If you seek the Thrill of Riding like us, you won’t really be looking forward to a commuter, would you? But after the 1,000km ride to Hyderabad on the TVS Radeon, my perspective has really changed for the better. It was not only comfortable but saved me a lot of money as well. And you cannot ignore a commuter’s abilities in the urban jungle. They’re light, and the pint-sized motors have enough grunt to keep you chugging along. The Hero Honda CD 100 was among the most popular commuters out there but Bajaj had its Boxer which was followed by the Platina. Well, Bajaj is best at making Pulsars but now have an ace up their sleeve in the form of Platina H-Gear.
‘Highway gear’ or simply fifth gear (or “happy gear” as Bajaj likes to call it) is a fifth cog, which is a segment-first and is meant for long legs on the highway. And of course, add to the fuel efficiency figures. But that isn’t all, as quite a bit else has been updated too, with the bike getting a new paint scheme, a 240mm disc brake up front with combined braking system, and a new quilted seat for added comfort.
You also get an updated console with an analogue speedo and a digital dash displaying the time, trip info, service indicator and another segment-first feature of a gear-shift indicator, but more on that later.
The Platina 110 H-Gear uses the same 115cc, two-valve, single-cylinder engine developing 8.4bhp at 7000rpm and 9.81Nm at 5000rpm, making it the benchmark for peak torque in its class. The suspension remains the same with regular, telescopic forks (135mm travel) and gas-charged twin-shocks at the rear, offering 110mm of travel.
Once on the saddle, you’ll immediately realise how comfortable the Platina is. The seat is plush without seeming too soft. The handlebar is positioned well and so are the mirrors. As expected from a commuter, the power delivery is linear. And finally, onto the gear shift indicator. With two arrows positioned beside the gear indicator, the gear-shift indicator starts flashing the up or down arrow to upshift or downshift. The feature is a regular in cars and Bajaj, being innovative, has used it on the Platina to improve on the fuel efficiency. With a 11-litre fuel tank, expect the range to be above 600km with regular usage. However, the idea is to keep your eyes on the road rather than at the console. So if you’re someone with a sane mind, we’d suggest you stick to the old methods of shifting as per the revs.
As aforementioned, the indicator is meant to improve fuel efficiency and thus it asks you to shift up sooner than you usually would. And thus, you’re mostly out of the already limited power band.
The fifth cog, as expected, works well on the highway but the gearshifts aren’t really positive. We encountered a lot of dead shifts, especially when shifting from fourth to ‘H-Gear’. Hopefully, the issues will be ironed out post the run-in period.
The Platina seems to be well put together and comes with minimal vibes. You cannot expect ‘no vibes’ from a single and post 80kmph, it does get a bit cranky but remember, it’s a commuter and won’t really be used at full throttle anyway. Even with a pillion, she managed to hit 90kmph without any issues, which is fairly commendable. Ride quality is supple and should make for comfortable long-distance rides. Handling shouldn’t really be a priority if you’re buying a commuter but the Platina is agile thanks to its lightweight construction and holds its line well if you really care. The combi-brakes work well but the rear brake leaves a lot to be desired in terms of stopping power.
With a certified fuel efficiency figure of 84kmpl, the Platina is already ahead of the competition. The fifth gear definitely adds to ease of usage on the highway. The gear-shift indicator is gimmicky but in the commuter segment, even a DRL is considered a fancy feature!
At Rs 55,373, the Platina 110 H-Gear undercuts the Passion Pro (Rs 56,425), TVS Victor (Rs 56,682 all, ex-showroom, Delhi) by a fair margin and offers a lot more. A definite shot in the arm for Bajaj!