The Hero Motocorp Passion is easily among the most recognized brand names in the humongous commuter motorcycle segment of the Indian two wheeler market. The Passion is also among the most successful motorcycles to have ever emerged from the Hero MotoCorp stable, the world’s largest two wheeler manufacturer. With a sales performance second only to that of the Hero Splendor, the Hero Passion has played a vital role in writing the success story for the popular Indian bike maker.
Launched more than a decade ago in 2001, the Passion has always appealed to those who are looking for an entry level commuter but have found the styling of the Hero Splendor to be just too passé.
Hero MotoCorp, the erstwhile Hero Honda, has been pretty regular with coming up with new variants of its entry level bikes and the Passion has easily been through half a dozen upgrades by now. However, the introduction of the Passion X Pro has to be among the most significant milestones in Passion’s journey so far.
There is a lot more to the X Pro than just a set of new decals and minor visual changes. At the heart of the new bike is a 110cc single cylinder engine that enables the X Pro to challenge the likes of Honda Dream Yuga.
We recently spent a few days with the new X Pro to find out if the latest in the Passion line up of bikes is potent enough to repeat the fantastic sales performance of the 100cc variants.
In the styling department, the Passion X Pro is definitely a few notches above the Passion that we know from our high school days. However, to say that the Passion X Pro is a breath of fresh air will be too much an overstatement. The X Pro looks as commuter-ish as any other bike in its segment and only the most sleepy-eyed would mistake this bike for a 125/150cc machine. Furthermore, robbing off any sort of exclusivity factor is the fact that the Hero Passion Pro facelift (100cc variant) looks very much like the 110cc sibling.
There really isn’t anything wrong with the bike’s styling. However, stuff like a straight tailpipe, a full chain cover, handlebars inspired by those of a BSA-bicycle and traditional Hero MotoCorp colour schemes fail to invoke any feeling of freshness and/or sportiness. There, however, are a few design elements which caught our attention and helped the bike with winning some bonus points in the looks department.
Exclusive to the X Pro are neatly crafted tank shrouds that provide some visual relief from the otherwise familiar bodywork. The bike’s bikini fairing sports a chunky looking headlight that is reminiscent of that of the Xtreme.
Together with a blackish-green translucent fairing visor, a stylishly crafted tail-lamp, black painted engine, clear lens indicators and smart five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, the bike manages to look updated if not really chic.
Once astride, quick to greet you is a semi-digital instrument cluster whose focus lies in the almost centrally placed speedometer. The instrument cluster also has a digital display for the fuel gauge, odometer, tripmeter and service reminder.
Overall, the bike looks very much like a Passion Pro 100cc variant and an average road user will be hard pressed to tell the difference between the X Pro 110 and the Pro.
Motoroids Rating- 6.5/10. Looks too much like a Passion Pro 100cc variant.
Go to Page 2 for report on Hero Passion X Pro’s Ergonomics
The Hero Passion X Pro doesn’t have sporty aspirations and offers its rider a stance that can safely be described as commuter-ish. The rider sits upright, with hands easily falling on the handlebar and the seat offering adequate comfort and support levels. Surprisingly though, the pillion seat felt a bit on the harder side, something that we also found on the Hero Ignitor. The pillion gets a single-unit grab rail which is chunky enough to be easily held on to.
The pass beam switch on the Passion X Pro’s switchgear is conveniently placed and can be easily operated without letting loose the left handlebar grip.
As we mentioned earlier, the bike gets a semi digital instrument cluster which consists of an analogue speedo and a digital display for odo, trip, fuel gauge and service schedule reminder. The instruments have a good font size and the instrument console manages to look quite upmarket.
Overall, the X Pro is an ergonomically well sorted out machine.
Motoroids Rating- 8.5/10. Overall good ergonomics but overtly commuter-ish riding posture robs off the joy of riding.
Go to Page 3 for report on Hero Passion X Pro’s Engine and Transmission
Engine & Transmission
Powering the new Hero Passion X Pro is a four-stroke (what else?), 109.1cc, air-cooled, single cylinder engine that has a vertical (instead of the Pro’s 100cc engine’s sloper) layout. The motor has a max power output of 8.6bhp@7500rpm and a peak torque figure of 0.95kgm@5500rpm and comes mated to a 4 speed manual gearbox with “all-up” shift pattern. As with all Hero products, playing between the bike’s gear ratios is easy and smooth and seldom does a false neutral make an appearance.
The bike has a good torque spread in low and mid end and can chug along at speeds of around 20-30kmph in third gear with considerable ease. It is at the top end that the bike loses steam and is left gasping for more power. We managed to hit a speedo indicated 95kmph, which is decent enough for a bike in this class. One thing that needs to be mentioned here is that the bike has got a really strict nanny of a rev limiter that cuts in too abruptly and a tad too early.
Talking about fuel economy, perhaps the most important aspect for any commuter bike buyer in India, we reckon that the Passion X Pro easily delivers 55-60kmpl even with an over-enthusiastic rider.
Our test mule clocked close to 270 kms with half a tank of fuel (approx 5 litres). The Passion X Pro is easily among the most fuel efficient of 110cc bikes around and in a market where fuel economy is the most important parameter to judge a bike, the X Pro makes quite a case for itself.
Motoroids Rating- 7.5/10. Good torque spread in low and mid end. Poor top end but good fuel economy
Go to Page 4 for report on Hero Passion X Pro’s Ride and Handling
Ride & Handling
The Passion X Pro features telescopic forks up front and a set of conventional twin shock absorbers at the rear.
As expected by us, the X Pro is no track-tool and certainly not the ideal bike when you are in a mood to play. As we said earlier, the rider sits upright on the bike and the posture doesn’t instil enough confidence to push the bike through the corners. However, what it does allow is a very nimble ride in the crowded traffic. The bike allows quick lane changing manoeuvres and can easily cut through the slow moving vehicles.
Our test bike was shod with TVS rubber and we feel that a more sticky set of tyres can surely increase the confidence that the bike inspires when changing directions.
Hero commuters always manage to boast of good ride quality and the X Pro is no different. In city speeds, the bike has a comfortable ride which is further aided by the supportive and comfy seat. The X Pro soaks in most of the average sized craters with aplomb and it is only when tackling the biggest of the potholes, at high speeds, that the ride gets unsettled.
Motoroids Rating- 8/10. Great ride and good handling characteristics for a commuter bike. Keep your expectations in check though
Go to Page 5 for report on Hero Passion X Pro’s Braking
The X Pro comes with a conventional disc-at-front and drum-at-rear setup for the top end variant. The bike gets a 240mm disc upfront and a 130mm drum at the rear. The disc brake is courtesy Bybre which is the Indian division of Brembo catering to smaller machines.
While the rear brake is more than efficient for a drum unit, the front leaves a lot to be desired. The front brake lacks in bite and feels drum-ish. The disc brake unit surely gets the job done and can haul the bike from speeds north of 60kmph but not without making you skip a few heartbeats. Hero MotoCorp should definitely look in here and work to get this issue sorted out. On second thoughts, this might have been purposely done to suit the tastes of first time disc brake users. (Wonder when our bike buying lot will get matured enough!)
Summing it up, the brakes can be best described as adequate and we surely need more feel and braking power from the front disc unit.
Motoroids Rating: 6/10. Average. Really Average.
An average road user might be quick in dismissing off the Passion X Pro as yet another sticker job from Hero. However, there is more than meets the eye and it seems like Hero MotoCorp has finally come up with an appropriate product to rival the hot selling Honda Dream Yuga.
The Passion X Pro isn’t really leagues ahead of its rivals in any of the department but Hero surely makes quite a case for itself by offering the unmatchable Hero trust and of course, a wider service network along with great fuel economy, adequate power and features such as electric start, alloy wheels and a digital display. At almost INR 65k on road, the X Pro is priced real close to some of the 125cc bikes out there. However, what you get for a small premium is a really accomplished commuter that has the much trusted Hero backing and mechanicals which are probably reliable enough to survive a nuclear blast. The bike can surely do with better footwear and brakes though.
Motoroids Rating: 7.5/10. A very well sorted out bike with stellar fuel economy and almost all the characteristics of a good commuter.
Go to Page 6 for Hero Passion X Pro Pictorial description
Go to Page 7 for Hero Passion X Pro image gallery