Honda SP125 Road Test Review – Shine On

This December has been one of the busiest Decembers the Indian automotive media fraternity has had in the past decade. With march 2020 coming closer, all manufacturers are in a race to launch their BS-6 updated models. A few OEMs have even chosen not to take a few platforms ahead, due to the costs attached in upgrading those engines, while a few chose to completely create a new brand, and discontinue one. One such brand is HMSI, which will discontinue the ‘Shine’ brand of motorcycles. The brand has enjoyed being the best-sellingmotorcycle in its segments since years now, but worry not. Honda has thought it through.

Honda has launched the SP125, which shall take the legacy left back by the Shine in the 125cc segment. The All new Honda SP125 is powered by a newly developed 124cc single cylinder air cooled fuel injected powerhouse mated to a 5-speed smooth transmission that produces 10.8PS of power and 10.9Nm of Torque, which is around 0.5Ps and 0.6Nm of power and Torque than the outgoing Honda Shine. This is one of the first few motorcycles launched in India in the BS VI range where power figures have bumped up, not by very much, but much better than choking the engine. Not just that, the fuel efficiency too has increased from 60kmpl to 68-70kmpl as per the ARIA certification. All this has been achieved by adding friction reduction technologies like piston cooling jet, offset crank and rocker roller arm fitted with needle bearings to make the engine make more power in the same setup. The engines performance can just be expressed in simple two words, ’Peppy’ and ‘Refined.’

Honda has upgraded the starter mechanism, removing the mesh type starter system that gave a jolt and made noise to a silent ACS starter system, making the experience very unique for first timers at least. Its amazing how silently the engine starts, at you should personally experience it at some showroom someday if your passing by. The engine performs without any stress on highways and small streets alike. There is power throughout the rev band, and the bike manages to max out at 107kmph, which is more than enough for daily usage I guess. The Honda SP125 delivers a very peppy and fun riding experience through city roads, its agility and well-balanced cycle parts make the experience better.

Honda has reworked on the design part, and have made the SP125 look aggressive and premium that the legacy it has to carry ahead. The front gets a Modern & bright LED headlamp unit now, the Tank is designed aggressively with shrouds and edgy graphics adding to the aggressive look. The alloy wheel are now very distinctive with a 5-split spoke Alloy wheel setup. The LED tail lamp is now integrated within the tail body panels giving it a bold rear stance. I somehow like the way it looks, it looks young, looks really appealing than what it replaces.

The SP125 gets a really well balanced diamond type chassis giving good confidence at all times. On the front, it gets telescopic forks, while the rear gets a 5-step adjustable dual suspension setup. The overall ride is very comfortable for rider and well as the pillion, and the suspensions are soft enough to absorb small bumps and broken roads, but somehow, I feel the tyres aren’t. The SP125 gets 80/100-18 spec Tubeless MRF tyres on both front and rear, and to us, they are really skinny. Riding on undulations and between road cracks can be tricky at times, though the tyres inspire good confidence on road to ride at 100kmph and cut through daily traffic snarls. The Sp125 would be available in both drum and disk variants, we tested the disk variant only and the performance was pretty confidence inspiring. The front disk provides good feedback, while the rear too provides good control as and when required. Honda’s CBS with equalizer make the job easy with spreading the braking force equally between both the brakes assuring the best braking performance. Also, the SP125 now comes with a sealed O-ring chain, that is low on maintenance and high on durability.

In terms of features, Honda’s SP125 comes equipped with a lot of segment firsts, an Engine Start/Stop switch now which most would want from their daily commuter to save fuel in those traffic snarls, giving It special brownie points. The bike comes with a fully digital instrument cluster now, that provides info like speedometer, trip meter, odometer, a gear indicator, tachometer and fuel gauge, eco-indicator, Real time fuel efficiency and distance to empty. Though, it misses out on a side stand indicator, I was disappointed, it didn’t even have a engine immobilizer on side stand On feature. The switch gear looks stylish with a new integrated head lamp passing-low beam-high beam switch and the engine Start/Stop switch making it complete. It gets a 11-liter tank, giving it a range of 650-700kms easily, thus lesser visits to the fuel bunk.

The SP125 seems like the perfect successor to Honda Shine’s legacy, it has all that the Shine didn’t in terms of features, guaranteeing the same reliability and comfort with 3+3 years of warranty making the deal sweet. Well, I am not sure if it tastes the same after you read that the SP125 now comes with a price tag of 72,900 from the drum variant, and 77,100 for the Disk variant.

But, that’s how it will be, BS-VI norms will add the price of all motorcycles that shall be launched in coming times, as manufacturing cleaner vehicles means adding Research and development costs, developing new advanced technologies and upgrading manufacturing lines to get those advancements into practical reality.  Is the Honda SP125 your next bike? Go find out yourself by visiting a Honda dealership near you.

Words – Suraj Sawant
Photography – Shrikhar Khairnar

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