Honda Dream Neo Road Test Review: An Ideal Commuter for Common Indian
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The pros: Well cushioned comfortable seat, smooth engine and light clutch, lightweight and easy to maneuver.
The cons: Suspension fails to gobble up bigger potholes, new angular rear view mirrors aren't practical and limit the visibility.
The crux: A perfect commuter, the design is practical and utility oriented, engine is refined, frugal and it allows you to keep enthusiasm till 70 kmph mark.
The 100-110cc mass commuter segment holds 50 percent of the Indian two-wheeler industry and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), which is eyeing the No.1 position by 2015-16 knows that the path of success goes through the mass commuter 100-110cc bikes. With this Dream Honda launched its ambitious Dream Yuga, which was the first bike of the Dream Series.
The bike is quite popular among youth and young professionals. Recently, the manufacturer launched another bike in the segment called Dream Neo to cater a different group of buyers.
With its mature styling and claimed mileage of 74kmpl, the Dream Neo is aimed to lure buyers of age 30-40 years, who need an affordable daily commuter. We recently rode this commuter in heavy Delhi traffic to know how good commuter is it?
The Dream Neo features very basic and mature utility oriented design. The diamond shape headlight with bikini fairing gives it a distinguish identity, while the V shape design of the headlight helps in proper illumination. The sleek and simple 8-litre fuel tank comes with a hinge less cap, which merges well with the rest of the design.
The dual tone graphics with the Honda moniker on the tank looks good and adds to its mature styling. We like the well designed side and rear panel, the side panel also features the same dual tone graphics, while the rear panel has a golden 'Dream Neo' sticker on it.
The big and clear tail lamp is more practical and at the same time looks good. The bike comes with an all black paint scheme with engine, exhaust, wheels and chassis. The quality and fit-finish is top notch, something that we all expect from Honda. On the whole, we like the mature and practical design of the bike.
Switch Gear and Ergonomics:
The Dream Neo comes with Honda's typical switch gear with almost everything at the left side comprising of light switch, horn, high/low beam switch and pass light switch, while the ignition switch is on the right side.
The Dream Neo comes with a simple two dial instrument cluster, one dial shows the speedo and odometer, while the other has the fuel gauge and other tell tale lights. It comes with a long well cushioned seat with a commuter friendly, upright and comfortable seating posture, which provides its rider a well calculated ergonomic triangle.
We liked all these things, but there are also things we didn't like, including the old fashioned tubular grab rail, it doesn't provide enough grip and a aluminium bar would have been welcomed. The other thing that we didn't like is the new angular rear view mirrors, which look good but aren't practical and limit the visibility.
Engine and Performance:
I am an enthusiast and like the engines which build power and gives you adrenalin rush. But once I get in the boots of a daily commuter, I prefer an engine, which is smooth and helps me tackle the traffic with ease and that is why I loved the Dream Neo's HET enabled, four-stroke, 109cc, air-cooled and single-cylinder engine.
This 109cc motor churns out a maximum power output of 8.25bhp at 7500rpm. The power is transferred through a four-speed gearbox. It has an all up pattern and uses the heel-and-toe shifter to shift the gears. The clutch is light and transmission is utterly smooth. Its linear power delivery and low end performance makes it an easy motorcycle to ride through the busy streets.
The engine starts to pull early and you don't have to put efforts to reach the 70kmph mark. The under square layout of this 109cc motor helps it produce sufficient torque at low revs and perform well in stop and go traffic. The USP of the engine is its smoothness and well defined gear ratios. The bike is very frugal and returned an overall fuel economy of 69kmph, which is quite impressive.
Ride and Handling:
Indian roads are getting worse with increasing traffic and riding is getting even more difficult, I was in a jam in Delhi for almost three hours for some 20 KMs. The jam was exhausting but things were little easy with my test bike and I felt that the Dream Neo can sail through any jam. The Dream Neo uses a single downtube tubular frame, which uses its engine as a stressed member, with telescopic front forks and hydraulic rear shock absorbers. The suspension works fine and absorbs most pot holes except the bigger ones.
With 105kg kerb weight, maneuverability is quite easy and you don't need to put efforts. It uses a sturdy rectangular section swingarm, which makes it stable on almost all speeds. I like its point and shoot nature, the tiny proportions allows you to sail through all the traffic like anything, you just have to point a gap and Neo will get through it. With a smaller turning radius, no angle seems weird. The light handle with light steering movement is also a plus here.
The Dream Neo comes with 18-inch 6-spoke alloy wheels, with 80/100 MRF tubeless tyres (The base variant comes with wire-spoke wheels and tuff-up tube tyres). These tyres provide better grip in both wet and dry conditions. It comes with 130mm drum brakes at both ends and braking is adequate and you can halt the vehicle effectively. I personally became a fan of its light and nimble handling and the way it rides.
India is an emerging economy and a large portion of its population comes from working class and farmers. These people actually are the target group for many industries in the country, so as the two-wheeler industry. In India, motorcycles are more of a need than a fun to ride machine. An average Indian uses it for all his commuting; therefore, he wants more practicality and durability in his ride than style. The Dream Neo has everything that an average Indian wants, the design is practical and utility oriented, engine is refined, frugal and it allows you to keep enthusiasm till 70kmph mark. With an ex-showroom price of Rs. 43,150 (Delhi) and mileage near to 70kmpl, this bike is affordable too. So, if you are looking for a 100-110cc bike, we strongly recommend the Dream Neo.