The Hero Honda Splendor is now in its 22nd year of running. With this bike, there is more than what possibly meets the eye, something that makes it the largest selling two-wheeler in our country.
Hero Honda Splendor Ownership Report
Bike Tested: 1994 Hero Honda Splendor
Kms Done: 80,000 kms
Test Started at: 0 kms
Mileage: 51 km/l (Average), 76 km/l (Best), 46 km/l (Worst)
Fuel Consumed: 1570 liters (approx.)
A mundane Monday morning and as I swipe my leg down with a jerk, I’m greeted by an extremely familiar exhaust note, now made evidently loud by its age. A motorcycle for the masses, the Hero Honda Splendor is a bike of the ages. There’s not much to speak about the design of the Splendor, it’s hardly awe inspiring and is minimalistic to say the least. However, for the time, it was a big change for Hero Honda, the bike being a step forward from the boxy design of the CD 100, an evolution embedded into the company DNA for years to come. The headlight got a bikini fairing around it while the instrument cluster now featured two round segments, one housing the speedometer and odometer while the other housing the fuel gauge and usual tell tale lights. All in all, there was nothing extravagant but it certainly gave a new direction to commuter motorcycles back then.
Powering the Hero Honda Splendor is the same 4-stroke, single-cylinder, 97.2cc, OHC engine of the CD 100 which is mated to a 4-speed, constant mesh gearbox. It is tuned for a maximum power output of 7.8 BHP and maximum torque of 8 Nm. The engine has a good level of refinement and although that has diminished down the years, it’s still smooth enough for daily commutes and works like a charm even today in the low and mid-range, barring the notchy gearbox of course. Push it past 50 km/hr and the vibrations set in at the footpegs and the thighs. The quality of parts used is more than satisfactory and keeping in mind its commuter DNA, the motorcycle has no issues gobbling miles for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The saddle of the Hero Honda Splendor offers adequate comfort although a seat cover is recommended for additional cushioning. The riding position of the bike is typical commuter-ish, the front set footpegs offering adequate comfort in and around the city. However, ride quality has been on the stiffer side but nothing that would unsettle the rider. The Splendor felt at home whenever in the city, in stop-go traffic through which it makes its way like no one’s business, mainly due to the low kerb weight. All this without ever bringing any stress to the back or feet of the rider. Overall dynamics of the bike were very good for its class.
Coming to the most important aspect from an Indian perspective, the Splendor was, and is one of the most frugal bikes to be manufactured. Initially, I am told it used to return a figure in excess of 70 km/l, dropping down to 50 km/l eventually but never below that. The quality of parts used is more than satisfactory and are locally available as well. Add this to Hero’s extensive service network and this has made the Hero Honda Splendor a very less demanding and a very low maintenance motorcycle over the years.
To draw a fair conclusion, the Hero Honda Splendor is a legacy associated with many loyal Hero Honda fans, over 25 million of them, thus helping Hero to accomplish a market position for the Splendor that is completely unparalleled by any other two-wheeler at this scale. It’s just a sense of nostalgia one associates with a motorcycle of such legacy. And on that note, I place the bike into gear, grinning at the familiar exhaust, on my way to endlessly gobble up even more of the tarmac.
– Fresher styling compared to CD 100
– Good low and mid-range grunt
– Excellent fuel efficiency down the years
What’s Not So Cool
– Seat is a little stiff
– Vibrations felt post 50 km/hr
– Stiff ride quality, notchy gearbox