by arun mohan nadar , Photography : eshan shetty |
December 18, 2013 8:37 IST
We take a spin on Bajaj's latest offering in the 100cc segment, the Discover 100M to find out how it stacks up against its rivals
The entry level two-wheeler segment is one of the most fiercely contested segments in the country. Despite motorcycles sales showing little improvement in last year, still this segment is the bread and butter sector for almost all the major two-wheeler manufacturer as it accounts for close to 60 per cent of the entire two-wheeler sales in the country and one can gauge the amount of volumes it generates. Bajaj Auto also wants to cash in on this segment and for this it has been concentrating aggressively in this sector and currently has three offerings in the 100cc class. It recently added one more model to the Discover portfolio by launching the 100M, which the company says sits between the Discover 100 and the 100T. According to Bajaj in this price sensitive segment there was a void left between both its 100cc offerings under the Discover umbrella and the 100M fills that gap, whether it really does so let’s find out..
At a glance, one could hardly make out any difference between the 100M and the 100T as the design language is heavily based on its pricier sibling. At front you have a bikini faring which houses the large headlight and twin pilot lamps along with a neatly sculpted windscreen, the headlight doesn’t run on DC supply akin to its elder sibling. Behind the headlights one can find familiar looking instrument panel which is easy to read and nicely layed out. The switchgear quality is up to the mark and the palm grips are soft to touch and comfortable to hold. The neatly sculpted muscular tank in conjunction with the snazzy body decals endows the Discover 100M with a big bike feel.
The bike also features 17-inch ten-spoke spider alloy wheels; aluminium cast side steps and electric starter as standard. At the rear, we find tail integrated LED lamps with clear lens indicators, which bestow the rear section with a clean and uncluttered look. To price it cheaper than 100T, Bajaj has skipped the fuel switch below the tank instead of which you get a traditional metal knob and chrome outline on the instrument cluster is also missing. Another major visual difference is that the centre panels are finished in body colour instead of silver like in its elder sibling. The traditional Discover DNA is present in the 100M and though it misses out on few parts compared to the 100T, still the 100M is among the most stylish commuter bikes on sale in the country.
Bajaj has always been a forerunner when it comes to technological innovations, especially in comparison with other major two-heeler manufacturers in the country as it has brought in path braking technologies in the Indian two-wheeler segment and the Discover 100M is no different on that front. They showcased the world that a commuter bike can also be fun to ride and yet be economical with the Discover 100T, which is the most powerful 100cc bike on sale in the country and yet is among the fuel efficient ones. Powering the Discover 100M is the same mill sourced from its elder brother but has been detuned marginally to offer even better fuel efficiency (Bajaj claims 85kmpl) and to endow it with a flatter torque curve. The 102cc, air-cooled, DTS-i, 4-valve mill pumps out 9.3PS @ 8,000rom and a torque figure of 9Nm @ 6,000rpm. It also features corrugated fins on the outside for better cooling as it dissipates heat from the engine faster compared to standard straight fins.
The engine is mated to a four-speed gearbox which is a gear down compared to the 100T. The powerplant is very refined and power delivery is uniform across all the gears. The engine feels peppy for its size and along with a throaty exhaust note is sure to put a smile on your face. Bajaj claims a top speed of 95 km/h and only at the very top end of its performance does the mill begin to lose steam and feel strained. The all-up, heal-and-toe gear shift lever offers precise and crisp shifts and thanks to its well distributed gear ratios one doesn’t have to shift much while making your way past crawling traffic. The only qualm with the gearbox is that the gear sticks between first and second, which can get little irritating.
The clutch is very light and smooth while being progressive and correctly weighed. The ergonomics of the 100M is well taken care of and the rider has a very relaxed posture on the bike, this can be credited to the contoured fuel tank, raised handle bar and well padded seats. The most major change carried out on the Discover 100M with respect to the 100T is the one which is the most difficult to notice. According to Bajaj, the 100M is based on an all new platform, but in reality they have shortened the wheelbase of the 100T (1305mm) to come up with the 1255mm wheelbase in the new offering.
This reduction in the wheelbase has endowed the 100M with great agility which is a boon while one weaves his way out of traffic. This flickability doesn’t affect its stability by much and the bike feels satisfactorily planted on highway at speeds above 75km/h. For braking, the Discover 100M comes with two options at the front which are a 220mm disc or 130mm drum and at the rear it sports a 110mm drum. The test bike which rode had come equipped with disc brake and braking performance was satisfactory. The new offering comes shod with tubed Eurogrip tyres at front and rear which provides very average feedback and grip and a better pair of rubbers would have been much appreciated.
Bajaj has priced the Discover 100M at Rs 45,996 (ex-showroom Delhi) which like all offerings from the Chakan based manufacturer has been priced competitively. At this price, one gets electric starter as standard which normally is an optional extra in this segment while optional disc brake is a welcome move. The entry level class is a very tightly contested segment and the basic requirements of a buyer is an economical and easy to ride motorcycle while being competitively priced. And on this front, the Discover 100M has all the bases covered and is well suited for a buyer who wants almost all the benefits the Discover 100T has on offer while being more fuel efficient and cheaper.