5 Commuter Bikes Shootout
Commuter motorcycles have seen a lot of growth in the recent years with more being offered at the same affordable price point. Gone are the days when a bike as basic as the Hero Honda Splendor would vindictively dominate the segment. The winds of change have brought along with it a demand for added features, improved styling and a certain inclination towards technology and performance over and above the ‘must haves’ like efficiency and comfort. And as much as we would like to argue that the two-wheeler industry is gradually moving to a higher displacement, this class continues to bring majority sales for all two wheeler manufacturers in India.
In a bid to break into this lucrative market, nearly a year after bringing forth the Dream Yuga, Honda brings in another offering in a more elementary form. In its latest contribution to the segment in the form of the Dream Neo, Honda takes the conventional ‘function before form’ approach challenging the ongoing paradigm shift. And on the other end of the spectrum is Mahindra, which after a not so successful first attempt with their Stallio, is trying to bounce back with their Centuro by bringing a lot more to the table than called for.
So how strong a proposition can these two be against the technologically advanced Bajaj Discover 100T, the dependable Hero Passion XPro and the wallflower Suzuki Hayate? Let’s find out…
FORM BEFORE FUNCTION IS IT?
Although style is a very relative term and hasn’t quite been the priority for this class in the past, there is no denying the fact that in today’s day and age it is the need of the hour. Having said that whether or not it takes preference over practicality is indeed debatable. Simply said, a fair amalgamation of both is the safest way of playing your cards.
And it is in this context that the Discover 100T, with its aggressively crafted tank, the funky 10-spoke alloys and the smartly designed graphics that looks trendy and is yet suggestive of the previous generations of the brand, scores an impressive 8.5 out of 10 on our charts. The Centuro on the other hand is remarkably trendy and has quite a lot to offer. The large trapezoidal headlight that incorporates an array of LED parking lights, the digital instrument cluster with a tachometer and distance to empty indicator and the flush fuel filler cap make it stand out well amongst the rest. But the relatively smaller tank and the ‘gold ribs’ don’t quite mingle well with the rest of the bike due to which it only manages to score a decent 7.5.
Honda takes almost the same approach with its Dream Neo that we have already seen on its Yuga and the CB Shine before that. It has a can’t love it-can’t hate it aura to it, with its basic to the bone styling it just about manages to achieve a 6. The Passion XPro and the Hayate both have certain details that make them look reasonably appealing and for that reason they stand at a convincing 7.