Arun Mohan Nadar was impressed with this indigenously developed bike
It wouldn't have been an exaggeration if you called the Hero Splendor the face of India's two-wheelers till a while back. The bike, though, has witnessed a slight slump in sales in the recent past as the Honda Activa has tipped it as the highest-selling two-wheeler in India this year.
To arrest this slide in sales, Hero has rolled out a new iSmart 110 version of the Splendor that also happens to be the first indigenously-developed bike at its new R&D facility near Jaipur.
With respect to styling, the Splendor iSmart 110 isn't a motorcycle that will make heads turn. The design of the new motorcycle is a good balance between sober and sporty, which should appeal to many buyers.
The angular headlight seems inspired from the Xtreme Sports while the sculpted tank adds a little bit of muscle. The i3S sticker on the tank is visually pleasing and there are no in-your-face graphics. The angular turn indicators, split grab handles and the reserve knob are neat additions.
The console gets a simple analogue speedometer while there's a digital display for the odometer and trip meter. It also gets the benefit of a side stand indicator. The switch gear is pretty simple while the tight panel gaps and rich paint quality are impressive.
The Splendor iSmart 110 is also the first motorcycle in its segment to get an automatic headlamp.
Among the biggest talking points on the Splendor iSmart 110 is the new powerplant, which has been developed in-house by Hero. The air-cooled, single-cylinder motor delivers 9.4PS at 7,500rpm and peak torque of 9Nm at 5,500rpm.
Give it some gas and the bike picks momentum briskly (Hero claims it has the best acceleration in the segment). Mid-range performance though felt a bit dull but it did manage to hold speeds of around 60-65kmph easily.
The highlight of the motor is its refinement level; there are slight amount of vibes that kick in around 40kmph, but it never reach an uncomfortable level. Also, the new engine is the only in the commuter segment to be BS IV emission norm compliant.
The i3S (idle stop-start system) also does its job without much fuss. Stop at a red light and let the bike idle for five seconds and the engine gets shut down automatically; pull the clutch to engage first gear and the bike restarts automatically.
The 4-speed gearbox offers slick shifts while the clutch is light. For a first effort, the Splendor iSmart's motor really does impress. But for a commuter buyer, the biggest deciding factor is the mileage and according to Hero, it delivers 65kmpl in real world conditions -- among the highest in the segment.
The riding posture continues to be upright and lengthy journeys should be rather comfortable. While it does look similar to the standard Splendor iSmart, the frame of the motorcycle has been completely redesigned.
Direction changes are effortless and through the corners the bike feels composed. Both the telescopic forks and the drum brakes have enough bite, however an optional disc brake is missed.
Riding on the back of its balanced styling, refined motor and impressive agility, the new Hero Splendor iSmart lives up to the billing. The use of the start-stop technology should also help in marketing the bike well.
All in all, it is a great first attempt for an indigenously developed bike, priced at Rs 53,300 (ex-showroom Delhi). With the humungous dealer network of Hero, there's little reason why the new Splendor iSmart 110 shouldn't be a good option in the commuter segment.