It’s a crowded segment but Honda’s Dream Neo shows promise as a value-for-money commuter bike, writes Omar Siddiqui
Honda is eager to make an impression in the 100-110cc commuter bike segment. It’s a crowded space and after launching the Dream Yuga here last year, the bike maker is looking to step up its efforts to capture more market space with the launch of the second offering in the segment — the Dream Neo. With this bike, Honda aims to reach out to a wider audience, roping in buyers from even rural India. Honda has even incorporated its fuel-saving Honda Eco Technology (HET) into the Dream Neo to add extra appeal.
At the front, the Neo’s bright enough headlight is housed in a bikini fairing. Tucked under its dark visor sits a twin-pod instruments bay, comprising a bold analogue speedometer and fuel level indicator, both of which are easy to read, but it misses out on a trip meter. Rear view mirrors work well and are neatly placed. Switchgear on the Dream Neo includes a handy pass-light flasher and a push-to-operate high-beam button. The Dream Neo’s front brake lever comes with a tapered flat profile towards its end that feels really nice, while the clutch lever remains rounded as is usual. A slender eight-litre fuel tank offers adequate thigh support but comes with a chrome fuel-filler lid that lacks any hinge — a basic convenience we quite missed.
Overall quality and fit and finish are exactly as expected from a Honda, and the Dream Neo feels very much like a well-built motorcycle.
The Dream Neo uses the same 109cc, four-stroke, HET-equipped engine as the Dream Yuga. The engine generates 8.25bhp of power at 7500rpm, while peak torque is 0.88kgm, coming in at 5500rpm. It provides strong low and mid-range performance, which helps to make riding in congested traffic less of a chore. The motor stays smooth and vibe-free at all times, even at high revs. The Dream Neo uses a four-speed gearbox that shifts in an all-up pattern via a heel-and-toe shifter. We would rather have seen a one-down, rest-up shift pattern on this bike, but gearshift quality is top notch, only requiring a light tap to select gears. Likewise, the clutch too felt good on this motorcycle, light and progressive.
The Dream Neo accelerated from rest to 60kph in 7.83 seconds on our test, going on to achieve a true top speed of 95kph.
Honda’s Dream Neo is held together by a single downtube, tubular steel frame with its engine working as a stressed member. There is telescopic fork suspension at the front and a set of adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers at rear, working with a rectangular swingarm. The Dream Neo seats its rider in an upright position, and is a comfortable motorcycle to pilot. The handlebars are positioned low and well within reach, as a well thought-out ergonomics triangle accommodates riders with ease. The riding saddle is visibly long and wide, and remains comfortable even after long rides in town or on the highway. The suspension works to impart good ride quality.
The welterweight Neo tips the scales at 105kg, making this a light handling bike. The Dream Neo steers with neutral feel and comes with grippy MRF tyres that help keep the bike stable around corners. The Dream Neo rides on 80/100 x 18inch tubeless tyres front and rear if you’ve opted for the alloy wheel equipped models.
Only the most frugal of motorcycles manage to nudge the sixties in India’s rigorous riding conditions, and the Dream Neo is pretty much up there. Tested during peak traffic hours in city, the little Honda returned us 57.2kpl, going on to deliver 59.8kpl on the highway.
The Neo is a good value-for-money proposition and should do decently as a commuting option.
Keywords: Honda Dream Neo