rear Tyre 140/70-17

This is certainly a sportier looking motorcycle than the one it replaces, and it now has a bigger engine to back that up. Displacing 184.4cc, this fuel-injected engine is not only 22cc up on the old bike but also produces more power and torque. However, it is quite a simple two-valve, air-cooled, SOHC unit that has the same smooth feel and whiny intake sound that is typical of small-capacity Hondas.

Peak power is rated at 8,500rpm and you do feel the engine starting to get a little flat above this. Nevertheless, the engine pulls cleanly from low revs, and there is a nice surge that develops when you cross 6,000rpm. Midrange performance is clearly the goal and the Hornet 2.0 feels punchy at moderate speeds. The 5-speed gearbox is smooth and light as is the clutch action, and you will appreciate both within the city. Honda has also kept the gearing quite short and the engine doesn’t mind low speeds in higher gears.

The Hornet 2.0 handles better than any 150 or 160cc Honda commuter motorcycle that has come before. The suspension set-up isn’t soft and soggy like most Honda 160cc machines. While the ride quality isn’t harsh, it is not plush either… especially over rough roads, but there is plenty of ground clearance, so you won’t have to worry about potholes.

What comes as a surprise is how quickly the new Hornet wants to lean into corners. The low 142kg kerb weight helps, but this bike is eager to change direction and the fact that it now runs fatter tyres than before has had no negative effect on its agility. Perhaps, the only thing that still feels a little too soft is the bite from the front disc brake, as the lever needs a hard pull to slow down in a hurry.

At ₹1.27 lakh (ex-showroom), the Hornet costs just ₹1,500 less than the TVS Apache RTR 200 and about ₹2,700 less than the Bajaj Pulsar NS 200. It’s refreshing that Honda hasn’t simply made another humdrum commuter with fancy bodywork.

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