New commuter bike to replace my 10-year-old Honda Unicorn

Considering the Hero Xpulse 200, but confused between the 2V and the upcoming 4V version.

BHPian iamahunter recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Coming straight to the point. I inherited a 10-year-old Honda Unicorn after my father's demise.

It’s been some time and now the unicorn has started giving out some issues. Minor issues such as starting the bike first time of the day. Runs perfectly after that, but starting the bike is a time consuming and sweaty task; generally, the ones which we do not need at the start of the journey. This is mildly irritating.

For some time now I have been contemplating replacing the unicorn with another commuter bike. Something that can do a quick grocery run, night ice-cream rides with the kiddo, take us to the nearby family meets and the office runs.

I am sure the ones who are reading will be - Activa! Right? Yes, exactly what my mind came down to as well, it’s easy! But it’s not!

So last month we did get an Activa for my Mom and I had to drive it to her place. It’s a quick 15 km ride from my place, so after taking the delivery, we 3 - me, mom and kiddo started the ride to my mom's place. By the time we reached, I and mom had concluded that the Activa is only good for the rider and not the pillion. My kiddo did enjoy standing in the front at the start, but just after 10 minutes wanted a place to sit which was difficult to manage.

My first need in the commuter is the pillion comfort, Activa clearly lacked in that department. So Activa was out of the question.

Mom suggested replacing the Unicorn with another Unicorn. She was shocked when I told her the cost of a new one. It was a simple case of expectations vs reality. She thought the new unicorn would cost the same as it did 10 years ago, possibly a 10k increase in the cost. So the expectation was 80 – 85k, but the actual cost is somewhere around 1.2L.

So if the plan is to spend that much, it then set my mind and heart on an adventure ride.

Initially, I was planning to replace my CBR with a middleweight ADV-tourer, but since that’s on hold till next year (given the new bike launches) and I have to replace the unicorn now, why not replace the unicorn with a smaller adv! And so the Xpulse comes into the picture.

So why a Xpulse and why not a Himalayan or a 390 Adventure?

Both Himalayan and 390 ADV are way above a simple replacement. They would be an actual upgrade to the unicorn and will put them in a similar category as the CBR. Simply put - consider Xpulse/unicorn are at level 1, CBR/Himalayan/390/250advs are level 2 and the CB500/Versys 650 are at level 3. So it makes sense to replace the Unicorn with the Xpulse and then next year a level 3 bike replaces the CBR.

Where the Xpulse is in the right category, it is also comfortable to ride, handles broken roads like none other(a million times better than the Activa), has enough grunt, and the engine vibes are well controlled.

So it’s going to be an Xpulse for sure. Small compact – can-do city and office ride, easy for those groceries and ice-cream runs, additionally now I can even explore what they call it “the uncharted territory” with the Xpulse.

Xpulse 2V is in the market and readily available whereas the 4V would be launching soon, by January is the communication from the showroom.

Coming to the pricing:

  • Unicorn (would fetch) : 10 -12K (less as I am 2nd owner as per the RC)
  • Xpulse 2V : 150k – 5k (discount) = 145k
  • Xpulse 4v : 156k + 4k (price hike next year) = 160k

The 4V would have additional torque power and smoothness; however, it would cost me more than what I would get for the unicorn. Plus the discount that I am getting on the 2v means I can put on some accessories on the bike, a crash guard or aux lights may be.

My mind says “Go for the 2V as the 4V is simply not worth the additional cost”.

My heart says, “Wait for the 4v, but also want a new bike, err let the mind take the call!”

Now that the heart is kind of agreeing to the mind, the mind is confused! Mind says “I have got you till the Xpulse, you decide what to do, 2V or 4V, that you decide!”

Basically, please help me decide.

Should I go ahead and take the 2V or book the 4V!?

Here's what BHPian shancz had to say on the matter:

Would suggest going with the newer 4V.

The 15k difference for the 4V is ok since there would be some issues addressed as well as the performance improvement.

The only way I would suggest the 2V is if the delivery estimates are not confirmed and you need s bike soon.

I am quite surprised that they haven't started delivering yet, so a genuine concern over delays.

Here's what BHPian SoumenD had to say on the matter:

Do you intend to keep it as long as the Unicorn? If yes, 4V is a no-brainer really. More than the bump in power/torque what I notice everyone praise is the smoothness. And the increased rear sprocket size apparently has improved the pickup as well which would help in your intra-city commutes. 15k will seem well worth it in the long run IMHO

Even I have to replace my RTR160 turning 14 this month and if I don’t end up with one of those level-2 ADVs (by your definition), Xpulse 4V is my choice for lateral upgrade/replacement especially considering the road conditions around where I stay.

Even at Rs 1.6L, I find it great VFM.

Here's what BHPian sachinb4u had to say on the matter:

I understand you have already decided on the upgrade. But I can share my experience when I was in the same boat last year. I have 16 years old Honda unicorn(2005) which is my first bike.

I was also thinking of upgrading since it's too old and there was just an urge to have a new bike.

Finally, I decided to re-register my bike and continue using it. Reasons for my decision:

  • I was not facing any major issues with my unicorn, there was no maintenance except regular servicing
  • My use was only for the gym and nearby rides with family for ice cream, snacks
  • Any new bike wouldn't bring much value to my use of the bike
  • Spent 1-2K on servicing and it rides like a new bike.
  • I couldn't justify the need for an upgrade based on my use.

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