Hero's new Splendor iSmart review, test ride

Autocar India
First Published: 13:59 IST(8/4/2014)
Last Updated: 16:36 IST(10/4/2014)
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Succeeding the CD 100’s path, the first-generation Splendor was launched in India in 1994 under Hero’s partnership with Honda, receiving strong sales figures ever since, with nominal technical and cosmetic upgrades over time. This time round, Hero MotoCorp has provided the Splendor with an innovative technology called the i3S (idle stop and start system), which is more commonly seen in cars. The company claims that this technology enables the new Splendor iSmart to achieve better fuel efficiency figures. We get astride this new motorcycle to give you an insight on how well it commutes in our busy traffic conditions.
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The iSmart makes a fresh style statement, and is easily recognisable as a commuter from its Hero family, showing off design cues similar to its predecessor the Splendor NXG. But that’s where the similarity ends as Hero has provided this commuter with smart looking graphics that makes the bike stand out in comparison to its competitors. A clear lens headlight, powered by a halogen lamp, sits within a bikini fairing. Apart from this, the bike gets an instrument cluster tucked under a black visor, housing an analogue speedometer, odometer and fuel meter, along with an i3S indicator and other basic warning lights, all of which are easily legible. The bike comes with sporty, 18-inch alloy wheels, finished in black along with its engine, exhaust and chain guard.

It offers good quality palm grips and crisp feeling switchgear that includes a pass light flasher and i3S cut-off switch.

The new commuter comes with rather short rear-view mirrors that hamper rear visibility up to some extent. The stylish fuel tank accommodates an old-school fuel filler lid. Saddle gets red stitching to give it a premium feel, with body coloured split grab rails. The Splendor iSmart gets a box-shaped tail section which looks a bit dreary. On the whole, build quality and fit-finish is as good as expected from Hero MotoCorp.

The new bike is powered by a refined, four-stroke, 97.2cc, single-cylinder and air-cooled engine brought to life via an electric and a kick starter. The engine is inclined from horizontal position as commonly seen on other 100cc bike offerings from Hero. Maximum power of 7.7bhp is generated at 7500rpm with peak torque of 0.82kgm at 4500rpm; all this is managed by a four-speed gearbox, shifting in the all-up pattern seamlessly. The clutch on this commuter bike feels light. Power delivery is linear and performance is on par with other 100cc motorcycles in this segment. The i3S technology kicks in every time you halt at a signal, shutting the engine down to prevent loss of fuel; the engine comes back to life the moment you engage the clutch. This fuel saving feature can be also be managed via a cut-off switch provided above the electric starter.

It is built around a tubular steel frame with telescopic front forks and a set of hydraulic rear shock absorbers at the rear, supported by a rectangular section swingarm. The iSmart offers rider friendly ergonomics with an upright riding position making city commutes a comfortable experience, the saddle though is a tad bit too soft.

Ride quality is good, and the suspension provides good feedback even with a pillion onboard, be it low speeds or high speeds over 50kph. The iSmart uses MRF tubeless tyres at the front and rear, which provide sufficient grip while cornering. The new Hero is equipped with a 130mm drum brake up front, and a 110mm drum brake at the rear, offering ample stopping power.

The iSmart is competitively priced at Rs. 47,250 (ex-showroom, Delhi), with built-to-last quality from Hero and is a well-rounded, reliable package.

Karan Narsu

Fact File
Price Range (in lakhs)*
Ex-showroom price  Rs. 47,250 (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Engine
Fuel               Petrol
Type              97.2cc, single cylinder, air-coold, four stroke
Power           7.7bhp at 7500rpm
Torque          0.82kgm at 4500rpm
Power to weight    70bhp per tonne
Transmission
Type                      manual
Gearbox                4-speed, 4-up
Dimensions
Length                    1965mm
Width                       770mm
Height                     1095mm
Wheel base             1235mm
Chassis & Body
Weight                     110kg
Wheels                    18-inch 5-spoke alloys
Tyres                       80/100x18
Suspension
Front                       Telescopic forks
Rear                        Hydraulic shock absorbers, rectangular steel swingarm
Brakes
Front                       130mm drum
Rear                        110mm drum
Economy
Tank size                   8.7 litres


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