The Hero Passion for some strange reasons has always got a generation change while the ever-dependable Splendor hasn’t. I quite vividly remember the 2012 Auto Expo where the last of the Honda engines was used in a Hero bike. Here the Hero Passion XPro, a bike that got in a lot to the table but sadly enough failed the public acceptance test, was introduced. Post this, the Passion Pro bikes continued with a 100cc engine and with useful technology like i3S. Now there is another new-gen Passion, I believe, the third one since the nameplate was launched in 2002. It brings in fashion elements from the XPro. Also, there is no option now for those looking for an ultra conservative-looking machine as this is the only one available. I got to spend some time in the saddle of the new Hero Passion Pro BS6. Was I impressed? Scroll down.
The new Hero Passion Pro BS6 has a seemingly sharp-looking headlamp cluster. The headlight unit itself is a flicker-free AC halogen unit. Hero seems to have sacked all its old designers and hired fresh blood. There are small faux air intakes surrounding the headlamp, a longer visor, and tank extensions. The tank itself is well sculpted and provides for easy knee recess. Hero has also worked on the seat – its longer and has better cushion than before. There is enough space for both the rider as well as pillion – even if one of them ends up being on the healthier side. One will also find chunky grab rails to hold on to. The black coloured grab rails might lose their sheen with time.
The instrument console is a semi-digital unit and has a yellow backlight to it. I am not a fan of this layout but it is very simple. There is a single tripmeter, service due indicator, fuel gauge and odometer. A clock will have been a nice touch in addition to being practical. The i3S button indication also shows up on the digital part. A long press and a message appears whether it is on or not. The speedometer is analog. An H-shaped taillight, as well as three-tone graphics, represents the design elements.
An all-new 113cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, 2-valve mill powers the Passion Pro BS6. The engine makes 9.02hp of power and 9.89Nm of torque. Hero has used a 4-speed gearbox to send power to the rear wheel. The engine is very refined and even if one pushes it to the redline, stays composed with minor (acceptable) vibrations seeping in through the handlebar, footpegs and edge of the fuel tank. Most of the 9.89Nm torque is concentrated in the mid-range. I quite like the heel and toe gearshifter. I am quite sure the target audience will like it as well. The clutch pull is also quite soft and light.
To minimise gearshifts in traffic conditions and that the clutch is used less often, Hero has added AutoSail function. AutoSail raises the engine rpm slightly to avoid it from stalling. So, in dense traffic, all you need to do is leave the motorcycle in first or second gear. The AutoSail function will ensure that the bike chugs along without the engine feeling strained. One doesn’t need to slip the clutch or even give throttle inputs. Works very nicely in theory. My only grouse is the customers will not understand this mechanism and will eventually resort to using the clutch. Personally I only used it to demonstrate in the video review in a deserted stretch.
i3S, everyone is aware of as this tech has been in existence from 2015. It is used in Hero commuter bikes to enhance fuel economy. Speaking of which, the auto start-stop function, as well as the inherent tuning of the engine, ensures that one should get 65kmpl fuel economy. The engine is at its happiest doing both 25kmph in 4th gear and 80kmph in the same cog. The top speed I noticed on the speedo during the test was around 95kmph.
There are no surprises here. The Passion Pro uses telescopic front forks and pre-load adjustable dual shockers at the rear. Hero engineers have tuned the bike to have maximum suspension compliance. It reminded me of the erstwhile Hero Impulse. Indefagatible ride quality is what I will like to call it. Throw broken roads at it and the Passion Pro punches much above its weight, even with those spindly tyres. It does all this in a muted fashion. Even with a pillion, the dynamics don’t change and that’s a good thing. The handling is nimble and filtering through traffic is easy. The rider shouldn’t feel fatigued at the end of a long day seems to be the mantra, something which I observed even Xtreme 160R.
I had an issue with the 240mm optional front disc though. It was devoid of feel. I am not sure if its down to the test unit I got or Hero have tuned it in that fashion. It could also have to do with the fact that the PDI procedure at the rather busy dealership might not be up to the mark. That said, the rear brake and the Integrated Braking System (IBS) helped in a big way.
The Hero Passion Pro BS6 then again is no surprise from a brand that is rebuilding itself and pointing at the right direction. Hero has shown that without external support, it can design its own bikes as well as give them robust engines. The brand seems to be doing calculated research on how a particular segment customer relates to new technology and accordingly adds the feature to its bikes. The Hero Passion Pro BS6 price in India starts from Rs 65,520 for the drum version and shoots up to Rs 67,720 for the front disc variant, ex-Delhi. It has got a five-year warranty backing too. This bike has a high list of pros and next to none cons.
Images by Rahul Kapoor
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