The ultimate battle of entry level commuters
No matter how much growth or potential does the new segments of performance oriented motorcycles are showing in recent years, there is no denying fact that the majority of the volumes have been coming (and will still continue to come) from the entry level 100-110cc commuters. For the simple purpose of rising from point A to point B, an average Indian Joe wants a simple commuter which is high on fuel efficiency and low on maintenance, thus being a fuss-free machine. For him, the segment of basic entry level commuters is perfect, given their simple mechanics.
It all started when Hero (the then Hero Honda) tried to commence an all new era by launching the CD 100, which not only slowed down the sales of two-stroke motorcycles back in that time, but also paved a path for more and more four stroke commuters. Today, Hero has split from its erstwhile partner Honda, but that hasn’t stopped it from churning out high numbers in that segment. The manufacturer has ten different commuters in the 100-110cc space, within which the HF Deluxe is the one of the most affordable of them all.
Hero’s partner from the heydays Honda did split from the former, only for the sole purpose of leading the front on its own. In that direction, it did launch its cheapest motorcycle, CD 110 Dream, which was updated only recently with a couple of additional features. TVS has been performing in this end of spectrum decently with its sole 100cc offering, the Sport, which continues to be one of the freshest looking motorcycles in this company. And now, Bajaj has recently upgraded its Platina brand with the all new Platina Comfortec, by making some mild changes to its chassis and engine, which makes it more fuel efficient and comfortable than before.
In this writeup, we are going to compare all these four entry level basic commuters to find out which one of these is the most perfect commuter for the common man. Here we go.
A comfortable motorcycle for the an average joe
While Bajaj was busy reviving the Pulsar and Discover sub-brands, in the process, it almost neglected one of its bread and butter model Platina, which remained almost unchanged for nearly five years. Still, the sales of Platina somewhat managed to remain consistent, which gave its competitors a reason to take a notice of it. However, while focusing on performance oriented segments, Bajaj almost lost the plot in the entry level 100cc commuter segment by mis-experimenting with the Discover platform, discontinuing the decent selling CT 100 and not paying any attention to the Platina sub-brand.
However, since last couple of years, Bajaj has realized its mistake and has started focusing on the segment which earns them the most number of volumes – that of the 100cc motorcycles. Thus, out goes the slow selling 100cc Discover, the CT 100 has been resurrected after ten long years from the ashes and the Platina was given its first major makeover in 2015 in the form of Platina 100 ES. Now, within a year of its launch, the Platina has given a mild refresh in the form of Platina Comfortec.
As the name suggests, the new variant gets some features and changes which have tried to make the motorcycle much more comfortable than the previous generation motorcycle as well as its competitors. How does the new Platina Comfortec fare in the current era of entry level 100cc commuters? Here’s our comprehensive review of the same:-
Battle of the entry level commuters
No matter how much growth the premium and performance oriented motorcycles have witnessed in the recent times, there is no doubt that the entry level commuter segment will be of the most significance in the Indian two wheeler market. And it has to be – the 100-110cc commuter segment, for the time being, has a market share of almost 60 per cent as far as sales are concerned.
This segment of 100-110cc motorcycles too has become much more versatile and broader than before. In the entry level space of this segment of 100-110cc motorcycles itself, there are nearly 2-3 categories of motorcycles, which though being pretty much the same in terms of maintenance and fuel efficiency, they do differ in terms of styling, equipment and overall performance.
From the day one, Hero has undoubtedly dominated this segment with its Splendor range, which has seen a number of alterations in its existence of more than two decades. In today’s time, while the Splendor range includes almost five different iterations (including an interesting and distinctive café racer), it is the Splendor Pro which happens to be the highest selling model and the model which falls in the segment which we are discussing here.
Hero’s erstwhile partner, Honda, too has managed to grab a lot of share of this segment with its ‘Dream’ range of commuters, with the Dream Neo being the highest selling 110cc model from this Japanese giant. The Dream Neo, like the Splendor Pro, has been designed as per the requirements of a common man from a daily commuting machine. On the same philosophy, Bajaj has been churning out impressive sales with its Platina range, which thankfully is one of the very few motorcycles from Bajaj which has managed to withstand the changing times with only one major facelift in its entire life span.
The latest entrant in this segment, the Suzuki Hayate EP, may just be an evolution of its predecessor model, but so are the other three models aforementioned. The facelifts of all these four models mentioned above has resulted in the freshening up of this segment with better performance, fuel efficiency and equipment levels. In this write-up, we are going to find out which of these four models – Suzuki Hayate EP, Hero Splendor Pro, Honda Dream Neo and Bajaj Platina ES – has the ability to find a place in the porch of a common man, depending upon the distinctive traits of them:-