Honda CB200X: First Ride Review

Published On Sep 25, 2021 By Pratik Bhanushali for Honda CB200X

Is the CB200X a proper ADV or just a Hornet 2.0 with an ADV fairing?

Adventure motorcycles have steadily been gaining popularity in India, and we’ve seen many manufacturers take on this segment in the past few years, at least with their larger capacity motorcycles. Sadly, we haven’t had too many small-capacity options here, except for the Royal Enfield Himalayan and the Hero XPulse 200. Now, though, Honda has launched the CB200X, which certainly has the appearance of an ADV, though the brand prefers to call it an ‘urban explorer’. So we rode the bike around town, put it through its paces in the pouring rain and here’s what we found out. 

Pros

  • Unmistakably stylish looks.
  • Nimble handling makes it a delight around town.
  • Comfortable ergonomics and a relaxed riding position. 

Cons

  • No extra features despite the significant premium you’ll pay over the Hornet 2.0
  • Rear suspension feels quite stiff over sharp bumps. 
  • The plastic quality feels a little cheap. 

Stand-Out Features

  • Peppy engine makes moving through traffic a breeze. 
  • Impressive braking feel and stability. 
  • Smooth gearshifts paired with a light clutch action. 

Design

  • The half-fairing makes it look like a much bigger bike. 
  • The LED headlight and the overall styling is the same as the Hornet 2.0, and we aren’t complaining. 
  • The turn indicators integrated into the knuckle guards look good, but are likely to easily break in case of an impact.
  • The smoked finish on the windscreen goes well with the overall colour of the bike.
  • The only other 200cc rugged motorcycle is the Hero XPulse 200 which looks quite slim compared to the CB200X’s muscular appearance.  

Ergonomics

  • The Honda CB200X has an upright riding position, like most ADVs.
  • Its wide and forward-set handlebar and mid-positioned footpegs make for a relaxed posture. 
  • The seat is narrow in the middle and has a saddle height of 810mm.So even most average-sized riders can easily flat-foot the bike.
  • Both the rider and pillion seat offer enough room to move around.
  • Better cushioning will be needed if you’re planning for long rides.

Technology & Features

  • Honda has equipped the CB200X with the same negative LCD console as the Hornet 2.0.
  • It gets a tachometer, odometer, speedometer, gear position indicator, clock, battery voltmeter, trip meter and a service due indicator. The display itself has five adjustable levels of brightness, which is a nice touch.
  • The switch cubes are easily reachable but the quality feels cheap. 
  • The hazard switch comes off as an afterthought, as it offers little to no feedback when you activate the hazard lights. 
  • It only gets single-channel ABS. To be honest, at this price point, we would’ve expected dual-channel ABS to be standard. 
  • While the console does have a side stand indicator, an engine cut-off sensor should ideally have been offered as well. 

Engine & Performance

  • The 184.4cc air-cooled engine is very peppy and revs happily.
  • There’s enough grunt at low revs so that you don’t need to work the gearbox continuously during city commutes. It will happily zip along at low speeds in high gears.
  • Overall, the engine is quite tractable and has a healthy mid-range, so overtaking in traffic won’t require too much effort on the rider’s part. 
  • It feels comfortable cruising at speeds of up to 90kmph, post which some vibes creep in from the handlebar and the fuel tank. 

Ride & Handling

  • The CB200X weighs in at 147kg, about 5kg more than the Hornet 2.0,  but still manages to feel quite light on its feet. You don’t even feel the weight when taking U-turns. 
  • It’s agility is a real boon in city traffic, and we really enjoyed our time on it in the urban jungle. 
  • The monoshock is quite stiff, which is evident when riding on bad roads. While most regular bumps and undulations are handled without too much fuss, the sharp ones end up transferring to the rider and may even toss them off the seat.
  • Even though the ground clearance isn’t particularly high, the belly didn’t scrape even once on bad patches or speed breakers. 
  • Braking on the CB200X is commendable with adequate bite and lever feedback with minimal ABS intrusion under hard braking. However, since it only gets single-channel ABS, the rear wheel may lock up when you push really hard. 

Verdict

While it’s no true ADV, the Honda CB200X makes for a brilliant daily rider within the city and it can even handle the occasional weekend jaunt with ease. Our main complaint about it, though, is its price tag. At Rs 1,44,500 (ex-showroom, Delhi) or around Rs 13,000 more than the Hornet 2.0, you only get a new fairing and a slightly altered handlebar, which in our opinion isn’t a good bargain. So the only reasons you’d want to get the CB200X over the regular Hornet is if you really like the way it looks, and don’t mind paying the premium for its aesthetics. But for those even remotely interested in actual adventure riding, our recommendation would still be the Hero XPulse 200, which costs Rs 1,23,150 (ex-showroom, Delhi) and offers not only better touring elements but onboard navigation as well. 

Honda CB200X

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Honda CB200X STD (Petrol)Rs. 1,44,500*

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