The Honda CB Unicorn Dazzler is a stylish bike with upmarket features

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India has a problem which its rivals would give an arm and a leg to have — unabated demand for its bikes and scooters. But customers are unhappy over long waiting periods. So the company has begun work on a new two-wheeler factory. It has also launched the upmarket and sporty CB Unicorn Dazzler, which should add more excitement to Honda showrooms that are already buzzing with the recently introduced CB Twister.

The Dazzler's profile and rear look similar to the Hero Honda Hunk. There are styling cues from Honda's top-of-the-line VFR 1200F, seen in its headlight and floating cowls. All the lower sections are black, including its smart engine cases, smoothly sculpted alloy footrest mounts and sleek silencer. The handlebar is black-powder-coated too. This new Honda gets digital instruments with an analogue rev counter dominating its face and an inset digital speedometer, odometer clock and fuel gauge. The Dazzler comes with freshly styled mirrors. The grips, switches and control levers all impart a Honda-typical high-quality feel. Bar end weights are standard. The fuel tank can hold 12 litres and comes with a smart filler lid. It looks massive as do the flank panels. A maintenance-free battery is standard.

The Dazzler comes with a bi-coloured seat and tail. Its chain is exposed and the bike sports 3D decals.

The CB Unicorn Dazzler packs the same high overall quality found on all Hondas and will be sold in gold, black, silver or red colour.

The Dazzler engine is similar to the Unicorn's — a single-cylinder, air-cooled, twin-valve unit that displaces an identical 149.1cc. There's a viscous air filter, and the new motorcycle complies with BS III norms. The bike gets a CV-type carburettor and uses a five-speed gearbox that shifts in a one-down, four-up pattern.

What's disappointing is that the Dazzler develops only 14bhp (at 8500rpm) of maximum power and 1.3kgm of torque at 6500rpm. While it's interesting to note both values are achieved at higher rpm than a Unicorn, which will make for more exciting power delivery, we fail to understand why Honda has been so conservative, not given the Dazzler a higher-capacity engine and more power.

The new bike comes with a diamond-type single downtube frame, holding onto its engine as a stressed member. Suspension is standard telescopic front forks, and a monoshock working with a rectangle section swingarm at the rear. The CB Unicorn Dazzler should be more entertaining to ride than the older Unicorn, with quicker, relatively nimble handling as it comes with a shorter 1328mm wheelbase and rides on 17-inch rims. Tubeless tyres are stock kit as is the welcome addition of disc brakes both in front and at the rear.

We are yet to ride a Dazzler but given Honda's reputation, we're confident this is going to be a refined, sweet-handling motorcycle. The Dazzler is stylish with upmarket features such as a digital instruments stack, monoshock, 17-inch tubeless tyres and disc brakes front and rear. But the enthusiast in us feels let down by this first glimpse. That's because we've enjoyed almost all this on the Unicorn for five years. True-blue bikers don't care for much other than performance and handling, and a mere bhp or so more than a Unicorn means little to them.

Honda should have made the Dazzler sportier and more aggressive.

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