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.

STYLING

Bajaj Platina Comfortec vs Honda CD 110 Dream DX vs Hero HF Deluxe vs TVS Sport Exterior
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Bajaj Platina Comfortec vs Honda CD 110 Dream DX vs Hero HF Deluxe vs TVS Sport Exterior
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Bajaj Platina Comfortec vs Honda CD 110 Dream DX vs Hero HF Deluxe vs TVS Sport Exterior
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Let’s start with the newest motorcycle in this segment, the Bajaj Platina Comfortec. The overall update to the [Platina Comfortec-article1575333], with mildly redesigned front fairing and side body panels with new body decals, is not too substantial, but at the same time, it is not as extremely minor as the update of HF Deluxe. However, we do wish that Bajaj hadn’t introduced grey alloy wheels and engine on the Platina Comfortec, as they have reduced the premium feel which the previous generation Platina 100 ES had to boast of. The changes on the cosmetic front are too little to make you feel the Platina Comfortec as an all new motorcycle, and in this minute process too, the motorcycle now looks a bit pared down than before.

The Honda CD 110 Dream DX was updated only recently with a couple of additional features and a new suffix in its name. In this lot, the CD 110 Dream DX looks the most basic, and is actually a pared down version of the Dream Neo in terms of visual appeal. It does share its front fascia, fuel tank, side body cowls, tail lamp, tubular grab rail and instrument console with the Dream Neo. However, it does have different set of body graphics on the fuel tank, while the side body cowls and rear side body panels are devoid of graphics, making it look more basic.

The HF Deluxe (previously CD Deluxe) may be the oldest motorcycle in this comparison, but then Hero has successfully tried to make this motorcycle fresher than ever, by giving it minute cosmetic changes, which have kept its appeal intact as before. The motorcycle has a smart front fascia, while the fuel tank is the best styled one here, while the new side body cowls and rear side body panels which were slightly restyled in the recent update has definitely brought back the newness in this motorcycle, though by a very small margin. The rear pillion grab rail is the most functional here, while the basic looking instrument console is informative enough. Like the CD 110 Dream DX, it also gets grey alloy wheels, but here, the engine too is finished in grey. The HF Deluxe has been in the market now for almost a decade, but then, thanks to the minute cosmetic changes, the motorcycle manages to hide its age a bit.

When it comes to overall looks and design, there is no other motorcycle which comes close to the TVS Sport. The motorcycle is easily the best looking motorcycle – while it too is almost a decade old, the youthful stance and nicely styled body panels do not want you to make you feel the same. The front headlamp unit of the Sport is the only one here in this comparison which comes with pilot lamps, while the slim stance of the bike gives it a sporty image. It is now the only motorcycle in this lot to feature black theme for engine and alloy wheels, which make the motorcycle look richer than others. Apart from the front pilot lamps, the other feature of the Sport which is not present in the other three bikes here is the econometer, which keeps your throttle in check and is very beneficial for a motorcycle of this segment.

While the targeted customers of this segment are not too conscious for style and design, the TVS Sport clearly scores more over the other three motorcycles, which look basic as compared to the entry level TVS. All three other motorcycles do comes with electric start and alloy wheels as optional equipment.

Feature Bajaj Platina Comfortec Honda CD 110 Dream DX Hero HF Deluxe TVS Sport
Econometer No No No Yes
Alloy wheels Yes Yes Yes Yes
Electric start Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alloy pillion grab rail Yes No Yes Yes
Front pilot lamps No No No Yes

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

Bajaj Platina Comfortec vs Honda CD 110 Dream DX vs Hero HF Deluxe vs TVS Sport Exterior
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Instead of retaining the 99.2cc engine from the first generation Platina, the new Platina Comfortec shares its single cylinder, air cooled, 102cc engine from Platina 100 ES, which first debuted on the now defunct Discover 100M. Bajaj has slightly re-tuned the engine, which now makes produce a power output of 8 PS and torque output of 8.6 Nm – 0.2 PS lesser than the Platina 100 ES, making this engine the least performing one on paper. Though the difference in overall performance on paper is barely noticeable when ridden on tarmac, but where the Platina wins over all the other three motorcycles is fuel efficiency, as it returns the most at 104 kmpl.

The Honda CD 110 Dream DX retains the single cylinder, 109.2cc engine from the other 110cc motorcycles of Honda like Dream Neo, Dream Yuga and Livo, and since its inception, this engine hasn’t witnessed any considerable tweak like the other three motorcycles in this comparison. Refined as the other Hondas, the CD 110 Dream DX’s engine pumps out 8.3 PS of power and 8.63 Nm of torque, with the overall fuel efficiency rating at 74 kmpl. This HET-equipped engine is the most refined and smooth here, but somehow lacks the top end grunt.

Being the smallest engine here in this comparison, the Hero HF Deluxe runs on the supremely tried and tested single cylinder, air cooled, 97.2cc engine, which churns out maximum power and torque outputs of 8.36 PS and 8.04 Nm respectively. In terms of refinement, this engine only second to the Honda CD 110 Dream DX, but then, it too is suited the most only for riding within city peripherals. The HF Deluxe returns an overall fuel efficiency of 75 kmpl.

TVS has retained the smooth and refined single cylinder, air cooled, 99.77 Duralife engine from the previous generation model, which still continues to churn out 7.8 PS of maximum power and 7.8 Nm of maximum torque. But then, TVS claims that it has made some slight alterations to this engine. With these changes, the same engine which used to deliver a fuel efficiency of 87 kmpl, now promises an even healthier fuel economy of 95 kmpl in test conditions.

In terms of overall engine refinement and performance, all the three motorcycles fare equally well, but then, the Bajaj Platina Comfortec scores marginally for going the extra mile in terms of fuel efficiency.

Figures Bajaj Platina Comfortec Honda CD 110 Dream DX Hero HF Deluxe TVS Sport
Power 8 PS 8.3 PS 8.36 PS 7.5 PS
Torque 8.6 Nm 8.633 Nm 8.04 Nm 7.5 Nm
Fuel economy 104 kmpl 74 kmpl 75 kmpl 95 kmpl

RIDE AND HANDLING

Bajaj Platina Comfortec vs Honda CD 110 Dream DX vs Hero HF Deluxe vs TVS Sport Exterior
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The Bajaj Platina Comfortec has a slightly different suspension setup, with telescopic hydraulic forks at the front and Bajaj’s patented Spring-in spring (SNS) setup at the rear. Bajaj claims that they have made this motorcycle more comfortable than the others in this segment, by making the front forks 20% longer and rear springs sufficiently longer than before. The overall ride quality is better than the rest of the motorcycles here, but here, the rear suspension is non-adjustable, which is a letdown. With 2.75 x 17” front tyre and 3.00 x 17” rear tyre, the overall handling of the Platina ES is almost comparable to the HF Deluxe and Sport, if not better than the CD 110 Dream DX. Braking has been taken care of by 110m drum brakes at both the ends.

The CD 110 Dream DX shares the same suspension setup as that of its stable mates like Dream Neo and Dream Yuga, with having telescopic hydraulic forks at the front and 5-step adjustable hydraulic coil springs at the rear. Having 80/100 x 18” tyres at both the ends, the handling of the CD 110 Dream DX is marginally better than the other three, courtesy the widest profile tyres in this segment. Braking too is the best in this class, as the CD 110 Dream DX has the biggest brakes – 130mm drums – at both the ends.

The Hero HF Deluxe too has carried forward the suspension as well as braking setup of its bare basic avatar, the HF Dawn, with the motorcycle having telescopic hydraulic forks at the front and 5-step adjustable hydraulic coil springs at the rear. The 2.75 x 18” tyres at both front and rear are decent, but in comparison, offer the least grip when ridden hard. In terms of braking power, the HF Deluxe has a bigger 130mm drum at front and 110mm drum at the rear.

The TVS Sport continues to come fitted with the same hydraulic telescopic forks at the front and five step adjustable hydraulic coil springs at the rear. Though, TVS has tried to eradicate the stiffness associated with this suspension setup, and promises that it is now better in terms of overall comfort than before. With a contoured long seat, the softer-than-before suspension setup establishes the Sport as a fitting commuter for daily purpose, with a 130mm front drum brake and 110mm rear drum brake offering decent feedback on application.

Putting all the four motorcycles together, we do feel that all the four motorcycles are nearly equal, but then, with the minute changes Bajaj has carried out to the suspension of Platina, it has become more comfortable to ride in comparison.

Traits Bajaj Platina Comfortec Honda CD 110 Dream DX Hero HF Deluxe TVS Sport
Front suspension Telescopic hydraulic Telescopic hydraulic Telescopic hydraulic Telescopic hydraulic
Rear suspension Spring-In-Spring (SNS) coil setup Five step adjustable hydraulic coil springs Five step adjustable hydraulic coil springs Five step adjustable hydraulic coil springs
Front brake 110mm 130mm 130mm 130mm
Rear brake 110mm 130mm 110mm 110mm

CONCLUSION

Bajaj Platina Comfortec vs Honda CD 110 Dream DX vs Hero HF Deluxe vs TVS Sport Exterior
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The average Indian has not towering demands from a motorcycle from the entry level class, but then all he wants is high fuel efficiency, decent performance, comfortable ride quality and ease of riding, some things which all of these motorcycles do offer. Though, on nitpicking, the minute differences between them do make out the whole difference.

The HF Deluxe secures the last position in this comparison. The motorcycle looks smart and the engine is easily the most powerful of this lot, despite being the smallest. Though, apart from these two characteristics, there is nothing much special to talk about the HF Deluxe, and the fact that it is nearly a decade old motorcycle, makes us feel that it’s high time that Hero should give it a thorough makeover, like it did for the Splendor Pro.

Third position is secured by the Honda CD 110 Dream DX. Being a Honda, doubting its build quality, engine refinement and reliability is something hard to do, and is a decent motorcycle for a price at which it is offered. But then, the CD 110 Dream DX seems too basic when compared to the other three motorcycles. The body panels are devoid of graphics and the bike is bare bones in terms of features. It does offer a smooth and fuel efficient engine and excellent riding dynamics, but then the CD 110 Dream DX just fails in terms of desirability, with its basic appeal being the major hindrance.

The revamped Bajaj Platina Comfortec secures the second position. The motorcycle is high on fuel efficiency and looks good as well, however, the pared down looks with grey alloy wheels and engine and milder graphics could have avoided. However, where the Platina Comfortec tries to satisfy you is with its revamped fuel efficiency and better ride quality than before, which are the two most essential traits to be looked for in this segment, and in these two aspects, it outclasses the other three motorcycles here. However, it does fall a bit short in terms of being an overall all rounder, something the motorcycle which has come first here possesses.

This makes the TVS Sport the winner of our comparison, and there are many reasons to prove that. First is its contemporary design, which makes it look more premium than the other three. Second is its smooth and fuel efficient engine, which looks the least powerful on paper, but then the motorcycle weighs the least, which translates into a healthy power to weight ratio. It rides well and the presence of a couple of handy features like econometer and pilot lamps give it an advantage over others. Overall, the TVS Sport is the best value for money package in this comparison, and that’s what an average Indian man wants from a motorcycle.

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