2016 Bajaj CT 100B
Bajaj Auto had a successful start in the Indian two wheeler market by kickstarting its operations in India with a range of scooters. But soon, the arrival of motorcycles from its rivals like Hero Honda and TVS, as more value for money offerings in comparison to scooters, forced Bajaj Auto to shift its focus gradually towards motorcycles. Starting with the 4S Champion, Boxer, Caliber and Pulsar range of bikes, Bajaj then discontinued all other 100cc offerings in favour of the CT 100.
The CT 100 was one motorcycle which ignited the fuel efficiency war among the motorcycles, as it claimed a rather exaggerated fuel economy of 108 kmpl at that time. The bike instantly became a hit owing to its simplicity and no-nonsense feel, apart from its primary target of delivering excellent fuel efficiency. These traits helped the CT 100 in garnering some good reputation in the Tier-II and Tier-III cities as well as rural areas.
Bajaj did discontinue the CT 100 back in 2006, to make way for the more premium offering, the Platina. However, Bajaj has realized that there is a need for one more entry level commuter offering below Platina to cater to the rural areas and small towns, which is why it relaunched the CT 100 below the current Platina ES. And now, Bajaj has pared down the already basic CT 100 even more, naming it CT 100. Bajaj claims that the CT 100B is now the cheapest motorcycle available in India, which it rightly is. So, let’s have a look at what all changes do CT 100B carries over the CT 100.
The earlier CT 100 too was available in two versions – one with the bikini fairing and the other with a round headlamp. While the round headlamp version was exactly the same as the bikini faired one except for the front face, this time, there are a lot of differences between CT 100B and the CT 100 apart from the headlamp
As said, the bikini fairing of the CT 100 has been replaced by a round headlamp, which comes with a chrome surround. The side profile too retains the same fuel tank and side body cowls which the CT 100 has. However, there are no rear side body panels here on the CT 100B, with the exposed tubular frame showcasing its pared down design. The side body panels do come with the new ‘100B’ branding, where B stands for Beta.
At the rear, the changes are more evident, with the small alloy grab rail being replaced by a more utilitarian steel grab rail. The swept-up tail lamp too has been replaced by a basic tail lamp, which is the same unit as the previous generation Bajaj Boxer. Other prominent components such as orange colored oval-shaped turn indicators, front and rear fenders and almost flat seat too have been retained. What has also been kept intact is the two-pod instrument console, which has analog displays for speedometer and odometer, along with basic tell tale lights. The absence of a fuel gauge is a sore miss, though. Also, the rectangular-ish rear view mirrors are here replaced by a more basic and old school round rear view mirrors.
Overall, the CT 100B is targeted at the rural markets, which is why the much basic and pared down design of it is not a great issue to deal with. However, the design is just plain, basic and unappealing.
Bajaj hasn’t wasted much of its efforts and attempts in revamping the engine of the old CT 100, which is why apart from the overall design, the engine too has been carried forward for the new version. The new CT 100B still is powered by the same single cylinder, air cooled, 99.27cc ExhausTEC engine, which used to power the old CT 100. This mill pumps out 8.2 bhp of power and 8.05 Nm of torque, and comes coupled to a 4-speed gearbox.
The engine, though, now has improved on the fronts of refinement and power delivery, as opposed to that of the old version. The bike pulls nicely from idle and is adequate for city commutes. Though it still sounds gruff in the higher rev-range, but then, it still remains a frugal unit too with an expected fuel economy of 75-80 kmpl in the real world conditions. The engine can be brought to life only with a kick-start lever - the electric start is not offered even as an option.
RIDE AND HANDLING
On the new CT 100B, other mechanical components, such as the suspension setup of front telescopic forks and rear spring-in-spring hydraulic setup, tubular lower cradle frame, drum brakes at both ends have also been borrowed from the previous CT 100 to minimize the costs. Thanks to the light-weighted character of the CT 100B, the bike is easy to maneuver in the tight city traffics. Seating posture is purely upright with high-mounted handlebar, thus strengthening its commuter credentials. However, this is no sprinter, which restricts the motorcycle as a city-only commuter.
Unlike the regular CT 100 which is available in two variants, the CT 100B can be fetched in only one variant, which comes with spoke wheels, drum brakes and kick starter only. The bike has been priced at Rs. 30,990, almost Rs. 1000 less than the base model of the regular CT 100.
Like the regular CT 100, the CT 100B is available in ebony black with blue decals, ebony black with red decals, electron blue and flame red.
With the CT 100B, Bajaj aims to cater the prospective customers who opt for a motorcycle in the lowest segment of motorcycles in India. Targeted mainly at the rural market, there are very few motorcycles which match the bare-basic appeal of the CT 100B. Though there is one such bike which in the past has and still will compete with the CT 100B - Hero HF-Dawn.
Formerly known as CD-Dawn in the ‘Hero Honda era’, the HF-Dawn has also received minor cosmetic upgrades in recent times, such as fresher decals, new paint schemes and clear lens indicators. While the HF-Dawn is an even more simplistic design to look at, it matches the CT 100B in terms of overall practicality.
Mechanically, the HF-Dawn now comes with a bump in power upgrade to its 97.2cc engine, which now churns out 8.3 bhp of power - nearly identical to 8.2 bhp of that of CT 100. The CT 100B returns a marginally better fuel economy as compared to HF-Dawn, and has a lesser asking price as well.
The CT 100 has always been one easy to use and frugal machine, which though lacked flair in its overall design, performed its main tasks of being a fuel-efficient commuter effortlessly. With the CT 100B, Bajaj may have stepped down in terms of visual appeal, but then, the motorcycle is a practical machine for the rural customers, who want a functional and economical motorcycle at lowest possible price. The changes on this latest avatar are very minimal, but it certainly complements with the comeback which the CT 100B has made in the Indian two-wheeler market.