Is the Stunner version 2.0 an improvement over the older version as it happens with electronic gadgets or does it disappoint like movie sequels?
Words: Mihir Gadre
Photography: Sanjay Raikar


Usually, when Honda launches a new product it leaves the audience gasping for breath. The Stunner FI launch was no different. This time though it was not because Honda had unleashed yet another phenomenal product but because of the bike’s price tag of Rs 72,834 (on-road, Pune). To put this into perspective, let me give you an overview of its competition. Yamaha’s streetfighter par excellence, the FZ16 as well as TVS’ flagship, the Apache RTR EFi cost exactly the same as the Honda. Those looking for affordable performance have options like the Pulsar 180 or the Apache RTR, both of which retail for about rupees five grand less.

Honda’s own 150cc offering, the Unicorn, is rupees nine grand cheaper whereas the Hero Honda Achiever, which sports the same 150cc engine from the Unicorn, costs around Rs 12,000 less. Honda’s other 125cc bike, the Stunner (without the FI), is Rs 15,000 cheaper while the Shine is a whopping rupees 19 grand less. Does the FI tech justify the Stunner FI’s ultra premium price tag or is Honda asking for too much for a couple of alphabets added to the Stunner’s name tag? Well, let’s find out…

Style and ergonomics
The Stunner is a very handsome bike. The body work follows a uniform design language from its sharp, beak-like front to its upswept tail. The ergos are slightly sporty with rear set footpegs but are reasonably comfortable at the same time thanks to the high seat and handlebars. The quarter fairing too has been executed with much more finesse than the abrupt jobs pasted on to some other bikes in the country. I opine that the Stunner is one of the best looking bikes in the country. The FI version gets a new two-tone paint scheme with colours borrowed from the Fireblade which look, well, stunning.

The new shade of deep metallic red especially complements the bike much better than the solid blood red shade of the old bike. Build quality too is top notch perhaps the best you will find in the market. The FI gets red coloured rear springs, a silver heat shield and a golden coloured engine which differentiate it from the carburetor fed variant. However, we have a bone to pick with Honda for ditching the wing graphics on the tank and fairing that we absolutely loved. Nevertheless, on the styling front at least, the new bike fares much better than the competition.

Performance and FE
The Stunner is now the fifth bike on the market to feature fuel injection and the second, after the Glamour FI, to get Honda’s Legendary PGM-FI short for Programmed Fuel Injection. The FI engine feels much more refined than the carbureted version while the gearbox is a typical butter smooth Honda unit. The throttle response has improved and is especially evident while blipping on downshifts. The engine now produces 11.76PS of peak power – half a PS more than the old Stunner – and 11.2Nm of torque at a slightly lower 6250rpm.

The console gets the pgm-fi logo below the fuel gauge and a malfunction indication lamp next to the neutral indicator


The bike gets an open chain guard and red rear springs which differentiate it from the carb version. honda have employed a smaller rear sprocket in order to make the overall gearing taller


The stunner fi gets a silver finish heat shield instead of the chrome unit seen on the older bike

The FI manages much higher speeds in every gear compared to the carbureted Stunner which used to be totally out of breath at the 80km/h mark. However, the difference is not so much due to FI technology as Honda would like you to believe but because of the revised gearing. Honda technicians have given the bike a taller gearing by going one tooth down on the rear sprocket. BIKE India had suggested a similar gearing change to Honda way back in June 2006. We had even carried out the sprocket modification on the Shine and had done a comparo with the stock Shine in our magazine. However, it took Honda three long years to implement the changes. Honda must have hoped that nobody would find out about the revised gearing and assume that the difference in performance was all because of the PGM-FI.

The bike clocked a 0-60km/h time of 6.32sec and a top speed of 108.2km/h. Its performance is good for a 125cc but it is not good enough for the bikes it is trying to compete with. More than outright performance, it’s the new bike’s deficiency in midrange torque that takes it out of the performance game. However, Stunner FI does make up for it by returning fantastic fuel efficiency figures. The bike managed to stretch a litre to 64km on city roads and 72km on the highway. That gives it an overall fuel efficiency of 66kmpl which is 5kmpl more than the carbureted version in addition to being on par with other 125s.

Ride and handling

There are no changes on the chassis-suspension front. The bike is stiffly sprung to complement its sporty pretensions. This gives it a slightly harsh ride especially when riding solo. The ride gets much more compliant with a pillion on board. However, the stiff set-up also has its own advantages. It gives the bike good handling characteristics. The Stunner FI has a good grip and plenty of feedback through the tyres. The short wheelbase makes it a doodle to swerve in and out of the traffic. So in terms of dynamics, it does manage to outclass most of its competition. Many Stunner owners complain about the problem of vibes creeping up through the footpegs and handlebars at the top end of its rev range. Thankfully, as the FI variant runs lower revs due to its taller gearing in addition to the bike’s new bar ends, this problem has been alleviated to a great extent.

What the Stunner FI sets out to achieve is to give the customer the performance of a 150 and the fuel efficiency of a 125 and it has almost achieved this goal. At the same time, it feels much more of a premium product compared to its competitors and has that all important big bike feel. It would have been a great product for people looking for a premium bike with great fuel efficiency to boot had it been priced a bit more realistically. A maximum premium of Rs 5,000 over the carbureted Stunner would have been justifiable. But a price tag of Rs 73,000 is just too optimistic on Honda’s part.

To reiterate a bit, the bike is certainly head and shoulders above the rest in its segment but is so darn expensive that prospective buyers are forced to consider other alternatives. The fact that Honda itself offers a fantastic bike like the Unicorn at a reasonable price makes the case for the Stunner F1 a bit weaker. The Unicorn is a well established benchmark in its segment with its legendary reliability, refinement, performance and dynamics. It also has a monoshock rear suspension and a tachometer which is absent on the Stunner FI.
If you compare the Stunner FI with the Unicorn, it is 7kmpl more fuel efficient than the Unicorn but then there’s a difference of Rs 9,000 in their price tag. So if you do the math it will take you at least 75,000km of riding to recover the price difference in your fuel bills. As such, the big question is whether the Stunner FI will be flying out of showrooms like all the other Hondas.'

Bike India Team – who has written posts on Bike India.

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