Sales of 150cc commuter motorcycles are on the rise, so, Hero now wants to get a piece of the action with the new Achiever 150. We take the new offering for a quick spin to find out if it's any good...
If you know a thing or two about the Indian two-wheeler industry, you must be aware of the fact that Hero MotoCorp is the unrivalled king of the commuter motorcycle segment in India. Nobody sells 100cc and 125cc motorcycles in India like Hero does. However, if you move up a segment (150cc), Hero’s presence in the market isn’t quite as strong – mainly owing to the lack of new products. And what's really hurting Hero is that its current customers are changing loyalties because Hero does not have the right kind of product for their requirements.
To address this issue, Hero has just launched the new Achiever 150. We took the new motorcycle for a quick spin today. Here’s our first ride report,
What is it?
Hero is marketing the Achiever 150 as an ‘executive’ or premium commuter. That’s to say that it’s aimed at customers looking for a no-nonsense motorcycle for daily commutes, albeit one which tilts the balance more towards performance than fuel economy. And since Hero points out that this bike is not meant for boy racers, it’s designed with a similar kind of approach as well. No fat tyres or overly muscular body panels here. Just a neat and sensible looking motorcycle that will taste to consumers looking for a conservative and sober design.
All new motorcycle?
Not entirely. Hero’s global product planning head, Malo Le Masson, told us that in the new Achiever 150 they have refined the complete package over the last model. That’s because, as per Masson, Hero’s R&D is currently in the process of revamping the company’s entire line-up. So, unlike the Splendor 110 iSmart – which is made completely from the ground-up – most of the other products will receive new components and updates in areas where they’re lagging behind.
So what has changed in the Achiever 150? The engine base remains the same but it’s been tweaked to meet BS-IV norms. Additionally, the powertrain has been tuned to deliver a flatter torque curve so that power flows in a linear manner. It's spec-sheet has some familiar numbers as well – air-cooled 149.1cc single-cylinder developing 13.4bhp @ 8,000rpm and 12.8Nm @ 5,000rpm. Similarly, the chassis is still tubular diamond type, but it has been reworked and stiffened for better handling and stability.
The Achiever 150 feels like a bigger version of the Splendor at first. The seating position is upright and the saddle is supportive and cushiony. Hero says the instrument cluster is digital & analogue, but, truth be told it’s mostly the latter – speedo, tach and fuel gauge are all analogue. The dials are simple to read, but overall the instrument cluster looks a bit plain-Jane, especially when you consider the fact that the motorcycle is being pitched as a premium product.
The quality of switch-gear and the fit and finish in general is decent. There’s no engine kill switch, but in its place you will get a blue i3S switch to activate/deactivate the idle start-stop system. For the uninformed, the i3S system is a fuel saving tech that kills the engine while idling (in Neutral) and automatically restarts the engine when you press the clutch lever. In addition to that, the motorcycle comes with auto ‘headlights on’ feature and a side-stand indicator.
Coming to the ride report - first up, the engine. It’s a smooth and free-revving motor. It pulls the motorcycle in an effortless, albeit non-dramatic manner. Torque flow is linear between low and mid-range. The gearbox is a 5-speeder with 1-down-4-up pattern. Shifts were positive, if a bit notchy. The gear ratios, especially third and fourth, felt a bit tallish – probably done to improve fuel economy. Since we were riding the motorcycle in a closed test track, there wasn’t enough space to go full throttle. Hero says the motorcycle will do 0-60km/h in 5 seconds, and while I couldn’t time my runs, I won’t doubt that claim. Overall performance is adequate and I could hit 70-80kmph quite easily. NVH levels at high revs are well contained, but the motor feels slightly strained when revved hard.
Handling? Since it’s essentially a commuter, Masson told us that the suspension travel has been slightly increased so as to deal with potholes and undulations in a more compliant manner than before. Basis this conversation, I was expecting the Achiever 150 to be a bit of a softy, but that’s not the case. The overall ride quality is plush but the motorcycle doesn’t pitch about that much. The turning dia is short and in real world conditions I am certain it will be easy to flick this thing around in traffic and through narrow gaps. We were riding the disc version that comes with a 240mm front disc and a 130mm rear drum brake. Braking performance is decent with the front offering just about enough bite.
The Achiever 150 comes shod with skinny Ceat Secura 80/100 R18 tyres (front and back are of the same size) to keep the monthly fuel expenditure of target customers in check. However, while fuel economy is one (main) thing, the thin contact patch affects the braking and handling adversely. Under hard braking, the tyres lose grip very easily. As for cornering, the tyres do not inspire enough confidence to go fast around a bend. Having said that, not all is lost here. I would reserve my judgement on the tyres until the time I get to ride the motorcycle on the real tarmac – which wasn’t the case today. The test track that Hero had created mainly comprised concrete roads and slippery tiles, making life all the more difficult for the tyres.
Summing it up
Hero categorically mentions that the Achiever 150 is developed for current 100-125cc commuters who want to move up the displacement ladder. Keeping that in mind, the new motorcycle comes across as a well rounded product. For consumers looking for a fuss-free, reliable, fuel-efficient and a decently powerful machine, it ticks all the boxes. And what really sweetens the deal further is its price - Rs 61,800 (drum) and Rs 62,800 (disc) – both ex-showroom, Delhi. For that kind of money, it’s a great proposition since it undercuts its main rival, the Honda CB Unicorn 150 (Rs 69,305 – ex-showroom, Delhi) by a significant margin.
- Hero Achiever 150
Engine: 149.1cc / 4-stroke / Single-cylinder / Air-cooled carbureted
Power: 13.4bhp @ 8,000rpm
Torque: 12.8Nm @ 5,000rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Price: Rs 61,800 (drum) & Rs 62,800 (disc) - both ex-showroom Delhi.