Words: Suvil Susvirkar / Photos: Chirag Mondal
Before we start with the review of the Hero Splendor Pro Classic, let’s first understand what a cafe racer means in motorcycling terms. The term cafe racer came into existence in England, in the 60’s where motorcycles enthusiasts used to race their machines from one coffee bar to another. Everyday motorcycles were streamlined, performance modded and ‘bobbed’, along with a more aggressive riding position for a race-oriented stance. These motorcycles were essentially everyday machines which were modified by speed enthusiasts in their backyards for fun filled rides. The culture that grew in European countries during the 1960’s gained popularity during the mid-1970. The rise in popularity attracted motorcycle manufacturers from across the world to enter the segment. The cafe racer culture in India gained some momentum recently with the introduction of the Royal Enfield Continental GT. But the expensive price tag kept it away from many motorcyclists. The Hero Splendor Pro Classic presents itself as an affordable option for the fans of the classic motorcycle form. Although too feeble to be termed a proper cafe racer, the mini-me version of the traditional template is targeted at the cost conscious audience.
Reviewing the Hero Splendor Pro Classic was more than just a regular day’s work for me. It was like meeting my first girlfriend after a long span of time, only to find her more attractive and desirable. Having ridden the first generation Splendor for nearly eight years, I knew the motorcycle to the core. Even with its small engine size and commuter oriented performance, the Splendor Pro Classic managed to charm me with its unique styling and character. So ‘let’s get started’ about this “cafe” racer, as the tagline of a coffee brand reads.
Design, instruments and features
After having ridden the motorcycle for over two days, I realised that the Hero Splendor Pro Classic is quite an attention grabber (and in a good way). Family, friends, colleagues, everyone I met over those two days were impressed by the new design, many thinking of it as a well planned modification. The motorcycle would attract curious questions from fellow commuters on traffic signals as well. In fact, the Hero Splendor Pro Classic also managed to grab eyeballs at one of the KTM Orange Day events I covered. Friends and fellow bikers appreciated the design and build quality of the new motorcycle, and almost everyone agreed that it looked much better in flesh than how it appeared in pictures.
Inspired by old school cafe racer motorcycles, the Hero Splendor Pro Classic is by far, one of the best looking 100cc commuter motorcycles in the country today. Hero has tried to incorporate many aspects from the cafe racer genre with a profusion of chrome. The front and rear fenders are carved out of sheet metal and the build quality feels rock solid. The 11-litre fuel tank is made of metal. The side panels and rear cowl are made of plastic but the quality is top notch. Despite the extra metal and chrome on board, the Splendor Pro Classic is nearly three kilograms lighter than the standard Splendor Pro.
Round shaped headlight and turn indicators give the Splendor Pro Classic a classy, old school look. Mirrors come in round shape and receive chrome treatment at the back. The switchgear quality is in line with the industry standards. The shape of the metal tank remains the same as on the Splendor, though the stickers are new, along with a Hero tag. The side panels get a 3-D Splendor Pro brand emblem. The rear cowl receives a hint of black border on the bottom. The “Classic” tag is placed on both the sides of the rear cowl. The elongated single seat is well padded and is quite comfortable. Going further behind, the tail lights and turn indicators too receive a round shape completing the overall design in a rather well-executed manner. The quick access storage space placed under the fuel tank comes handy for storing documents, medical kit and tools.
The twin-pod instrument cluster also gets the chrome treatment in the form of surrounding rings. The tell-tale indicators consist of speedometer, fuel gauge, turn indicator, neutral and high beam indicator. In addition to these features, the Splendor Pro Classic also gets a side stand warning indicator. The font and design has been kept as simple as possible to give it a classic look.
There are a few negatives too, but most of them are minor glitches which, according to us, are something that one can live with. Firstly, we got to see an improper mechanism at play in the side panel covering the battery of the motorcycle where it does not lock in place as desired. The rear view mirrors often spin out of place and are affected by the vibrations from the motorcycle and winds. The headlight unit, though large in size isn’t as luminous in the dark as we expected it to be. And lastly, the cafe racer design leads to the absence of the centre stand which might prove a little inconvenient in tight parking spaces but we’re really nitpicking here. Overall, we were quite impressed by the build quality especially for the price which Hero has placed the Splendor Pro Classic.
Engine and performance
Good fuel efficiency has always been a USP of the Splendor brand and the Splendor Pro Classic is no different. The 97.2cc air cooled, 4-stroke single cylinder engine produces 8.36 PS of power and 8.05Nm of torque (same as the Splendor Pro) and comes clubbed to a 4-speed constant mesh transmission. Naught to 60 kph comes in nearly 10 seconds while the top speed hovers around 100 kph mark. Taller gears and speed gains are impressive for city riding conditions. The torque has been well placed in the low and mid RPM range. The engine feels stress free till 70 kph zone after which you can feel the vibrations creeping in. So, besides the slightly lesser body weight, there is no perceptible improvement in performance over the Splendor Pro to write home about. The Pro Classic somewhat disappoints in the braking department. The front and rear drum brakes feel soft and spongy and require that extra squeeze to stop the motorcycle with confidence.
Ergonomics and handling
This is the part that bothered me a little bit. Instead of adjustable clip-on handlebars, Hero have installed a U-shaped handlebar which tries to imply a similar setup. And we don’t mind that, really. The main issue is with the foot rest position. The commuter style foot rest position on the Splendor Pro Classic creates a very awkward rider’s triangle. So while you are crouched in a sporty stance, your feet are still positioned rather forward, in a commuter-oriented position. This doesn’t make riding the Splendor Pro a very comfortable affair. The footpegs on the motorcycle could have been pushed a bit behind for a more balanced riding position. The handling, however, has improved. The forward biased riding stance intrigues the rider to go fast, even around the corners. The turning radius is quite impressive which make maneuvering motorcycle in traffic fairly easy. We wish that the tyres were a little better because although the riding stance asks you to push the motorcycle harder, the skinny tyres make you think twice before you do so.
Tail lights and turn indicators receive a round shape completing the overall design in a well-executed manner
Even with some of its idiosyncrasies, the new Hero Splendor Pro Classic impressed us with its overall design and character. The cafe racer theme has really been adopted rather tastefully on the bike by the blokes at Hero. Fresh looks in the commuter segment, light body weight and aggressive pricing work in the motorcycle’s favour. For someone who rides solo, wants a reliable, frugal motorcycle on a budget with a character, the Splendor Pro Classic really scores.
So would we recommend this motorcycle to anyone? Yes! For a price tag of Rs 50,800 (ex-showroom Mumbai), the Hero Splendor Pro Classic is not only one of the most affordable commuters and but also the best looking motorcycle in its segment.
|Type||Air Cooled, 4 – Stroke Single Cylinder OHC|
|Max. Power||8.36 Ps @ 8000 rpm|
|Max. Torque||8.05 Nm @ 5000 rpm|
|Bore x Stroke||50.0 x 49.5 mm|
|Carburettor||Side Draft, Variable Venturi Type with TCIS|
|Starting||Kick start / Self start|
|Ignition||DC – Digital CDI|
|Transmission & Frame|
|Gear box||4 – Speed Constant Mesh|
|Frame Type||Tubular Double Cradle|
|Front||Telescopic Hydraulic Shock Absorbers|
|Rear||Swing Arm with 5 Step Adjustable Type Hydraulic Shock Absorbers|
|Saddle Height||785 mm|
|Ground Clearance||180 mm|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||11 litres|
|Reserve||1.4 Ltrs (Usable Reserve)|
|Kerb Weight||109 Kg (Self)|
|Price (Ex-Showroom Mumbai)||Rs 50,800|
Here is the complete picture gallery of the Hero Splendor Pro Classic. Do let us know your thoughts about the motorcycle and the review through comments below. Stay tuned to Motoroids for more exhaustive reviews and updates from the motoring industry.