There was a time in the Indian automotive industry when the bikes were still for the ones who could spend a load of money. People used to prefer scooters for commuting. And then came the Hero Honda with its Splendor and the scenario was changed. People were given the option to leave the bulky scooters at home and enjoy the bike ride. And till this date, Hero Splendor is a motorcycle that a middle-class man can easily buy. Let’s take a look at the history of the bike that is said to have made it a dream come true for many bike lovers.
1994 – India gets the Hero Honda Splendor
We all remember that earlier, Hero Motocorp was in collaboration with the Japanese automaker Honda. Under this collaboration came in the Splendor. It was not the first bike from the manufacturer though. It was a successor to the Hero Honda CD100. The Splendor used the same engine as that of CD100 and not much was changed in the design aspect too. But this bike made the Indian customers switch from scooters to bikes. The low ownership cost and the high fuel efficiency are the reasons that this bike took off so well.
Talking about the engine, it was powered by a 97.2cc air-cooled 4-stroke engine which was capable of producing a decent 7.44hp of power and a peak torque of 7.95Nm. It was capable of returning a fuel economy of more than 50kmpl. Actually, at that time, people used to say that it can go for weeks after a single refuelling of the tank. This model ran as it is for around 10 years and the successful stint is still known to be one of the best in the motorcycle world.
2004 – Hero Honda Splendor Plus
After 10 years of its launch, the Splendor was given an upgrade. It was known as Splendor Plus and came with a tagline, ‘Lage Aisa Family Jaisa’ (Which means it feels as if Splendor Plus is a part of the family). The new Splendor Plus featured a multi-reflector headlight, a new tail-light and was enhanced with some new graphics. The spoke wheels were also replaced. Now it had alloys for this purpose.
2005 – Super Splendor
A new more powerful Splendor was launched in 2005. It was a 125cc Advanced Swirl Flow Induction System (ASFS) engine which was capable of churning 9hp of power. This new swirl tech was responsible for the increased fuel efficiency of an already very fuel-efficient motorcycle.
And the engine was not the only upgrade the bike received. The Super Splendor was lightweight and was equipped with a digital speedometer, alloy wheels, disc brakes at the front, graphic enhancement and more chrome to the engine and exhaust.
2011 – Hero Honda Splendor Pro
The was going to be the last Splendor under the collaboration of Hero and Honda. The joint venture was already called off in 2010, but Honda under the agreement had to support Hero until 2014 technologically. This is when the Splendor Pro was launched. There were no changes under the hood, just kidding, under the petrol tank in this case!
But one of the USPs of this bike was the self-start. With all the major competitors equipping their offerings with the self-start, Hero also had to enhance their Splendor series in order to stay on the track. There were a few graphic additions and alloy wheels. Hero Honda Splendor Pro is known to be one of the most stable 100cc bikes of its time.
2014 – Hero is on its own!
The 25 years old JV was dissolved. The technical support was ended. What was Hero going to do? It was going to Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.
The Splendor was upgraded. And the all-new Hero Splendor came with revolutionary i-Smart technology. This tech made it possible for the Splendor to reach a fuel economy of over 100kmph! Yes, that’s true. The tech was that whenever the engine becomes idle, it will switch off and start again as soon as the clutch was pressed. And that’s how you shut the mouth of people who said, ‘Hero won’t survive without Honda’. It was powered by the air-cooled 97.2cc engine capable of churning out 7.2hp of power and over 8Nm of torque.
But that was not all! The Splendor completed 20 years in 2014. So Hero decided to launch a cafe racer version of the Splendor Pro. It was powered by the 97.2cc engine capable of producing 8hp of power. The Pro Classic featured a compact handlebar, retro-style rearview mirrors, spoke wheels, chrome all around and a retro tail light section. It was also equipped with a cafe racer seating arrangement.
BS6 Hero Splendor Plus
Hero Motocorp has been prominently making sure to upgrade their bikes with time. And Splendor being a legacy, it was supposed to get the BS6 upgrade too. And it got one. The BS6-compliant Hero Splendor Plus comes with Hero’s advanced PFi xSens Engine technology and a tagline, ‘Bharosa Hai, Samjhauta Nahi’. The power of the 97.2cc air-cooled engine has increased from 7.2hp to 7.9hp. The torque generated is almost the same.
Hero Splendor might not be a powerful bike, but it was never meant to be one. It was meant to give the best fuel efficiency and it really kept that alive. It is still one of the most sold 100cc bikes and one of the very few successful ones. What are your views on the national motorcycle of India? Let us know in the comments section below.