We have read endless reviews which depict passion of the writer towards their machines. Some reviews have joyfully made us smile, giving us a glimpse of how would it be to actually own the bike, while some of them have enraged us by their outrageous comments and conclusions. Some of them have taught us a lot about how stuff work, while others were just worthwhile to read.
More or less, every review has an experience which touches us in some way. So here I am, with yet another Hero Honda Hunk bike review for a few, but for me, it’s a love story. A love story between a human and a machine. A story of an immaculate bond of trust between me and my bike.
The characters of this story would be,
- My bike, Hero Honda Hunk, the black beauty
- Myself, Rakesh Patel, a software engineer by head but a biker by heart
- My parents who have added a dramatic pinch to my story
The day was 2nd October 2009, no wait! Actually the day was 2nd October two decades back, the day when I was born. I think the story had begun since then. Though I didn’t understand anything then, bikes still must have fascinated me since that time I guess. At least to support this fact, I‘ve heard it from my mother that it was only the bike toys that I used to chew and not the rest!
The baby became a toddler and as far as I can remember of that phase, the only thing that rings any bell inside my head were automobiles, taking a lions’ share in my good memories. Teenage went in a jiffy, particularly hovering around 3 B’s; books, bikes and babes! I can sense a small smile on the reader, but hey! isn’t this the way it works?
This was the age where I distinctively remember of dreaming of a bike of my own. Every time I saw a bike that grabbed my attention on the streets, I literally used to start portraying how would it look if I rode the bike, how would it look if I parked Hero Honda Hunk in my garage, how would it look if I parked the bike temporarily on the streets and went for some work, and to top them all, how would it feel to actually own the bike.
From that time stamp onwards I was hell bent upon owning a bike, the bike of my dreams. But I knew this dream couldn’t be soon realised. After all I was dependent on my family and they had to get me the bike, and for that to happen, they had to be convinced first, which was out of question because a bike is considered to be a dangerous machine in my family, a machine that opens road to the heavens easily and literally!
I did not dare to propose this idea of mine in front of my family (sparing myself from some melodramatic sessions and lectures), time just passed by and I had no other option but to secretively adore my desire of owning my sweet road mate.
Realisation of My Dreams, Partially!
School days were over and it was time for college. Out of many good reasons for going to the college, the best was that I now could legally demand for a “two-wheeler” for my personal transport. I had my licence made and there was nothing that I could think that would come between me and my dream machine. But little did I know that I had been outwitted, by my Dad.
On 27th June 2007, I was presented with a black Honda Dio! The only choice I had of my own was that would it be a Dio or an Activa, and what colour would it be in. No other options, no ‘bikes’ on the menu! Honda’s winged emblem on my Dio reminded me of how the wings of my dreams have been cut! But things had been done already, there was very little I could do about it, rather nothing.
Time rolled on smoothly, and so did my Dio. It becomes a part of your family. The ease and practical personality of this wonderful vehicle impresses everyone in the family. The powerful 102 cc Honda engine is lethal and would never give up. I never regretted having it. I was contended, but not satisfied. The same childhood day dreaming would start on seeing a bike, every now and then. I had to evolve.
Chasing My Dream, The Futile Trips to Showrooms
There was never a month that would pass without me visiting local showrooms. The enticing smell of new bikes, the impeccable view of the shine over them, and the exhilarating feeling of the test drives would tease me to the core. I would behave as if I was really going to get a bike soon. And the staff at the showrooms did not have any problem entertaining a willing customer.
But at the end I always knew that this isn’t going to last and I will have to go back home empty handed, with a bunch of bike brochures, the feeling was further more saddening when I could see some lucky one getting their bike delivered. Frankly I was jealous! Days used to begin with hopes and end with dreams. Everyday started with expectations, but they always ended with some experience.
This madness had to stop. I had to have a bike, again a cold war started against my parents, this time direct and tougher for me, knowing the fact that I now had a vehicle. I knew these were futile efforts from a desperate biker, but I was reluctant to stop trying. All my attempts were discarded sharply and the following equation was made clear to me
Riding a bike = Accident
Me: Ah! C’mon! I am not like others! I will ride with care and responsibly.
Dad: Maybe you will but the bike has a mind of its own, it won’t move slowly!
Mom: You’re not getting a bike!
Me: You know me, I am a responsible rider, nothing would go wrong!
Dad: You just want a bike because you want to show it off in front of your friends!
Me: Don’t save the discussion by saying that. Riding a bike has always been a passion for me and not just a medium for mere show-off, it would be like a realisation of my dreams!
Mom: You have your way with words kiddo, it’s just realisation of your fantasy, and anyways you’re not getting a bike.
There were many such similar discussions which used to end in their favour; afterall I could not force them.
First Ray of Light
In a remarkable turn of events, my mother got of riding her Bajaj Spirit. Although it was a good vehicle, it just didn’t seem so highly “spirited” after a year or so.
Mom: I again had to kick start my spirit on the square signals today, it’s becoming such a pain!
Me: (Grabbing my chance) why don’t you ride my Dio instead?
Mom: Yes, I could do that.
Me: And then you could also get me a bike right? Now that you would use my vehicle.
Mom: A vehicle in the family belongs to everybody in the family, I don’t have to ask for it and ride it anytime I want to. And yes, you’re not getting a bike.
Me: But what if I need to take it out somewhere and you need to go out urgently too? Would you push your down spirited spirit everytime?
I knew it, my point had hit the right spot, the wheel had begun to rotate, and I knew I was getting there. My persistence was finally paying off. In this phase I’ll tell you of my very own, highly detailed selection process that I hope would help you too.
The Most Interesting and Patient Phase
Decided! It would be a Kawasaki Ninja! You may take me to be insane to talk about a highly detailed selection procedure but instead just coming up with the conclusion. This was the same question that I went through, it didn’t make sense to me, when I know what to get, why is there a task for selection required? Why should I wander around other bikes when I have made up my mind for the one in my dreams? Only if it was a perfect world, but it isn’t.
It wasn’t long that I realised it. There are various factors associated with selection and you have to start from the scratch otherwise you may end up regretting. It all starts from our own selves, you have to know yourself first before selecting your bike, it may sound a little counselling but it’s true. This particularly means to introspect what kind of a biker you are.
Are you a daily commuter, seeking high mileage figures? Are you a performance enthusiast, aspiring for scintillating performance? Are you a stuntman, wanting irrational thrust of power-on-demand? Are you a hooligan, showing off your latest toy on the block? Do you a tourer, expecting optimum comfort out of your mile-muncher? Or are you a jack of all trades, wanting a bit of everything?
After you have known yourself well enough, it’s time for your machine. Owning a two wheeler two decades back was a luxury, without many options. But the tables have remarkably been swapped over the years. We have a whole galore of choices. India, the second largest two wheeler market after China, has made deciding a bike tougher than ever. There are bikes ranging from 100-1000cc, parallel-twins, single-inline, cruisers, sports, commuters, tourers, streetbikes etc. There is one for everyone.
Technical Jargons Which You Would Face
There are like endless terms that you might come across, out of which you are not aware of a few, while others you might just not have heard, has to be, after all, a motorcycle is a perfect amalgamation of all aspects of engineering blended in harmony. It’s not even necessary for all to understand all technical details of a bike (else it may put all motor mechanics out of business).
But there are a few important terms everybody should know. After all you cannot hire a chauffeur for your motorcycle (even if you can, it would look ridiculous!) I would here try to address a few terms, at least well enough to get you the basic idea.
CC or cubic centimetres refers to engine capacity. Specifically it refers to the amount of air/fuel mixture able to fit into the cylinders (where combustion occurs) at full expansion. 1 cc is equivalent to 1 gram of water aka 1 ml. An example: 250 cc engine means the cylinders with pistons at full expansion can hold a volume of 250 ml of air/fuel mixture.
Power of a motorcycle is actually measured in Bhp, i.e., break horse power. Simply put, it is actually the power available at the engine’s crankshaft which in turn powers the wheels of your bike to rotate. The actual power delivered at the wheels is lower than the stated figures.
Torque is the force that makes the wheels in rest to motion. It is generated at the crankshaft. The amount of torque is expressed in Newton meters: Nm. In technical specifications of motorcycles, you often see a number for the maximum torque, and the number of revolutions per minute at which that torque is delivered (in rpm, revolutions per minute). The rpm where the maximum torque is delivered is the rpm where the fuel is burned most efficiently.
It’s nothing but how much your motorcycle runs (in kilometre) for every one litre of fuel burnt in it. More the power your bike generates, the lesser mileage figures are to be expected and vice versa. After having gone through all the above processes, it’s time for the most important factor for deciding your bike, the cost factor!
This factor gets even more evident if you are dependent upon your parents, for you don’t want to burden them unnecessarily over their hard earned money. Even if you’re not dependent, money doesn’t just grow on trees! Like I said, I was all prepared on my level of understanding to get the bike of my dreams, the Ninja! but spending that amount of money for a two wheeler should remain in your dreams only.
You know your heart seldom leads you to overrated fantasies, and it is here that you should let your mind to intrude, and save you some thousands! Let your heart be passionate about biking and not the more odd bucks you spend for some extra praises. Believe me, it’s not worth it.
You may think I am hell bent upon making you spend less for your bike, in a way shadowing your dreams. That’s not what I am taking about. Money should be spent to get what you actually need. Like for example, there are two bikes A and B. A is cheaper than B by say 7-8 thousand, but B suits your needs more.
Then you should never settle for A, and definitely pay the extra premium and go for B. It’s not every weekend that you get a bike, and you certainly don’t want to be stuck up with the one that may have saved you a few thousands, but also plugged you with the question always pinching at the back of your head- “agar doosri bike leliya hota to accha hota!”
Convince your parents and yourself for the premium and realise your dreams. I believe I have given you adequate starter knowledge you need to select your roadmate. Now let’s get back to my matrimony with my ride! As you may have already guessed it, it wasn’t the powerful Ninja, it is the handsome hunk!
Now let me take you through a dry run of my own selection process, I am a biker with a passion of biking in my heart, and for me my Hero Honda Hunk is an instrument, a bridge to realise this nirvana. Pure riding pleasure was my preference over the others and that brought be to the Japanese engines.
I was ready to give away the ‘adrenalin rush’ given by our Indian engines in exchange for pure smoothness. I didn’t want to clock 0-60 kmph in a jiffy, but wanted to glide over 40-60 kmph without any stress. I didn’t want to open the throttle and create a magnificent roar; instead I am more into silent sweet firing. I could give away digital numbers on the dashboard for royal looking analogs!
All these factors led me to the following bikes
- Hero Honda Hunk
- Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme
- Honda unicorn
- Suzuki GSX150R
- Yamaha FZ16
- Yamaha YZFR15
The above bikes were selected by my heart and now my brain had to play its role. Here came in the mileage and cost tests. FZ16 being a very nice bike had only one flaw, the low mileage figures. But the bike gives you massive torque figures at lower rpm for the compromise that you make, giving you a fantastic riding experience.
YZF R15 had the same problem as the FZ. But I wouldn’t call it a problem. It’s a machine developed for the race track type of performance, who would consider fuel economy before buying an R15? The unicorn and GSX were quiet old school as per my books on looks. Though they had the most refined engines.
If it was the year 2004, I would definitely have gone for a unicorn. But Honda had already depended on this design for quiet long, and believe me it has aged. So it was either the curvy CBZ X or the super cut Hunk. Both sharing the same engine, from their Japanese cousin, the unicorn.
I loved the royal and majestic look of the Hunk which has been designed in Italy. It has a big bike feel to it. So everything well thought and decided, (though I had to convince my parents a lot for the very looks of the bike, which seemed as a monster to them) I finally had my bike delivered a week after my birthday!
The Early Impressions, Good Ones
I would not give you the exact specifications of the bike here, (It’s of no use cuz you can fine that in its brochure), and I will rather tell you about the vivid traits of the bike. Nobody messes with the hunk; its kingly road presence binds you to give it a second look. For some reason, you don’t find many hunks on the road, this even adds up to its exclusive nature.
The head lamps are multi reflector type aiding you with ample visibility for night rides. The dash board looks chunky and royal with the chrome lined speedometer sitting in the centre. It displays all the relevant information that the rider would need. I mean, having a clock on your dashboard is good but sometimes seems redundant if you already have your wrist watch! But the dashboard covers all the basics of speed, engine rpm, total distance covered, trip, fuel and all working lights.
The bike overall looks and feels big in stature. You would find quite a few cuts here and there, collectively forming an incredible aerodynamic structure. The company offers the bike in suited metallic colours which complement the bike’s personality. I have mine in panther black with blends of active red here and there, and let me tell you, this colour combo is a serious looker!
Another very exquisitely sculptured feature of the hunk are the majestic tank shrouds. They encase the chrome 3D ‘hunk’ name on them. They take the bike’s design to the next level. The Italians have their own way of redefining design, and my bike only makes this fact more evident.
Ride Quality and Handling
The bike handles like a dream and is undoubtedly one of the best in the market in terms of ride quality. Even though posing as such a big bike, when you get on it, you feel like a last block of puzzle which has now completed the design. The posture is relaxed and straight so that those long rides don’t hit your back and wrists.
The bike is sturdy and heavy, which gives this bike a very stable and well focussed linear ride. The suspensions are well sorted and stiff, which don’t toss you on higher speeds. The rear suspensions are equipped with gas reservoirs, which offer a very comfortable ride, both for the pillion and the rider. The seats find its way between being too soft and too tough, taking the most required care for your butts!
The seats are not exactly split but have a huge difference, providing the rider with a better sorted ride. The tires offer immaculate grip in all seasons and induce par confidence for those hair pin turns. You can rely on them no matter how much your bike needs to tilt to a side; they wouldn’t give up on you.
Performance & Refinement
The Japanese are always known and appreciated for creating gems as in their engines. This statement is well supported by the fact that the engine that sits in the heart of the hunk and CBZ X did its job well in the achiever, the younger cousin ambition and traced back its bloodline to the unicorn which also stands heir to the legend of the original CBZ.
This is one of the most successful engines running in the market today, and being a Honda, you know this is going to last a lifetime. It generates one of the highest power figures in its class. But only this isn’t enough. Raw power without proper control is futile, not in case with this new generation engine. The power is efficiently harnessed in this bike.
Everything this bike does is smooth. The acceleration is smooth and gradual and so is the deceleration with braking. Do not expect it to immediately rush you on the twist of the throttle, but let it smoothly and steadily glide you to those speeds.
The engine growl is silent. In traffic or stranded on signals, the sound of the bike is hardly audible. City riding is great, thanks to the short gear shift ratios and formidable torque that allows you to crawl at speeds as low as 35kmph on the 5th gear.
The company claims the bike to return something around 50 kmpl. Mine gives around 52 kmpl which I believe is quiet decent for a 150 cc bike. The new generation ATFT engine has a great role in boosting up the fuel efficiency figures.
- Try to maintain only one mechanic for your bike, it helps him to know your bike well
- Never rip the engine (and that is Never! Period), maintain constant speeds.
- Try to change gears at 4000-5000 rpm (particular to my Hero Honda Hunk)
- Try to maintain enough fuel in your bike, to keep proper fuel pressure
- Service regularly
Impressions, not so good ones
You can endlessly praise your bike and never stop, it’s because you love it and have spent a large amount on it. But when it comes to the darker side, we often ignore to admit the cons. Its only after spending a decent amount of time with the bike do you realise that no bike is perfect, for if there was something as the perfect bike, everybody would get it.
There was this time during my bike’s early days when once I had taken it to my college when I had this conversation with a friend of mine,
My Friend: Rakesh! Kaun si bike li?
Friend: Sahi be! Bohot hi acchi bike hai. Suit karti hogi tujhe!
Friend: Mere ek dost ke bhi paas hai, vo bata raha tha uska gear box bohot stiff hai, aur gears acche se nahi lagte!
Me: Gone nuts? It’s a perfect bike!
I have my own way with words so I apparently convinced my friend that the bike was flawless and perfect. But as I said, there is nothing as a perfect bike; it’s just perfect for your needs.
- The gear bike is not as slick as the engine is
- There are times when you feel the bike is really heavy, and a little difficult to maneuver.
- The front disc brakes seem small. Though they do their work properly, still there is lots scope for improvement, to control this heavy powered bike.
- If the bike always remains parked in the open sun, the fibre tank shrouds tend to lose lustre, this looks worse when it’s in contrast with the tank’s paint. A coat of Teflon is highly recommended.
- An oil-cooled heart would have made the bike a better tourer, but still no regrets, it munches the miles well
- The difference in seat levels for the rider and pillion is huge; the pillion sometimes looks towering over the rider.
- The bike does everything good, but isn’t exceptional on something.
It is said that if you want something truly then the whole universe conspires to get it to you (courtesy, om shanti om). I couldn’t have agreed more to this fact, now that I have realised my dreams with my Hero Honda Hunk bike. Good or bad, it has never let me down, and I couldn’t have been more proud than owning my Hero Honda Hunk.
Thank you for being patient enough for staying till the end. I hope I did not disappoint you, or worse, bore you. I know the article gets a little out of proportion but this is an experience I wanted to bring out to you all, and binding it within the limits of words wasn’t easy. I hope you enjoyed it, because I was really thrilled to write it. Ride safe and responsibly.