Four popular commuter options from four of India’s best known two-wheeler manufacturers. Let’s find out who wins this battle on paper.
India’s motorcycle market is no longer what it used to be. Modern day commuter motorcycles are becoming more feature-rich and powerful by the day, while scooters have eaten into their share as far as urban commuting options are concerned. But some things have remained more or less the same. For instance, the 100-110cc motorcycle segment continues to be an important source of volumes for major manufacturers. That is mainly because these bikes are frugal, reliable, low-maintenance, rugged and most importantly, affordable. The four bikes in this comparo, viz. Hero Splendor Plus, TVS Radeon, Bajaj CT 100 and Honda CD 110 Dream, too have those qualities. But which one comes out on top in an on-paper comparison?
Design & Features
A quick glance at these bikes would tell you that at least three of them share design similarities with each other. The Radeon and the CD 110 Dream come across as more modern iterations of the Splendor’s design. This begs the question, why hasn’t Hero overhauled the Splendor’s design in a similar way? The answer is another question, why fix something that ain’t broke? Barring changes like new paint schemes and alloy wheels, the Splendor Plus’ design is reminiscent of the bike that debuted 25 years ago. To many, the Splendor is the quintessential commuter and Hero knows better than to tinker around with a proven and popular design. The soundness of Hero’s approach is further validated by the Radeon and the CD 110 Dream. TVS and Honda have largely stuck to the Splendor DNA while designing these two bikes.
The same can’t be said about the CT 100 though. The Bajaj is the most plain looking bike of the lot. But in fairness, the bike is built to a price (more on this later). Also, it’s not completely devoid of style as it gets alloy wheels, an attractive sticker job and a dual-tone engine finish. In terms of features, all four bikes follow the same template of a twin-pod analogue cluster that houses a speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge and tell-tale lights. However, the one on the Radeon does stand out from the rest owing to its better finish and stylish layout. The Radeon also gets additional goodies like USB charger, side stand buzzer and LED DRLs.
Also read: Hero HF Deluxe IBS i3S Launched
Engine & Transmission
All four bikes have the same type of engine layout (single-cylinder, air-cooled) but differ in terms of displacement. The Splendor’s sloper unit displaces 97.2cc, which is the least of the lot, but is the second most powerful, albeit marginally. But its displacement handicap shows up in the torque matchup.
All four produce their peak torque at roughly 5000rpm which makes them perfect for their intended purpose, i.e. effortless urban commuting. And since engine output figures are on par for all four bikes, only a road test can reveal how they stack up against each other when it comes to refinement and tractability. Talking of the latter, all the bikes in this comparo get a 4-speed constant mesh gearbox. Since they are mainly built for urban roads, a 4-speed transmission setup is adequate and should offer a good balance of performance and fuel efficiency. As for fuel economy, we expect all four bikes to offer similar figures. However, it’s the Splendor Plus that is likely to go the longest before needing a refill with its 11-litre fuel tank.
Also read: TVS Radeon 110: Road Test Review