After having split with its long-standing partner Honda Motor Corporation of Japan last year, India’s largest motorcycle company Hero MotoCorp has returned this year with an all-new brand identity in order to take on its two chief rivals Bajaj Auto and the fast emerging Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India.
The latest motorcycle to roll out of the Hero MotoCorp plant in Haryana is christened as ‘Ignitor’ and it sure poses the exterior make up to set the premium 125cc segment in the country alight. Employing the exact same skeleton as the Honda CB Stunner, the Ignitor (Read: Hero Ignitor Launch Report) gets subtle yet impressive cosmetic revisions that present it with spunkier demeanor over its Honda sibling.
One glance and it is easy to see that the Hero Ignitor shares most of its exterior makeup as well as the under-pinning with the Honda CB Stunner (Read : Honda CB Stunner Road Test). However, Hero has surprisingly gone a step ahead than just re-badging and revising the stickers on the Ignitor and actually given the motorcycle a noticeably individualistic identity.
The quarter-fairing from the Stunner has been redesigned to incorporate pseudo-air intakes as well as neatly drawn angular lines that present the Ignitor with a much more aggressive stance than the Stunner. Complimenting the edgy lines of the revised fairing upfront is an equally sharp windscreen flaunting dark tint and helping the Ignitor stomp its belligerent stance. Completing the look are body-coloured rear view mirrors and body-coloured grab-rail while the centre panels are finished in matte-black.
Another step ahead from Hero MotoCorp is the addition of some important features that make appearance on the Ignitor which have been missing from the CB Stunner. For instance the inclusion of a kick lever on the Ignitor, which is a cause of concern for many commuters even today as most of them prefer having an option for kick-start than relying completely on the self-start mechanism.
The Ignitor also gets a stylish instrument panel that comprises of an analogue tachometer as well as a digital dash consisting of the speedometer, odometer and first time in the 125cc segment, a clock – apart from showing the regular warning indicators, analogue fuel meter and usual tell-tale lights.
Clever mish-mash of two-tone graphics on the motorcycle, mainly around the large tank helps in cleverly reducing the Stunner over-tones present on the Ignitor and it does hand the bike with little bit of added individuality. Swing a leg over the motorcycle and instantly noticeable is the comfortable riding posture thanks to the well-drawn geometry between the sculpted knee-recess on the curvy fuel tank, the flat-ish handlebar and the faintly rearset footpegs.
Although, the two-step seat does give the rider a bit sportier riding stance without being uncomfortable even for longer period of time. Another reason why the Ignitor feels sporty and easy to ride is the lightweight frame of the motorcycle tipping the scales at just 129kg.
The featherweight diamond type tubular chassis of the Ignitor employs the same 124.7cc air-cooled single cylinder SOHC motor that is fed by a carburetor. Albeit the potent Honda engine gets a different tune on the Ignitor with the 11Nm of torque let loose at 5,000rpm, which is about 1,500rpm lower than the tune on the CB Stunner. Torque made available lower down the rev-range translates into better in-town rideability allowing the rider to stay in the higher gear even at lower speeds.
The 11PS of power produced at 8,000rpm is transferred to the rear wheel via a 5-speed transmission with a 1-down / 4-up gear shift pattern as found on the Honda CB Stunner. While the engine carries forward trademark Honda refinement with an equally fitting creamy smooth power delivery, the only glitch we found on the Ignitor were clunky gear shifts and somewhat weak feel from the clutch, especially during spirited riding. And even if the Ignitor is not meant for much of spirited riding, even the average Joe commuter will not be at ease with the shifts.
What the commuter will really enjoy is the Ignitor’s nimble handling and sure-footed deportment that results in an effortless and calm riding experience. A large part of this composure is attributed to the well-balanced suspension setting on the telescopic forks upfront and a pair of hydraulic adjustable shock absorbers on the rear. Although our test mule was a bit too stiffly sprung for a cushy ride but being enthusiastic bikers, we at ZigWheels didn’t mind it as much as the average commuter will, if he experiences a harsh ride astride the Ignitor.
The other aspect that let us down was the braking, especially the 130mm dia drum brake version handed to us which failed to impress anyone at ZigWheels with its rather appalling stopping power. Certainly, a motorcycle capable of recording 100km/h requires equally potent brakes and it would be advised to opt for the slightly expensive but a lot safer fully loaded variant of the Hero Ignitor equipped with a 240mm dia disc brake upfront. The 17-inch wheels on the Ignitor are shod with tubeless rubber from TVS tyres and provide fairly decent grip.
Even though the Hero Ignitor is nothing but the Honda CB Stunner under its skin, the change in its exterior makeup coupled with inclusion of notable features and equipment like tachometer, digital dash and tubeless tyres and a pricetag of Rs. 55,900 (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the base variant, does make the Ignitor a strong value-for-money proposition for buyers looking to get their hands on a premium 125cc segment motorcycle.
Not to forget Hero’s extensive service network across the deepest corners in the country and the Ignitor does stand a fair chance at helping Hero recover some of the ground lost to the Honda Shine and the Honda CB Stunner in the 125cc class. It remains to be seen how well the new motorcycle from Hero ignites the market but in the end it is the consumer who is spoilt for choice.
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