A sporty beginner bike
Sporty and nimble, the Honda CB190R won't blow a hole in your wallet when it comes to fuel bills
LOOKS & DESIGN
The Honda CB190R, which draws on Honda's racing heritage in MotoGP.
Sporting Honda Repsol's orange, white and red colours, it looks real fast.
Its aggressive styling – brooding headlamp, red spark plug wire and rear spring, faux air scoop shrouds and short tail end – hints at a sporty commute. So, too, do the wave rotors, gold upside down forks and "hidden" exhaust pipe.
The five-speed 190R has a seating posture that's upright and familiar.
Reaching out to the handlebar and foot controls is comfortable and natural, just like what you would find on motorcycles in riding schools. Your feet rests firmly on tarmac, giving you added confidence.
But you're not going to find much space in the saddle if you're a plus-sized biker or a lanky one like me.
The ease of operation and the simple digital display will not confound any new rider, while wider tyres give the CB190R more traction. TNP PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
The rider seat on the 190R is smaller compared to similar naked bikes like the India-made KTM Duke 200.
POWER & HANDLING
With about 16hp, the four-stroke 190R will not fly at the twist of the throttle. Power is conceivably mild for single-cylinder motorcycles in this range.
The 184cc Honda makes maximum torque and power at between 7,000 and 8,000rpm.
You'll discover that overtaking is done typically by downshifting one or two gears.
The way to ride the air-cooled 190R – especially when going up a slope – is to keep the revs high and build momentum as you go.
TNP PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Without a sixth gear, the Honda vibrates a little as the rider increases his speed in top gear.
Given its light 140kg fully-fuelled weight, the fuel-injected Honda is a blast to ride in bends or stop-go city traffic. It doesn't take much to change direction on-the-fly or push the bike when looking for a parking space.
Production costs for the China-made 190R are kept low with non-adjustable front suspension and a rear suspension that can be set either hard or soft.
To heavier riders, the 190R's suspension may feel undersprung when going over nasty bumps.
But the larger tyres, fore and aft, compensate with wider foot prints (read more lean angle) and help to absorb some of the road imperfections.
The 190R has decent braking performance coming from its wave-pattern rotors. They work better the harder you depress the brake lever and pedal. A hint of pedigree comes in the form of a Nissin rear brake caliper.
There are other naked motorcycles to consider in this class. Among them are KTM Duke 200 and Yamaha FZN 150.
The 190R is easy to operate.
The only semblance of technology comes in the form of a small digital display showing the machine's tachometer, speedometer, odometer and fuel gauge.
While touted as a sporty beginner bike, the 190R's prowess lies in its fuel economy. We started our test on half-a-tank of fuel - about six litres.
After 80km of riding, there was a drop of only one bar on the digital fuel gauge.
If you're looking for an easy-to-maintain small bike with a bullet-proof engine, then you can't go wrong with the 190R. It has "street cred" and will not blow a hole in your wallet when it comes to fuel bills.
MAKE & MODEL Honda CB190R
ENGINE Air-cooled, four-stroke, single cylinder
MACHINE PRICE $6,000 (Repsol colours) and $5,800 (red and black combination). For more information, call Boon Siew Singapore Honda at 6513-9399.