The Stunner has done away with the kickstarter and deploys a maintenance-free battery to power thumb-operated engine starts

There's no disputing fuel injection as a superior technology over the carburettor but the mileage-sensitive Indian market has most bike-makers today producing carburetted motorcycles that have such an evolved state of tune as to offer both the performance and economy of a fuel-injected clone. This while maintaining a competitive price point. Given the situation, does the new fuel-injected Honda CBF Stunner FI justify its premium price to prove its superiority?

With just a few visual changes to the CBF stunner FI, this Honda remains a substantial motorcycle within its league with styling right up there with the best. Black finish is liberally used while neat alloy rims maintain a contemporary air. The bike gets a powerful headlight with a well-spread beam, and is set within the familiar, dart-shaped front fairing that stretches back into the fuel tank region.

Handlebar-mounted controls such as nice switches, clutch and brake levers and soft grips remain unchanged. The only addition to the fuel-injected Stunner variant being the bar end weights. The instrument bay gets a new malfunction indicator icon but the rest of the fascia is the same with a bold-looking speedometer and fuel gauge set prominently. Although the Stunner FI misses a tachometer, this bike does deploy a trip counter in addition to an odometer.

This Stunner retains the familiar, muscular and voluminous fuel tank, which is a visual treat and provides the right support to a rider's inner thigh region.

The new bike gets marginally altered graphics with a golden treatment now visible on its engine casing. While the stylish side panels get three-dimensional PGM-FI decals, a smartly split riding saddle adds a sporty touch as do coloured suspension springs and a newly exposed drive chain. Alloy footrest mounts are standard kit as is a tyre hugger at the rear. The tail fairing section is tall with the brake warning light itself a simple, yet tasteful bit.

There's good quality all round, immaculate paint lustre and perfect fit-and-finish, just as can be expected from any motorcycle branded with the famous winged logo.

The CBF Stunner FI has done away with its kickstarter, with the new model deploying a maintenance-free (MF) battery to power thumb-operated engine starts. It's still an air-cooled, four-stroke engine with a single cylinder displacing 124.7cc. The difference is the adoption of fuel injection technology to replace the carburettor, with Honda's proven PGM-FI system working well to feed the engine just the perfect blend of air-fuel mixture in any given condition, at every engine speed. An ECU controls the operation after reading data sent in by a bank of eight sensors including oil and oxygen details.

The Stunner FI also provides a bank angle sensor calibrated to safely cut fuel supply and prevent a fire if the bike tips beyond a predetermined angle. Compression ratio is now 9.2:1 while the engine maintains its original bore and stroke of 52.4mm x 57.86mm.

The air filter is a viscous unit. And peak power is up a morsel to the older model, with 11.6bhp built up at 8000rpm. The Stunner FI outputs 1.14kgm of torque at 6250rpm.

The Stunner FI's five-speed gearbox shifts with good feel in a one-down and four-up pattern. Its clutch is light, feeling spot-on for repetitive city operation; all the gear ratios remain unchanged from the carburetted bike and just as properly suited to slow-moving Indian city traffic as always. Maximum speeds in each gear are up now, thanks to the engine revving slightly higher than before.

The Stunner FI goes one up on the original Stunner with fuel injection supporting easy cold starts and a clean power delivery. The power band is nice and wide and the fuel-injected engine feels a bit buzzy at really high rpm, with some vibes finding their way from the seat and footrests through to the rider. The CBF Stunner FI is quicker than its predecessor from zero to 60kph, taking 6.36 seconds for this sprint, on its way to a top speed of 106kph flat-out in top gear.

Not much has changed in this department as the CBF Stunner FI uses the same single downtube frame, telescopic front forks and dual hydraulic suspension with a rectangular swingarm set-up as the original Stunner. The frame deploys its engine as a stressed member and uses 17-inch tyres both at the front and rear.

The Stunner seat is well-padded, with a riding stance that moulds the rider into a slightly weight-forward, still-comfortable posture. Its low handlebar is complemented by slightly rear-set footpegs, which make for a sporty feel that doesn't intrude unduly on comfort. Ride quality is a nice blend of plush and stiff, with the bike handling in a light, nimble fashion and always displaying solid stability.

The brakes - a 240mm disc in front and 130mm drum rear - are reassuring as well. Our best stop from 60kph to rest took 19.07 metres which, we are sure, could have improved if this bike had better tyres.

The Stunner with fuel injection comes with a 13-litre fuel reservoir and has become slightly more frugal than it already was. Our testing in real-world city conditions saw the FI model return 57.2kpl, up 3kpl on the original, with 58.2kpl possible on the highway.

Verdict

The Stunner FI comes with class-leading style, great quality, a willing and frugal engine, superb riding position and nifty handling. While fuel injection is unquestionably the right way forward, there is little a manufacturer can do about absorbing the technology's extra cost and providing end users with a motorcycle that's available at the same cost as its carbureted rivals.

TECHNICAL DATA

Engine

Layout Single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke

Displacement 124.7cc

Max power 11.6bhp at 8000rpm

Max torque 1.14kgm at 6250rpm

Specific output 93bhp per litre

Power

Power to weight 90.6bhp per tonne

Bore/stroke 52.4/ 57.86mm

Compression ratio 9.2: 1

Ignition and fuel CDI, fuel-injection

Gearbox Type

5-speed, 1-down-4-up Suspension

Front Telescopic forks

Rear Hydraulic shocks, rectangular swingarm

Wheels & tyres

Made of 6-spoke alloy

Wheel size (f-r) 17 inches

Tyre size (f-r) 80/100 x 17–100/90 x 17 inches

Brakes

Front 240mm disc

Rear 130mm drum