Honda CB Shine 125 SP review: Decked-up diligence

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Honda CB Shine SP (52)

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd (HMSI) unveiled their upgraded Honda CB Shine SP some time back, as the brand’s 15th product for India in 2015. In its newest SP avatar, the Shine does not replace the current version but sits adjacent in the product portfolio as an upgraded, more premium variant.

So does the new Shine version stand taller and perform better than the previous version?  What does the suffix ‘SP’ entail? Is it worth the extra money Honda is asking you to pay? Read on to find out.

Honda CB Shine SP (78)

How does it look and feel different from the older Shine?

On the first glance the Honda CB Shine SP appears to somewhat share the stance and profile with its forerunner. While the demeanour remains similar, the package is slightly different and there are plenty of details that distinguish the two machines. In the SP guise, the 125cc commuter is a tad more muscular but carries over the same outline.

Honda CB Shine SP fairing graphics

The headlight sits snug, wrapped by the minimal fairing and a carved visor on top, unlike the single piece case on the Honda Shine. The sharp fairing gets new graphics and gives the new CB Shine SP a relatively sportier look. The bike gets clear lens indicators flanking the bikini fairing along with orange side reflectors mounted transversely on the suspension forks.

Honda CB Shine SP instrument cluster on-off

Instrument Cluster when off and switched on

Moving ahead, the instrument cluster gets a few digital upgrades. The speedo remains an analogue unit while the fuel gauge, odo and trip meter are digital. The console gets only a single trip meter despite being a digital unit, unlike some other units in the segment which offer two trip-meters.  The speedometer also gets a maximum speed marking for each gear and indicates a believable 110 km/h for the top cog. Turn, high beam and neutral indicators are huddled on the right flank of the console. The console does not display time as found on some other Honda two-wheelers.

Honda CB Shine SP rear view mirror

The rear-view mirrors are carried over from the Shine and remain unaltered; we expected a body painted pair like the lower capacity Livo, but seems like Honda doesn’t want to take a chance with the conservative sensibilities of the Shine customer. The much-lamented-for-its-minimalism plastic switch gear remains the same as on  a whole bunch of other Honda motorcycles – it’s rugged, but boring.

Honda CB Shine SP Handlebar

Handlebar grips with switchgear – Right and left

Honda CB Shine SP Fuel tank decal and Honda emblem

In profile, Honda has tried to add some muscle to the bike by reshaping the fuel tank and adding a bit more bulge to it. The knee recesses get ever so mildly more chiselled while the area surrounding the fuel filler cap also gets some added meat to lend the SP some distinction over its vanilla sibling. While the new tank unit looks larger than the one on the CB Shine, it holds the same amount of fuel, that is 10.5 litres. The fuel reservoir retains the same unhinged removable cap.

Honda CB Shine SP Fuel cap

The metal parts on the new motorcycle are painted in a rich, deep, and well finished paint exuding quality.  The decals on the flanks of the tank are also new, though they don’t extend to the side panels on this version.

Honda CB Shine SP (56)

For the SP variant, the bike also gets reworked side panels in a two-tone finish; a light coloured piece extends from back of the tank to underneath the seat and gets paired with a black plastic panel with ‘HET’ branding. There’s also a small bit of faux honeycomb mesh treatment at the intersection of the two panels. The Athletic Blue Metallic, Rebel Red Metallic and Black colours get a dull, titanium finish panel while the Geny Grey Metallic and Pearl Amazing White get it in silver.

While the overall finish and the paint quality on the new bike is great, we aren’t too pleased with the quality of the black plastics, wherever employed.  The rear section of the bodywork is painted in body colour and receives the CB 125 Shine SP logo along with some graphics.

Honda CB Shine SP Rear section

The CB Shine SP branding on the tail section

Honda CB Shine SP grab rail

Textured Rubber finish on grab rails

The grab rails on the CB Shine SP get a texturized rubber finish that is very grippy, nice to touch, and feels better than the grab rails on a lot of other motorcycles. The tail-light on the CB Shine SP is chopped a bit and a new number plate light sits right below it.

Honda CB Shine SP Til lamp on

Tail lamp and rear turn indicators

Honda CB Shine SP Front 5 split-spoke wheel

The CB Shine SP rides on the new 5 split-spoke alloys with MRF Nylogrip Zapper-FS (80/100-18) on the front

Honda CB Shine SP (36)

5 split-spoke alloys with MRF Nylogrip Zapper-Y (80/100-18) on the rear

Honda CB Shine SP rear profile

Updated, slightly upswept exhaust canister

It also gets a new slightly upswept exhaust canister with a chrome garnish on the heat shield. The rear profile of the bike comprises of minimal drama, a bony 5-split spoke wheel with drum brake and a pair of spring loaded hydraulic suspension kit, with the springs painted in a contrasting red for some visual flair. On the left-side bike also features a closed chain drive and a new neatly designed saree guard.

Honda CB Shine SP redesigned saree guard

Even with the relatively more muscular look the CB Shine SP, as compared to the older model is still shorter in length and height. It measures 2007 mm in length, 762mm wide, 1085mm high and has a ground clearance of 160mm. It boasts one of the longest wheel base in its class at 1266 mm. The kerb weight of the bike is rated at 124 kgs (CBS Variant). The overall cosmetic upgrades have added some zing to the mundane looking CB Shine.

 

Honda CB Shine SP (3)

 

Engine and performance

The Honda CB Shine SP is powered by an air cooled, 4 stroke 125cc SI Advanced HET (Honda Eco Technology) engine and comes tied with a 5-speed transmission. The bike features the tried and tested single downtube frame with the engine as a load-bearing member.

Honda CB Shine SP (39)

The CB Shine DX which employs the same 125cc power plant coupled to a 4-speed gearbox left us craving for an extra gear, so the additional gear on the SP gets a thumbs up for the higher top speed, better cruising capability and efficiency on open stretches.  Apart from the aforementioned virtues, the five-speed transmission on the SP also manages to feel smoother than the four-speed unit on its less premium sibling.

Honda CB Shine SP (66)

The bike is quick with sharp throttle response and feels energetic on lower torque range. The Shine has always been credited with terrific low and medium range torque and the nameplate carries forth its legacy even in the SP guise. The relatively shorter gearing compliments the acceleration and provides a smooth gear climb. The SP feels quick off the line and offers tremendous low-rev tractability, even in relatively higher gears which is a great quality for a motorcycle to have for city use.

The bike sounds composed for most part of the rev range but tends to let some vibes filter in at the upper echelons of the engine speed. The gruff exhaust note of the CB Shine SP adds a bit more character to the bike over the tame nature of the vanilla Shine, but also takes away some bit of the smoothness in the bargain. The engine is refined enough, and stands tall when compared with the offerings from the lesser manufacturers, but doesn’t quite offer the buttery smoothness we have known Honda motorcycles for. The power and torque output figures from the engine remain the same as those of the CB Shine DX, and stand at  10.57bhp at 7500rpm and 10.3Nm at 5500rpm respectively.

Honda CB Shine SP (17)

Ergonomics

The ergonomics on the Shine SP remains the same as the Shine. With a soft cushioned seat and an erect riding posture due to the upright handlebar, the bike feels comfortable for short to medium distance rides. The telescopic front suspension and the red spring loaded hydraulic type at the rear do a decent job of absorbing the bumpy city roads. Even with two-up riding, with a particularly heavy mortal riding pillion, the bike never bottomed out. The peppy commuter helps you cut through the traffic with ease and without burning a lot of fuel. On casual riding the bike can easily achieve a 50 kmpl figure within the city and a reasonably better figure when ridden with a cautious right wrist on less crowded streets.

Honda CB Shine SP (51)

 Front disc brake set up from Nissin 

A Combi-Brake System (CBS) performs the braking duty on the bike. A Nissin 3-pot calliper disc brake sits on the front wheel while a drum unit is placed on the rear. The CBS tech employs both the brakes upon application for better grip and improved stopping distance and time. The CBS drops the anchors more confidently across the speed range, though those riding the bike with the tech for the first time need to practice caution as the experience can be slightly different as compared to conventional braking – it can be slightly unnerving if your are not aware of how the system works.

Honda CB Shine SP (70)

The Shine has earned a terrific reputation for its tough-as-nails cycle parts and resultantly, great reliability. The suspension and chassis on the motorcycle has always been well-sorted and has been honed a wee bit more on the SP. The handling, thus, is dependable for the class with easy manoeuvrability and a reassuring tendency to keep the line. Sure, it’s no scorcher, and its not meant to be – but for the purpose the SP is built for, it really, well, ‘shines’. The MRF Zapper rubber up front and at the rear hasn’t been known to be exceptional at doing what it does, but it;s also been known to do its job fairly well. The grip is sufficient and unless you wish to take the SP out for a relentless hooning session through the switchbacks, it won’t ever pop any surprises at you. Handling is solid and dependable for all intents and purposes in this class, with the suspension managing to walk the fine line between stiffness for composure and softness for comfort.

More details explained through images and captions

Honda CB Shine SP front

Sleek front profile of the Honda CB Shine SP

Honda CB Shine SP rear

Rear profile with updated bits – those tyres still look skinny and distort the visual appeal of the motorcycle somewhat

Honda CB Shine SP (2)

The digital display on the instrument cluster featuring trip, odo and fuel gauge. There’s only one trip meter here, though. 

Honda CB Shine SP (29)

Rider’s point of view

Honda CB Shine SP engine

Air Cooled, 4 Stroke 125cc SI Advanced HET (Honda Eco Technology) engine

Honda CB Shine SP gear shifter

Heel-and toe gear shifter retained, even for the new 5-speed gearbox

Honda CB Shine SP side reflectors

Side reflector on the suspension fork

Honda CB Shine SP Foot peg

The footpegs are positioned well

Honda CB Shine SP (40)

An iron hook to keep the clutch cable away from the cooling fins and the exhaust pipe

Honda CB Shine SP Colour options

Apart from the Athletic Blue Metallic the HOnda CB Shine SP is available in Black, Pearl Amazing White, Rebel Red Metallic and Geny Grey Metallic

What is SP?

Honda CB Shine SP Rear section

Before the launch there were rumours that the Honda CB Shine SP will be equipped with Honda’s ESP tech which is similar to the Hero MotoCorp’s i3S (idle start-stop system), but that never made it to the arsenal of the CB Shine SP. Interestingly, at the launch event Honda emphasized on the word ‘Special’ and said- “The youngsters of India recognise their ‘Special’ place in society. The new CB Shine SP helps them reflect the same ‘Special status’ and puts them a gear ahead of their peers.” So for now we can infer that the suffix does not translate into a unique advancement, but just reflects the claimed ‘Special’ quotient of the upgraded bike.

Honda CB Shine SP (96)

Should I buy it? 

The Honda CB Shine SP is a straightforward 125cc commuter targeted for the sensible buyer with a tinge of youthfulness. Honda could have replaced the Shine entirely with the SP, but the Shine is the single largest selling 125cc motorcycle model in the country right now, and Honda probably didn’t want to mend what’s not broke. The premium touches on the SP have refreshed it as a stylish bike for those who wish to have a good-looking ride with economical figures. It has a proven track record of great reliability and low after-sales cost. So if those are the qualities that you are looking for in the motorcycle that you buy next, the SP should make a lot of sense to you.

The Honda Shine SP is available in five colour schemes and rolls out in three variants, the Self-Drum-Alloy (Rs.59,900), Self-Disc-Alloy (Rs.62,400) and the CBS version (Rs.64,400). At those prices, given its track record and re-sale value, the Shine represents a lot of value. In its newest version, the Shine still is what it always was. Think of it as the replacement version, which it isn’t for most new versions in India aren’t. For those who wan’t the most modern version of this fabled bike, thus, the SP should be the natural choice.

Specifications

Engine

TypeAir Cooled, 4 Stroke, SI Engine
Cylinder Capacity124.73cc
Max Net Power7.88 kW @ 7500 rpm (10.57 bhp)
Max Net Torque10.3 Nm @ 5500 rpm
Bore52.4mm
Stroke57.8 mm
Compression Ratio9.2:1
Air Filter TypeViscous Paper Filter
Starting MethodKick & Electric Self Start

Frame & Suspension

Frame TypeSteel Diamond
Front SuspensionTelescopic Fork
Rear SuspensionSpring Loaded Hydraulic Type (Swing Arm)

Transmission

No Of Gears5 Speed
Gear pattern1-N-2-3-4-5

Body Dimensions

Length2007mm
Width762mm
Height1085mm
Wheel Base1266mm
Ground Clearance160mm
Kerb Weight124kg (CBS Variant)
Fuel tank capacity10.5 L

Electricals

Battery12V 3Ah
Head lamp12V 35/35W

Tyres & Brakes

Tyre Size (Front)80/100-18 Tyre
Tyre Size (Rear)80/100-18
Tyre Type (Front)Tubeless
Tyre Type (Rear)Tubeless
Brake (Front)Disc/Drum
Brake (Rear)Drum/CBS

 

Honda CB Shine SP engine
Honda CB Shine SP (29)
Honda CB Shine SP rear
Honda CB Shine SP front
Honda CB Shine SP (45)
Honda CB Shine SP (51)
Honda CB Shine SP (70)
Honda CB Shine SP (66)
Honda CB Shine SP (39)
Honda CB Shine SP (19)
Honda CB Shine SP (45)
Honda CB Shine SP (2)
Honda CB Shine SP (56)
Honda CB Shine SP (52)
Honda CB Shine SP (36)
Honda CB Shine SP (3)
Honda CB Shine SP tail lamp, indicators
Honda CB Shine SP single horn
Honda CB Shine SP rear view mirror
Honda CB Shine SP Rear section
Honda CB Shine SP rear profile
Honda CB Shine SP instrument cluster on-off
Honda CB Shine SP Handlebar
Honda CB Shine SP Fuel tap
Honda CB Shine SP Fuel tank decal
Honda CB Shine SP Fuel tank decal and Honda emblem
Honda CB Shine SP Fuel cap
Honda CB Shine SP Front fender
Honda CB Shine SP Front Disc brake
Honda CB Shine SP Front 5 split-spoke wheel
Honda CB Shine SP fairing graphics
Honda CB Shine SP engine
Honda CB Shine SP Closed chain drive
Honda CB Shine SP (52)
Honda CB Shine SP (51)

 

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