This is my first ownership review in TAI
. So please bear with me.
They say, ďIf you donít stop and turn back to see your vehicle after parking it, you have bought a wrong oneĒ. But in my case, I sometimes sit and stare at my vehicles.
Bikes are the first dream for the middle class guys. I waited till my first job and then applied for the loan and got the first bike. It was a like a dream coming true. But it was a short lived dream. Why? Initial Days:
My first bike was TVS star city ES. My biggest mistake. My hard earned money went kaput. Right from the first day, there were lot of problems. Gear issues, electrical issues, bike turning off frequently, engine seizure, all happening within 6 months of ownership. The bike was clearly a lemon and the dealer never accepted it. Finally fed up and sold the bike in just 9 months and incurred a loss of 20000 RS.
Then I decided, this time itís not going to be TVS. After seeing many good reviews, went to book Unicorn. But sadly, the waiting period was 8 months. I canít wait 8 months as I donít have a bike in hand. So settled with Unicorn Dazzler. It was good and I was happy with the decision. At the end of 2nd year, when I was standing in a red signal, a biker behind me has not noticed the signal and hit me from behind. The speed was so high that my bike hit another bike in front. The damage was big. bent Fork, bent handle bar, right hand side switch,broken RVMís, drive chain damage. Being shocked of the bill quote provided, I sold my bike to the dealer and booked unicorn.
Having a good relationship with Honda service manager and a good experience with dazzler, I decided to settle with Unicorn. And there was no waiting period. So booked one and got it immediately on March 2012 Buying process:
The buying process was smooth except for the bank loan (HDFC). The person just included the HDFC general insurance form along with the loan forms and its my bad not reading the whole forms and I just signed it. Result: 200 Rs extra per month for the sake of insurance.
Followed the run-in period and never crossed 50 kmph. And the below were my observations after 4 years of usage. And her birthday is coming soon.
KMS clocked till date. Seems a bit low for 4 years. What I like: Engine:
I am not talking about the technical specs as it can be found in many websites. The engine is among the best engines available. It is silent, have enough power and torque to ponder around in city and also in highway. I can easily take off in 2nd gear with minimal clutch slippage. There is no sudden surge and it picks up gradually. The bike can run smoothly all day. The maximum speed I achieved is 100 kmph in Chennai-Trichy highway, that too only once. I never cross 80 Kmph in highways, so that I can have a peaceful drive and the engine is also not stressed too much.
The heart: Gear shift:
The gear shift is direct and precise. It is butter smooth. Coupled with a smooth clutch, the gear shift is a cake walk every time. Finding neutral is not at all a problem in unicorn and newbies will surely appreciate this. The gears are sure-slotting. I changed the gear lever from single lever to the usual heel and toe one. My lee cooper takes a hit every time when I shift gears in single lever.
The upgraded heel and toe lever: Seating position:
I choose unicorn because of the upright seating position. I am not a fan of sporty seating position. All I want was a comfortable riding position. Clocking 30 kms daily, I want a good seating position. Unicorn satisfies me in that. I never had back pain while riding her. Once I rode her continuously for 250 Kms with a single break. At the end, I didnít have any sort of discomfort. Suspension&stability:
The front shocks and the rear shocks do the job very well. The main thing is that the rear suspension makes the ride planted. There are 3 settings provided, hard, medium and soft. I always keep it in hard. The ride is slightly stiff in rougher roads, but the balance of the bike is good. I could easily control her and she is stable. And yes, there is a difference in hard and soft mode when driving with a pillion. What I donít like is while in soft mode with pillion is, the rear feels unsettled and there is a vertical movement in patchy roads.
P.s. Whatís with Honda and the rear shocks?? I feel the vertical movement with pillion in my activa too. And in my city too (with 2 passengers in rear seat). Mileage and build quality:
I get 50 KMPL regularly. It is a good mileage for a 150cc heart. I donít feel high fluctuations in mileage. May be a difference of 2 to 4 kmpl here and there.
The bike looks classy for me. There are light touches of chrome in the dome and the side panels. It has a timeless look. Nothing flashy and the looks donít offend anyone. I would say the build quality to be good. It could have been better. There are considerable amount of rough edges if you look closely like the bottom of the petrol tank, around the speedometer and below the dome. But it is not visible to normal eyes. The petrol tank is huge and holds 16 litres of petrol with 2 to 2.5 litre reserve. The bike looks huge and tips at 149 kgs. The chain sprocket is fully covered thereby not allowing the dusts to settle in. It is very useful in our dusty conditions.
A parting shot:
Well. Not every bike is perfect. There may be some things which we donít like too.
So coming now to the things I donít like. Service:
Here I would like to split it in two. Period 1:
As I had good relationship with the service manager, the service quality was good during the first 3 services. Nothing to complain at all. Period 2:
The service manager has been changed. And all the problems started. The service has become poor from good. Not even a single complaint will be rectified. They have spoilt the front suspensions and the engine too. During one of the paid service, I think they have removed the engine for checking the valve clearance and then they have closed it without the gasket. Result: Engine oil leak and timing chain gone kaput. And the irony is while picking the bike from service and returning home, the bike switched off and never turned on. Well, now stranded in the middle of the road. Found a mechanic shop nearby and the thing was spark plug has gone and ASC has not changed it.
Finally found a good mechanic near my home and the bike is in complete good shape. Tyres&breaks:
I am not satisfied with the rear drums. The stoppage power is not enough. The front disc does the job well. Overall, the braking power is satisfactory and could have been better (May be I am accustomed with the rear discs of my previous bike).
The disc. Think its Nissin.
Coming to tyres, the stock was Mrf zapper. What is happening with MRF nowadays? The grip levels were not satisfactory. And there was road noise in the tyres(If listened to keenly). So after 30000 kms, changed it to Michelin Sirac. The tyre is good with no road noise and ample grip. The braking is also good and confident inspiring now rather than with the MRFís. Switch gears:
The switch gears are of poor quality. There are no soft actions and sure slotting switch gears. The indicators pass switch and the headlight beam switch are of poor quality and I changed them twice in 4 years and still they are not sure slotting. Many a times, these switches get struck in between and it gets annoying. Honda should really concentrate here and provide good quality switches. The same problem is faced with my activa too.
The poor quality of the switch gears: Tail light rattling:
And the infamous tail light rattling is there in my unicorn too. This is common in all generations of Unicorn, so I didnít pay attention to that. It is not that annoying too. So left it as it is. Donít want to open it and increase the rattling.
So overall, I am satisfied with owning the bike and I am very happy with it. I treat her well and in turn she too treats me well.
Will I recommend Unicorn to others? Yes.
Why? Itís a no nonsense 150cc commuter bike which is light on pocket and has good performance and mileage combined.
So how do I maintain my bike?
I will never miss the service intervals. I am using shell synthetic oil and the engine feels smoother and better. Will wash the bike regularly and sees that the rusting doesnít takeover. Also regularly cleaning and lubricating the drive chain makes the drive a breeze and increase the life of the chains. And I have befriended the local mechanic and he does a very good job for my bike.
Drive chain info:
Vista chain lube. Lubricates well.
P.S. Always wear a helmet while riding. A nice saying, ďPlease protect your brains while driving, if you have oneĒ.
The keychain.. Superman
Thanks for reading.