Honda introduced the XBlade motorcycle at the 2018 Auto Expo. At first glance, one can easily identify that this motorcycle sports a unique design and is not your everyday product. Motorcycles launched in India are increasingly leaning towards being me-too products, but this where Honda Motorcycles has differentiated itself from its competitors. The XBlade is essentially meant for the masses, but boasts of a unique design appeal.
Design, Dimensions and Fitment
What sets this motorcycle apart is its distinct look. The XBlade features a first-in-segment LED headlamp which comes housed in a robo-face cluster design. Honda’s unique robo-face design gives the XBlade an edgy and futuristic look. The LED headlamps cast a decent beam and light up the road ahead well. These headlamps also assist in increasing day time visibility of the bike, which is especially handy, if the rider is venturing out on highways. Honda has bolted on a cowl above the headlamp cluster that adds to the bike’s sporty nature but has minimal functional use.
The Honda XBlade provides the rider a forward biased posture and has been designed well. The rider foot pegs, seat height and handlebars have been designed to make the rider lean in. The bike also features a muscular tank which makes it easy to crouch, in case you want to get better aerodynamics or are in sporty mood. There is ample plastic cladding surrounding the tanks and on other bits of the bike. The quality of plastics used on the XBlade is commendable.
Honda has also kept in mind the rider and pillion comfort, while designing this motorcycle. The bike features a long seat with adequate cushioning. The Honda XBlade also sports a dual outlet muffler. While the grunt from the muffler sounds aggressive, the design seems a bit out of place and more like an afterthought. Rounding up the sleek design scheme in the rear is a T-shaped LED tail lamp. The XBlade also features a wide rear tyre with a tyre hugger. Another addition on the XBlade, split grab rails, provides a sleek look and have a functional appeal as well.
Honda is offering a digital instrument cluster on the XBlade. The setup features a rev counter, fuel gauge, speedometer, gear position indicator, service due indicator and multiple trip meters. The switch gear on the XBlade is of decent quality and Honda has also added a hazard light indicator. We sorely felt the lack of an engine kill switch that should be considered as a standard fitment among contemporary vehicles.
Engine and Performance of Honda X Blade
The motor powering the Honda XBlade is same as the units found on the Unicorn 160 and the CB Hornet, but is in a different state of tune. The air cooled, single cylinder unit on the XBlade produces 13.93 hp at 8500 rpm and 13.9 nm at 6000 rpm. With these output figures, the XBlade is slightly more powerful than the Unicorn but not as powerful as the CB Hornet, which is also more expensive when compared to the XBlade.
The bike’s power figures when combined with its light 140 kgs kerb weight, ensure it accelerates well and is agile. The XBlade is ideal for city riding and can comfortably cruise between 80-100 km/h. The engine revs cleanly up the band and comes into its own near the mid-range. On highways or open stretches the engine feels strained beyond 110 km/h but that would also boil down to the load the bike is carrying. The motorcycle’s engine has been married to a 5-speed transmission; its gear shifts are smooth and fuss-free.
The XBlade rides on 80/100 R17 tyres in the front and 130/70 R17 tyres in the rear. Riding the bike on varying terrain feels like a breeze as the tyres provide adequate grip. The XBlade features a large 276mm disc brake in the front and a 130mm disc in the rear. Unlike the CB Hornet, this bike does not provide an ABS option but comes with Honda’s CBS setup. We felt that the brakes could have done with more bite as in panic braking conditions, the brakes does get the job done but can be a bit unnerving.
Honda has built the XBlade on a diamond type frame with a telescopic fork suspension in the front and a mono-shock in the rear. The suspension is mildly stiff, provides adequate comfort for city riding but is not too comfortable over bad and broken roads. Truth be told, there are a very few motorcycles that would actually be comfortable in such conditions.
While the Honda CB Hornet feels like a well-rounded package, it is a tad more expensive. That is where the XBlade comes in and fills up the void between the Unicorn 160 and the Hornet. The XBlade offers a decent performance for its class of motorcycle and boasts of a unique design that gives the rider some road presence. All in all, Honda has the got the formula right with the XBlade be it the design, price, performance, comfort or features.