India is the land of Gods, maharajas, temples, monuments, cultures,
languages and, not to forget, the ‘common man’. Now, while the term has been
used and abused a lot these days, my understanding of it is very simple and
straightforward. The ‘common man’ is moved by the world around him and the
world is moved by the ‘common man’. So if you have to make a mark as a brand,
you have to appeal to the common man first and foremost. Hero MotoCorp knows
this too well. After all, how does one stay in the two-wheeler industry for so
long and stand toe to toe with world class brands.
Taking not a step but a whole leap in the
same direction, Hero unveiled three new commuter bikes - Super Splendor,
Passion Pro and Passion XPro. Seeing the need to update, Hero refreshed two of
its most prominent brands and we got a taste of what is on offer.
Air cooled, 4 - Stroke Single Cylinder
Dimesnsions (L x W x
x 718 x 1081
x 717 x 1087
x 768 x 1080
Drum - 130mm
Disc - 240mm /
2.75 inch x 18 inch
3.00 inch x 18 inch
Hero said that the design of the SUPER SPLENDOR
was tinkered the least and that was because they did
not want to change the perception of the Splendor name that people have in
their hearts. So there are some minimalistic changes in the form of new body
graphics, a new tail-lamp and new side panels. So if you liked the looks of the
previous Super Splendor, then you will be on-board with the looks of the new
one as well. The instrument panel, however, is not as alluring as the rest of
the design. While being a functional analogue cluster complete with a side
stand indicator and fuel level indicator, it feels somewhat dated and Hero
could have added a semi-digital panel like the Passion bikes. The 18-inch alloy
wheels also fit in with the rest of the bike nicely. The seat is nice and
comfortable and you get more storage space under it. There is also a small, handy
compartment under the right side of the fuel tank where you can store some
The PASSION PRO
has seen a lot more changes when compared to the Super
Splendor. It is sleeker to look at from the side and in fact it feels as though
the earlier Passion bike underwent a zero-size workout. The bike gets flowing
graphics that complement the curvy and muscular fuel tank. The automatic
headlamp up front is also slightly better looking than before although the
silhouette of the cowl is reminiscent of the old Passion. The instrument panel,
as stated above, is semi digital and consists of a side stand indicator, a fuel
gauge, a trip meter and odometer. The seat is large enough for two adult
Indians and this time you have the option of adding a USB phone charging socket
under it. The switchgear looks a little minimalistic but everything is within
reach and feels sturdy.
The PASSION XPRO is
definitely the best looking out of the three and that is due to the company’s
idea behind it. Hero wanted a version of Passion that could appeal to the youth
and the XPro manages to catch a few eyeballs. It gets elongated handlebar grips
and a stylish X-shaped tail-lamp. The fuel tank gets small shrouds that enhance
the looks of the bike. The headlamp unit, however, left me polarized due to its
extremely swept back design. The instrument cluster as well looks the best on
the Passion XPro with nice sections accommodating various metrics with the
large analogue speedometer in the middle of it. Another visual addition that I
like on the Passion XPro was the dual tone mirrors.
The 2018 SUPER SPLENDOR comes powered by a 125cc single cylinder, torque on demand engine
that has been tuned to churn 27pc more power and 6pc more torque than before. The
engine has been borrowed from the Glamour 125. Going through city streets is
fun and the 11.4hp of power and 11Nm of torque feel adequate. The four-speed
transmission is pretty smooth to shift through. It is only when you switch to long
and endless highways that you will notice the lack of a fifth gear and the fact
that the bike starts to run out of breath around 70kmph. While the bike can
touch a maximum speed of 94kmph, we did not have enough road and time to test
What we did have was a sand filled, uneven
open ground that let us test the tyres and suspension of the bike. The
telescopic forks up front and the 5 step adjustable spring at the rear do a
fantastic job of soaking in some of the harshest terrains that you will encounter
in your daily commute. I felt very comfortable riding the bike through the unforgiving
ground. The tyres also shine when it comes to maintaining contact with the
surface below even if it loose sand. I was able to take sharp turns confidently
and the wider rear tyre helps a lot. The maneuverability is aided by the 124kg
weight of the bike which is very manageable.
While the braking felt decent, it was a bit
surprising to know that the Super Splendor only gets 130mm drum brakes on both
wheels and there is no option for a disc brake as of now. Once again the
Passion bikes get the option of a disc brake and I wonder why. Buyers should
also remember that the Super Splendor does not come with tubeless tyres and
that is most probably done to keep the cost low. While the company did not give
any numbers related to fuel efficiency, something in the vicinity of 60kmpl can
be expected from this bike and it does get Hero’s i3s (Idle Start-Stop System)
which shuts off the engine when you are idling and brings back the engine to
life when you pull the clutch.
The PASSION PRO gets a bigger
110cc air cooled, single cylinder, torque on demand engine which you will
remember seeing on the Splendor iSmart 110 as well. The unit strapped on the new Passion Pro
(& XPro) has been tweaked to produce higher power and torque numbers. So
the bike makes 9hp@7500rpm and 9Nm@5500rpm. Riding the Passion Pro after the
Super Splendor definitely felt more calm and controlled. It can still do a
0-60kmph in 7.45seconds. The engine is paired to a four speed transmission that
I felt was the smoothest among the three bikes. The first 3 gears are where you
can accelerate nicely while in the fourth the bike feels kind of laid back and
is meant more for cruising. The suspension setup is similar to the Super
Splendor and thus you get a largely similar experience. So if you plan to use
this bike for daily city use and are not too much of an adrenaline junky then
the Passion Pro can be a good option. We do not have the mileage figures as of
now but a pocket friendly figure can be expected.
Lastly, the PASSION XPRO feels
very much like the Passion Pro because both the bikes share the same 110cc
engine and you get similar power and torque figures. The suspension, brakes and
tyres also remain identical. But I did find the riding position a bit sportier
on the Passion XPro due to the slightly longer distance that you have from the
handlebar and the suspension being a tad bit stiffer than the Passion Pro. It
is nothing gigantic and you will most likely not notice it unless you ride the
bike one after the other. The rider seat height on the Passion XPro is also
slightly lower than the Passion Pro but both the bikes are very accessible for
riders of almost all sizes. One thing to note, however, would be that the
Passion XPro gets a 9 litre fuel tank which is smaller than the 11 litre fuel
tank found on the Passion Pro.
All three of these bikes will be launched
early 2018 and thus we do not have any prices as of now. But knowing Hero, the
company will pull a very competitive figure. With this lineup refresh from
Hero, the company is trying to keep their beloved and most sold products
relevant and keep their sales numbers high. The Passion XPro will definitely
see a lot of buyers for its contemporary looks and pocket friendly performance.
The Super Splendor is very enjoyable to ride at sub 60kmph speeds but a little
more refinement could have further sweetened the deal. The Passion Pro sits in
the middle and will find love in the eyes of people wanting a simple yet
effective daily driver.
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