In the Asian market, 150cc naked bikes are now considered the standard commuter motorcycle, as against the smaller 125cc versions of the past. Nearly all manufacturers have at least one entry-level 150cc model, and a premium model of similar displacement featuring better technology and enhanced styling. Such is the case with Honda, too, particularly in India, as the brand is set to release a new model by 2023 to target the premium segment.
More specifically, Honda has the utility-focused Unicorn as its entry-level offering in India, a model that has been doing rather well in terms of sales, owing to its low price tag and workhorse nature. Where Honda has been struggling, however, is in the premium segment, wherein the XBlade has been returning rather lackluster sales figures. In fact, according to a recent report by the Society of Indian Auto Makers (SIAM), only 3,193 units of the XBlade were sold to dealers—and that’s not even the final end-user sales figure.
With that on the table, it’s clear that there’s an issue with the model, as bikes from other manufacturers, such as the Yamaha MT-15, Bajaj Pulsar N160, and TVS Apache 160, seem to be faring pretty well. To address the issue, Honda is set to release a new 160cc model, specific to the Indian market. The new model will presumably feature premium tech, and could replace the XBlade in Honda India’s catalog. The development of the new model was confirmed by Managing Director of Honda Motorcycle India, Atsushi Ogata, in an article by Indian motorcycling news platform BikeAdvice.
At present, there’s no clear information regarding the specs of the new bike, as the model is still being developed. That said, if it wants to target the premium naked bike segment, we can expect it to have sporty styling, and most importantly, improved performance and efficiency. It’s speculated that the new model will break cover soon, and will be made available to the general public sometime in 2023. That being said, Honda just recently launched the CB300F in India, so could the upcoming 160cc model borrow a few design cues from its bigger sibling?