Honda has entered the 100cc commuter motorcycle segment in the country with its first offering, the Shine 100. The Japanese bikemaker is using the existing Shine brand for its new product, owing to the success of the Shine 125 so far. While the 100cc bike segment has been primarily dominated by the Hero Splendor for many years, Honda believes that it too can captivate the same target audience.
To find how much it succeeds, we spent a few hours with the new Honda Shine 100 and put it through the paces as much as we could.
The Shine 100 borrows the styling from its 125cc sibling, but on a closer inspection, you can see that the baby Shine's design is rather simpler. Its fuel tank is quite slim and flat, and the overall bodywork is also very plain Jane. This is a proper lightweight commuter bike and doesn't have any cuts, creases, or muscular body panels.
Even the headlight is quite simple, and the other bits like the seat and single-piece grab rail are just what you'd expect from an affordable commuter bike. However, there's one unusual bit that stood out for us and probably for the others too; it's the fact that Honda hasn't given the Shine 100's seat a key fob. Rather, there's a toolbox in the left side panel, which can be removed by either a screwdriver or a coin.
Once you open it, there are a couple of items inside, and we think this isn't the most convenient way to access a toolbox. This seems to have been done in a bid to keep the production cost low, but we feel Honda could have done better.
Honda has powered the new Shine with a 98.98cc single-cylinder air-cooled motor that makes 7.28bhp and 8.05Nm. It's linked to a four-speed gearbox and comes nestled inside a diamond-type frame. Meanwhile, the suspension hardware comprises telescopic front forks and dual rear springs. As for the braking setup, the Shine gets a 130mm front and a 110mm rear drum unit with CBS. The latter is mounted on 17-inch wheels wrapped in MRF tubed tyres. However, tubeless tyres are the way to go in today's day and age.
Being an entry-level, affordable commuter bike, the Shine 100 is quite barebones on the feature front. It only gets a halogen headlight with bulb indicators and a twin-pod instrument console consisting of all the necessary readouts like the odometer, speedometer, fuel level indicator, neutral indicator, and a check engine light along with the indicator light. Honda has also equipped the Shine with a side stand cut-off sensor for added safety.
We mostly rode the bike on wide, open roads and found that its engine performance is quite laudable in terms of refinement and tractability. The motor feels quite smooth up until 75-80kmph, and the said speeds also arrive in a linear manner. However, there's some buzz towards the higher speeds as the engine feels a little stressed. But the target buyer for the Shine 100 would seldom ride at higher speeds and so, it's not a bother per se.
Even the clutch is quite light, and you can pull it in with just two fingers while running through the gears. Speaking of the latter, the first two gears are rather short, so you would end up riding the Shine 100 mostly in the third and fourth gear, be it the city or the highway. That said, the need to shift from third to fourth gear comes as early as 45kmph. Post that, you can cruise along with a gradual increase in pace. The engine is quite tractable and doesn't demand a downshift even from the fourth gear for the most part. So, if you are stuck in steadily moving traffic, the Shine would happily crawl in the third gear with just a little conscious input of the throttle. The only shortcoming here is that feedback from the upshifts could be better, but nothing that would affect the overall riding experience.
The Shine 100's fuel efficiency figures are unknown as of now since Honda didn't reveal the numbers during the ride or at the launch. But fret not, once we have the Shine 100 for a road test review, it'll undergo the BikeWale fuel efficiency test, and we'll be able to tell you how frugal this engine is and what sort of range you can expect from its 9-litre fuel tank.
During our first ride, we rode the Shine 100 over a broken patch multiple times. While doing so, its front end felt quite light, and the forks felt to be on the softer side. So you can expect it to absorb most of the bumps if your commute route has potholes, bridge joints, or small speed breakers — like the ones you see in the mall/parking area.
The rear end came off a little stiff, but nothing jarring or hurtful to the rider's back. One also has to consider that the Shine 100 is likely to be used by a variety of people, including couples going to the office, your local milkman, and even farmers to carry sacks of vegetables or fodder. So, the added weight at the rear would change the way the springs respond. The extra load would help compress the rear suspension more and thereby offer a plush ride.
Apart from that, the bike is very responsive in terms of directional changes, thanks to its small frame. You don't have to wrestle around too much, and the bike tips left to right with very minimal effort. It's the same case with the Shine's turning radius as you need to put in minimum effort, and it can take a complete U-turn in very little space.
The front and rear drum brakes, although very basic, help you stop the bike very predictably. I even stomped on the rear brake pedal multiple times, but surprisingly it didn't lock even with my heavy right foot. It's the same case with the front brake as well. All you have to do is be mindful of the traffic ahead and press the lever at the right time since it takes a little distance before the bike comes to a complete halt.
Should you buy it?
When you take all of its pros and cons into account, the Shine 100 'shines' as a potent commuter motorcycle. With its refined and tractable motor, lightweight frame, practical design, and affordable asking price of Rs. 64,900 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Shine 100 could be one of the options in the 100cc commuter segment for buyers looking for a change from the Hero Splendor.
However, these are our thoughts just after a brief period with the bike. But we'll be able to give you an even wider perspective once we conduct the Shine 100's road test.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi