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The Hero Splendor is a three-decade-old product that continues to top sales charts every month. And a big credit for that goes to Honda. Yes, the erstwhile Hero Honda introduced the Splendor in 1994 with the HA10E ‘sloper’ engine. Now, with the debut of the Shine 100, Honda intends to challenge the dominion of the Splendor. But can it? For this class of motorcycles, it’s all about the numbers — the price, the maintenance, and the mileage. So since this is a battle of numbers, let’s understand what those are all about — Numbers.

82 vs 71

Fuel economy — that’s the number that matters the most in the case of commuters. And that’s also one of the reasons why the Splendor has been the go-to option for all these years. The Splendor and the Shine still continue with the ‘fill it, shut it, forget it’ philosophy. Our Hero’s fuel economy of 71 kpl despite belting the puny engine was respectful, but what made things all the more interesting was that the Shine returned a mileage of 82 kpl with the same treatment. One aspect that might have worked in the favour of this Honda is that it was a freshly-serviced new unit, while the Splendor+ XTEC has seen a fair share of our antics and was due for a service. But there are other numbers that make this duel interesting

99 vs 112

A key factor aiding the Shine’s efficiency is also its weight advantage over the Splendor. Not that the Hero commuter feels heavy, but the Honda’s sub-100-kg kerb weight certainly makes a lot of difference. Yes, the Shine carries less fuel, but despite that, it could clock more miles per full tank than the Splendor.

17 vs 18

The Shine’s 99-kg kerb weight combines with the skinny 17-inch alloy wheels to make this bike a proper hooligan in its own way. Between your legs, this puny bike feels so much more alive and compliant. Thrash it around corners, pop a wheelie or two, jump it over crests, it can do all of that happily. The Splendor? Well, it sure does all of that, too, but not with the poise of the Shine. But, except for moto-nuts like us and a few insta-crazy clowns, these bikes will be seldom subjected to such environments. What the bike will probably face are, pothole-riddled roads, colossal speed breakers and, on most occasions, carry loads twice their weight. The Shine’s kerb weight and the smaller size make it extremely flickable, something that’ll be useful when going over bad roads, and of course, city traffic.

99 vs 97

Well, 98.98cc to be precise for the Honda Shine. Now, despite the bigger engine, the Honda puts out less power than the Splendor, but manages the same amount of torque. But that 0.7 bhp isn’t going to make a difference to everyday Joes like us, and track junkies probably won’t be excited to take these to tracks, so let’s focus on how these engines deliver their performance. Torquey — if there was one word that could describe these engines, this would be it. But that’s what the job description for these machines state, right? Enough low-end grunt to pull the weight of not just one person, but probably his whole family. Both the bikes have oodles of low-end grunt and along with that, tractability. But with a mere seven horses at your disposal, you’d have to work through their 4-speed gearbox to overtake the juggernauts on the road, unless you are carrying decent speeds. And that, both of these bikes can. Speeds of even 80 kph on the Shine feel doable all day long. Yes, that’s without the engine screaming for mercy. Of course, the Splendor’s engine, too, doesn’t complain. In fact, while the Shine’s breath runs out post 70 kph, as it crawls to the 80- kph mark, the Splendor does that without breaking a sweat… even with a pillion!

0 vs 3

Okay, this header was a bit desperate, but the Shine 100 has absolutely no features to talk about. Meanwhile, the Splendor boasts an offset LED DRL,a USB charger and an LCD console with Bluetooth connectivity. Honestly, though, the LED DRL and the connectivity features are a bit gimmicky. The console doesn’t have navigation or a caller ID. It simply shows whether you got a call or an SMS, something that I’ll probably hear or feel through my phone vibrations anyway. But the USB charger is useful, and the Shine could have done with one, too. And this is also what governs the next numbers. 

65,000 vs 76,000

The number that also matters a lot to us Indians — price. Honda has nailed it with the Shine 100’s pricing, making it over ` 6000 cheaper than the base variant of the Splendor and almost ` 9000 cheaper than the XTEC variant. And despite being that affordable, the Shine 100 does everything that the Splendor does, and some things even better. And as expected from a Honda, quality isn’t an issue either. But is that enough to dethrone the Splendor? Well, not really. The Splendor’s legacy spans generations, and has been popular with big and small towns alike. The Shine, meanwhile, has its work cut out for it. It has to penetrate the smaller towns and more importantly, their minds, which is not going to be easy, and certainly not quick. And that brings me to the last set of numbers — 18,826 vs 2,00,866 — that’s the sales numbers for the Shine and Splendor respectively, for July 2023. Cheaper, more fuel efficient and fun, despite all of that the Shine has a long way to go… guess, it’s not all about the numbers after all.