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Test riding the Honda CB Shine SP

Honda's popular 125-cc motorcycle CB Shine has emerged in a new avatar – the Shine SP – this time with a five-speed gearbox

When the CB Shine SP was launched, Keita Muramatsu, CEO and president of Honda’s Indian two-wheeler wing, spoke about India’s youth and their ‘special’ place in society. The amount of times the word ‘special’ turned up is clearly indicative of what the ‘SP’ in the Honda CB Shine SP stands for. The big question is: Is it really that special?


Pics/Aditya Dhiwar

Let’s start with appearances. While it may be a derivative of the CB Shine, the headlamp unit has been tweaked for a sharper and dynamic look. A new contrasting side-panel now begins below the tank and ends at the foot-pegs. Embellishments include the split-spoke alloy wheels, chrome on the exhaust, red coil springs at the back, and the inclusion of an extra colour.

The 124.7 cc engine is refined
The 124.7 cc engine is refined

The bike also gets a new semi-digital dash. So, visually, there is a bit going on, but that isn’t all. In terms of overall dimensions, too, the SP loses five mm in length and height, and gains three mm in ground clearance, and a solitary kilo in kerb weight. Ride the Shine SP, and you can tell straight off the bat that this bike was built for commuting.

Honda's signature combi-brakes
Honda's signature combi-brakes

The riding position is fairly upright, and the seat is nice, long and comfortable. The switches are simple, and the new analogue speedometer is paired with digital odo and trip readouts that sandwich quite a meaty fuel-level indicator between them.

Digital-analogue dials are easy to read
Digital-analogue dials are easy to read

Let’s get to the real meat of the matter: that five-speed gearbox. Set up in the traditional one-down, four up sequence, as opposed to the N-1-2-3-4 on the stock Shine, the shifts on the SP’s box are smooth and quick. The SP does the 0-60 km/h sprint in 6.27 seconds, which is also 0.77 seconds quicker than the four-speed Shine. The Shine SP is also quicker in terms of the third- and fourth-gear roll-ons — while the Shine does 30-70 km/h in 8.37 seconds and 11.68 seconds in third and fourth respectively, the SP does it in 6.34s and 7.27s.

All this is achieved without any variation in the 10.7-PS and 10.30-Nm producing 124.7-cc four-stroke, air-cooled, powerplant that both versions sport, which creates as much grunt low down and through the middle of the rev-range. Clearly, then, the extra gear has resulted in a perceptible improvement in performance, with the revised ratios on the SP improving the bottom and mid-range power delivery as well. We achieved in-gear top speeds of 58.7 and 82.3 km/h in second and third as opposed to the Shine which maxes out at 54 and 80 km/h, and the top whack, too, is higher with the five-speed SP topping out at 105.37 km/h in fifth as opposed to the 100.4 km/h in the four-speed Shine.

The engine doesn’t feel strained when cruising at 80 km/h either, although you do feel the vibes creeping in when you start to ascend towards high speeds. The Shine SP is also strong in the efficiency department, with an overall figure of 80.75 km/l, a two km/l increase on its four-speed variant, this, despite the marginal weight increase, indicates some clever engineering on Honda’s part when setting up the five-speed gearbox.

It also retains the stellar ride from its four-speed sibling, taking in the bumps and scrapes without any drama. In terms of handling, too, those telescopic front forks and five-step adjustable hydraulic shocks in the rear allow you to remain pretty planted into a corner. The Shine SP changes direction with ease in dense traffic situations. The top-of-the-line variant of the Shine SP we have also sports Honda’s signature Combi-Brake System (CBS), and, true to form, the brakes are urgent when slammed, and progressive when tugged gently.

It costs around the Rs 75,000 mark (OTR, Pune), which is a tad steep, but you are getting a lot of bike for that price, especially when you factor in that 80+ km/l average fuel-efficiency figure. A very decent proposition overall then.

Need to know

Honda CB Shine SP
Engine: 124.7 cc, air cooled, single cylinder, four stroke
MAX POWER: 10.7 PS @ 7,500 rpm
MAX TORQUE: 10.3 Nm @ 5,500 rpm
Price: (on-road, Pune) Rs 75,000
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed Manual


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