The new Bajaj Discover 150 locks horns with the Hero Honda Passion Pro
Words: Sagar Sheldekar
Does the Discover 150 DTS-i have the firepower to blow the Passion Pro away? Lets find out…
In its bid to get a bigger chunk of the commuter segment in India, Bajaj recently launched the Discover 150. The new executive commuter is an upgrade of the Discover 135, which surprisingly wasn’t as success in terms of sales figures as Bajaj had hoped it would be. But Bajaj is confident that the new Discover has all that it takes to rule the commuter segment. So we decided to pit it against its main rival from the same price bracket, the Hero Honda Passion Pro, to see if Bajaj has a winner on its hands.
Performance and power delivery
Yes, we know what you are thinking- How can we compare a 97cc bike with a 150cc one? And you are right! It is an unfair comparison and Bajaj deserves full credit for creating this anomaly. To take on Hero Honda’s long standing reliability quotient, Bajaj has pushed its ‘value-for-money’ envelop even further by pricing its new 150cc commuter in the same price range. So for the same cost, the Discover offers a more powerful engine which churns out 13PS and 12.75Nm of torque. The Passion Pro clearly lags far behind in this category with only 7.8PS and 8.04Nm of torque to its name.
Mileage and Engine Refinement
Along with power, the Discover 150 also offers an impressive mileage of 60-65kmpl in the city which is at par with the figure offered by the Passion Pro. The Discover scores high on the economy front, thanks to its five speed gearbox and the Ride Control switch, which restricts the movement of the throttle beyond a certain angle to extract better mileage.
When it comes to engine refinement though, the Discover 150 plays second fiddle to the Passion Pro. The Discover’s peppy engine surges the bike forward in any gear. But as soon as you hit the higher rev band, vibrations creep in causing the bike’s handle and foot pegs to rattle. The Passion Pro on the other hand, is comparatively much smoother and less prone to chatter all through the gears.
Moving on to ride quality, both bikes have good suspension and upright riding positions to make daily commutes in the city as comfortable as they can get. But we did find the seat on the Discover 150 to be a tad on the harder side which might make long commuting a bum numbing experience. On the braking front, we were impressed with the bite and feel of the Discover’s front disc which comes as a standard feature. Getting the Passion Pro to stop however, proved to be a nerve racking experience because the bike we tested was shod with drum brakes on the front and the rear and it took forever to stop. Luckily, the Passion Pro comes with a disc option which should provide better braking.
Furthermore, the wider rear tyre of the Discover makes for a stable ride even at higher speeds which is not the case with the Passion Pro. The Hero Honda commuter is prone to wobbling above 60kmph and fails to inspire confidence if you attempt to test its top whack. So the Discover 150 again comes out on top in the ride quality test thanks to its stable handling and strong braking characteristics.
This isn’t the strongest point of either bike as there are other commuter options available now which sport a sleeker look. Well yeah, the alloys, clear headlamps and the all-black-engine treatment help. But on the whole, both bikes have maintained their traditional look with more emphasis on functionality than aesthetics. The Passion Pro though, does score a few brownie points for its digital console and new radical tail light.
The Bajaj Discover 150 wins this race by a fair margin. Let’ see- It has the best in class power figures, it boasts of an equally impressive mileage and offers better ride quality than the Hero Honda Passion Pro. And it delivers the knockout punch through its super economical price tag. The Passion Pro has a more refined engine, slightly better instrumentation and Hero Honda’s patent reliability. Yet, all these factors cannot compete with the feature-rich and powerful package which Bajaj has introduced in the commuter market at a bargain price.