Is it easy to improve an already well made product? Not exactly the best way to start a test report but this is what was in my mind before I decided to take the Hero Ignitor for a spin.
As we have regularly been telling our readers, the divorce between Hero and Honda saw the Indian partner, now known as Hero MotoCorp, getting the rights to technological assistance (read: borrowing products and engines) from the Japanese giant till 2014.
The Ignitor is one of the bikes that are the result of the above mentioned ‘technological assistance’ from Honda. Just in case, if you’ve just returned from a decade long exile, let me take the pleasure of telling you that the Hero Ignitor, that was launched earlier this year, is essentially a re-badged Honda Stunner.
This alone makes the Hero Ignitor quite a capable machine but we decided to find out if the Indian manufacturer has managed to sharpen an already lethal sword.
The Ignitor, very much like the Honda Stunner, is aimed at those wanting a bike which is practical enough for daily commute but also has enough sportiness to indulge in some weekend fun.
Hero Impulse Review
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As mentioned above, the Hero Ignitor is a re-badged Honda Stunner and hence, there aren’t too many new things that can be said about the bike.
The Hero Ignitor too sports a quarter fairing that lends it a sporty character and comes with matt black painted engine, heat shield and wheels.
Again, very much like the Honda Stunner V2.0, the Ignitor gets an engine cowl to further elevate the sportiness quotient. The Hero Ignitor comes with a split seats, red painted rear shock absorbers and some snazzy graphics to complete the sporty look.
It is the very front-end that takes a departure from the Stunner’s styling. The Hero Stunner, nay, Ignitor sports a wider front headlight and a different fairing visor to give the new bike a slightly different fascia.
Overall, the bike looks very much like the donor bike and an average road user will be hard pressed to tell the difference.
Motoroids Rating- 8.5/10. It looks good but so does the Stunner.
The Hero Ignitor, thanks to its sporty aspirations, comes with split seats and the rider’s seat offers adequate comfort and support. Surprisingly though, the pillion’s seat is on the harder side and can surely do with some more cushioning. The handlebar and the foot pegs on the Ignitor have been positioned in a way that the rider sits upright. At the rear, the pillion gets a single-unit grab rail which is chunky enough to be easily held on to.
The pass beam switch on the Ignitor’s switch-gear is a bit oddly placed and it is quite a herculean task to press the switch. Not a deal breaker but it is surely something that Hero needs to look in to.
As we mentioned earlier, the bike gets a new instrument cluster. The instrument panel comes with an analogue tacho and the Speedo unit is courtesy a white backlit digital display. The instruments have a good font size and the instrument console manages to look quite upmarket. Surprisingly, the bike gets an analogue fuel gauge instead of a digital bar type unit.
A point to be noted is that the speedo display remains back-lit even when the lights have not been switched ON.
Motoroids Rating- 7/10. Overall good ergonomics. Pillion might feel a bit neglected
Engine & Transmission
As expected, the Hero Ignitor makes use of the 125cc, 11 bhp Honda motor which is mated to a 5-speed ‘box. Hero Motocorp, which has been an undisputed leader of Indian commuter bikes, has re-tuned the engine for city riding.
The updated engine has a good amount of punch in the lower rev range and quick getaways from traffic stops are an easy deal. However, performance starts fading away as you enter the mid range and is almost non existent once you reach the top end. Anything above 5500 RPM and the motor starts sounding like its pleading for some clemency. Wishing to touch 100 kmph with two aboard is like betting on Indian soccer team to win the world cup.
As with all Hero products, playing between the Ignitor’s gear ratios is easy & smooth and seldom does a false neutral make an appearance. It is the second gear which allows you to really play with all the juice from that motor and the bike can chug along at city speeds in 2nd and 3rd gear all day long.
Motoroids Rating- 7/10. Smooth and refined but those 11 horses are sleep deprived
Ride & Handling
One of the best parts of this bike is the ride & handling equation. The Ignitor soaks in most of the average sized craters with quite an aplomb and it is only when tackling the biggest of the potholes that the ride gets uncomfortable.
World over, the manufacturers have been trying to strike a balance between ride and handling and it hardly ever happens that a bike comes with equally high ride and handling capabilities.
The Hero Ignitor however, is one of those few bikes that not just absorb most of the irregularities with considerable ease but can also be thrown in to the corners without much of a fear. That said, the Ignitor is no sports bike and all is well only till the point you decide to play Nicky Hayden and go apex hunting.
At city speeds, the bike comes across as being very nimble and can be easily flicked around for playing the ‘lane splitter’.
The only grouse is that the TVS tyres that the test bike was wearing played a perfect spoil sport and prevented the bike from being the perfect 125cc tool for polishing your cornering skills.
Motoroids Rating: 8/10. Surprisingly well balanced ride and handling equation. Desperately needs better tyres though.
The Ignitor comes with a drum brake at the rear and a disc upfront. The disc brake is courtesy Bybre which is the Indian division of Brembo. While the front brake is good, bordering, over enthusiastic, the rear brake lacks any feel whatsoever and can do with some more bite.
Overall, the brakes are adequate for the bike of this size and power but more braking power is never enough. Right?
Motoroids Rating: 7/10. Good Disc brake set up. Rear needs fine tuning.
The Hero Ignitor can easily be dismissed as a rebadged Honda Stunner. However, there is more than meets the eye and it seems like I finally found the answer to my questions about the Ignitor.
The Honda Stunner is a very well sorted out bike and has been one of the highest selling 125cc bikes in our two wheeler market. However, Hero seems to have been successful in tweaking the Stunner to make it an even better commuter. The Hero Ignitor isn’t really leagues ahead of the Stunner in any of the department but Hero surely makes quite a case for itself by offering a new instrument console and an engine optimized for city use. And of course, a wider service network. The bike can surely do with better footwear though.
Motoroids Rating: 7.5/10. A very good alternative to the Honda Stunner.
Hero Ignitor Specifications:
Price- Rs 55,900- Rs 57,900 (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Power- 11bhp at 8000rpm
Torque- 85.27bhp per tonne
Transmission- 5-speed, 1-down, 4-up
Chassis & Body-
Wheels- 6-spoke alloy, 17 inches
Tyres- 80/100 x 17 – 100/90 x 17 inches
Suspension-Front- Telescopic forks
Rear- Hydraulic shock absorbers Brakes- Front- 240mm disc Rear- 130mm drum Fuel Tank size- 9 litres