Honda CB Twister 110 Review by Sanket

I have lots of stories to tell, about how I got bitten by Biking bug or about my first bike, or many more. But since, this review is about my current bike. I will focus on it. Honda CB Twister is my second bike. Financial constraints with regards to fuel efficiency meant I had to strike out any bike beyond 125CC, This in spite of the fact that some of my favorite bikes were in 150cc category.

So after some reading reviews, forums, and opinions I opted for Twister. And now after more than 5000 kms, I think I have learnt a lot about Droid. Since it was green in colour and I am fan of Android O.S. I decided to call it Droid. Technical specifications of this bike are all over the web. As are in depth reviews, comparisons, etc. So I will try to write something in a different style.

I know when I love a bike’s look; I will stand and stare at it from different angles, in spite of staring at it many times. Twister creates that magic. In black and blue colour it’s more understated, while golden-yellow, red, and green colour, it’s funkier. Since it is a new bike, people stare at it quite a bit and ask the famous question “fuel efficiency”.

Sit on the bike, and the seat is comfortable, neither too spongy nor too hard. Put the key in, no digital display means only the neutral light lights up the sporty looking console. Speedometer design is nice, but there is no tachometer. Fuel indicator and tell-tale lights (High Beam, L-R Side Indicator Light, Neutral Indicator) are present.

Fuel indicator is not superbly accurate, sometimes when fuel is not in reserve the indicator hand is too close to Empty sign. But since visits to the petrol pump are governed by Reserve Fuel knob for me, its non issue. All tell-tale lights are clearly visible throughout the day, except when sun is on your head (12pm afternoon); you need to check the neutral indicator from closer distance.

As I have observed, switchgear looks same as that on Hero Honda Passion (new model). Quality seems good; even though I rode the bike only one month in rains (Got the bike in September). Switches worked fine in that duration, and are still working without problems. On right hand side only one button for “Electric Start”.

On left hand side, first up is “Horn”, then L-R side indicator, then in a row, Headlight On-Off and Hi-Lo beam switches. There is no pass light switch (its present on Passion). But that can be overcome in a way. Since the button for Hi-Lo beam is designed in such a way that if the beam is “low” and you press the switch then it moves to “High” beam and press it again it moves back to low.

So to flash, one needs to press the button lightly and leave it. This way, the light goes to high beam and comes back to low. So it looks that it’s flashing if done quickly. Its not exactly perfect, and works only when Headlight is On, but it’s an option. Headlight is good enough, but I have seen better (but on bigger bikes). Lighting is good, but horizontal spread could have been more.

Horn is a disappointment, it’s really low. Even pedestrians are not able to hear it in noisy traffic congested roads. So forget about car and truck drivers. Only trick I have for it is to use it in such a way to make it sound like an ambulance or police car. It’s stupid and I am considering fitting a bigger horn.

Electric start worked fine all through the winter, morning to night, with just one time press of button. One quirk I have noticed is sometimes, if the headlight is on, electric start needs longer duration button press to start, otherwise it starts in milliseconds. It hasn’t happened frequently but it does happen sometimes, so I will be discussing it with the service center soon.

I thought it had to do with the idling rpm, or accelerator cable but service center guys checked it and found them at perfect setting, only recently I found out the headlight angle. I am not sure, will give it more tests and get it checked. Rear-view mirrors have edgy shape, and view is good, even at high speeds.

Once you sit on the bike, one feels the handlebars are well placed. They are neither high nor too low. So avoiding rear-view mirrors of cars while cutting through traffic is easy and yet there are no backaches. Since the handle doesn’t have bar-end weights, I inquired whether it was possible to fit them. I was told Stunner ones can fit, but I will need to change the whole handlebar.

The handlebar is light, yet stable at high speeds (80-85 kmph). Fast Crosswinds are a concern, but they are a few more bikes in the same weight category. Default Handler bar grip is soft and not spongy. So no need to put thicker handler grip covers. The view from riders seat is good, and cutting through traffic is easy because of handle and shorter length.

This bike doesn’t have fairing but there are tank extensions and so one needs to keep an eye out so that in heat of moment you don’t brush them against other bikes extensions (like indicators, rear side luggage boxes) and stuff. This happens only when you try to squeeze the bike through very tight spaces.

Since the bike is light, placing it on center stand, or reversing it while sitting, does not require super human effort. If you have a pillion rider, whose weight is more than 80-90 kgs, and is a bit scared to ride which means he/she will seat closer to you. When you brake the bike on sloping roads, due to slight slanting bike seat shape (step seat kind), the pillion slides forward if they are not holding the rear handles.

This puts weight on the riders arms. It’s not too much but one can feel it, and if this pillion shifts up quickly then one can feel that too. So one needs to stay alert, if one is riding with a scared/heavy pillion. The tank design and overall look from rider point of view is of a sporty 150CC bike. Fuel tank has ordinary fuel tank lid without hinges.

Haven’t tested in heavy rains, but in light rains at least no water has entered the tank. Anyway I will be putting a fuel lid cover during rains. My bike has disc brakes. Some may say disc’s are overkill for 110CC bike. But I find them useful. They are not grabby like some bikes, they are soft. But stop the bike well, a bit faster than drum brakes.

I had to get brake pads cleaned once after riding in muddy water. Mind you relying only on Disc brakes is stupid, so rear brakes have to be used too. And they are very good, and of course they lock in hard braking. If both are combined well, then you get good emergency braking.

While locking of rear wheels means you are using too much rear brakes, and in case of front discs I haven’t locked wheels, but there is a feeling one gets. Its hard to describe, but it only happens only when you are using too much of the disc.

The most popular grouse with Twister is read tyre size. It looks thin because of the slightly big proportion of the front and also due to the gap in the the tail body and the tyre. Also the Rear spring is in red color and looks quite long with added half covered Chain, tyre could be called skinny. In reality its not thin compared to some bikes in its class. And the rear looks a little bit like motocross bikes, only a bit.

Treads on the tyre also concern some people, but I have ridden on wet roads (September rains) and have found no issue of grip. Once you start riding the bike, 1st gear seems the shortest. But it has got lots of torque and newbie riders say the bike jumps out of first gear. 2nd gear is longer, but if you need better acceleration keep it short and stretch 3rd and 4th. Otherwise for heavy traffic city riding 2nd gear is perfect.

While climbing steep inclines 1st gear is right, for lesser inclines 2nd gear does the job. If you have longer roads with only slight inclines, then 3rd is better for quick pickup as if you stay in 4th gear you get good economy but you will not get quick acceleration if you have to overtake a slow climbing tanker/trailer.

Riding the bike in 4th gear at slow speeds 20-30 kmph is also possible, but I don’t know useful it is. Best economy is at 40 kmph, with 50-60 kmph also not burning much fuel. Only when you touch and stay at 80 kmph do you burn fuel quicker. And if you raced your way from 0-80 quickly to test crazy acceleration, you will burn fuel faster.

Max speed I have tested is around 90 kmph, I think it could go a bit more, but not yet tested. Best thing is at those speeds it handles well, with not much irritating vibrations. Acceleration from 0-60 is good, 0-40 is better. I mean in traffic light GP’s with 150cc bikes, one can’t really compete with them. But its possible to give a tough fight till 40/60 kmph.

So one gets a few thrills of riding a faster bike, if not all thrills. And one can save fuel by riding at slow speeds (40 kmph) when the wallet gets lighter. Side indicators are visible in day time and shine nicely at night. The tail light shines brightly throughout too. I feel tail light should be bit bigger not like those tiny ones on some bikes.

Exhaust pipe is short and sound is throaty. Its not loud, but sounds nice when ridden hard. And its refined and silent (relatively) when ridden softly. Since the exhaust is short the rear most part is the read mudguard and new bike riders who brake late do kiss the rear mudguard. But it hasn’t lost shape, so seems sturdy.

On bad roads, with no pillion, and a light rider, suspension seems stiffer. It helps in handling, but makes us feel the bumps more than other bikes. But if one rides with a pillion then bike absorbs more bumps and yet doesn’t lose its handling character. Its handling is good, point it and it goes there. Lean it right, you can cut corners faster.

It never loses stability on bumpy corners. Better riders lean it more than I can. So clearly handling and stability is good. Controlling the bike while standing on footpegs and riding through bad roads is not difficult but you need to hold handle a bit tighter, this is due to light weight of the bike.

The drive-chain is not enclosed in a casing, but it has a top cover which guards it from mud to some extent. The chain lubrication last well from one service to another. (It doesn’t turn brown coloured or dry on touching). I ride about 40-50 kms daily. Route is not dusty, but has dust on certain sections of the route.

Clutch is light, gearbox is typical 1-down, 3-up. Its not unicorn-smooth, its not clunky. Its somewhere between but gets better with time. Gear changes from nuetral-1st, 2nd-3rd, 3rd-4th, 4th-3rd, 3rd-2nd, 2nd-1st are most silent, it is only from 2nd-neutral is makes more audible sound. But you need to depress the clutch completely, especially when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear, or else the gear doesn’t slot-in correctly and makes funny noise and finally settles in.

Like I said earlier it has jumpy acceleration that I have seen on Pulsar bikes. But I think it depends on how you accelerate. I don’t feel its jumpy much, but some twister riders do it, I have seen it. Pillions whose height is less, around 5 feet, may find it difficult to climb on rear seat, as it is a bit high.

Seat is broad, but could have been broader, but its well padded. Read grip handles are unique as they are built into the rear body shaped. From outside they are of plastic and look difficult to grip, but trust me they are very good to grip and they have Metal rods running from inside to they are sturdy. Only you can’t use them to tie or lock your helmet like other bikes.

I have not done too many long rides, but have ridden the bike 100-200 kms in one day. And throughout, the ride was stress free for both rider and pillion. Of course after 2-3 hours, buttocks do get sore, but not too soon. During one such group ride (twister,p-135 and discover), we riders exchanged bikes and riders to avoid fatigue. And Twister was favored by all for its comfort.

So I am happy with the bike, and all little issues have not given me any headache and it has been a pleasant experience so far and I hope it continues. I tried to make this review different from others, do let me know if I missed out anything. Thank you for reading my review and do leave your comments.

Sanket Kambli