Dec 11, 2007

20 Bajaj Pulsar 150 DTSi Vs Hero Honda Hunk Vs Honda Unicorn Vs TVS Apache RTR 160: Which is the Best 150 cc..??

How does the new 150 cc Hero Honda Hunk measure up with the other 150 cc bikes..??

Apache RTR Vs Hunk Vs Pulsar150 Vs Unicorn

Just a couple of years back the 150 cc segment was considered the premium segment in the Indian Motorcycling Market. But now the 150 cc category seems to have found acceptance by our "desi" bikers as the entry level performance oriented bikes which are also commuter friendly. By the term commuter friendly, we mean a resonable priced bike which is expected to return a decent fuel economy.

Compared below are bikes in the 150-160 cc segment which are priced around Rs. 65,000 (on road) and have the reputation to give mileage of around 50 Kmpl.


Honda Unicorn: The Unicorn received its first “major” upgrade in 2007 in the form of alloy wheels, redesigned side panels, a wider rear tyre (100/90 section instead of the earlier 3.00) and black coloured engine covers/alloys/chain cover etc.

2007 Honda UnicornThe make over has entirely been cosmetic without the engine or the other mechanicals being touched. So therefore the 2007 Unicorn feels every bit like the old unicorn. The engine and the gearbox of the Unicorn is the smoothest among the other 150 cc bikes. The Unicorn also sports India’s only monoshock rear suspension. The ride quality of the bike is pretty good if not exactly plush. The handling is also pretty decent.

The only grouse about the Unicorn is of course it’s styling. Compared to the other 150 cc’s, the styling of the Unicorn comes across as “plain” and “boring”. Even the monoshock fails to bring excitement to the overall visual package.

Unicorn Positives:

+ Smooth Engine, Gearbox
+ Comfortable Riding Position

Unicorn Negatives:

- Uninspired Styling
- Weak top end performance

U.S.P (Unique Selling Proposition): Its a Honda

The Unicorn is a 150 cc designed for the Commuter in mind rather than for the performance hungry enthusiast. The 149 cc engine produces 13.5 bhp at 8000 RPM and 12.8 Nm of torque at a comparatively low 5500 RPM (commuter bikes are designed to produce their max torque at low RPM to aid fuel efficiency). This means that after crossing 5500 RPM the engine kinds loses steam so therefore even though the Unicorn has a good initial pickup at low RPM, it has a slightly weak top end whack.

The Unicorn has an upright riding position with front set foot pegs. This translates into a comfortable riding position but might not find favor in someone looking for a sporty 150 cc.




Hero Honda Hunk: The new 150 cc bike from Hero Honda has identical physical dimensions to the CBZ Xtreme. It even shares the same with the CBZ Xtreme the same 149.2 cc engine producing identical 14.2 Ps at 8500 RPM and 12.8 Nm of Torque at 6500 RPM. According to Hero Honda the engine of the Hunk is lightly tweaked compared to the CBZ Xtreme even though the technical specs might appear to be same on paper.

Hero Honda HunkHero Honda has positioned the Hunk on the basis of its looks. Even in the TV Commercials doing the rounds nowadays it is the looks that have been highlighted. The Hunk indeed comes across as a handsome and well-designed bike. Unlike the CBZ Xtreme, it does not look like a styling job done in hurry. The looks could have been further enhanced with the inclusion of digital meters, LED tail lamps, split rear grab rail, a more aggressively styled front fairing and exhaust.

Hunk Positives:

+ Perfect Combination of Comfortable and sporty riding position
+ Smooth Engine
+ Hunky Looks

Hunk Negatives:

- Lack of Digital Speedometers, LED tail lights
- Uncomfortable vibrations at high RPM
- the NAME..!!

U.S.P (Unique Selling Proposition): Good Looking 150 cc from Hero Honda

Even though the origin of the engine of the Hunk is from the Honda Unicorn, the Hunk does not display the same smoothness especially towards the redline. The Hunk remains quite smooth till around 6000 rpm, but as the revs rise higher so does the vibrations and becomes quite uncomfortable at high RPMs. The Hunk does have a good pick up and better top end performance than the Unicorn. The gearbox of the Hunk is a bit notchy and needs a firm push to make the gear changes.

The riding position on the Hunk is comfortable with the high handlebars and sporty at the same time with its slightly rear set front foot pegs. It is the perfect blend of a sporty character along with a comfortable riding stance. Compared to the CBZ Xtreme, the ride and handling of the Hunk is much better thanks to the new gas filled shock absorbers (which Hero Honda prefers to call GRS).




Bajaj Pulsar 150 DTSi:The Pulsar was the original “definitely male” bike that was the first one to be positioned as the “male” among bikes. Thanks to this unique position the Pulsar 150 cc has been the most successful 150 cc till date.

Bajaj Pulsar 150 DTSiThe competition has now got a whiff of this successful ploy and has now come out with its own versions of the "definitely male" bike positioning. Even though the latest UGIII (Upgrade 3) version was launched in 2006, it has started to look a little bit pale thanks to the recent competition. Also thanks to the plethora of Pulsar 150 CC’s already plying on the streets of every city/town of India, the Pulsar 150 is getting too familiar a sight. Maybe its time for another upgrade of the Pulsar 150 DTSi, and this time probably with a new tank design.

Pulsar 150 DTSi Positives:

+ Plush ride quality
+ Jack of all trades, master of none

Pulsar 150 DTSi Negatives:

- Gearbox still needs improvement
- Jack of all trades, master of none

U.S.P (Unique Selling Proposition): Its a Pulsar

The DTSi engine of the Pulsar 150 produces 14.09 Ps at 8500 RPM and 12.76 Nm of torque at 6500 rpm. Power delivery of the Pulsar 150 DTSi can be termed as a bit mild thanks to the competition that is slowly pushing the envelope. The Pulsar engine remains relatively smooth but when pushed hard it does lose some of its smoothness. Also at low speeds and at low momentum the Pulsar engine does feel a bit lumpy. The clutch works perfectly on the Pulsar but the gearbox still needs to improve. Finding neutral still takes conscious effort on the Pulsar 150 DTSi.

Riding position on the Pulsar 150 DTSi is a bit more sporty compared to the Hunk. The ride quality of the Pulsar is the best among the 150 cc bikes. But thanks to its plush shock absorbers, the handling isn't as sporty as the Unicorn, Hunk or the Apache RTR. But that does not mean that handling is too bad on the Pulsar 150 DTSi, just that the shock absorbers are set to pamper your back rather than attacking the race tracks.

Compared to the other 150-160 cc bikes, the Pulsar 150 DTSi can be described as the "Jack of all trades" that doesn't quite excel in any parameter.The Pulsar 150 DTSi needs an upgrade soon as it is no longer "Distinctly Ahead" compared to the competition (maybe except for the ride quality).




TVS Apache RTR 160: Technically speaking the Apache RTR isn't a 150 cc bike and enjoys a 10 cc advantage over the other 150 cc bikes. It might be a small increment in cubic capacity but it does help the Apache RTR belt out a class leading 15.4 Ps @ 8500 RPM and 13.1 Nm of Torque @ 6000 RPM. Just take a test ride on the Apache to dispell all doubts that it is the current king in the 150-160 class.

TVS Apache RTR 160

My 150-160 cc choice:
TVS Apache RTR 160


After riding my Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi for sometime now, it takes quite a lot for another bike to impress me. And believe me when I say that the Apache RTR did impress me.

Everything about the Apache RTR has been designed keeping the racetrack in mind. The rich experience of TVS Motors in the Indian racing circuit seems to have has definitely found its way on the Apache RTR. The riding position of the Apache RTR is the most aggressive among current Indian Bikes. One sits crouched on that low clip on handlebars with the feet positioned on the rearset foot pegs. Power delivery of the Apache RTR is quite impressive. The Torque spread is also so good that RTR responds quite well to the twist of your right wrist irrespective of the gears you are in.

Apache RTR 160 Positives:

+ Most powerful in the 150-160 cc segment
+ Aggressive riding position
+ Nimble handling

Apache RTR 160 Negatives

- Engine Vibrations
- Hard rear suspension
- Slightly small for tall guys

U.S.P (Unique Selling Proposition): 150-160 cc Performance King

But all these power comes at the expense of some nagging vibrations in the RTR that just refuses to die out. The December issue of Overdrive magazine carries a comparison of the Hunk and the Apache RTR, in which they pick the RTR as their preferred choice over the Hunk. My personal observations about the Apache RTR are almost same as Overdrive Magazine's, but I do not quite agree with them (Overdrive) when they say that the engine of the Apache RTR is vibe free. In more than one occasion I have found that the engine of the Apache RTR to be accompanied with vibrations.

But I have to add that the vibrations on the RTR isn't exactly unbearable and infact feels quite sporty and goes along with the character of the bike quite well. The handling of the Apache RTR is quite nimble and it is a joy to flick the bike around in tight corners. In fact in just a few minutes I felt as if I had been riding the Apache RTR since a long time.

The downside of the Apache RTR apart from the vibrations is its relatively hard rear suspension and that it might be a bit small for 5 ft 10 inch and above guys. Also being the most powerful among the 150-160 cc category, the fuel efficiency of the RTR "might" be a bit low than the other 150-160 bikes. Also for someone looking for long distance touring, the aggressive riding position might translate into back pain and aching wrists.



I personally liked the Apache RTR so much that If I had the money, I would have bought one in Yellow and used it for my City Rounds and keep my Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi for the highway rides. Also can't wait to check out the "fuel-injected" Apache RTR 160 "Fi"..!!









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Disclaimer:

This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.




20 Comments:

hakimnama said...

i do not understand the need of a split rear grab...haven't u ever parked your bike in any busy street?
pulling a bike out of parking and u really want a full rear grab tail...
...another thing is the rearset footpegs...yes the ride position gets sportier..but for all practical purposes the frontsets are always more comfortable!!
....and yes i pray bajaj redesign the pulsar tank this time around! and also the headlamp! (i would prefer a twin headlamp one..am a sucker for it)

Ranjit said...

The pulsar belts out 14.09ps of power.. you got that one wrong bro..

Payeng said...

@Ranjit, thanks for the Hawk Eyes bro.. got that one rectified.


@hakimnama,

Yes the Split grab rails of the Pulsar 200/220 do not offer a good grip and are a pain to use..

But surprisingly I have seen many Pulsar 150/180 owners have replaced their normal grab rails (with nice grip) with these difficult to hold Split Rails of the 200/220.


But the Split Rails of the Xtreme and the Apache RTR offer a very good grip.



Yes, there will be a few who like the footpegs comfortably placed towards teh front and an upright sitting position. But then, Companies target that segment which has more demand.

And by what we have seen so far, sporty features seem to be preferred by majority of the buyers.

nitz2k said...

stil pular is d best overall....

not 2 small not 2 big

Sajal Chakraborty said...

hmmmmmm...........now the split grab rail get's it's shot. Believe me they haven't caused any discomfort to me. You can't beat the mess the guys over here in Gurgaon create in parking lots. Still I don't find it difficult to move the bike with help of the split grab rails.
As far as sporty features goes, I agree with Payeng over here. The like and dislike of sporty feature is cult specific. If you belong to the commuter's cult, they are trash to you, else if you belong the performance biker's cult, they are treasure for you.

Anonymous said...

The Honda Unicorn would be my bike of choice, unfortunately Honda asks for a premium and the bike is rather expensive and poor value for money.

HMSI dealers also provide poor and crowded service areas.

Also, Honda is planning to launch two bikes at Auto Expo in January, so it might be wise to hold off the purchase if possible.

hakimnama said...

ah yes, the sporty stance is good, with great roads, no potholes to avoid, no "stooooopid" jaywalker around..ie all u encounter on indian roads :)(personal opinion)..and when companies go for the sporty look ,why dont they give the complete package ,naked chain etc. (again the naked chain in indian conditions is extra maintenance)...
@payeng:
yeah ...guess thats more to do with style
@anon
lookin forward to honda's announcement. seems they have shelved their 100cc plans for now (or late 2008)and plan to launch a 125 cc

Kedar Parikh, said...

Nice Post man.

Lets see what the Honda(125 - 150cc) and Suzuki(125 - 175cc) have to add to the segment in couple of days at Delhi. I think Desi bikers would be really spoilt for choices ;-)

And congrats on getting your own domain.

Cheers.

road-yo said...

Short & sweet. Thanks for the effort Satadal.

Payeng said...

You are welcome road-yo.. but then this was MY take on the 150-160 cc segment..

There are bound to be other opinions as well.


@Kedar,

Do not for get that Yamaha India too has 160-180 cc plans.. More power to the people..!!

So you did notice my "new domain".

Twin Spark said...

Payeng,

Did u write this review to silence people who call you "Bajaj Biased" :))) ?

Just Kidding. You can't deny the fact that the P150 is still the best Value for Money 150.

But the obvious winner has to be the RTR as "there is no replacement for displacement"

sandeepbagchi said...

so much ho halla about Rearset foot pegs.
Believe me ride a p220 or RTR or ZMA or P200 in busy city.
And u'll know.
its very easy to handle.
as u'll never lose balance.
ride position is more natural.

i'll prefer rearset over frontset any day for offroading,city riding,long rides i.e. for any kind of ride.

it hardly takes few minutes to get used to once u get used to it u'll love it

Kishore said...

unicorn is de best... it delivers max power at lower rpm... evn pick up is 5.3 sec compaerd wit 5.8 secs from 0 to 60 kmph... mileage is too gud... evn kooks of new 1 too gud...

Anonymous said...

My hieght is 5.3 ft.Can i ride a Hunk..

hegins christian said...

hi !!!! payeng!!
this is hegins here.
i want to know that what is d difference between apache160 refresh and apache 160 rtr-FI???why is so much price difference between them?
and if have to buy a bike between apache-180 and pulsar-180,,, which bike would u prefer ?pls do reply.

Manjit said...

hello all
i dont understand that why every ones choice is pulser ,,hey man think different so buy different dont mak ur mind same as other think ...it makes u different ..agar parking me 9 bikes pulser hai or ek apache ya hunck hai too sabhi ki najar aapki bike per jaygi pulser per nahi ............
its vicky jaggi

ramesh said...

to small more to expand the size and height of the apache 160 it looks more then sports bike

Kishore said...

unicorn is de best... it delivers max power at lower rpm... evn pick up is 5.3 sec compaerd wit 5.8 secs from 0 to 60 kmph... mileage is too gud... evn kooks of new 1 too gud...

Kedar Parikh, said...

Nice Post man.

Lets see what the Honda(125 - 150cc) and Suzuki(125 - 175cc) have to add to the segment in couple of days at Delhi. I think Desi bikers would be really spoilt for choices ;-)

And congrats on getting your own domain.

Cheers.

hakimnama said...

ah yes, the sporty stance is good, with great roads, no potholes to avoid, no "stooooopid" jaywalker around..ie all u encounter on indian roads :)(personal opinion)..and when companies go for the sporty look ,why dont they give the complete package ,naked chain etc. (again the naked chain in indian conditions is extra maintenance)...
@payeng:
yeah ...guess thats more to do with style
@anon
lookin forward to honda's announcement. seems they have shelved their 100cc plans for now (or late 2008)and plan to launch a 125 cc

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