A 110cc motorcycle with a five-speed gearbox! Sounds quite different and rare, isn’t it? Well, that’s what Bajaj Auto has recently come up with, calling it the Platina 110 H-Gear. Before we proceed any further, this is not the first time that an entry-level motorcycle has got a five-speed gearbox. Bajaj launched the Discover 100 5G a few years back but the idea backfired as customers craving for more fuel efficiency used to shift to top gear at low speeds quite frequently but this resulted in engine knocking, making the rider downshift and hence, he or she used to end up with a hassle of changing gears quite often. Bajaj now claims that it has taken the learnings and implemented them in the new Platina 110 H-Gear.
Bajaj Platina has been around since 2006 and currently, it is the best selling entry-level model in the company’s line up. Over the course of its impressive journey, the budget-friendly commuter has been giving a tough fight to the competition and now to step up the game, the 2019 model is here with some significant updates and it is not just about an additional fifth gear. So, what all new the Bajaj Platina 110 H-Gear has to offer and if you should prefer it over everything else in the market. We were in Pune recently to find out just that.
Bajaj Platina 110 H-Gear essentially looks like the standard 110cc model that was launched a few months back. However, the latest member in the Platina family gets new decals for a better visual appeal. Apart from this, there are a few changes that make the H-Gear look slightly more premium. For instance, the bike gets a golden 3D Platina emblem on the fuel tank instead of plain stickering on the standard Platina 110. The all-black styling on the new Platina 110 H-Gear works in its favour as it adds a sporty flavour to the overall aesthetics. Overall, the design and styling are not outright striking to look at which obviously no one expects from a motorcycle of this segment but it is not disappointing either, however, a fresh styling for the flagship Platina would have been appreciated.
The new Bajaj Platina 110 H-Gear retains the 115cc engine from the Platina 110 with identical power and torque outputs of 8.6 hp and 9.8 Nm. The said motor has been borrowed from the Discover 110 and the main highlight here is the addition of a fifth gear, which the company calls H-Gear or the Highway Gear. All thanks to this, the motorcycle now has a better cruising speed and Bajaj also claims that it has worked on the NVH levels. As a result, the engine feels smooth right from the moment you fire it up and even at speeds of 70 to 75 kmph, there are no noticeable vibrations and the buzz starts to feel only when you cross the 80 kmph mark. In terms of top speed, we couldn’t push the bike to its limits due to the Pune rains. Nonetheless, during our test runs, we achieved a top speed of 103 kmph with still some juice left. Thankfully, the addition of an extra gear proves beneficial in city traffic as well as you can shift to fifth at as low as 35 kmph without the associated juddering and hence, you won't have to change gears every now and then.
Now to the most important part, the Platina is always known as a 'mileage champion' and the new model makes things sweeter in that regard. Interestingly, the more powerful Platina 110 H-Gear has an ARAI claimed fuel efficiency of 84 kmpl, which is higher than the Platina 100 that returns 80 kmpl. Due to our short stint with the motorcycle, we were not able to record the real-time fuel efficiency and we shall reveal it when the bike comes to us for a proper road test.
The new Bajaj Platina 110 H-Gear gets a revised instrument cluster with a digital-analog layout. The new unit packs in a lot of information as it shows low fuel warning, time, tripmeter along with the usual readouts. Moreover, you also get a gear position indicator and the gear shift guide tells you when to change gears with the help of up and down arrows for the best fuel efficiency.
Speaking of comfort, this is one area where Bajaj Platina 110 H-Gear clearly shines. The motorcycle has a well-padded seat which is also the longest in the segment and is apt even for long distance runs. The bike also gets segment-best wide rubber footpegs for the convenience of the pillion. The suspension set up is apt for Indian road conditions and it works fine on broken surfaces. The grip from the tyres is also decent and the rubber offered enough adhesion with the tarmac even during rains. The two work in sync to offer decent handling and the bike feels easy to maneuver in city traffic and the low kerb weight of 118 kg acts as a contributing factor.
Bajaj claims that the swingarm of the new Platina 110 H-Gear has been stiffened for better stability. The claim seemed true as the motorcycle didn't lose composure during high speeds. Even at speeds of 90 to 95 kmph, the Platina 110 H-Gear maintained its line and it was only after crossing 100 kmph that the bike showed some signs of nervousness. The Platina 110 H-Gear gets a 240mm disc brake (optional) up front along with a 110mm drum brake at the rear and these have enough feedback and bite and you can even rely on these during panic braking. The Anti-skid braking system, which is basically the Combined Braking system also works fine to minimise the chances of skidding and reduce the braking distance.
All said and done, with the new Platina 110 H-Gear, Bajaj has certainly spiced up things in the 110cc commuter segment. The new model offers a handful of segment first features, an impressive fuel efficiency and enhanced comfort while retaining its tag of a budget-friendly motorcycle. The new Platina 110 H-Gear offers a great balance between city and highway riding and that fifth gear works like a charm for both sets of scenarios. With an ex-showroom Delhi price of Rs 53,376 for the drum brake variant and Rs 55,373 for the disc brake version, the new Platina sits somewhere in the middle of all 100-110cc commuters available in the market in terms of pricing.
If you are on the lookout for a feature-rich 110cc motorcycle and long distance riding is one of your priorities, the Platina 110 H-Gear is one bike that you should definitely consider. The new Platina may not be the most refined or fun-to-ride motorcycle in the segment but has its own USPs which are second to none.