METRO PLUS

Honda Shines again



Honda introduces an upgraded Shine for 2007

In just over a year, Hero Honda has introduced an upgraded model of its 125cc Shine — the first model was launched in April 2006. In India, motorcycle models are upgraded at short intervals in order to survive and thrive in a severely competitive market. Therefore, it is only natural that Honda would introduce an upgraded Shine for 2007.

Plus and minus

The enhancements on the bike are not too obvious or glaring and much of the old bike’s flavour has been retained – cosmetic tweaks constitute most of the changes. The addition of smart-looking black alloy rims complemented by marginally altered graphics on the 2007 Shine are welcome features and most appreciated, as these weren’t available on the earlier bike. Body panels, instruments, switches, grips and levers remain unchanged and the starter button for the vehicle seems tacky and poorly placed.

On the upside, the older tube metal grab handle is replaced by a new and attractive alloy unit that sits just behind the pillion seat. The Shine does well to offer a fuel gauge, in addition to the usual warning lights and a large and easily read speedometer. Grips used are in top-notch quality, while the same praise can also be lavished on the bike’s clutch and front brake levers. The engine Honda decided to use for the new Shine is identical to the one found on the older bike; a wise and sound decision on Honda’s part. It wasn’t necessary to change or tamper the trusty and proven engine and riding the bike only further asserts the efficiency of the Shine’s 124.7cc engine. It is just as smooth as earlier, thoroughly well-behaved with its four well-spaced gear ratios perfectly matched to the bike’s light and precise clutch. Gearshifting is a slick affair, with an all-up-shift-pattern that is operated by a conventional heel-and-toe lever.

The handling of the new Shine as well as cornering will remain the same as the earlier bike, as the bike frame, suspension and tyre set-up remains a completely unchanged formula. The Shine 07 sticks to a single downtube steel frame as its spine, this bolting in its engine as a stressed member.

Quickly dying

Front suspension is the industry standard telescopic forks, while the rear still uses twin hydraulic dampers allied to an old-fashioned tubular swingarm. Though, we would have loved to see the new Shine upgrade itself to enjoy the benefits of a rectangle-section rear swingarm as also a larger rear tyre, as found on most of its competitors. The Shine remains one of a quickly dying breed of Indian 125cc bikes to still continue using a tubular section swingarm and 2.75 x 18-inch tyre. Tyres on the Shine do however roll an extra mile to offer a puncture-resistant safety feature. A front disc brake and rear drum performed well on our test bike, both levers offering adequate progression, good feedback and a confident feel. The new Shine is a bike on which one can easily spot a level of superior all-round quality available in India. This level of top notch quality, combined with a fair price and a higher style quotient could result in Honda dominating a large share of the 125cc market.

RISHAD COOPER



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