Aiming to gain a larger pie of the burgeoning commuter segment in India, Hero MotoCorp recently launched the Splendor iSmart 110 and is expected to take on the Dream series from Honda, the Yamaha Saluto RX and the Suzuki Hayate. The motorcycle is touted as a larger displacement version of the existing iSmart 100, which is powered by a 100 cc engine.
The new Splendor is the bike maker’s first global motorcycle which has been designed and developed completely in-house and the first model to be crafted by the company’s recently-inaugurated Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) at Jaipur. So, out goes the horizontal engine orientation and in comes a near vertical arrangement. The bike maker believes that this move is expected to improve the combustion process and ensure smooth power delivery at all speeds.
The bike uses a single-cylinder 110 cc BS IV-compliant unit, which bells out 9.3 hp of maximum power at 7,500 rpm, and 9 Nm of peak torque at 5,500 rpm. While the company claims to have introduced a brand new chassis and frame for the bike, in real world conditions, the chassis feels similar to the existing 110cc offerings, albeit with a higher rigidity factor.
THE i FACTOR
The highlight though, remains the i3S technology, first seen on the iSmart 100. It is essentially an idle stop start system, which cuts fuel supply to the engine, when the engine is idled. Decompressing the clutch would bring the engine back to life. Hero MotoCorp has provided a dedicated i3S switch on the right handlebar, which allows the rider to turn this feature on, depending upon riding conditions. This new feature should help in improving fuel economy, which can only be ascertained after a long term review.
ON THE TARMAC
The iSmart 110 is aimed at providing a balanced riding experience for most riding conditions. However, the motorcycle feels best suited for the tarmac, where Hero believes the bike will spend most of its time. What is instantly noticeable is the flattish torque curve, which delivers the entire 9 Nm of torque equally across the rev range. The bike pulls from zero effortlessly, at almost any gear. This is due to the Torque-On-Demand feature, which is responsible for a linear power and torque delivery.
Engine refinement has always been Hero MotoCorp’s forte and the new iSmart does not disappoint. The bike feels at ease on the road and the handlebar-seat-foot peg geometry successfully complements the riding dynamics. The riding position is commuter-oriented; not that anyone will complain. The long seat offers enough cushioning for long rides as well. While gear shifts are smooth without the fear of false neutrals, a bit more refinement between gears would be welcome though.
While we are at it, the absence of a fifth gear was sorely missed. The engine feels eager to be revved and an additional gear would have done justice to a well-mapped torque graph. It would also enhance straight line stability, annihilating the need to grapple for a fifth cog, while the engine is at its peak. One cannot help but draw a comparison to the now defunct Honda CB Twister, which cribbed for that extra gear, ultimately stripping the engine off the fun factor. However, the responsive chassis compensates for the riding pleasure aspect, as it is capable enough to take on potholes and undulations with ease.
A SUBTLE HEAD-TURNER
Trying to offer a visually-appealing experience to its customers, the company has opted for a part-digital and part-analog instrument console with an LED display. Welcome features include dual turn indicators, a service reminder indicator and a crystal blue backlight. The bike comes with an Automatic Headlamp On (AHO) feature. Unlike what it might suggest, the headlamp will not be turned on automatically during poor lighting conditions or during night time, but it will stay on whenever the engine is running. Hence it does not come equipped with an on/off switch for the headlamp.
The iSmart 110 takes Hero MotoCorp’s technology drive to a new level, albeit for a regular commuter. It does most of the things that you expect of a 110 cc bike and a bit more. The i3S bit is expected to aid mileage figures and coupled with a free-revving motor, owners will not be disappointed. Priced at Rs 53,800, ex-showroom Delhi, the iSmart 110 is in line with most of the competition. This, coupled with the bike maker’s ever-dependable service network, should ensure another winner from the Hero stable.
Text: Anwesh Koley
Photo: Bharat Bhushan Upadhyay