The Japanese are crazy about robots. Right from robot-themed restaurants to a towering 59-foot war robot called Gundam, you’ll find proof of the opening statement all across Japan. This love for robots trickles down into almost everything they do, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Honda came out with a robot-themed motorcycle, no? Say hello to Honda X-Blade! And no, it doesn’t transform into a robot, but it does come with a bag of cool features backed by a solid character just like one.
First up, the robot face with the LED lights looks intimidating. It will either make people move aside or distract them into simply staring at that front end. In my case, unfortunately, it was the latter when passing through crowded areas. This is because no other production motorcycle has possibly come this close to being humanoid. With people popping up like a game of Hogan’s Alley, it was the X-Blade’s nimble handling that allowed me to dodge them with ease. Honda has long figured out the ideal ride quality for its commuters and the X-Blade is no different from it. Slightly on the stiffer side, it offers enough comfort for long hours of riding along with fast riding attributes.
Out on open roads for some throttle-wide-open riding, the X-Blade feels pretty quick in acceleration and was comfortable at maintaining a constant top speed of 117 kph, displayed on the all-digital instrument console. The vibrations are on the lower side but begin to creep in only after crossing the 90-kph mark. However, that is okay because the sweet spot for this motorcycle is between 70-80 kph, which is where most X-Blades will spend their lives.
The seating posture on the X-Blade is upright and straightforward, ideal for daily commuting. The handlebar is easy to reach and quality of switchgear is good. While riding around the X-Blade on different road surfaces, the tyres tracked well while looking proportionate on the motorcycle. The brakes offered are a disc-drum setup, which I found to be a bit wooden in feel, especially the front one. Also, unlike the Hornet, Honda is not offering a rear disc option or CBS function on the X-Blade which is disappointing.
With attractive looks, a reliable motor and a brand name that is valued at the top for efficiency, the X-Blade definitely a good proposition to consider. Taking the best from its proven Unicorn 160 and the style quotient from the Hornet, the X-Blade offers the best of both worlds. And as far as that robot theme is concerned, let’s hope other Japanese brands bring in their versions of mechanised humanoids. Robot wars are never boring.
Photos by Vishnu G Haarinath
Displacement: 162.71cc, single
Max power: 13.93 bhp@8500 rpm
Max torque: 1.41 kgm@6000 rpm
CHASSIS Type: Diamond type
SUSPENSION (F/R): Telescopic / Monoshock
BRAKES (F/R): 276mm disc / 130mm drum
TYRES (F/R): 80/100-R17 / 130/70-R17
DIMENSIONS L/W/H (mm): 2013/786/1115
Wheelbase: 1347 mm
Ground clearance: 160 mm
Dry weight: 140 kg
Fuel capacity: 12 litres
PRICE: Rs 80,720 (ex-showroom, Mumbai)