Bajaj V15 vs Unicorn 160 Comparison Review

Bajaj V15 Vikrant vs Honda CB Unicorn 160 Comparison Review:

Pricing & Features:
The Bajaj V15 (STD) retails for 69,000 Rs. on road, Delhi, which makes it 12,000 Rs. cheaper than the Unicorn 160 (non-CBS) variant, having a sticker price of 81,000 Rs. The CBS variant of the Unicorn 160, retails for 84,000 Rs, making it just 3000 Rs. more expensive, than the non-CBS variant, and totally worth the added safety it gives the mainstream riders. Agreed that it makes it a whopping, 15,000 Rs. more expensive than the V15, but does it affect the overall ownership cost equation of the Unicorn? We shall answer that shortly.

V15 vs Unicorn 160 Comparison Review:

Reliability & After Sales Service:
By far the biggest difference, when it comes to the comparison between the Unicorn 160 & the V15, is in terms of the inherent Product Reliability and Service Support, provided by the two brands. Honda has undoubtedly proven, to be much better than Bajaj, at providing hassle free service support in our country. Honda’s products themselves, are far more reliable than Bajaj’s and thus do not require as much maintenance as Bajaj products, in the first place. This makes the job easier for the Honda's Service Centers who majorly work on routine service, whereas Bajaj's Service centers need to put in far more effort on troubleshooting, giving them an impression of substandard service quality.

Fuel Efficiency:
The V15 has an ARAI certified mileage of 57 kmpl, which is 10 kmpl less than the Pulsar 150’s mileage of 65 kmpl. In our back to back tests, the Unicorn 160 was around 4 kmpl more fuel-efficient than the V15. This equates to a savings of 7000 Rs. in fuel costs over an usage of 60,000 kms.

ARAI Mileage: Bajaj V15 - 57 kmpl, Unicorn 160 - 62 kmpl

Fuel Cost (for 60,000 kms): Bajaj V15 - 91,000 Rs, Unicorn 160 - 84.000 Rs.

Resale & Cost of Ownership:

The Unicorn 160 is bound to have better resale value than the V15, after 5 to 7 years of usage. Mostly because of the superior build quality and reliability of Honda bikes. Expect the Unicorn 160 to depreciate at least 5000 Rs. lesser than the V15.

Resale Price (after 5 to 7 years): Bajaj V15 - 30,000 Rs, Unicorn 160 - 47,000 Rs.

Overall, the Total Cost of Ownership of the CB Unicorn 160 turns out to be 12,000 Rs. cheaper than the V15 in terms of Total Cost of Ownership, as it more than makes up for its higher price tag, with lower fuel cost as well better residual value.

Total Cost of Ownership (Price + Fuel Cost - Resale): Bajaj V15 - 1.3 Lakh, Unicorn 160 - 1.18 Lakh

Refinement & Build Quality:
Talking about the Bajaj V15, Bajaj Auto has come a long way now in the motorcycling industry, while you already know about Honda, they are already created history in the automotive industry. When talking about their two bikes, the CB Unicorn 160 shares the same engine with its fellow bikes from Honda, namely, the CB Hornet 160R. The engine on the Unicorn 160 is not completely new, but has been retuned and casted into a new casing. On the refinement side the engine revs quite smoothly but in the mid range, the engine makes an annoying, groaning noise, at some moments you may find it to be quite underwhelming.

On the build quality front, the Honda always has a upper hand over Bajaj, but with the current trend of excessive cost cutting, Honda has also watered down some parts quality, for example the rear saree guard, which has been partially transferred to plastic now. On the other hand we have the Bajaj V15 which shares some parts with the older bikes from Bajaj, not to mention the names. But yes, the Bajaj V15 is a completely new bike and the engine is carried over from the legendary Pulsar 150 DTSi, though the engine crankcase looks different.

Performance & Tractability:
The Unicorn 160, has almost 30 percent higher power-to-weight ratio, than the Bajaj V15, and just over 10% percent more torque as well. But that does not mean that the V15 feels under powered. On the contrary, the V15's low-end torque is quite good, compared to the Unicorn 160, thanks to the 'K-tech technology' developed by Bajaj. However, in the mid-range rpm band, the Honda has a torquier feel, while on a wide open throttle, the Unicorn 160, opens up a huge lead over the V.

On the refinement front, Unicorn 160's engine revs quite smoothly, but at some peculiar rpm in the mid range, the engine makes an annoying, groaning noise, which is absolutely unexpected from a stalwart like Honda. Overall refinement and exhaust noise is quite impressive on the V15, especially compared to other bikes in Bajaj's portfolio. Smoothness and feedback of the gear shift though, could had been much better, especially when compared to the Unicorn 160's gearbox.

Power to Weight Ratio (PS/ton): V15 – 86, Unicorn 160 - 109 (Δ27%)
Torque to Weight Ratio (Nm/ton): V15 – 96, Unicorn 160 - 108 (Δ13%)

Power (PS@rpm): V15 – 12@7,500, Unicorn 160 - 14.71@8000
Torque (Nm@rpm): V15 – 13@5500, Unicorn 160 - 14.61@6000
Kerb Weight (kg): V15 – 135.5, Unicorn 160 – 135

Displacement (cc): V15 – 149.5, Unicorn 160 – 162.71

Handling & Ride Quality:
The V15 has 10mm broader tyres than the Unicorn 160, at both ends. However, the advantage in width is more or less academic, because the compound and tread pattern of V15's tyres is way inferior than the Unicorn 160's, making it surprisingly less grippy around corners than the Honda. V15's wheelbase, is also marginally smaller than the Unicorn 160, and it is quite softly sprung too, making it even less suitable for spirited cornering. However, its ride quality, especially at low speeds, is much more absorbent than the Unicorn's, which feels a bit too stiff for a commuter, while tackling sharp bumps and ruts at city speeds.

Tyre Size: 
Front: V15 – 90/90 - 18 51P Tubeless, Unicorn 160 - 80/100R17
Rear: V15 – 120/80 - 16 60P Tubeless, Unicorn 160 - 110/80R17

Wheelbase (mm): V15 – 1315, Unicorn 160 - 1324

Comfort & Ergonomics:
Both bikes have a handlebar-footpeg-seat triangle, tuned for out & out commuting. The V15 has a hint of cruiser in it, which is evident from its ever-so-slightly forward placed, foot-pegs and low saddle height, making it a boon for short riders. For taller riders though it feels a bit cramped. The Unicorn 160's seating on the other hand is just right for riders having a wide range of heights. Unicorn's ergonomics are also more comfortable for longer rides compared to the V15, which tends to induce pain in the lower-back, on long rides.

The Unicorn 160 is the clear winner of this test. If you go just by the face value, the Bajaj V15 looks like a cheaper, more value for money prospect. But when you dig deeper, you realise that the Unicorn 160 actually ends up being around 10% cheaper than the V15, in terms of overall ownership costs. The Unicorn 160 is also a more technically competent vehicle than the V15, thanks to better performance & dynamics. It is definitely bound to be in better shape than the V15 after a usage of 5 to 7 years and has a track record of needing far lesser unscheduled visits to the service station than any Bajaj motorbike has, till date.

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