At speed, unless tucked in, the wind is your enemy. The buffeting about the helmet gets worse as speed picks up, and there is some real force on the helmet. I've never had neck discomfort ever but did have some at the end of the day and it is a combination of posture + wind blast. Not something that you cannot get used to after some days, but something nevertheless. Ditto my shoulders after some of the bad sections , but again I think one will get used to this different position.
950km are done and as I can go for the service only on Wednesday, I went back to the ZMA for my usual commute to town. Felt smooth as always, and very plush with the sofa seat (NON STOCK!!) and the softly sprung linked monoshock (NON STOCK!!), but riding the two back to back, there s no doubt that the chassis is vastly inferior, it simply does not have the taut feel of the CBR. Engine...the ZMA is not a slouch, but the lively, happy to rev CBR engine is in a different league.
The gearbox is very smooth and while shifting up, trying to use the clutch above third gear actually makes for sloppier shifting than going off the throttle momentarily and moving up the box. It is that smooth, and blipping the engine while downshifting makes for equally smooth shifts, accompanied by a snarl from the engine. Pulling in the clutch while shifting up , unless done very quickly actually allows the rpm to drop to an extent that here is a jerk when the box re engages - it's got to be done quickly to be smooth. Getting the bike from 1st to neutral is also a bit tricky, you are more likely to go into second. Neutral comes in very positively when shifting down the box, maybe this is a design feature such that a light left foot does not leave you out of drive when moving up the box from first....
OWNERSHIP EXPERIENCE TILL DATE:
I had a very very smooth experience regarding the booking and delivery from Jhaveri Honda. The sales staff were courteous and helpful, and in my case managed to cobble together all the documents including the service book (which other owners will receive only after a few days) in time for the delivery, things unfortunately started to unravel after that. As I rolled up the day after the for the service the snotty little creature at the counter informed me "no appt, no service". This was new to me. Apparently a coupon needs to be collected when the snotty little creature occupies her workstation.
As soon as she is spotted all the gathered Activa and Unicorn owners scramble to be the first to collect the coupon as job cards will be filled in that order. After that there is another mad rush to start the vehicle and drive off (reminiscent of GP races of old where the drivers would race to their cars on the grid and drive off for the race) another 200m to the place where the supervisor (who is late) fills the job cards.
Anyways, since the snotty creature had brushed me off, I had to bring up this grave injustice with the guys at the sales counter and have the appointment policy reversed. I was prepared to spend the morning at the service station, but being last on the grid, I was now informed that the bike would be back only in the evening. The question of leaving it in their hands unsupervised simply did not arise, and I refused the service and drove back. I would have had to come again anyways because they had no CBR specific parts yet including the oil filter that needs to be replaced at the first service - the idea of leaving the bike unsupervised, then coming multiple times (with appt!!) to get everything finished was not at all appealing. I'll be going elsewhere on Wednesday (Venetian Honda).
I guess the service staff have got used to dealing with craven and miserable Activa owners...
Nearer home the Om Sai Honda dealer informed me that they have not yet taking CBRs for service - apparently they have not started deliveries either.
Used stock, this is a great bike - for city usage. It's peppy, torquey, very nimble and has well sorted handling and great tyres and brakes. The seat will not be a bother for short rides. The mileage appears par for the course too, though that requires further research. The plastics though are a disapointment.
Where the package starts to unravel a bit is when you think of touring use. The seat, though easily modded is uncomfortably hard. The horn is downright useless and considering our highways, the headlight, though DC, is not much better than mediocre, though a bump up to 100W or even 130W should not be too difficult, and get it up to adequate. These are all easy things to alter, however, the 13L tank capacity, lack of wind protection at speed unless lying on the tank and the lack of provision for carrying luggage - these are much more difficult to rectify. That said, none of these are dealbreakers, but if you plan to buy this bike, er, book it, no harm in going into it with your eyes wide open. All these modifications can definitely be done, but it will not be in the same league as say, changing the horn.
So how does it stack up in the face of the competition? In terms of pricing, it is at least 40K away from the nearest competitor (I don't classify the bullet as a modern bike so I will not compare the Classic EFI with this). However if you look at the "upgrade scene", here's my take:
ZMA: This is a super ZMA if you wish, a big improvement, does it all better, except for the posture. I think the ZMR is a horible creation, several notches below the ZMA in design, with very little tangible benefits for the increase in cost, unless that welcome message is what sends the sunshine up your a** when you start the vehicle. If you don't believe me, you could always go to any HH service centre and ask any mech as to whether to buy the ZMA or the ZMR.
The 220: An improvement, though not huge in terms of power but in a different league as regards all else especially refinement and handling. The price differential is big, and the pulsar undeniably has the better lighting, you could take this onto the highway at night, and live to tell the tale
. It all depends on how important refinement is to you. That is not cheap. Ride it to see if it makes sense. What are the alternatives? None, unless somebody comes up with a cheap, unrefined, aircooled 300 - 350 (maybe bajaj???)
Ninja: Haven't ridden, can't compare. Hope to be able to do that soon (and mercilessly dissect that too
R15: Again, my time on the R15 has been short, but my impressions - the R15 may have an equivalent suspension but will be significantly the inferior vehicle on bad roads due to it's narrow tyres. In addition, at least the CBR can be adjusted for rear preload, the R15 cannot. Enginewise the R15 suffers very badly due to it's lack of cubes (and the ensuing torque figures). The overtaking pass that does not require a thought on the CBR will require a downshift on the R15, maybe 2. The lighting is not much of an improvement. It's even more cramped and there is not much to recommend it over the CBR - except price. Actually that is a big difference, and it's only grounds for competing with the CBR. If 40K is not a deal breaker, then you'd have to think very hard to justify the purchase of the R 15. But 40K after all, is 40K.
RTR: Sorry TVS, give us something better to go head on with this. Merely cheap is not gonna do the job. And kindly eliminate that pointy centre section on your seat while doing that....