Shootout: Honda CB Shine vs Bajaj Discover 125M vs Hero Glamour
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 67,290/- (Honda CB Shine Disc), Rs. 65,750/- (Hero Glamour Disc), Rs. 55,375/- (Discover 125M Disc)
The 125cc segment is for people who want power with minimum sacrifice on mileage
If a top host of the most successful motoring show in the world were to write this review, he would only shout for POWER! Our editor would also do the same and they would be right about it too because the segment which we are reviewing is all about that little extra punch over 100/110cc motorcycles. 125cc motorcycles exist only because customers want little more punch with very little sacrifice of mileage. Any 100/110cc motorcycle ends up giving you 70/75 km/l but here it should al teast deliver above 60 km/l to be a true winner in the segment. Obviously this is not just the reason but the other reason also revolves around the same idea. The consumer is bored and tired of 100/110cc bikes he owns and wants something more so as a normal Indian commuter, he looks for more punch and something bigger than what the average crowd is roaming around on. So which of these bikes deliver the most? We find out.
Motor Quest: The Hero Glamour is the oldest bike here, it was launched in 2005 while the Honda CB Shine was launched in 2006. The Discover 125M is the latest kid on the block, it was launched earlier this year. The Shine is the top seller in this segment, with more than 70,000 units sold every month while the Glamour sells more than 40,000 units in a month.
Styling – The Hero Glamour has become more glamorous after the recent update which comes after a really long time. The Bajaj Discover 125M feels the freshest of the lot in terms of design and the excellent paint job with the muscular tank and other Pulsar inspired bits makes it look a segment above. All three bikes have subtle graphics on them which try to add some flare to the motorcycles. The CB Shine has been ageing very well but still needs an update or a Dream variant of this motorcycle to keep it more relevant for style conscious buyers. The headlight is compact on the Honda engined bikes but the Bajaj stands out and is unmistakably one of the many Discovers out there in the market.
Body coloured mirrors on the Glamour look tacky and the exhaust design on all these motorcycles looks like a job well done. The Discover 125M has spider web alloy wheels while both the other bikes have similar looking and same 5-spoke alloy wheels. The tail light shape of the Discover with triple slats looks unique while the Japanese engined equipped motorcycles have the same boxy units with reflectors. Fit-finish is of the highest order and quality is on par too among all these motorcycles.
Ergonomics – The seating position on all these motorcycles is upright and the wide handlebars coupled with front set footpegs give a comfortable riding position. Seats are well cushioned on all these motorcycles and the Discover 125M has the longest seat in its segment. Pillion comfort is great with one piece grab handle for him/her to hold on to on all the three commuters. Seat height is low and should accommodate small to medium heighted riders in absolute ease on all these three 125cc bikes. Mirrors are well positioned on all these bikes and give a good view of what is behind.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – The cluster looks good on all these bikes as it has been recently refreshed on almost all Honda and Hero motorcycles. The Glamour has the Passion inspired small digital cluster which houses odometer, trip meter and fuel gauge. Solitary turn indicators are only available on the Glamour while the CB Shine and Discover 125M do not have it. Fonts of the analogue speedometer look great on all these bikes and as expected a tachometer is missing on these commuter offerings. Switchgear also remains the same on both Honda powered units, so it has a pass flash and high beam, horn and headlight button and the starter button on the right side. The Discover has the traditional switchgear which looks better than others and feels on par in terms of feel.
Performance – Powering the Glamour and Shine are Honda equipped motors which are bomb proof and have proven the test of time. The engine on the Glamour is mounted in sleeping position (Slopper engine) which you will find in older motorcycles while on the Honda and Bajaj, it is vertically mounted. The powerplant is smooth and refined on all these bikes but the Discover has a bit of vibrations on the top-end of the powerband and that’s about it as the rest of the time the 125M runs smooth but not as smooth as the new Discover 150. Both Honda bikes have vibrations just around the torque band as always but run silky smooth all the time. Taller gearing on the Glamour than the usual shorter gearing on the Discover and Shine motorcycles robs it of good pickup that the commuter usually demands. Meanwhile, the Shine shows good urgency but it is the Bajaj motor that feels the most sprightly and gets off the line with good amount of urgency and that is what a 125cc commuter is looking for. The Honda motors end up producing mediocre amount of horsepower but the torque is in the same league as the Discover which is around 10.5 Nm, it’s just about adequate.
The Honda powered bikes are smoother but the Discover 125 has much more performance
Despite everything coming in at a very low RPM, the heavy kerb of 129 kgs on the Glamour plays pure spoil sport while the CB Shine lacks in terms of numbers. The Honda motor on the CB Shine has low initial pickup but a good mid-range has been provided and the sacrifice for that is the lack of top-end pull. The engine on the Discover 125M has very good low and mid-range power and has decent top-end power too because of the higher power output and 4-valves. The reason why the CB Shine performs better than the Glamour and slightly lower than the Discover is because of its kerb weight, which is 118 kgs while the Discover weighs in at 117 kgs and the Glamour tips the scale at a humongous 129 kgs.
Honda engine equipped motorcycles max out 90 km/hr but the Discover manages to reach 95 km/hr and goes to the speedo indicated 100 km/hr mark. A 125cc should at least do 100 km/hr or 95 km/hr quite easily because this segment is all about that extra punch. The 4-speed gearbox on all these motorcycles is smooth and does the job very well. Recorded mileage on these motorcycles is quite different too. The Discover managed to give 63 km/l while the Shine returns 55-57 km/l on a daily basis and the Glamour as we know returns 61 km/l. The mileage is as always a mixture of city and highway in our tests, expect these bikes to go higher when it comes to pure highway run.
Riding Dynamics – The Glamour comes with a double-cradle frame while the Discover comes with a semi-double cradle frame and the CB Shine uses a diamond frame. However all these bikes come with regular dual shocks at the rear and telescopic front forks, the Glamour does offer nimbleness but not class leading like the Discover and CB Shine offer in the city. The soft suspension at the rear and wooden setup at the front like on these Honda engined motorcycles makes riding easier but not fun at all. The Discover’s front-end feels communicative and plush at the same time.
The Discover 125M is on the stiffer side but the ride quality and stability at the same time is very good too. The CB Shine also offers good ride quality and so does the Glamour. Handling is best experienced on the CB Shine but the Discover 125M is in the same league. The Glamour due to the high kerb weight, less power and softer suspension is no fun nor good as a commuter either. Tyres are good though and offering adequate grip and stability on all these motorcycles. Disc brakes at the front offer a good bite and the rear brake which always does most of the duties in commuter motorcycles is well calibrated.
Verdict – If you read our review of the Hero Glamour, you would know it is an under-performer by a huge margin. The mileage is good but that is not the point of a 125cc bike because when compared to 100cc motorcycles, you have already lost a lot. The CB Shine is the most successful product from Honda and it continues to be one despite it not being the best in this segment as it does not have class leading fuel efficiency nor is it the most powerful, something a 125cc customer really wants. The real competition to all these three motorcycles was the TVS Phoenix which had the capabilities to win this test but frankly was not available. Yes, we are that sure with the TVS Phoenix as it has reliability, power and extreme value for money.
However, among these three bikes, the Discover 125M performs brilliantly, is the most fuel efficient and the value quotient is beyond imagination because it is Rs. 10,000/- cheaper despite having a disc brake. The Discover 125M variant is the one which promises to stay in the market after the 125T got discontinued but the only problem is resale value which is lower and since this is 2014, we won’t question reliability of the Bajaj brand. The Discover 125M wins this test as it is a great performer on both paper and road.
The Discover 125M is too much bang for your money, looks different and performs in every single aspect a 125cc customer is looking for. In spite of that, if you are looking for something known, the Honda CB Shine does not fail to impress either as its simplicity has vowed many.
Riders – Hrishikesh Mandke, Omkar Jadhav, Chetan Jain
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