A duo of small-capacity commuters from two of the country’s biggest motorcycle brands lock horns. But which one reigns supreme?
Commuter motorcycles may not find themselves in the limelight that often, but everybody knows that these are essentially the products that keep the cash registers ringing for the two-wheeler manufacturers – at least in India. And with the average consumer getting more-and-more demanding, motorcycle manufacturers have their work cut out for them. Outdated products won’t work anymore. You’ve got to keep your R&D team working overtime, while new products should be rolling off the production line more frequently than ever before.
Thanks to this ever-increasing pressure on manufacturers, we witnessed the launch of a couple of brand new 110cc motorcycles from two of the behemoths of the industry this year alone. In January 2016, TVS fired the first salvo when it revived the Victor nameplate with the new Victor 110. And, more recently, Hero upped the ante by introducing the all-new Splendor iSmart 110 – which also happens to be the company’s first indigenously built motorcycle. I rode the new Hero previously, and, surprisingly, found it to be an interesting little runabout. But, before passing final judgement, I thought it needed to be tested against the Victor 110.
For apparent reasons, neither the Victor nor the Splendor are especially pretty to look at. Still, I believe that both look decent and stylish enough for the everyday commute. What I like about the Victor is that it looks big for its segment, but, at the same time, it feels like an overgrown Star City. On the other hand, the Splendor is more compact and younger looking. But, for customers who believe that bigger-is-better, it could be a deal breaker. I, for one, can’t decide which one gets my vote in this department. But that hardly bothers me, because these are everyday workhorses and aren’t exactly meant to be eye candy.
That said, when you get up close with these motorcycles you’ll find that it’s much easier to decide between the two. That’s because the Victor’s quality of materials and fit-and-finish is markedly better than the Splendor. Even the instrument cluster on the Victor looks refreshing. While both the motorcycles get part-digital and part-analog dials, the Victor has a tachometer – something the Splendor misses out on.
Powertrain wise, both are evenly matched. The Splendor is powered by a 109.15cc engine that develops 9.4bhp at 7,500rpm and 9Nm of torque at 5,500rpm. The Victor’s 109.7cc engine boasts slightly higher power and torque figures, producing 9.46bhp at 7,500rpm and 9.4Nm at 6,000rpm. Both come with a 4-speed transmission, with an all-up pattern that channels drive to the rear wheel.
The refinement of both the motors here is remarkable really. But they deliver power in a completely different manner. At low revs, the Splendor’s engine feels more responsive to throttle inputs, while its closely matched gear-ratios make life easier in traffic. The Victor’s low-end is weaker in comparison, but the mid-range is quite strong. In fact, you’ll see speeds of over 80km/h more briskly on the Victor. The Splendor can also do similar speeds, but the engine feels a lot more stressed. But what really stops you from pushing the motor to its limit is the quality of the brakes on the Splendor. It comes with 130mm (front) and 110mm (rear) drum brake setup that is completely overshadowed by the Victor’s 240mm disc (front) and 130mm (rear) drum brake setup.
Where the Splendor claws back some points is in the handling department. It’s lower to the ground and has a shorter wheelbase (1,245mm vs 1,260mm), making it that wee bit more nimble to maneuver. Also, the Splendor has a slightly stiffer ride. The Victor’s ride quality, on the other hand, is plush. And since its seats are also more supportive and better cushioned, it’s more comfortable over long commutes.
Fuel efficiency is a key factor in this segment, and both these motorcycles deliver (or rather claim) some tall fuel economy figures. Additionally, the Splendor even gets the i3S idle start-stop tech where the system automatically kills the engine to save fuel between traffic lights. It’s really a smart feature, and one that works effectively.
All told, the difference between these two motorcycles is marginal. Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong with either. However, if I were in the market to pick a motorcycle between the Splendor iSmart 110 and Victor 110, I would most likely put my money on the TVS. It feels bigger, the engine is more refined, the quality is much better, and, most importantly, it comes equipped a front disc brake. And despite all of that, it’s easier on the wallet – not by a huge margin, but every little bit counts in this segment...
- Hero Splendor iSmart 110
- TVS Victor 110
Engine: 109.15cc / Single-Cylinder / Air-Cooled
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
Power: 9.4bhp @ 7,500rpm
Torque: 9Nm @ 5,500rpm
Price: Rs. 53,330
X-Factor: Responsive drivetrain, i3S fuel-saving tech and nimble handling are the highlights of this motorcycle.
Engine: 109.7cc / Single-Cylinder / Air-Cooled
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
Power: 9.46bhp @ 7,500rpm
Torque: 9.4Nm @ 6,000rpm
Price: Rs. 52,715
X-Factor: It feels big for its segment, while the refined engine, impressive build quality and disc brake give it an edge over its rivals.