To the average Bangladeshi, Honda doesn't stand for a single bike and car manufacturer, but the word is rather synonymous with motorcycles. Perhaps, this is what made the Honda CBR 150R so popular ever since the first generation started coming to Bangladesh.
Here, the sports bike community has been dominated by bikes from exactly three different Japanese motorcycle manufacturers for half a decade – Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki. Each being favourite for their own unique perks and features, the Honda CBR 150R is a bike which caters the most to the buyers who are against the idea of using sports bikes as weekend rides.
Kamrul Ovi's, a bike enthusiast, decision to go for Honda CBR 150R as his first flagship bike was mostly due to this. In an interview with The Business Standard, he said "The Honda CBR was a bike I always had on my wishlist. Nine bikes later, I finally got one for myself."
Ovi, however, purchased the bike to travel across the country with. In Bangladesh, motorcyclists looking into the market of 150cc Japanese sports bikes get only 3 different options to choose from – Honda CBR, Suzuki GSX-R and Yamaha R15. The CBR is known as the most comfortable ride of all, particularly because it causes the least amount of stress on the spine of the rider.
"I've travelled to all 64 districts in the past few months." Ovi mentioned, adding, "The bike held up brilliantly. I rode it for several hours and on many different terrains. I don't remember any instance when I've complained about back pain."
When it comes to the looks department, there's barely any other bike which stands out as much as the CBR 150R in its MotoGP inspired Repsol livery. The tricolour paint job is bold, making the bike an obvious easy spot even in the gross rush hour traffic.
The front has angry eyes and DRLs with LEDs both in the front and the rear. The example featured here even has external fog lights and lever guards installed, added by Ovi himself.
Powered by a double overhead camshaft, 4 valves, watercooled engine mated to a six speed transmission; the bike produces 16.7BHP and a mere 14.4Nm of torque. The Honda CBR isn't a ride which will be able to impress speed hungry maniacs.
The Japanese motorcycles are like the iphones of the motorcycle market – never the ones to feature the latest experimental tech but offering the best in class in terms of quality and user experience. The Honda CBR and its dual channel ABS is no exception.
Getting to ride the bike myself as a reviewer, I can assure that skidding is never a problem with the CBR. Ovi has also upgraded the tires to 140mm MRF Masseters from the stock 130mm. As a result the bike handles even better than it did initially. However, as a result of the mod, Ovi complained that he got less mileage per litre and a substantial drop in top speed. He did not advise other bikers to do the same.
The CBR has one of the best in class engines in terms of refinement. Although it won't drop your jaw at the top end, the bike surely becomes playful enough to ensure a thrilling riding experience each time the engine is pushed the rpms closer to the redline. However, coming from a bike with a dedicated engine kill switch made me miss my own bike a bit every time I was stuck in traffic.
The suspension is surprisingly comfortable for a bike of its class. It will breeze through the small potholes and speed bumps and I was never concerned about losing control. On the other hand, it also gave me enough confidence at casual cornering on the empty Hatirjheel roads, just like a sports bike should.
The bike has never let Ovi down during his three years of ownership so far, except for the times he went to buy parts for it. Dents and scratches are norms for anyone with personal motorised vehicles in Dhaka, but asking Tk 11,000 for a fibreglass made head unit will make anyone look at the price tag twice!
The Honda CBR is a top notch bike. It has one of the best riding positions of any sports bike available in Bangladesh, commendable power figures and all the necessary features like the dual channel ABS. Although it will definitely be more expensive to maintain than any other bikes in its class, given Honda's racing heritage and what the brand means to the Bangladeshis, it is surely a good buy either brand new or from the used bike market.