A diminutive little roadster makes waves in India
When we posted the announcement that Honda was introducing a new small-displacement streetbike to the Indian market, the CB Twister, we were surprised by how much traffic it generated. After all, there isn’t much demand for a 109cc streetbike in the North American market.
However, Motorcycle.com serves a worldwide audience, so we called up our colleagues at Autocar India and arranged the posting of the test below. The question remains about whether a low-powered motorcycle like this is of interest to riders in our size-matters market. Read about the Twister then let us know what you think in our Reader Feedback thread at the bottom of the article. –Ed.
Enter, the 109cc CB Twister, a commuter bike that looks like no other Indian commuter bike to date and has launched with Honda saying it has perfected every aspect of its new motorcycle. Read on and allow us to bring you our opinion on Honda’s new CB Twister.
Your eyes won’t believe they’re upon a commuter bike while viewing Honda’s CB Twister. Sharply styled with cues from the designed-in-Europe CB1000R, Honda’s new commuter motorcycle is cleanly styled without the clutter of many decals.
Much of its mass concentrates forward and close to its center of gravity. Six ‘V’ shaped spokes frame the CB’s attractive black alloy wheels, with this same shade coating much of the bike, including its front forks, handlebar, side and rear cowls, engine and stubby silencer. Honda is offering five metallic paint shades with its new bike.
A bright headlight nestles within the Twister¹s angular front fairing, below the crest of which reside smartly laid out instruments in an eye-catching and legible format. The Twister offers a bold speedometer, and fuel level indicator. It enjoys a pair of angular, functional mirrors, and switchgear that is smooth to operate but sadly lacks a pass light flasher.
Soft palm grips and nicely shaped control levers add to the feel good factor when riding this bike.
The Twister’s fuel tank is muscular and attractive, providing adequate thigh support, only lacking a hinged filler-lid. This sits just behind a set of nice front cowls, which can sometimes interfere with a tall rider’s knees. The CB Twister’s side panels and seat merge seamlessly into the rear, with a design master stroke evident in the brilliant manner in which the rear grab bar integrates into the fairing.
The tail is handsome, with a smartly tapered mudguard and red damper springs.
Easily the best looking model in its segment, the CB Twister leads the way with excellent overall quality, perfect fit-and-finish, as well as enviable attention to detail.
Honda claims the CB Twister’s four-stroke 109cc single-cylinder engine produces 9 bhp at 8000 rpm. Its twin-valves operate via a high-lift camshaft with a twin-pocket air-jacket part of this efficient air-cooling system.
A highlight to Honda’s new engine is its long intake funnel leading from the carburettor to the combustion cavity. The crankshaft sits offset in the interests of good utilization of combustion energy, and friction minimizing methods like rocker arms equipped with roller bearings are standard. The CB Twister deploys a viscous type air-filter unit for good breathing, while its silencer mounted catalytic converter launders emissions.
This new Honda enjoys light clutch feel, and a well-weighted and positive-feeling gearshift quality. Shifting is in the universal, one-down, three-up pattern via the shift lever. The Twister enjoys perfectly spaced gear ratios and a soft yet healthy exhaust note that makes for enjoyable listening.
Throttle response is instant, and this light (238-lb) motorcycle benefits a peppy, enthusiastic feel that belies its small-capacity engine. The powerband is wide, vibe-free and silky smooth even when pushing high revs; the Twister willingly chugs away in top-gear (4th) from speeds as low as 15 mph. Performance is class leading, with the 0-36-mph dash achieved in a creditable 7.13 seconds.
Top speed is adequate, a true 60 mph on a flat surface.
The Twister comes with a different frame as seen to date on bikes by Honda for India. As with a single-downtube frame, the CB also deploys its engine as a stressed member but sends a pair of arms down from its steering head to hold the engine. Suspension is by a telescopic fork up front and a pair of hydraulic shock absorbers at the rear, along with a rectangle-section swingarm.
Honda has got this bike’s ergonomics spot on, with the riding posture comfortably upright and saddle perfectly padded. The CB Twister comes with 17-inch wheels at both ends, and our test bike came shod with a pair of tubeless MRF tyres that offered excellent traction. Ride quality on this bike is set a touch towards firm, with handling taut and precise at all times.
Perfect for quick manoeuvring through crowded traffic, the CB Twister steers with a neutral and light feel. Cornering manners and straight-line stability are commendable.
Our test bike came with an optional 240mm disc brake, which proved capable of stopping from 36 mph in 17.33 meters (56.8 feet). Brake feel from both levers was always progressive and reassuring.
Honda isn’t reputed as a world leader in motorcycle technology without reason. The CB Twister managed to run 57.2 kilometres on one liter of fuel (135 mpg!) in city conditions, despite its admirable performance. It bettered this figure to 61.3/kpl (141 mpg!) on its highway run.
Honda is clearly stamping its authority on our two-wheeler market. The CB Twister lends a new dimension to commuter bikes in India. Such handsome style has been unheard of in this class till now, being good enough to have even its 150cc neighbours turning a deep shade of green.
Overall quality is also top notch on the Twister.
Honda’s smooth new engine responds and feels surprisingly better than its rivals. The latest Honda is comfortable too, enjoying a well engineered chassis that provides nimble and light handling. The sum of which means the Autocar India crystal ball predicts this competitively priced motorcycle is one big winner on all fronts.
Our big grouse is Honda already struggling to feed waiting lists building up at its two-wheeler dealerships. This needs urgent addressing, as the CB Twister is certain to further lengthen these waiting lists, while on its way to becoming a huge blockbuster for its maker.
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