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Hero Splendor iSmart 110 First Ride Review

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Omkar Thakur

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What is it?

There is a marked difference in the perception of an 110cc motorcycle and a 100cc one in the Indian market. Though the difference is only 10cc, the styling and features change and for the buyers, the 110 is always an upgrade from the run-of-the-mill 100.

So, here is the Hero Splendor iSmart 110. Elder to the Splendor iSmart with 12cc more cubic capacity and almost three quarters of a horsepower more to play with. And there is more. It also has the solid feel of the Splendor (most of us have grown up either on it or looking at one), along with the latest state-of-art technology and features.

How does it ride?

Well, it rides like a Splendor and much better. What I mean is, it still carries forward the ergonomics that have been constant for the past 20 years and that is a good thing. It is comfortable with the folded elbows and an erect riding position. The seat is firm, making it convenient over long hauls while not being stiff.

The suspension is setup soft for a pliant ride at all speeds. Being light, you can flick it easily in traffic or to avoid potholes at any given speed. The four-speed gearbox is the same old ‘4th gear in 40 metres’ box that lets you ride from 20kmph (for my weight, 25 for Pratheek’s) to a top whack of close to 100kmph on the speedometer. The 109.15cc engine develops 8.9bhp of power and 9Nm of torque. The engine is torquey at low revs and as you go higher on the rev count, the vibrations start kicking in as it starts to snarl.

The brakes are good and the drum brake in the front bites well. The skinny 2.75 – 18 CEAT tyres grip well on almost all surfaces and allow the motorcycle to be highly efficient too. I couldn’t resist throwing it around a couple of corners and to my surprise, it held really well.

Anything else I should know?

The i3S technology. First of its kind technology for motorcycles in India, it is going to be unique unless someone else gets that. It isn’t a gimmick and works seamlessly. When the motorcycle idles in neutral, the engine is killed along with the headlamp and when you pull the clutch, it cranks up immediately. The effect is seen in the fuel economy figures where the 110 iSmart returned us more than 68kmpl for our city traffic run while a similar-spec Suzuki Hayate returned 64kmpl. Also, no matter how frequently the system has to operate, the battery does not dip and it should add a feather to Hero’s hat.

If you look closely, you will see the old Splendor engine has now been replaced by a conventional looking almost upright cylinder block like the Splendor iSmart. It is the new modular block that should be able to cater to engine displacement from 90cc up to 125cc.

Why should I buy it?

You will not go wrong here because in essence, it is still a Splendor. It is slightly on the heavier side than the competition (115kg) and is well built. The new look has its roots inside Eric Buell’s drawing room and the tail panel formed in a single stroke gives it away. The sculpted tank looks muscular and in this combination of black and blue, it looks classy especially with the silver outline i3S decal on it. The bikini fairing on the headlamp, the two-tone paintjob and black alloy wheels make sure it has enough style quotient to compete in today’s market.

The part digital instrument console is nice and has a service indicator built in. Backlit in blue, it looks modern but might turn out to be harsh on unlit roads past sundown. It also lets you know if you have forgotten to take your side stand off. The speedo reads well and the numbers growing in font as they go up give you a sense of speed even when the bike isn’t on the go. The plastics and switchgear are okay and not really something to complain about. The paint quality also seemed nice. It also gets the auto-headlamp and is a welcome safety feature that is going to be mandatory for motorcycles in India from 2017.

You should buy one because the Splendor iSmart 110 is economical to run and the wide network ensures that service is always accessible. It also looks good and comes with a sense of quality associated with the brand and of course the technology that might justify the price tag.

Where does it fit in?

The Hero Splendor iSmart 110 fits in with the TVS Victor, the Suzuki Hayate, the Yamaha Saluto RX and the Honda Dream Yuga. At Rs 55,731 ex-showroom, Mumbai, the price is on the steeper side for a very price sensitive segment. But then, the longevity and reliability of the Splendor brand is yet unmatched. Yes, the new bikes might not be as well built as the 90s motorcycles, but times have changed and the Splendor iSmart 110 feels as sturdy as it can get today. For additional safety, a disc brake should have been offered at least as an option with the 110, even if the price goes even higher.

Gear Check

1. SOL 68 SII Metal Man helmet – The SOL 68 SII is a budget helmet. DOT rated and surprisingly stable at high speeds. Price -Rs 5,500 + Rs 900 for the tinted visor.

2. Scoyco JK-17 jacket – A slightly heavy budget jacket. The padding is good with ventilation to beat the heat. Price -Rs 3,800.

3. IXON RS PRO HP gloves – High quality gauntlet gloves suited for performance and sport riding. Price -Rs 15,000

4. AGV Sport Airtex pants – Riding pants with mesh in the crotch, calf, back of legs and thigh areas which is a real boon in our weather conditions. Price -Rs 6,500.

5. Joe Rocket Sonic R boots – These boots are for everyday usage and for the occasional spin on the track. Ventilation is limited but very comfortable to wear all day. Price -Rs 9,000.

Photography by Kapil Angane

Click here to read the

Suzuki Hayate First Ride Review

TVS Victor 110 First Ride Review

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