Monday, December 22, 2014

11 benefits Hero Splendor has but Harley Davidson street 750 doesn't!

You may call me insane. Who in his right mind would compare a Rs 50000 Hero Splendor with a superbike like Harley Davidson Street 750, which is 10 times more expensive? Bikers will probably hit back for coming up with such a pointless comparison. But irrespective of whether you like it or not, India's largest selling motorcycle, Hero Splendor has to its credit certain features and benefit that Harley Davidson Street 750 that I rode recently can't boast of.

Read this post to know more about Harley Davidson rental in Bangalore

So without wasting much time, here we go
Hero Spendor Benefits over Street 750

1. Splendor has a Fuel Gauge, Street 750 doesn't
Street 750 doesn't have a fuel gauge to indicate how much fuel is left. It only has a low fuel warning. What this means is when on a ride, you have no clue as to how much fuel is left and how far you can go. There is no main/reserve lever either. Probably HD believes in Man Maximum, Machine Minimum philosophy wherein rider is expected to know everything and shouldn't be counting on the machine much. So you should either keep refilling every few hundred kms or should carry some extra fuel for emergency purposes, or be ready to rush to a fuel station as soon as you see low fuel signal.
In self drive rental business the practice is to return the vehicle with same amount of fuel as it was at the time of taking delivery. Prithvi from Wickedride opened the tank lid and showed me "See, this much fuel is there". When I said "How do I measure that?" he offered to fill it up and give me full tank, as there was no other way of measuring fuel quantity.

Thankfully Splendor has a fuel gauge and also 1 litre reserve.

2. Splendor has Headlight that can be turned off

Street 750's headlights are permanently switched on, as and when ignition is ON, Day or night. This is same with few other imported bikes like Kawasakis. In certain western countries, motorcycles are required by law to keep their headlight turned ON all the time. This is probably because everyone there uses cars and no one will be expecting a motorcycle, so if there is one, headlight helps in easy identification. Also because of fog etc headlights are often needed there.

But this is not required in India. Keeping headlight ON all the time reduces bulb life greatly. If used only during night, bulb may last several years, if used all the time, it will need replacement much earlier. More maintenance expense.

The other nuisance is that everyone on the street will blink their fingers at you advising that your headlight is ON and you need to turn it off. You will feel helpless not being able to signal back that it can't be turned OFF.

A simple change in electric circuit and an ON/OFF switch could have been provided while assembling the bike for Indian market.

3. Hero Spendor has both Main stand and side stand
Street 750 only has a side stand. This is the case with many superbikes as well (Some expensive cycles also don't come with a stand). Sidestand, though convenient, takes more space. Also if you have to rotate the wheels and check the tyres or other things, main stand (centre stand is convenient. Simply not available in street (Given its weight, it might be very tricky to design a main stand that can work with manual effort)

4. Hero has Chain transmission while HD relies on Belt
While all bike manufacturers are using chain transmission, Harley Davidson still uses belt transmission for its bikes. Belt transmission is less effecient and very difficult to maintain. Chains can be tightened easily, units of the chain can be added or replaced and lubricated well. But Belt transmission, if fails midway, the journey comes to an end and bike has to be towed back to service centre, as most of the local mechanics will not have the spare belt or the know-how to fix it.

5. Splendor has a Kick start
Splendor can be kick started. (It is carburetor engine). HD is Fuel Injection and has no kickstart (Even new Yamaha FZ FI has no kickstart lever). While FI technology is fairly reliable and will work in all weather conditions and for long duration, should it ever fail, bike will be completely stranded.

Of course most of us won't be able to kick start a Harley- we will have to train an elephant to do that.

6. Peace of mind
Park a Splendor anywhere, no one bothers. Park a Harley Davidson and within minutes few people will surround the bike. You will have to keep worrying 'What if someone topples the bike', 'what if someone sits on it, damages things'. Unlike a car, all parts of the bike are exposed. So safety will be a concern as bike draws lots of attention.

7. Better ground clearance
Harley Davidson Street 750 has 145mm of ground clearance while Splendor has 159mm. I find that though 145mm of street is farily adequate, it requires that you clear speedbreakers with extreme caution. If approached with speed or if speed breaker is too big, you might end up scrapping the underbody.

8. Better service network
Any roadside meachnic can quickly fix a broken splendor, but if Harley breaks down, you will have to put it on a truck and take it back to service centre. Local mechanics won't be able to fix as they won't have tools, spares and know-how to work on Harley. This means your ride needs to be cut short if at all bike breaks down.

9. Rear brake that works!
Harley Davidson Street 750's rear brakes are hardly effective. One has to rely 75% on front brakes and very little on rear ones. They can stop indeed if there's enough straight road, but if you're doing some high speed maneuver and counting on your brakes in case of emergencies, then don't. It is like that unruly kid in the class who won't listen to class teacher unless accompanied with heavy scoldings. Simple push on the rear brake lever brings no change in bike's momentum. An unskilled rider might panic in this kind of situation, which can cause more damage. Some effect can be felt only when pressed hard or in combination with front brake. In simple words, Street 750's braking power is NOT proportionate to its engine power. So be careful.

On the other hand, Splendor's rear drum brakes are adequate for its power.

10. Splendor has a placeholder to keep the toolkit
Splendor comes with  a small box to keep tool kit and first aid box. No such provisions in Harley. First aid kit, tool kit etc can't be kept inside the bike somewhere so that they always accompany the bike. They need to be carried additionally.

11. Splendor can go 3 times farther for the same amount of fuel
Of course,with its lower capacity engine, splendor can give 3 times the mileage Harley can offer.

Now, what I said for Splendor is true for most other entry level bikes. I also wanted to mention about handlebar balancers that are missing in HD while many 125-150cc bikes have that. Handlebar balancers are strong protuding part of the handlebar which offer some support if the bike falls on the ground or handlebar hits something. Without it, rider's palm is exposed more to accidents.

Of course, if I make a list of features that are available in Harley but not in Hero, the list will be huge. Detailed review of Harley Davidson Street 750 for next post.

Similar:  BMW 320d- what you don't get for 38 lakhs * Chennai Blr weekend bike trip * Royal Enfield Factory visit *


Rajesh Kumar said...

No fuel guage and no light switch?! Absolutely ridiculous!

Mridula said...

I am sure Spleandor's makers will be pleased to read this review. But you have to do another one, the other way round.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Mridula: yes, of course that is coming up

@Rajesh: Yes.. cost cutting I assume

Anonymous said...

Hi nice comparo! :D Bummer about the HD not having a fuel gauge.

OTOH, a belt drive actually requires less maintenance than a chain, which has to be cleaned and lubed every few hundred kms. It is also quiter, smoother and lasts longer than chain drives, but like you said, it is less efficient in transmitting power than a chain. And if it snaps when you are out of the city, you sure are in a pickle. It is better to have a chain drive which would give plenty of warning before failing.

PS: chains on high powered bikes usually do not come with a link lock, i.e. you can't break the chain to add/remove links.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for the details Anon!