Review of both the 125 cc Honda CBF Stunner (carbureted) and the Honda CBF Stunner PGM-Fi (fuel injected) models..
+ Good looks
+ Comfortable & Sporty ergonomics
+ Good handling
+ Smooth engine (fuel injected variant)
- Vibrations at high engine revs (carbureted variant)
- Pricy for a 125 cc
- The CB Unicorn Dazzler should have got this styling
The 125 cc CBF Stunner was the first motorcycle from HMSI (Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Ltd.) which proved that Honda was taking motorycle designs for India seriously. Just look at the products prior to the CBF Stunner i.e. the 150 cc Unicorn and the 125 cc Shine. Both the Unicorn & Shine were/are conservative in design to the point of being boring.
Therefore it was kind of a pleasant shock to see Honda launch the 125 cc CBF Stunner in 2008, it was as if HMSI wanted to prove a point to its detractors. Even harsh Honda critics like myelf (till then) had to appreciate the attempt HMSI had made in designing the new bike.
2008: Back in 2008, it definitely seemed that the new 125 cc Honda bike had a very good chance of making a big dent in the 150 cc category (read as the Pulsar 150 territory). After all it looked like a mini Karizma (thanks to its fixed half fairing) and being a 125 cc, it was expected to return decent fuel efficiency as well. There was no reason for anyone not to look at the CBF Stunner.
2011: I had read somewhere that the conservative Shine still continues to be the largest selling motorcycle from HMSI's portfolio in India..!!
What went wrong with the high hopes from the Honda CBF Stunner? I take a test ride of both the Carbureted and the Fuel Injected (PGM-Fi) variants..
Styling/Looks: Looks handsome and big for a "desi" 125 cc.
Without doubt the biggest calling card for the CBF Stunner is its "Karizma" inspired looks. The CBF Stunner was and still is the only 125 cc bike in India with a fixed half fairing. Unlike the other half faired bike in India (the Pulsar 220), the half fairing on the CBF Stunner is not a half baked job.
The CBF Stunner got a cosmetic upgrade in early 2010 which also included a Half Chain cover replacing the full cover of the earlier model. The 2010 CBF Stunner also got a engine shroud/belly pan and a tachometer on its instrument console.
The CBF Stunner PGM-Fi (Photo posted below) is almost identical to the 2010 CBF Stunner except with different set of stickers/color scheme, absence of a belly pan, engine finished in dull golden color and PGM-Fi branding on the side covers.
Ergonomics/Riding Stance: Sporty yet comfortable and much more involved than the 150 cc CB Unicorn Dazzler
Astride the CBF Stunner, one feels like one is riding a bigger bike. The riding stance is perfect, the rear set foot pegs give the involved "in with the bike" kind of feeling and the single piece handle bar is positioned at the perfect height. Not too high and not too low and just perfect for sporty urban street use.
The switch gear is a bit of a dissappointment as it has been borrowed straight from the 100/125 cc Hero Honda models like the Passion/Super Splendor. The right switchgear has just a simple self starter button. Like all Indian Honda/Hero Honda models, an Engine Kill switch has been omitted (even the Karizma does not get one)..!!
The carbureted CBF Stunner also gets its kick starter removed in its 2010 upgrade.
Clutch-Gearbox & Engine Performance: Perfect clucth and gearbox.
CBF Stunner PGM-Fi is a smooth operator. The carbureted CBF Stunner is not exactly smooth
The 11 bhp, 125 cc engine of the CBF Stunner is not exactly street scorcher but has got decent low and mid range grunt to easliy haul around two generous sized adults.
Engine smoothness is a quality which is almost "blindly" associated with any Honda product in India. I have lost the number of count i must have heard, "Oh its a Honda, the engine will be smooth..!!"
And it definitely is true for the fuel injected CBF Stunner. The engine remains smooth even when revved hard. As the fuel injected Stunner does not have a tachometer, I could not make out how much I revved the enigne. But the engine retained its composure even at speeds of 85-90 kmph (Speedo indicated) in top gear.
But the engine of the carbureted CBF Stunner has a different character. Things remains "Honda smooth" till about 5000 rpms (yes, the carbureted CBF Stunner comes with a tachometer). But when one reaches 5000 rpm, engine vibrations seem to creep in. And when one reaches 6000 rpm the engine vibrations become annoying and one doesn't enoy revving the carbureted engine as much as on the Fuel injected one.
The clutch and the 5 speed gearbox is perfect and there is nothing to complain about it.
Handling & Braking: Stable & neutral
The CBF Stunner rides and handles like a big 150 cc bike. It takes corners with poise and has got confidence inspiring handling. The front disc brakes makes short work of stopping the bike in terms of emergency.
Price: Bit costly for a 125 cc bike in India.. especially the PGM-Fi variant
CBF Stunner (Self start + Front Disc): Rs. 54,500 (Ex-Showroom Delhi)
CBF Stunner PGM-Fi (Self start + Front Disc): Rs. 65,800 (Ex-Showroom Delhi)
[Pulsar 150 Ex-Showroon Delhi Price: Rs 62,100
Pulsar 135LS Ex-Showroon Delhi Price: Rs. 53,000]
Fuel Efficiency: Not checked for obvious reasons but I expect at least around 50-55 kmpl
Verdict: I was impressed with the Honda CBF Stunner. But the problem is that I was impressed with the fuel injected PGM-Fi variant. And honestly the price tag on that variant is too much of a stretch for a 125 cc bike.
Why did the CBF Stunner not yet become the highest selling motorcycle for Honda India? I can't tell for sure. Maybe its the high price, maybe its the lack of 150 cc equalling grunt. Whatever might be the real reason, it just goes to show that predicting the Indian customer is really a tough nut to crack.
But maybe.. just maybe HMSI might have missed an opportunity here by not putting the perky 150 cc engine of the CB Unicorn Dazzler on the body of the CBF Stunner.
Honda CBF Stunner, Technical Specifications:
Engine type: 4 stroke, Air cooled OHC single cylinder
Max power: 11bhp @ 8000rpm
Max Torque: 11Nm @ 6500rpm
Starting system: Self only (2008-09 edition had both Kick and Self Start)
Gear shift pattern: 1 Down - up
Headlamp: 35/35W 12V Halogen
Battery: 12V Maintenance Free
Front suspension: Telescopic hydraulic fork
Rear suspension: 3 step spring loaded hydraulic shock absorber with rectangular box type swing arm
Front tyre: 80/100-17 46p (tubeless)
Rear tyre: 100/90-17 55p (tubeless)
Front brake: 130mm drum (optional 240mm disc)
Rear brake: 130mm drum brake
Ground Clearance: 173mm
Fuel tank capacity: 10 liters (2 liter reserve)
Kerb weight: 128kgs (2008-09 edition had a keb weight of 129kgs)
Honda CBF Stunner: Photos (Credits: Overdrive)
- 2010 Honda CBF Stunner (upgrade launched) Details, Price, Colors
- Honda CB Unicorn Dazzler Review
- Honda CB Twister Review
- Bajaj Pulsar 135LS Review
This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.