When Indian motorcycle buyers are still barely getting acquainted with Cafe Racer style motorcycles, it was a surprise when Hero MotoCorp unveiled the Splendor Pro Classic at 2014 Delhi Auto Expo, as the world’s largest motorcycle maker (by volume) was never known to launch products for niche segments.
Not that they had to spend big money in designing the Pro Classic, but the strictly-textbook motorcycle-maker always focused on churning out massive volumes with every product, and this addition in Splendor series does not seem to be intended for more profit.
There are only three Cafe Racer style motorcycles in India as of now, including Hero Splendor Pro Classic, and each of them is pricier by far and powerful than the next, from bottom up.
While the other two are really capable of provoking a race on the streets, being one of the least powered motorcycles in the world we thought there is no way Splendor Pro Classic can, until we were inadvertently proven otherwise.
So what’s really the deal with the new Splendor in town? It is undeniably the best looking bike in the affordable segment, giving a great opportunity for young-at-heart commuters to travel in style without hurting their pockets.
Other than Splendor Pro Classic, it is probably safe to say that most of other options in the lowest end of affordable motorcycles were either born too mundane or have outlived their charm. The Pro Classic also makes for an attractive second bike, for commutes and errands through dense city traffic, given its half-a-lakh price tag which would mean quite less if you have a giant power machine for weekend fun.
In detail about the Pro Classic, it is essentially the same Hero Splendor Pro underneath, including engine, chassis, suspension, brakes and wheels. What’s changed is a small list of components enough to alter the bike’s identity. Major changes include new U-shaped handlebar, that end like clip-ons do, new seat structure, change in ride & overall height, and the traditional Cafe Racer cowl at the rear which is not a storage box even though the nameplate reads Hero Splendor.
Other design highlights include chrome finished front & rear mud guard, chrome coated round headlamp, chrome treated rear view mirrors, retro indicators & tail light, and orange reflectors. The bike is offered in full black and solid maroon / red body colours.
What’s odd is the retained fuel lid, which Hero should have replaced with a suitable retro-classic cap. And there is also a lot of gap between this rectangular cover and the tank. It’s parts like this that mess with the overall finesse. Further, lack of rear set foot pegs also comes as a bummer, as the posture feels a bit awkward having the legs bent at just a little less than 90 degrees when the torso must lean forward without a choice.
Splendor Pro Classic is powered by 97.2 cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine with OHC (Over Head Camshaft), that produces 8.36 PS max power @ 8,000 rpm and 8.05 Nm peak torque @ 5,000 rpm, linked to 4-speed gearbox (all up). The engine feels just as smooth and linear as it does on standard Splendor Pro, and manages 50 kmph quite easily and 80 kmph if the road is free of hurdles. The problem with reaching high speeds with a Splendor is the poor brakes. Hero could have offered disc brake upfront, but the already limited selling machine would have become more expensive. But it is not a big task to get a disc brake retro-fitted on a Splendor.
Power is sent to 18 inch spoke wheels, shod with 2.75 inch (roughly 70 mm) section width CEAT Secura tyres at both ends, with varying load indexes. The tyres were really grippy and did not behave like a purely economical set.
The bike weighs 109 kg (with self start), which is 3 kg lesser than Splendor Pro, and has fuel tank capacity of 11 litres. Compared to the latter, Splendor Pro Classic is 35 mm shorter in length, 20 mm shorter in height and has 21 mm more ground clearance at 180 mm.
Why would you buy Hero Splendor Pro Classic:
Value for money
Easy to maintain
Why would you not buy Hero Splendor Pro Classic:
No room or quick conversion to carry a pillion
Too underpowered to be a Cafe Racer