Hero MotoCorp’s Splendor Plus has defined the commuter bike segment in India since its inception. It has sold like hotcakes and continues to rack up top-selling numbers on the sales chart. What also makes it special is the fact the Splendor Plus is more of a household name rather than just another bike in the Indian market. The bike has been such a success that it has sub-brands under its name tag like the Splendor iSmart. It continues to sell a million units a month and remains the top-selling motorcycle in the two-wheeler market. But how did it become such an insane success for Hero MotoCorp and how has it changed over time? Let’s find out.
Hero Honda started its operations in 1984 at Dharuhera, India as a joint venture between Hero Cycles of India and Honda of Japan. During the 1980s, the company was known to introduce motorcycles that were popular for its fuel economy and low cost. The first generation of Splendor was launched under the joint venture of Hero and Honda in 1994.
It was not the first bike under the Hero Honda name tag as it succeeded its outgoing model, the CD 100. But it stood to provide the same package to the customers which included low ownership cost and high fuel efficiency. It came with the same engine that the CD 100 had and not much was done to make it a completely different bike. But it became a success story as it taught the Indian audience to leave their scooters home and go out to ride their motorcycles.
The next generation of the Splendor was launched in 2011. But this time Hero and Honda had planned a new engine that came with better refinement levels and offered better fuel efficiency. then the older engine. Honda had picked up this engine from its moped, the Honda cub C100EX and hence the new engine had the same bore and stroke of 50 mm × 49.5 mm. As the market had become more competitive by 2011, Hero offered an electric start for the first time and soon the Splendor became the top-selling motorcycle in India with over 250,000 units sold. Due to the tried and tested motor which has already proved its metal in other markets Splendor has always been a reliable bike.
Even though the motorcycle has not transformed completely in 26 years, it continues to outsell its competitors. It now offers new technologies such as the i3s system which shuts the engine down after 1 minute of idling.This helps save fuel especially within congested traffic conditions and stop lights. In addition to this Hero MotoCorp has also updated its engine to BS6 standard making the bike the first motorcycle to get a BS6 engine in India.
This means that the Splendor offers a fuel injection system instead of a carburettor which helps make it more efficient. Hero MotoCorp has also enhanced the looks of the bike and made it more contemporary in terms of design and physical features. The Splendor range now offers two more bikes, the Super Splendor and the Splendor iSmart which both look more modern and are aimed at urban buyers.
The Splendor has always been a definitive commuter bike in the Indian market. Its success story and popularity certainly point towards its reliability and the value for money package that it offers. It is a product that taught us Indians that bikes are simply more fun to ride and can also be as practical as a scooter. While it continues to sell in hot numbers, it again faces stiff competition from automatic scooters like the Honda Activa. But as the Splendor has always been dynamic and adaptive in its nature, we are sure that it will remain the go-to choice for many users, especially in the rural space.