Comparision/Test Rides of the current 125 cc bikes in the counntry..
I have heard of writers sometimes get into what is called "writers block", where there is "temporary loss of ability to begin or continue writing, usually due to lack of inspiration or creativity". In similar vein I have also heard bloggers sometimes go blank with "bloggers block"
For the first time since I started blogging about bikes, I have also experienced a similar "loss of inspiration" in the last few weeks. I have been quite lazy to come up with new "desi" bike stories. I realize that this is probably due to the fact the right now I have got the big daddy of all "desi" bikes.. The Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi..!!
Just to kick start myself, I decide to do something which I have never done so far.. I decide to take the test rides of the current 125 cc bikes available in the Indian market and try to compare them against each other..!!
How I wish I could show you the expression of the showroom guys when they saw a guy (me) come on a Pulsar 220 to demand test rides of their 125 cc tiddlers..!! Nevertheless the test rides were arranged promptly.
To keep things simple, I have chosen the versions with "Alloys/Self Start/Drum Brakes" for easy comparision.. So how do the current 125 cc bikes stack up against each other..??
125 cc Bajaj XCD DTS-Si:
I had posted on the the test ride of the XCD a few weeks back. This time I again take a test ride to compare it against the other 125 cc's.
I found the engine of the XCD to be a little bit rough and unrefined.. compared to the previous test ride
One can read about the comprehensive test ride of the XCD in my previous post. Even this time the XCD felt same.. Same plush Ride Quality, Good Handling Characteristics, Good Pick up even at low speeds at every gear including the top gear. The brakes this time felt much better than the last time. But this time I also experienced the engine to be a bit rough and unrefined comapared to my previous test ride of the XCD.
The XCD looks and feels the smallest of the rest of the 125 cc bikes. Priced at Rs. 47,189 (On Road, Bangalore) the XCD is cheaper than the nearest competing 125 cc (Suzuki Zeus) with similar specs (alloy wheels, electric start, drum brakes) by around Rs. 3,000.
Suzuki Zeus: (With Self Start/Alloys/Drum Brakes)
In recent times I have noticed an increase in the popularity of the Suzuki Zeus more than any other 125 cc in Bangalore. This is surprising considering the fact that Suzuki has hardly spent anything in promotion of the "Zeus" (at least on TV)..
Stiff/Hard ride quality
Felt a little underpowered..
But this also means that the money that Suzuki India has saved by not promoting expensive TV Ads of the "Zeus" can be used to price the "Zeus@ quite competitively. The Alloy wheeled/Self start/Drum Braked version is priced at Rs. 50,368 which is just about Rs. 3,000 more than the Bajaj XCD with similarly specs.
The test ride of the "Zeus" brought back memories of one of my friend's 150 cc Suzuki Fiero. The "Suzuki" fiero had one of the smoothest engines and gearbox that I have ever experienced till date. The Suzuki Fiero lineage is very much evident on the engine and 5 speed gearbox of the "Zeus". Believe me when I say that they are butter smooth.
The only aspects that I wasn't impressed was the Relatively Stiff/Hard ride quality and the Handling which wasn't that great. Also the "Zeus" felt a little underpowered.
Honda Shine: (Alloys/Self Start/Drum Brakes)
The Shine looks like the younger brother of the 150cc Honda Unicorn. The build quality is good. Recent changes in the 2007 Shine model have been the inclusion of Black colored Alloys. The Shine looks smarter now but even then the styling comes across as staid and uninspired.
The engine is smooth and feels quite peppy in each of the 4 gears. The ride quality is decent on the Shine. I also found the Handling to be very good. The bike has compact dimensions similar to the XCD.
The factors going against the Shine is the relatively poor switch gear which feels quite cheap and the high price tag of Rs. Rs. 53,766 (On Road, Bangalore) for the Self Start/Alloy wheels/Drum brakes version.
Hero Honda Glamour: (With Alloys/Self Start/Drum Brakes)
I got the Spoked version of the Hero Honda Glamour to test ride.. The bike had a self start and identical "cheap" looking switch gear of the Honda Shine. I am sorry if any "Glamour" owner is reading this review, but according to me the styling of the Glamour is "unimaginative" to put it mildly. And the name "Glamour" for the bike sounds more like an oxymoron.
I really felt the "Glamour" as the worthy successor of the Hero Honda Splendor..
That being said, I was really impressed by the way the engine of the "Glamour" performed. The bike felt as rideable in its 4 gears as the Bajaj XCD and Honda Shine. The gearbox was also pretty good. The ride quality wasn't that great but the handling was good. In fact the "Glamour" felt like a bigger and better "Splendor", which it actually is.
The "Glamour" with Self Start/Alloy/Drum Brakes is priced at Rs. 52,434 (On Road, Bangalore). I really felt the "Glamour" to be the worthy successor of the Hero Honda Splendor.
Yamaha Gladiator: (Self Start/Alloys/Disc Brake)
The Gladiator is without doubt the best looking 125 cc bike in the country. It almost looks like a bigger 150 cc bike. The seat of the first generaton 125 cc fazer (the Gladiator's Origin) was a little bit too soft for comfort on long rides. But the seat of the Gladiator is one of the most comfortable among Indian bikes today.
Virtually all the auto magazines have voted the Gladiator as the Best 125 cc bike in the country..
Its baffling why the Gladiator is the least seen 125 cc bike on the road..
The enigne has punch but one has to rev the engine a bit more than the other 4 geared 125 cc bikes to extract maximum juice from the bike. The geabox is also pretty smooth to operate. I found the clutch of the Gladiator to be the Lightest Clutch on any bike in India, its very light and easy on your left hand. The handling also was quite good.
In fact there was hardly anything which I disliked on the Gladiator. Priced at Rs. 53,470 (On Road, Bangalore) for the "Alloy Wheel/Self Start/Disc Brake" version, it might seem as costly as the Shine, but you get the front disc here along with the alloys here.
Virtually all the auto magazines have voted the Gladiator as the Best 125 cc bike in the country, but still its baffling why the Gladiator is the least seen 125 cc bike on the road (at least in Bangalore). It would be fair to say that the Gladiator hasn't been that successful for Yamaha Motors India as it should have been.
This is one aspect for which I'll have to quote what the auto magazines have to say. Auto Magazines has found the Bajaj XCD to be one of the most fuel efficient bikes in the country with a mileage figure around th 65-70 Kmpl mark.
The rest of the bikes have also been found to return good mileage of around 55-60 Kmpl.
Conclusion: Picking up one particular 125 cc as the best was quite difficult for me. The fact that I already own the Pulsar 220, made it more difficult for me to think as a prospective 125 cc customer.
Moreover apart from the Bajaj XCD which comes in just one trim, the rest of the 125 bikes come in various options of spoke wheels instead of alloys, kick start instead of self start, with round headlamp (Suzuki Heat) or with optional front disc brakes (Glamour and Zeus). So there is the option to play around with the price along with the mind of the consumer.
I have listed the likes and dislike about the 125 cc bikes that I took for the test ride. I leave it to the individual looking for a 125 cc to make the decision for himself.
All I would advice is to take the test rides of the models selected and look at the various price options before making the final selection.
Comparision Sheet of the 125 cc bikes
[P.S: Effort have been put to get the accurate Specs and Prices]
The Cool helmet with the Blue Visor has been sponsored by DSG (Dream Sporing Gear) of Pune..
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This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.