Sorry guys, This is going to be a long post starting with buying experience and 4 years of ownership experiences.
It was during my 6th semester(3rd year in college) i was desperate on own a bike as most of my friends had bikes of various kinds from HH Splendor, HH Passion, HH Karizma R, Honda Unicorn, RE Bullet 350 Electra and all variants Bajaj Pulsar. My college was 28Km from place so each day the bike would cover 56-60kms easily. Parents firmly said no to my repeated request as State Transport Corporation's buses would ply the routes to my college at very high speeds and accidents were common. I started creating trouble regularly but parents won't budge.
I had lost hope completely and some days passed, One fine evening while i was watching TV, Dad enquirers "Do you want a 100cc bike or 125cc bike. Tomorrow go and check out HH Passion, Honda Shine and Honda CBF Stunner and let me know which bike you want ok?". I was totally stunned
Me:- "Dad, are you making fun of me or are you serious."
Dad:-"Just let me know which bike you want. But keep this in mind, i am not buying you a powerful bike. Only an economical bike which gives good mileage."
Me:- "Hell No. Dad i will keep this bike for atleast 8-10 years. I want a 150cc bike and my daily riding will be 60kms .150cc bikes has good suspension setup and i won't have a problem with my back."
Dad:- "No. Only 100c bikes. Maximum 125cc no more than that"
Mom surprisingly interferes "Anyway we have decided to buy him a bike na so just buy him the bike he wants and let's get this over with" and dad finally agrees. My options:-
The very next Saturday i check out 4 dealership of various manufacturers.
1)Hero Honda CBZ 150 Extreme:-
Dealership is a bit crowded but a SA immediately attends me and listens to my requirements. He then proceed to show me the bike and explains the features to me. I ask for a TD but he says no as they don't have there TD vehicle now. I thank him and walk away. I am not going to buy a bike without riding it. Bye Bye HH
2) TVS Apache 150:-
Dealership experience was very good. SA immediately shows me the bike and asks me if i want to take a TD. I respond with a very happy Yes and i ride the bike for a couple of kms near the dealership. Initial impressions were:-
Bike was one hell of a looker. Looked macho in every sense but power delivery was not good. Also i had a feeling that ride was not soft to my liking. Actually the bike didn't feel like a 150cc to me and it felt a bit under powered (No offence meant to existing Apache owners). OTR price of the bike was 61k, I told the SA i shall call him to let him know of my decision soon. Friends told me TVS bikes didn't have resale value so by chance if i had to sell the bike after my college i will have to sell it at a considerable loss. Still kept Apache as my option due it's good looks and VFM
3) Honda Unicorn
Walked in to the showroom and didn't find a Unicorn display vehicle. Reason- Bike had 6-8 months waiting period, So the dealer couldn't keep a display vehicle. Astonished i walk to the reception and the lady there immediately directs a SA to attend me. He explains the features and let me know Unicorn has 6-8 month depending on the color one would chose. Silver one has 6 months waiting period while the red and black has 8 months waiting period. Surely Unicorn is out of my list as if i book the bike now, it will be delivered only during my 4th year in my college and God know where i will get a job after college. But i take a TD of Unicorn and the initial impressions were :-
I started the engine but no sound came. Surprised i looked at the SA, He smiled at me and asked me turn the accelerator. I thought he was a bit stupid as nothing will happen as the bike was not started. To my surprise when i did so i could hear the engine sound. Totally blow off by the refinement i proceed to ride the bike and i felt the bike had adequate power, good ride quality and decent looks. I didn't like the speedo-tacho console as i felt those were a bit old to my liking as digital consoles were becoming common thanks to Pulsar. To sum up my only issue with not booking Unicorn then was it's damn waiting period. OTR price of 69k was a bit steep for the features it offered.
So my list now has 2 options 1. Honda Unicorn and 2. TVS Apache
4) Bajaj Pulsar
Went to the showroom and made an inquiry for Pulsar 150. SA reply- "Sir for 70k why go for 150cc bike our Pulsar 180 OTR price is only 68K and if you could extend your budget a little you can have Pulsar 200 which is a far better bike than 150cc bikes available". SA explains the features 200cc oil cooled engine, 18bhp, top speed of 130km/hr, Digital console and meaty rear tires. TD of the bike convince me of the huge power on tap and the bike has excellent brakes to counter the enormous power available. SA asked me to take us to highway and open up the throttle. Found out Pulsar 200 was effortless while cruising at 100km/hr. Impressed i walked out of showroom updating the SA that i will let them know of the decision soon. After talking to some of my friends who gave me the update that pulsar has low reslave value and is difficult to maintain. But still i wanted to go for Pulsar 200 with an OTR price of 75k. The Decision
Parents outright rejected the Pulsar for reasons not known to me (Probably power). Dad told me to book unicorn but i countered saying will receive the bike only after a year which i am not interested in. Again Mom came to the rescue saying she knew someone in the dealership and will talk to the person and let me know the waiting period. The person mom knew was in fact the owner of the dealership who had FD accounts in my mom's bank. The very next Monday got a call from dealership to book the bike at the earliest. The color i chose was black. Couple of days later we made full payment but i still didn't have a clue when i will receive my bike. Got the call from dealer on Saturday 5 days from booking the bike that the bike has been registered and the delivery can me made in the evening. Evening we all went to showroom and were greeted royally and everything was ready. Just took another 20 minutes and bike was mine.What can i say 8 months waiting period reduced to 5 days. Simply Awesome. Ownership Report:-
Bike has till now clocked 30k in 4 years time with me. I am the sole user of the bike and it has been a totally trouble free experience for me. Did all free service at the dealership but didn't do the paid service. Did the rest of the service at a local shop near my place were i knew the mechanic very well. Engine and Gearbox:-
The most refined engine in 150cc bikes with good linear power delivery is the highlight of Unicorn's engine. Has adequate power to cruise in 80km/hr without much fuss. The 5 speed gearbox with 1 down 4 up universal pattern works like a charm. I have never faced any issues in this department and i am totally happy with this. Suspension:-
Mono suspension works well and in it's stock setup is tuned to be soft which i like as i am not an aggressive rider. Sharp potholes do unsettle your back but if you are a bit careful then it won't be a big issue. Overall i am happy in this department also. Brakes and Tires:-
I am not happy with the feedback the brakes provide but my riding style never warrants emergency braking as i usually cruise round 40-60km/hr mark. I am very happy with the stock MRP tires. Even after 30k in odo there still quite a lot of thread in both front and rear tyre. My mechanic says it can easily go upto 60-65k. Maintenance Costs:-
Regular servicing in 6 month interval has kept the bike with very low maintenance costs. Periodic oil change at 3500kms and fork oil change and front brake pads at 15k mark is all that was required. I have never changed my rear brake liner and it still never makes a sound even under hard braking.
At 18k did change to fully synthetic oil by ELF and mechanic told me to change oil only after 7k even though the oil manufacturer claims 10k is the interval required. I have covered 12k after oil change, mechanic found the oil to be ok to my astonishment but i will change it in my next service visit. Mileage:-
Have always returned stable mileage and has been very very happy in this department.
In city- 55-57km/ltr
In highway- 61-64km/ltr
Please note my riding is unlike most young guys as i ride very sedately in 40-60km/hr range (which is why i think i get good efficiency) and also i wear premium helmets from LS2 as safety is prime consideration while i ride.
Some of the pics of my bike are attached with the thread.
Thanks for reading my long post.