First ride review of the new Hero Splendor iSmart

K Shivraj | Roadtest | May 8, 2014
First ride review of the new Hero Splendor iSmart

Undoubtedly the most regarded commuter machine in India, the Splendor has been transformed into what could be described as 'iSmart'. Hero MotoCorp has armed what was once the largest selling motorcycle in the world with start-stop technology. A technology that has been found on cars, has made it to the Splendor, making it the first Indian motorcycle to boast of it. Launched in 1994 as a premium motorcycle, Splendor has since become a part of the rapidly evolving Indian two-wheeler industry.

With the start-stop tech, the Splendor becomes a commuter machine that may no longer be premium, but could once again turn out be a machine that was first in introducing a path-breaking technology. The styling of the Splendor iSmart is similar to that of the Splendor NXG. It is details that differentiate. Smart looking graphics and a two-tone colour scheme that ensures good contrast mark the iSmart. Make the bike stand out in the company of other commuter segment machines. The 18-inch alloys contribute too. The engine, exhaust and chain guard are done in black.

At the front, a clear lens headlight is a part of the bikini fairing. The instruments, shielded by the black visor almost, include the essential gauges and warning lamps. One of these is an i3S indicator. The seemingly smaller rear view mirrors fail to ensure as much view as the mirrors of the earlier Splendor. What are nice, are the palm grips. The switchgear provides a good tactile feel. There's a i3S cut-off switch apart from a pass-beam switch. The fuel tank with an simple fuel filler lid can hold 8.7-litres. Contributing to an upright riding position, the seat gets red stitching. The grab rails at the rear are split, and the build quality overall, is good.

The 7.7bhp, 97.2cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine could be cranked with an electric starter, or manually by a kick-start. Tracing its origin to the engine of the Honda Cub, iSmart's engine is equipped with a four-speed manual transmission. The clutch is light, and the power delivery is linear. The first is short and good for take-off. The other gears ensure good progress. Performance is in keeping with the segment standards. Rather than contributing to the performance, as many technologies would, the start-stop technology, as the name suggests, comes in when it is time to halt. Halt at a signal, and the engine shuts down. This results in fuel saving. The moment the clutch is engaged the engine starts.

To over-ride this function, the company has provided a cut-off switch. It is located above the electric starter. Termed as i3S technology, the start-stop system yielded an average consumption of 52kmpl under a mix of city and open road riding conditions. Without the i3S tech switched-off, the Splendor averaged 48kmpl.

Effective the start-stop tech is. Especially when it comes to negotiating many signals on the way to work. It goes well with the Splendor's ability to offer a good ride quality. The suspension does a good job of negotiating the irregularities even with a pillion rider on board. And even at good speeds. The tyres provide good grip. Ensure a good cornering ability. Easy to ride, the drum brakes (130mm dia. front and 110mm dia. rear) offer good ability to shed speed. To stop. At Rs 47,250 ex-showroom Delhi, the Splendor iSmart makes a smart commuter machine that is well rounded and efficient. 

 
 
 
 
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