Bajaj Platina 110 H-Gear Review
While most of us are familiar with the Platina moniker, the term H-Gear is something new. Simply put, H-Gear is short for highway gear or, as Bajaj also likes to call it, the ‘Happy Gear.’ Marketing jargons aside, it implies the addition of an extra fifth gear to aid in smoother cruising on the highway and fetching better mileage.
What you see here is the Bajaj Platina 110 H-Gear. While most of us are familiar with the Platina moniker, the term H-Gear is something new. Simply put, H-Gear is short for highway gear or, as Bajaj also likes to call it, the ‘Happy Gear.’ Marketing jargons aside, it implies the addition of an extra fifth gear to aid in smoother cruising on the highway and fetching better mileage.
The Bajaj Platina was introduced in 2006 and was available only with a 100cc engine, until December last year, when it was accompanied by a 110cc variant. The added displacement is to enhance the rideability of the motorcycle, on the highway and in the city. And now, Bajaj has taken it a step further by adding a fifth gear. The commuter portfolio of the brand looks like this now; the no-nonsense CT100, the Platina 100 with slightly jazzier looks and more features, then the Platina 110 (four-speed gearbox) and at top of the line-up, the H-Gear. With that being said, let’s see how this fifth gear, along with other additional bits, fared during our short stint with the Platina 110 H-Gear.
The overall aesthetics of the Platina have remained unchanged ever since it was launched in 2006. The design, inspired by the long-discontinued Wind 125, has managed to stay relevant till date. The motorcycle retains the quadrilateral-shaped headlamp, crease-less fuel tank and the long, sweeping tail section. However, a keen eye can spot a few add-ons on the H-Gear. The fuel-tank carries a golden 3D ‘Platina’ logo which adds a little bling to the styling and it gets a quilt pattern seat as well, bearing an embossed ‘Comfortec’ logo at the rear. And finally, there is the blacked out crank case on the H-Gear which is otherwise finished in silver. Although the sales figures speak of the acceptability for the Platina’s design, an aesthetic revamp would make it all the more desirable.
The H-Gear-exclusive elements go beyond aesthetics and this model now gets a semi-digital instrument cluster. Sitting beside the analogue speedometer is a puny digital display consisting of a clock, fuel meter, odometer, a trip meter and, a gear position indicator along with a gear shift guide which, in essence, is an arrow suggesting upshifts/downshifts depending on the speed. The console is neatly laid out and is easy to read on the go. Yet another first-for-Platina feature is an optional 240mm disc brake which works in tandem with Anti-Skid Braking (CBS) system. In bid to keep prices reasonable, Bajaj has opted for a mechanical setup over a hydraulic CBS. There’s a plastic cowl over the front brake lever to cover this mechanical CBS setup, which plays spoilsport to the front fascia of the bike.
The telescopic forks up front and hydraulic shock absorbers at the rear have 135mm and 110mm of travel which, Bajaj claims, is the longest in its segment. For the 110cc iterations, the swing arm has also been stiffened with an aim to achieve better stability. Moreover, the 80/100-17 section CEAT tyres are tubeless. At heart of it all is the 115cc, carbureted motor of the Platina 110 that churns out 8.5bhp power and 9.81Nm torque, which is 0.2bhp and 1.8Nm more than the 100cc version.
Swinging a leg over the saddle of the Platina is no tough affair, given its 807mm seat height. Once settled, you are in a position which is ideal for hours of riding. The positioning of the handlebar and footpegs make sure that there’s no stress on the arms and legs while the adequately soft cushion keeps your waist happy.
Now, thumb the starter and the first thing one will notice is the smooth idle of the engine. Engaging first gear conveys that the gearbox is not very slick but it has a long throw and shifts with a satisfying click. As the motorcycle begins to move, you realise that it is not very quick off the line. However, the closely-spaced first three gears make sure that overtaking is easy in traffic. Shift to fourth and as soon as you reach 40kmph, the gear shift guide suggests that you engage the fifth gear and doing so smoothens out things considerably. With the top gear engaged, not only does the motor runs freely at speeds of around 70kmph, but you can also potter around with equal ease at 40kmph. The good spread of torque helps in charging ahead with decent pace but on the highway, overtaking requires shifting down a cog. The motor feels strain-free until 60kmph, after which the vibes start to make themselves felt through the handlebars and footpegs. While this blurs the images in the mirror, it is not all that annoying until the bike hits 80kmph speed. With a single rider, the engine maxes out at 95kmph.
The ride quality of the Platina is plush for the most part and it skirts over potholes, bumps, ruts and stones with ease. Going over sharp bumps generates a bit of jolt from the rear but it’s not profound. The long travel of the suspension prevents them from bottoming out in most scenarios, until you go gung-ho through the craters. In terms of handling, the 118kg kerb weight and narrow handlebars of the bike assure seamless maneuverability through traffic. The mirrors spread out a bit which might result in you brushing them with other vehicles but, on the flip side, they provide great rear visibility. As easy as it is to maneouvre the Platina through traffic, the motorcycle feels equally planted around corners.
The braking setup on the Platina 110 also does an outstanding job. The Anti-Skid Braking (ASB) mechanism drops the anchors with ample progression. For the uninitiated, the ASB activates both front and rear brakes on applying only the rear brake. The progressive action of ASB prevents the front wheel from locking. As for the front brake, which was a disc in our case, it has bite and feel in abundance. However, pulling them at high speed left the motorcycle wobbling a bit.
The Bajaj Platina has always been acclaimed for its impressive mileage. Bajaj claims that the real-world fuel efficiency of the Platina 110 H-Gear ranges between 70-75kmpl, provided you ride it in a sane manner and obey the gear shift guide. Now, with the addition of extra bells and whistles, and the fifth gear, the motorcycle appears to hold more value. The plush ride quality ensures a smooth ride on our battered roads, the frugal engine looks after the mileage, ASB braking assures optimum safety and the highway gear makes it easier to do both intercity and intracity runs. Priced at Rs 53,376 (drum brakes) and Rs 55,373 (front disc) (both are ex-showroom, Delhi), the Bajaj Platina 110 H-Gear is on the affordable side of the spectrum.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi
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