Honda Unicorn 160
Honda Unicorn 160

Honda Unicorn: A Legend In The Making

The Honda Unicorn has been on sale for almost 20 years! But why?

Launched in 2004, the Honda Unicorn was the first motorcycle Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India launched. This was also roughly around the same time it was announced that Honda and Hero would be parting ways. Until the Unicorn, Honda's bread and butter was the Activa, and other scooters like the Dio, and the Eterno — a geared scooter.  But the Unicorn had and still has the solid formula, that makes it a motorcycle you can't go wrong with. It has more or less stayed the same over the years, complying with evolving norms, and getting a nip and tuck here and there to look fresh. But that's about it. 

Here's why we think the Honda Unicorn is still a crowd favourite:


Honda has clearly nailed the design of the Unicorn. Not too bold, not too dull. Just the right amount of panache that's hard to hate. And why change what ain't broken? Sure it got a few updates here and there, but it's largely the same as the first-gen Unicorn.  


Started out as a 150cc motor, now evolved to 160cc to keep in tune with the times. Over the years what made the Unicorn a banger was its refined engine with a decent punch. Proper Japanese refinement and reliability. Top that off with an easy-on-the-pocket fuel economy.


The Unicorn never had extraordinary features; still doesn't. But that's what makes it so easy to live with. There's not much that can go wrong with that motorcycle. Traditional halogen lighting, proper analog instrument cluster, a big fuel tank, rear drum brake, 3-way preload adjustable monoshock, alloys with tubeless tyres, self-starter with a kill switch, ABS, and now OBD2-compliant — all of which help make it a hassle-free experience.


Honda's aftersales has been strong. Has to be — their Activa is the most sold 2-wheeler in the country, and for a very long time. This meant the Unicorn owners had to never worry about finding an authorised service centre near them. And for a motorcycle that's been so successful and on sale for such a long time, spares are never an issue — OEM, OEM-spec, or replicas.


Honda is known for its premium pricing, but they somehow have managed to price the Unicorn quite competitively - undercutting the Pulsar 150 and the Apache RTR 160. Easy to buy, and easy to keep — that sounds like a good recipe, and it has indeed worked well for Honda.

The Unicorn might have slipped out of the minds of buyers in tier 1 cities, but go down a tier or two, and you still have a loyal following for the Unicorn, who swear by it. The Unicorn has always been an understated motorcycle, and maybe that is why it is still flying under the radar, racking enough numbers to be just around the third most sold Honda two-wheeler in the country. 

What do you think Honda should add next to the Unicorn to make it more relevant?

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