Punish me, for I am about to invoke the post-916, just-after-999 days, when aesthetes and motorcyclists alike ran amuck tearing their hair out, cursing a man named Terblanche and swooning from too much emotion. A huge landmark, perhaps the prettiest one of its sort, had just been replaced by what looked like a piece of ill-fitting industrial machinery. So what if it worked well, eh?
The most melancholy, most soulful of motorcycle headlamps, ever, replaced by two featureless holes in the fairing.Then again, the 999 has sold well enough, although rumours now suggest the new 1200cc sportsbike is likely to have more 916 in it than 999.
In the CBZ X-Treme, Hero Honda had to face a similar challenge. From the time the tricolour bike was shown at the Auto Expo to the time when it finally breathed its last, the CBZ was an icon. Not only did it polarise opinion, it (re-) introduced us to what a bigger capacity commuter with sporty intent could be like.
And now, like Sirius Black, the CBZ name is back.
We’ll start with the talking point, which is undoubtedly going to be the looks. Hero Honda (and by extension Honda) have finally got alloys on a 150, which should mean the beginning of the end of spoked wheels on their line-ups. Hey, one can hope, right? The CBZX (I’m not calling it X-Treme, thank you very much) gets 18-inch Karizma alloys in black as well as the same tyres.
But while the blacked out bottom looks contemporary, the styling package is a bit like a shiny pink tux at a black tie event. The CBZX, unlike its predecessor, looks a bit awkward. That said, one thing you cannot escape is that the CBZX looks and feels substantial. The seat appears to be a cross-breed like a motocrosser and a sportsbike seat had a clandestine, unprotected rendezvous in the garage. It’s sculpted, stepped and extends almost to the fuel filler cap.
But looks aside, it felt firm and comfortable.
Leading from the rear are the LED tail lamps, which Hero Honda claims are an India first. Not. The Pulsar 180 was on sale first, fair and square. So, the CBZX is now the second motorcycle in the country to come with LED tail lamps. However, it has successfully beaten Bajaj to the split grab rail.
We know that the DTS-Fi has a sleek set, but the CBZX had them on sale first. Congratulations to all appropriate parties, I think. Bijoy has been screaming himself hoarse about bikes needing non-metallic, bright colours on their brightwork.
And finally, it seems people are waking up. The CBZX looks shattering in the flat, almost molten orange. Wonder how good it would have been had it been pretty.
The instrument console is a step forward too. The brushed metal finish looks classy. The large speedo, smaller tacho, fuel gauge and lights are a complete set and while everyone at BSM may not see eye to eye on the speedo surround (the block design), it’s clear, easy to read and complete. Among the other details, I love the dinky new brake pedal.
It has a little toe guard for my big toe and a smart, all-chrome tab to press down on.
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