Ownership Review : Hero Honda CBZ-Xtreme @ 29,000kms

Ownership Review :  Hero Honda CBZ-Xtreme @ 29,000kms

This is an overview of the Hero Honda CBZ-Xtreme after ownership of 29000kms. First, let us get this straight & clear. This is NOT just another CBZ. It is not one of those Hero Honda bikes which are looked at and forgotten almost immediately by even those people who have the memory span of a million years.

 

Hero Honda CBZ-Xtreme (1)

No. This is an evolutionary CBZ, and to make my point let me start with a few pictures.

Before going further, let’s dig out some historic aspects of Hero Honda cbz. The Hero Honda CBZ was a motorcycle launched in early 1999 by Hero Honda Motors, with an original Honda 156.8 cc engine.

The model went unchanged more or less for five years. In 2004, a new variant called CBZ* (star) featuring new graphics was introduced to boost sales. The bike did not feature any engine or performance upgrades. The only change was in its carburetor, it was changed from the Sliding Type carburetor to a conventional CV carburetor, which increased the fuel-efficiency but hampered the pick-up, the greatest feature of the bike. The bike was discontinued after 2005 September.

Hero Honda CBZ-Xtreme (3)

Also at that time, the Indian biking scene was going through a great overhaul with the advent of the quarter liter class making inroads into a predominantly 100 cc -150 cc market. With this evolutionary trend, Hero Honda required to come up with some new renovated image & machine. What resulted was new CBZ Xtreme that could take to the streets and tear off any other so called Indian Performance bike’s sheepskin clothing and show them who the real boss is.

And then CBZ was followed after a gap of two years by the edgy roadrunner “CBZ-Xtreme” which was a totally new product platform featuring a Honda 149 cc engine and five-speed gearbox. The introduction of TPFC (Transient Power Flow System) is done through this bike.

The Looks:

The earlier CBZ, even the very performance oriented ones, namely the CBZ-star, and the original CBZ were what you call okay-ish. The styling of the original CBZ bike was a scaled version of the famous Honda CB series.

Then new variant was introduced in 2004, called CBZ- Star featuring new graphics in order to boost sales of the product.

Now let us get to the CBZ-Xtreme. The overall bike looks absolutely proportionate, with no design cues borrowed from earlier CBZ.  It’s an excellent design. Hero Honda Hunk may seem more muscular than the cbzXtreme, but it is the Xtreme which has an edge over the hunk, with more edgy and sharp design. The bike has a simple 35W/35W halogen headlamp and integration of turn indicators within the headlamp & taillight housing gives Xtreme a unique look of its kind. Rear LEDs are very bright and powerful; they have been covered with an overall glass casing. The side part of the bike also got a significant face lift. The colored body part connects as a single line from the tank to the tail lights and is very nicely contoured. Another feature which adds to its cool looks is the grip handle bars for the pillion rider, standing out as two individual horns like bars, it adds to the uniqueness of Xtreme. Visor 7 headlight with chrome trims gives it more aggressive look. Dual tone rear cowl with body colored alloy wheel is an eye catchy experiment ever done by Hero Honda. Overall for me combination of Red and Black is nothing but the devil combo and Xtreme is nothing but the devil’s ride

The Cockpit and Electricals:

Let’s get into the cockpit for closer look.  The Xtreme has an asymmetric console panel with carbon matte finish. There are analogue gauges, which includes a tachometer, speedometer and a fuel gauge, in addition to high beam, turn and neutral indicators. Diameter of gauges descends from speedometer to tachometer and in the end fuel indicator. But watching twisting arms of tachometer & speedometer while speeding the bike is one of its kind experiences. It reflects the power of roaring engine in front of your eyes. Hero Honda branding and speedometer reset button at left side of console highlight simplicity of Hero Honda.

Hero Honda CBZ-Xtreme (6)

The visibility of the dials is very good, especially in broad daylight when you’d expect some sunlight to play spoilsport. At night, the cockpit is bathed in light orange shade which goes especially well with my black colored Xtreme pictured here. The Xtreme has well sorted, well insulated and well-disguised electricals installed. There are no wires flying here and there. Xtreme is loaded with 12V-7ah battery placed on right side below seat.

The Ergonomics:

Hero Honda cbz Xtreme has very simple ergonomics as far as riding controls are concerned. (Same is with Hero Honda Hunk). Headlight & fog lamp controls are placed on right hand side of the handle bar accompanied by front disc brake lever. While turn indicator switch, high & low beam switch, horn and pass light switch are placed at left hand side of handle bar along with clutch lever. Matching body colored mirrors adds to the look of bike. All controls are easily accessible while riding and hence very much reliable while speeding and overtaking.

Hero Honda CBZ-Xtreme (2)

One thing which I find missing is lights in switches as compared to any Bajaj Pulsar variant. Also an engine kill switch would have added more to reliability while riding in traffic and signals.

Further coming to seat, it is cushiony and provides enough comfort. It feels much easier to adjust our position while taking sharp turns, cornering and riding in valley roads. (Latest variant of CBZ- Xtreme is loaded with spilt seat arrangement which is an added feature)

The Suspensions & Comfort:

In case of suspensions, Xtreme has telescopic hydraulic shock absorber front suspension along with 130mm internal expanding shoe type rear suspension. Rear suspension comes with 5 step adjustable setting.

Definition of comfort varies from person to person, but for me when it comes to Xtreme, it’s just more than comfortable. Whether it’s clean buttery highway or some rural bumpy road, Xtreme makes you feel like Aladdin’s carpet. Knee locking space at both side of petrol tank helps to gain more stability and aerodynamic advantage while speeding the bike.

Engine & Gear box:

An air-cooled 4 stroke single cylinder OHC engine makes Xtreme one of the most powerful bike available in 150cc segment in India.  149.2cc engine with 10.6KW (14.4 BHP)@8500RPM tests your thrilling capacity while speeding on road. The carbureted Controlled Variable Ignition engine with single spark plug is the most economical engine in this segment. A proper fusion of power and mileage is that what I can say. This slim yet powerful engine emits a maximum torque of 12.80 N-m@6500 RPM which is really good for movement in and within the city limits.

It comes with 5 speed constant mesh gear box and multiplate wet clutch control. Gear shifting is little bit harder for the newly purchased bike but no need to worry; few long rides & timely services will make it butter smooth. I have hit 110-115kmph indicated speed and bike feels jittery at it.  You need hands of iron-man to hold it at that speed for sustained distances. Overall for me Xtreme is a complete package of good power, pickup and mileage.

The Exhaust:

Hero Honda has done a major change in exhaust of the bike. Exhaust is much silent and efficient compare to older CBZ. Silver plated circular cap fitted at the end of the exhaust and a plate on the upper side adds distinct look to the bike making it more appealing.

The Chassis:

New CBZ- Xtreme has tubular diamond type chassis which engulfs that slim yet powerful engine and gives bike more stability. Chassis is stiff and very confidence inspiring all the way. Also it’s very reliable while tight cornering or when you want to push the limits. (Both on straight smooth highway and during off road rides).

The Brakes:

Coming to one of the most important part of every bike i.e. Brakes; Xtreme is loaded with 240mm Disc brakes in the front and 130mm drum brake in rear. Front disc brakes are excellent and very well graded and quite trustable to rely on while at average speed. However rear drum brakes are not as well graded as front and tend to freak you out after applying at high speed. Mostly rear brakes are not recommended on wet road as there are deep chances of skidding out. (Newer version of CBZ-Xtreme is equipped with 220mm rear disc brake)

Wheels & Tyres:

Xtreme is loaded with 18×1.85 – 5 spoke cast wheel front rim and 18×2.15 – 5 spoke cast wheel rear rim. Both alloy wheels are rigid and can sustained bumpy roads. Personally, had tested them to the limit during off road rides and very much happy with the built quality.  Matt finished alloys wheels add more to the devil combination look of the bike.

I am honestly very much happy & impressed with stock MRF-Zapper tyres installed by Hero Honda. Its 29000km of riding and still those tyres are performing and carrying their duties efficiently in all seasons. Yes, they are little bit slogged out but still provides me required adequate grip to control my bike at desire speed.  Size of front tyre is 80/100×18-47 P and that of rear one is 100/90×18-56 P which is enough to make you stick to the road. Definitely, I will go for MRF only at the time of tyre upgrade.

Few more important things:

  1. The fuel tank capacity is 12.3 Liters, which is not very touring friendly. During long rides, need to plan proper halts to replenish the bike.
  2. Frontal head light panel (Entire panel) is just fitted on 2 screws which makes it more prone to breakage during bumpy rides.
  3. Paint quality of grip handles for pillion rider is very low which fades away easily after few months, tampering the look of the bike. (Had observed in many CBZ-Xtreme bikes)
  4. 35W halogen headlight bulb makes riding a challenge in night.
  5. At speed of 110kmph bike wobbles a lot and becomes very unstable. It’s like sensing the limit of the engine.

Bottom-line:

CBZ- Xtreme is a budgetary bike which is a complete package of Power, Pickup and Mileage under one of the biggest bike manufacturer of India i.e. Hero Honda

Whether it’s speeding on smooth buttery highway or off road rides, CBZ-Xtreme will be always one of the best bike in 150cc segment.

But entry of new high powered engine bikes like KTM-200, Pulsar-200NS etc, is slowly pushing CBZ-Xtreme in a fading phase, making it very tough to survive in the changing trend of bike lovers.

But, if you are in the market looking for a bike on a budget, which can do most of the things almost as good as the competition, and not cost you a bomb maintaining it, then definitely it Hero Honda CBZ-Xtreme.

Yugandhar Nikume

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