Can the addition of a 5th gear in a 110cc commuter make a considerable difference? We ride the Bajaj Platina 110 H-Gear to find out.
From being the best-selling commuter in its heyday to barely making a difference on the sales charts now, the Bajaj Discover has lost much of its charm for commuter buyers in the recent past. It’s no wonder, then, that the company has since shifted its focus towards the Platina. From the launch of the Platina ES in 2015, to entering the 110cc segment in December last year, every update has given the brand an upward thrust in terms of numbers. While the motorcycle has been performing on the sales charts, out on the road, the need for a fifth gear has been somewhat evident. Bajaj noticed this and acted on it quickly – the result is this, the Platina 110 H-Gear.
Heart & soul
The Platina 110 H-Gear is powered by the same motor that does duty on the 110, as well as the Discover 110, and it continues to develop 8.5bhp and 9.81Nm. This makes it the torquiest motor in its class. All the torque on offer, along with its short gears, make it extremely easy to ride in the city. It allows you to upshift at low speeds – and you can quickly move up to 5th gear at speeds as low as 35km/h.
For the most part, I found myself riding in 4th during city jaunts and in 5th during highway hauls. This can also have an adverse effect on fuel efficiency figures. The Platina has always been an extremely judicious sipper, and this one is no exception. Interestingly, the Platina 110 H-Gear’s claimed efficiency of 84km/l is better than the Platina 100’s 82.5km/l.
Coming back to the transmission, the 5th cog is indeed a welcome change – not just for the Platina but also for the segment as well. This makes it easier to ride on the highway of course. The motorcycle doesn’t demand too many shifts, and that’s really a good thing bearing in mind that it isn’t the smoothest transmission out there. Switching between the first few gears is relatively seamless, but you do experience some false neutrals while shifting from fourth to fifth.
The 110 H-Gear too, just like the other Platinas, scores well in terms of comfort. The seat cushion is on the softer side, which makes riding in the city rather stress-free. It is equally comfortable for the pillion as well, thanks to the long seat and wide rubber footpads. The telescopic front forks and the gas-charged suspension at the rear offer an impressive ride quality over bad roads. It gives you the assurance that not only is it capable of tackling horrible roads but also of remaining unimpaired through it all.
The Platina 110 that was launched in December last year didn’t have a disc brake option. The 110 H-Gear, however, has been fitted with a 240mm disc upfront and a 110mm drum setup at the back. Of course, given the new regulations, the 110 H-Gear comes with an anti-skid braking system. Braking performance, on the whole, is par for the course.
The Platina 110 H-Gear looks identical to its namesake. The boxy headlight, the U-shaped LED DRL, golden 3D badging on the tank, long seat, and 5-spoke alloy wheels – all have been borrowed from the Platina 110. In fact, the Platina’s design hasn’t changed much since the time it was first launched.
That said, the design is not a deal-breaker in this class of motorcycles. Bajaj has, however, fitted it with a semi-digital instrument cluster, which comes with a trip-meter, a low battery indicator and a clock. The bike also comes with a shift assist that indicates upshifts and downshifts. It isn’t the most accurate system though. During our test ride, we often saw the display urging me to upshift from 4th, even when the motorcycle was already in top gear.
Priced at ₹55,373, the disc brake variant of the Platina 110 H-Gear is more affordable than most of its rivals. And despite the affordable price, the Platina 110 H-Gear sports features like the semi-digital instrumentation with gear shift assist, LED DRLs and gas-charged rear shocks. Overall, the Platina continues to perform its commuting duties well, and the addition of the fifth gear has definitely made it more efficient and highway-friendly. We only wish it would be a bit more appealing in terms of design as well.
- Bajaj Platina 110 H-Gear
Engine: 115cc / Single-Cylinder / 2-Valves / DTS-i
Power: 8.5bhp @ 7,000rpm
Torque: 9.81Nm @ 5,000rpm
Price: ₹55,373 (Ex-showroom)
X-Factor: The addition of a fifth gear makes the Platina far more highway-friendly.
Also read - 2019 Bajaj Dominar Review: First Ride