The CB200X is based on the Hornet 2.0 but how adventurous is it, really?

Honda is known for reliable and conventional motorcycles. The Navi was definitely an exception but the rest of the lot is functional which rather works in the Japanese manufacturer’s favour. However, with the world going gaga over ADVs, Honda has decided to go unconventional again with the launch of the new CB200X. It’s based on the Hornet 2.0 but Honda also seems to have looked at the CB500X for inspiration hence the similar styled fairing and knuckle guards. The question is, is it really an ADV or just a semi-faired version of the Hornet 2.0.


Mini ADV?

Let's start by answering one question straight away. The Honda CB200X is not a mini adventure motorcycle. Even Honda agrees. The CB200X’s updates over the Hornet 2.0 go a step beyond cosmetic but stop short of the powertrain and underpinnings. It gets an ADV- inspired fairing, knuckle guards, raised handlebars, revised seat, aggressive-profile tyres all of which adds an additional five kilos of mass over the Hornet 2.0. However, it retains the same 184.4cc powertrain, suspension and even the 17-inch wheels at both ends. Whatever be the case, the Honda CB200X is one good looking motorcycle. The large fairing sits cohesively into the existing Hornet 2.0 bodywork. It gets neatly designed turn indicators that are integrated into the knuckle guards. 

As expected from a Honda, fit and finish levels are top-notch. That said, the CB200X disappoints with its lack of features. Considering that even 125cc scooters and motorcycles now come with Bluetooth connectivity and app-based navigation, the lack of these features in a premium motorcycle like the CB200X is painfully obvious. It does not get basic features like a side-stand engine cutoff switch even. 


Urban jungle ready

The ADV styling might be more of a style statement but definitely helps you survive the urban jungle better even more so if you live in a city infested with potholes. Now, the Hornet 2.0 derived Showa upside-down forks and monoshock work brilliantly at city speeds, save for the largest potholes. Thanks to the taller handlebar, you can simply stand-up and ride comfortably over the potholes. Despite the five kilos weight gain over the Hornet 2.0's 142kg kerb weight, the CB200X is rather nimble. The wider handlebar also allows for more leverage in corners. The flyscreen deflects winds away from your face although the 184cc motor is rather lethargic for high speed runs anyway. Another highlight are the MRF Kurve tyres. They feature a more aggressive, almost dual-purpose like tread pattern which offers fantastic grip over soaking wet and poorly surfaced roads. 


City slicker

The Hornet 2.0's motor is rather impressive in urban conditions and the CB200X, surprisingly, is no different. Its 184.4cc air-cooled motor pushes out 17.3PS and 16.1Nm and with its short gearing, makes staying ahead of traffic an effortless affair. Even the light clutch helps make life easier though the gear shifts are not as slick as you would expect from a Honda. Out on the highway, the short gearing forces you to run higher revs. It does get to 100kmph eventually but the lack of sixth gear doesn't really make it comfortable. As you go up the rev range, a mild buzz can be felt through the foot pegs which is rather uncharacteristic for a Honda.


Highway manners?

The higher set handlebar now offers a more upright riding stance but the rearset footpegs are carried over so your upper body is relaxed but your legs feel cramped. It isn't much of an issue in the city but can be a bother on longer highway rides. It's a shame because the seat is even better than the plush seat that we have come to love on the Hornet 2.0. Honda has added more cushioning and made it slightly wider. Despite the taller 810mm seat height, it is still as manageable as the Hornet 2.0 thanks to it being narrower at the front. With the added weight of the fairing, the CB200X feels even more planted at highway speeds. Despite being a premium offering, the CB200X like its naked sibling, still does not get dual-channel ABS. That said, the single-channel ABS setup did not have us complaining either. The brakes have a strong and progressive bite with good feedback from the lever.


How good is it at off-roading? 

As aforementioned, the CB200X is not an ADV but the taller ‘bars and MRF Kurves definitely allow for mild soft-roading. It is not in the league of the Hero XPulse 200 when it comes to traversing the rough stuff but the lightweight chassis (147kg kerb) definitely helps its case.


A worthy buy?

The Honda CB200X looks fantastic and will grab more eyeballs than the Hornet 2.0 and if that's your criteria, stop reading and head to the nearest Honda dealership. However, it’s a lost opportunity for the CB200X could've been packaged a lot better to make it a functional ADV rather than just a faired version of the Hornet 2.0. The addition of longer travel suspension and dual-purpose tyres could have made it a more civilised alternative to the Hero XPulse 200 but as of now the CB200X feels stuck in no-man's land. At Rs 1.45 lakh (ex-showroom), it is more expensive by Rs 13,000 than the Hornet 2.0 without bringing in a lot of functional value to the table. The Xpulse 200 is your only choice if you want an ADV and it even saves you more than 20,000 rupees. Need we say more?

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