Words by Adil Jal Darukhanawala
Say hello to an all-new motorcycle from among the plethora of commuter machines that Hero MotoCorp is renowned for. An all new motorcycle that looks familiar and also has a much vaunted name and standing in the commuter section of the Indian motorcycle market. Welcome the Glamour, in an all-new avatar!
Having put the bike through its paces on a tight 2.5km circuit outside of Buenos Aires in Argentina (where the bike was launched), I can stick my neck out and state that this is the new standard bearer in the 125cc class and that too overwhelmingly so! Read on and you will grasp the import of this statement.
Does it deliver the Glamour?
Styling a small commuter is fraught with limitations and the earlier Glamour epitomised it only for its frugal performance to overshadow the lack of style. No such bothers here only because there is a slight increase in the proportions and also for the simple expedient that the graphics and the sculpting of the bodywork is contemporary and not overdone.
What is important however is how comfortable the bike is from the rider’s perspective! Decent saddle height to impress most Indian homo sapiens, the handlebar-seat-foot pegs interplay is very conducive for and with enough tactile delights to keep the econo-commuter happy. The new headlamp design (incorporates the Automatic Headlamp On feature) is matched with a new LED tail lamp cluster as well and a brand new instrument panel. There is the i3S indicator, a digital fuel gauge, trip and odometer and a few tell tales. By and large, the operational controls seem to be both adequate and well finished if not distinctive.
Frame and cycle – A good amalgam of the new and the proven
One of the key aspects of the new Glamour which many might miss given the way the bike’s new mill overshadows everything else has to be the new single downtube frame that is responsible for much of the smiles that emerge on every ride. This frame apart from being lighter has been designed keeping the new all-Hero engine in mind and together with the mount points, the revised wheelbase and also the way the suspension geometry plus the componentry have been configured makes for a fine base to begin with. The steering rake and the weight distribution make for a very good base for a comfortable yet invigorating ride experience and thanks to the fitment of a front disc brake and tubeless MRF rubber, there is good stability and control thrown into the mix in a most subtle manner.
Engine and transmission – This is the true Hero!
The single cylinder motor is from the new family of engines that Hero has invested in. We saw the first manifestation of it in the Splendor iSmart 110 released in mid-2016 but here is the real deal and this motor has the TOD (Torque On Demand) aspect in even greater measure with a power delivery that is sublime for this class of bike. This 125cc econo-commuter would be offered with either a carburetted engine or one which sports fuel injection. Both engines are of course BS IV compliant.
What is impressive is not just the sheer smoothness with which the engine pulls or purrs but the fact that its lugging ability is just as impressive. If I had to nit pick it would be the fact that the all-up shift pattern has no place in this day and age especially if Hero has global ambitions and the sooner it educates the Indian masses on the universal one-down and four-five up shift pattern the better it would be serving itself. That said the clutch action and the shift actuation were fault free.
Performance and handling – What the doctor ordered
This is one of the most simple yet brilliantly configured econo-commuter machines I have ever ridden in the modern BS IV era. The bike feels properly planted and with nary a weave or shake even with a pillion! I took Markus Braunsperger around the test circuit for a couple of laps and under acceleration or braking the bike felt planted, the weight shifts never loading up or lightening the front end making for good control of the motorcycle – a very important criterion in the Indian context. The Glamour is also spirited in the way it can tackle corners. The brakes are good for this class of motorcycle, progressive and ample without being grabby which is what this class demands again and also has to be so to not impact fuel consumption.
The driveability is the clincher thanks to the wide torque spread and the smoothness of its delivery. The motor purrs at the slightest twist of the throttle and is most meaty in the 50-80kmph range while it can scream or rather be a bit rorty while being hammered close to nearing the proverbial ton (100kmph). Hero states that the Glamour is good to deliver 60kmpl in carburetted form and 62 kmpl in fuel injected.
Early verdict – Probably the best in class?
This is a confident offering from Hero MotoCorp and probably the best answer to its disbelievers for it clearly shows the strides the firm has made in designing and developing its first all non-Honda motorcycle and that is a big thing. Given that the Glamour is already the best-selling bike in the 125cc class, the new offering should ring alarm bells in the ranks of the combined competition and while we will wait for a full-fledged test here on Indian soil, what we saw, rode and felt indicates that this is an all-new blockbuster designed to enhance the essence of its name!