Review of the Bajaj Discover 100 DTS-Si..
If one has kept a tab on the motorcycle industry of India for the last 2 years, or if one has noticed the kind of motorcycles that have appeared on our roads during the same period, it would be quite obvious that the Bajaj Discover has been a big success story.
When the Discover 100 was launched in July 2009, not many gave it much of a chance, stating that it’s probably another one of Rajiv Bajaj’s (MD Bajaj Auto) experiments. Some couldn’t digest the 135 cc Discover becoming a 100 cc. And later when a 150 cc avatar of the Discover was launched, naysayers again scoffed at the idea of a 150 cc Discover.
+ Light weight
+ Smooth & Snatch free engine
+ Good handling
+ 5 Speed gearox, DC Lighting
- Texture of the Plastic on speedometer
- Drum brakes
Only in hindsight can one comment on whether a strategy was right or wrong. After almost 2 years the ubiquitous sight of Discover models on our roads have proved that Mr. Bajaj has got the strategy with the Discover spot on. Not only did the success of the Discover mean the end of the sales slump that Bajaj had witnessed in 2008-2009 (which had started with the global recession), but in a very short span the Discover brand has become a formidable brand along with the world’s largest selling motorcycle brand, the Hero Honda Splendor..!!
The Discover 100 wasn’t/isn’t priced lower than the Splendor. In fact it is priced at par with the Splendor. Even then, the Discover 100 has been consistently selling like hot cakes. That only means one thing, that the Discover is selling on its merit and that it must be a good bike.
So how good and improved is the Discover 100 compared to the earlier 100 cc models (CT100, Caliber, Boxer, Platina) from Bajaj? I take a test ride to find out..
Back in early 2008 when I had taken the test ride of the Discover 135, I had felt that the Discover 135 was better off as a Commuter. The latest 100/150 cc avatars have just refined the Discover package into a truly Honest Commuter, by getting rid of any sporty pretensions and with a commuter friendly price tag to boot. Indians can’t resist a good deal and the Discover seems to have certainly struck the right cord with the commuter crowd.
Post the test ride, 3 things about the Discover 100 have stood out for me. All of which were NEVER used to be associated with older Bajaj products. Let me elaborate..
1. Light weight:
The Discover 100 (115 Kgs) has lost a whopping 18 Kgs compared to the older Discover 135 (133 Kgs)..!! But what’s the benefit of a lighter bike? Well, a lighter bike means less of unnecessary/dead weight, the bike feels zippy as the engine has to haul around lesser weight, plus better fuel efficiency. How did the Discover lose its weight? Because of a brand new engine and an all new chassis.
2. Smooth, snatch free engine:
If one has ridden the latest products from Bajaj (including the latest generation Pulsars and also the now discontinued XCD 135) one would definitely have noticed that the engines have become smoother compared to the older models.
The older 100 c.c Bajaj engines also used to feel snatchy (which most Indians erronuously tend to call as "knocking"). My younger brother used to have a Bajaj Caliber and right from day one, the engine of that bike had this snatchy feel to it. The XCD 125 was the first small capacity Bajaj engine to impress me as it's engine had no snatchy feel, pulled effortlessly and felt well made. Even the XCD 135 was the smoothest Bajaj engine that I have ridden till date.
I found the humble 100 cc engine as smooth and felt well made without any snatchiness to it. It is not surprising since the 100 cc, DTS-Si engine is based on the XCD 125’s engine platform.
3. Good handling:
Handling on a motorcycle depends mostly on its chassis design. The chassis of the Pulsar 150/180/220 are basically based on a decade old chassis design and although they have very good straight line stability, they don’t take spirited corners with ease.
This used to be true of most Bajaj bikes till I rode the Pulsar 135LS. The potent 135 cc bike has got a new chassis design, which is not only lighter in construction but also endows the baby Pulsar with sharp handling, making it the best handling Pulsar.
Even the Discover 100 has surprising good handling. The new Discover takes corners with more confidence and poise than the older models.
The chassis of the Discover 125/135 used to be a Twin Downtube, Double crade frame (like the ones found on the Pulsar 150/180/220). The new Discover 100/150 feature a Single Downtube, Double cradle frame.
The engine of the Discover 100 feels smooth and well made compared to older models. But when revved hard, the engine does show some vibrations creeping in. Not very disturbing kind but definitely a hint.
The 100 cc engine doesn’t really have neck jerking acceleration, which is not expected from it either. But the engine does a decent job of pulling the rider and its pillion without much effort. The Discover 100 feels similar in performance like the benchmark i.e the Hero Honda Splendor/Passion duo. Nothing more, nothing less.
The Discover 100 does get a brownie point over the 100 cc Hero Honda in the form of an extra 5’th gear. A 5’th gear might seem an over kill for a 7.7 Ps, 100 cc engine but the gear ratios on the Discover is so well matched that even at 5’th gear the engine continues to pull cleanly from slow speeds.
The 5’th gear also helps maintain a cruising speed without stressing the 100 cc engine, which should also help in getting good fuel efficiency as well as provide a smooth vibe free ride. The clutch on the Discover 100 is delightfully light for heavy traffic riding.
Ergonomics & Ride Comfort
The handlebar is tall and the foot pegs are naturally positioned at a foot forward commuter friendly position. Honest commuter, didn’t I say?
The seat is a bit narrow at the front (which has been carried on from the original Discover design) and could have been a bit wider. The seat foam/material used is of high order and will provide comfort over long distance use.
The rear suspension is of gas filled NitroX type, which apart from making the rear look chunky also endows the Discover a good balance between handling and ride comfort.
Looks and features
Styling/looks of the Discover 100 is being mentioned towards the end as the Discover has remained nearly the same over the years. The exposed frame around the battery/air box side cover remains a unique styling element of the Discover among Indian bikes. The Discover 100 does have a slightly redesigned front fairing, a LED tail lamp and redesigned graphics. The alloys wheels, engine and the chain cover are finished in black color.
DC Lighting: The Discover does get a very useful DC lighting feature. This feature is not available on any 100 cc bike in India. The headlights are connected to the battery due to which the headlights do not flicker and give a constant illumination irrespective of the engine speed. Like the Pulsars the Discover also gets a smart DC lighting which shuts off the headlights in case the engine is shut off, this saves the battery from getting drained accidentally.
Standard Alloy wheels: Alloy wheels are standard on the Discover 100 which looks the part on the Discover 100, unlike the Splendor which looks better in spoke wheels rather than in alloy wheels.
Self start: Self start is no longer a premium feature on Indian motorcycles and the Discover gets it too.
Analog Speedometer: The Digital Speedometer of the Discover 135 has been discarded for a more conservative and retro looking round analog twin pods. The texture of the plastic used for the speedo display could have been a bit better though.
Switchgear: The Discover 100 gets comprehensive switchgear with hi-beam/pass flasher. An engine kill switch is missed with a Ride Control Switch* taking its place.
[* Ride Control Switch: When activated provides slight resistance at a certain position in twisting the accelerator, this makes the rider aware not to twist the accelerator beyond a point for better fuel efficiency]
 Black with Blue decals
 Black with Magenta decals
 Black with Green decals
[b] Flame Red
Fuel Efficiency: A 100 cc motorcycle in India normally returns around 60-65 kmpl under normal riding conditions.
I have heard many instances where Discover 100 customers have reported mileage numbers of 70-75 kmpl..!!
Price: For Self Start model: Rs. 43,000 (Ex-Showroom Delhi), Rs. 47,500 (On Road Delhi)
Verdict: A contemporary looking worthy alternative to the Hero Honda Splendor.
Discover 100 DTS-Si: Technical Specifications
Engine & Transmission
Engine Type : Single cylinder, 4 stroke, air cooled, DTS-Si
Displacement: 94.38 cc
Max net power: 7.7 ps @ 7500 rpm
Max net torque: 7.85 nm @ 5000 rpm
Starting system: Kick start/electric start
Gears: 5-Speed (all down pattern)
Chassis and body
Front Brake: Drum, 130 mm
Rear Brake: Drum, 110 mm
Tyres Front - 2.75 X 17" (Unidirectional) , Rear - 3.00 X 17" (Unidirectional)
Fuel Tank: 8 liter full (2.3 liter reserve)
Electricals: 12V, 5Ah
L x W x H: 2040 mm x 760 mm x 1087 mm
Wheel base: 1305 mm
Kerb weight: 115 kg
Discover 100 DTS-Si: Photos
- Bajaj Discover 135 DTSi: Review [March, 2008]
- Discover 150 DTS-i Launched [May, 2010]
- Hero Honda Splendor Pro APDV Review
- Hero Honda Passion Pro APDV Review
- Honda CB Twister 110 Review
- TVS Jive 110 cc Review
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.