It had a seven year run, offering a (visually) sporty alternative to the dull commuters of its time.
Have you noticed that our bikes are absolutely massive? The Suzuki Intruder: if you look at that humongous end can stuck on, you’d think it’s exhausting multiple cylinders, except it is piped to a piddly 150. The Apache RR 310: the motor is a single but the body work around it is as big as the L-twin supersport that has also inspired its design. While Indian bikers don’t want big engines they do want their bikes to look big, weight be damned, and the ability of our designers to cobble together motorcycles that are visually twice, thrice the size of the motor they’re wrapped around is just astonishing, as are their actual design chops. The Yamaha R15 V3: it’s only a 150, but bloody hell does it look racy!
It was not always this; once upon a time, we had the bikini fairing. Whoever coined the term has neither seen a bikini, nor experienced what a well-fleshed-out bikini can do to a man’s trousers. Far from having any sexy appeal, a bikini fairing looks like a wardrobe malfunction, like the stylist forgot the knickers. And what, pray, is the purpose of a bikini fairing? Sure, in black and white times, you had the dustbin fairing streamlining race bikes to get a better top speed down the straight, but a bikini fairing on a small capacity single?
The most recognisable bikini fairing was obviously the Karizma, back in the days when Honda were still holding hands with Hero. And when Honda went their own way they did this, the CBF Stunner.
Good grief, I really have nothing much to say about the Stunner. It does what you’d expect of every Honda: start on the first kick, run reliably and smoothly till kingdom come, handle predictably and be comfortable despite having, allegedly, flat handlebars and rear set pegs. Look closely, and there’s also a fair bit of effort that has gone into the styling, with the caveat that we are looking at a bike launched in 2008 and drawing inspiration from Honda’s big bikes of the last decade. It was meant to draw buyers away from drab 100cc bikes with the promise of marginally reduced fuel efficiency, a wee bit more power, and a tonne more style. Nothing stunning about its proposition then and the bikini didn’t lead to any tingling in our riding pants either.
It did serve one purpose though. Tuck in tight, and given a long enough stretch of road you’ll just about get to a true 100kmph. And that was a big deal in the last decade!