The bike you see in the images is the second model that is being sold in Honda Motorcycle and Scooter’s (HMSI) Dream range of entry level geared motorcycles. Christened as the Dream Neo, this bike is also the least priced motorcycle from HMSI.
With the addition of the Dream Neo, the bike maker now boasts of an assortment of as many as three 110cc geared motorcycles, all of which are significantly different from each other. Hence, all the three of these bikes have a different target audience set for them- While the CB-Twister is aimed at the style conscious and the Dream Yuga is for the proverbial “family man”, the new Dream Neo targets those who are in the market for a bare-basic commuter, which is adept with stretching a litre of petrol to a few kilometres extra. The Dream Neo does just that, and then some.
The new Honda Dream Neo’s claim to fame is the new Honda Eco Technology (HET). It may be noted that the Dream Neo is the first geared motorcycle from Honda to be bestowed with this highly publicized technology.
However, Motoroids have always believed that there is much more to a bike than just its fuel efficiency, regardless of which segment the bike operates in. For this very reason, we decided to take the Neo through a scrupulous tasting regime and spent more than a fortnight riding the latest commuter from Honda in varying road and traffic conditions.
True to our believes, we got to learn that there is much more to the Dream Neo than its thriftiness. Following is a detailed report on our experience with the latest commuter from HMSI.
Looks and Ergonomics
The Honda Dream Neo boasts of a styling that is as simple and uncluttered as that of majority of entry level commuter bikes out there. One look at this motorcycle, and words like Functional and Clean are quick to come to your mind. However, endowing the bike with a hint of premium-ness is a set of black painted alloy wheels and a bikini fairing that reminds us of the one on some of the larger Honda commuter motorcycles.
The clear lens headlamp and the rather modest bikini fairing, which has a hint of the one seen on the Shine, along with black painted front forks, help in imparting that “big bike” touch to the Neo’s front end. In profile, the bike is adorned with quite some decals and bits like the black six spoke alloy wheels and black painted engine and exhaust pipe (only on top end variant) keep the bike from looking bland.
Worth mentioning here is that the bike comes with an “interesting-looking” saree guard, which has a lot of plastic content. Do you like it? We have kind of mixed feelings for it.
The rear end is where the styling becomes somewhat mundane. The chunky looking taillight, along with amber lens trafficators and a basic grab rail, don’t really excite us and the rear end styling of the Neo is a bit too ordinary to give it a distinct identity in the crowd of commuter motorcycles we have out there.
Once astride, you are quick to notice the fairly simple instrument cluster, which boasts of an analogue speedo and a fuel-gauge. While the Neo’s instruments doesn’t have any digital display or fancy backlighting to flaunt, we have nothing but appreciation for the legible fonts the instrumentation has. The switchgear, in a typical Honda manner, is highly functional (thanks to bits like a pass-light switch) and scores high on ergonomics.
The Dream Neo, like most other commuter end bikes, gets a non-aircraft type fuel filler cap and we hope the day soon arrives when bike makers start bestowing their entry level models with aircraft-type filler caps. (Definitely not asking for much. Is it?) The handlebar grips have just the right amount of softness on offer and the rider sits very upright, on an almost flat seat.
We really can’t complain here for the Dream Neo is definitely not for those who are used to riding the R15s and the CBRs of this world. Instead, the Dream Neo is for an average joe, who has to deal with everything from high traffic to poor road conditions and long intra city commutes. And the Dream Neo further impresses in this department with its well cushioned seat and a light weight of just 105 kgs.
Overall, the Dream Neo, which is a not so distant cousin of the CB-Twister, has not even the slightest of flamboyance to speak of. However, the Dream Neo looks at least as new-age as any other entry level commuter motorcycle out there. (Be ready to shell out a lot more if you can’t live without the funky looks that the Twister offers). On the ergonomics front, the Dream Neo, like all entry level bikes from Honda, does really well for itself by providing a riding posture that would suit a typical commuter. We undestamd that the Dream Neo isn’t for those who have a thing or two for playing Nickey Hayden and hence, it would be totally illilogical of us to deduct points for a non-sporty riding position.
Engine and Gearbox
The new Honda Dream Neo entry level commuter motorcycle is powered by the same 109cc, single cylinder, air cooled engine that powers the Dream Yuga. For the Dream Neo, this engine comes loaded with HET and is mated to a four speed gearbox with an all-up shift pattern. The motor has a max power of 8.2 bhp and has a peak torque of 0.88 kgm. We managed to extract a little north of 62 kmpl from this Honda during the time it was with us (the same time during which it was subjected to regular ripping). Not at all bad, considering that the fuel economy of low displacement bikes take quite a big hit the moment they come in the hands of us ‘power-hungry’ blokes. During normal riding conditions, safely expect the bike to offer in the vicinity of 68kmpl.
The bike has a strong pick up (for a commuter) right from first gear and while there is no Honda Shine 125 like urgency, the bike is sufficiently potent to quickly reach city speeds. As must be evident to you by now, linear is the best word to describe the torque spread in low and mid revs. However, as we discovered during the Pune-Mumbai highway jaunt, the Dream Neo lets the rider clearly known that it is not the best bike to go highway touring on. Nothing surprising here, for commuter bikes have never been tuned to offer stellar performance at the top end of rev range.
As we have been saying, the Neo’s engine has been tuned strictly for city speeds. Not a bad thing, considering that a juicy top-end would be among the last things in the minds of Neo’s target audience. In second gear, the bike pulls quite cleanly from as low as zero kmph and the engine doesn’t feel stressed even at 50kmph. Definitely a boon for commuters, who can really do away with having to time and again shift gears. Not that they would mind shifting between the cogs of the Neo, for this bike’s gearbox offers smooth and re-assuring shifts. Overall, the engine and gearbox of the Dream Neo leave little else to be desired (get yourself a CBR250R if highway touring is what tickles your taste buds).
Engine and Gearbox- 4/5
Ride, Handling and Braking
Akin to most other commuter bikes, the Honda Dream Neo is built on a single downtube tubular chassis and employs telescopic forks at front and conventional twin ‘non-gas charged’ shock absorbers at the rear.
Talking about the ride quality, the suspension offers a ride quality which is decent enough on most surfaces that the bike encounters inside the city. However, you would wish for a tad more softness when the bike deals with some of the ‘mindlessly constructed‘ speedhumps and sharp irregularities. Overall though, the ride quality this bike offers is sufficiently decent and only those who have been looking for the proverbial “magic carpat” ride might be left disappointed.
The Dream Neo handles pretty well for an entry level bike and a kerb weight of just 105 kgs, along with a neutral suspension setup, makes the bike immensely flick-able. As we discovered, cutting through the slow traffic is almost effortless on this bike and this is something that will be appreciated by Neo’s target audience.
Wide (again, only for its segment) MRF tubeless tyres ensure that you would never want to wish for more grip. Like we said earlier, everything remains pleasing as long as you don’t have a craving to go apex hunting.
The Honda Dream Neo is endowed with 130mm drum brakes setup on both the ends and a front disc brake is not even available as an option on any of the variants. You would surely wish for more bite if you are used to disc brakes but otherwise, the brakes on the Neo are sufficiently effective to haul down the bike from even speeds north of 60kmph. ( But we would still love to have a front disc brake, thank you)
Ride, Handling and Braking – 3/5
The Honda Dream Neo comes across as an honest attempt by HMSI to attract the customers in the entry level commuter segment. With a starting price of approx INR 44,000, the Dream Neo is definitely among the ‘more wise options’ in its segment.
Equipped with alloy wheels, electric start, tubeless tyres and that 10cc of extra displacement, the new Honda Dream Neo seems to have all the right ingredients to become the next big thing in commuter-class motorcycling. True, it is not the best choice for high speed highway blasts (as we discovered during our little highway jaunt) and nor is it much fun in the ghats but then, you won’t really want to subject a really down to earth motorcycle, such as this bike here, to all the above. If you are in the market for an entry level commuter, the new Dream Neo definitely makes quite a case for itself, especially if you consider that a couple of Dream Neo’s rivals come equipped with an engine that is more than two decades old now!
Without beating around the bush any longer, it would be appropriate to say that for those looking for a fuel efficient, reliable and sufficiently comfortable mode of intra city transport, the Honda Dream Neo is probably just what the doctor has ordered.
Go to next page for Honda Dream Neo 110 image gallery
Honda Dream Neo Specifications
- Engine Type- Single-cylinder, air-cooled, four stroke
- Engine Displacement- 109cc
- Power- 8.2bhp @ 7500rpm
- Torque- 0.88kgm @ 5500rpm
- Transmission- 4 speed manual
- Length- 2009mm
- Width- 737mm
- Height- 1074mm
- Wheel base- 1258mm
- Wheels- 6-spoke alloy wheels
- Tyres- 80/100 x 18 inches (front); 110/80 x 18 inches (rear)
- Suspension- Telescopic forks (front); Twin-hydraulic shocks (rear)
- Brakes- Front 130mm drum; Rear 130mm drum