Words: Ajinkya Nair
Photography: Rohit G Mane
Bajaj is well known for building a brand around its products. There isn’t a bigger example than the Pulsar. They had a similar vision for Discover, and while the motorcycle did set the charts on fire, that flame simmered down drastically after 2014. The officials at Bajaj felt that branching out many variants of the same motorcycle created uncertainty, which drove people away to different manufacturers. At its peak, there were eight variants under Discover’s wing. And that particular confusion led to the death of a brand.
But Bajaj, being Bajaj, hasn’t given up yet. Just three weeks back, the Discover twins were launched and showcased in Mumbai. And today, we were called to try out the 110cc variant. Is the motorcycle good enough to revive the brand from its own grave? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.
What is it?
The Discover 110 has been thoroughly updated. Now sporting LED DRLs, sharply angled windscreen and web-inspired alloys, the motorcycle looks properly modern. Yet other design cues push it back into the ‘commuter’ looking pit. When questioned regarding aesthetics, Bajaj officials mentioned that they want to maintain the original silhouette of the 2004 Discover, yet look modern in its own way. That’s understandable, considering what happened when they tried experimenting with the brand. So playing it safe? We get it.
Other than the ‘inverted horn’ LED DRLs (as Bajaj likes to call it), some other changes have been made too. A revised seat design, chromed out exhaust shield, sharper tail and side panels add to that list.
The digital-analogue console felt a little confusing to me. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing erroneous about it. But I couldn’t comprehend some aspects of it. For example, the fuel bar consisted of three big bars. And below that, three smaller bars. Why? It could’ve worked well with just equally sized bars. And secondly, since you’ve already got a digital display, why not slap a clock onto it? This is a commuter motorcycle, right? So how would the commuter know if he/she’s running late or not?
How does it ride?
During the launch, the press release stated the motorcycle is fitted with a longer suspension set up and better-cushioned seats for a plush ride. At the time, I waived it off as marketing mumbo-jumbo. But when I hopped on the 110 today, ‘plush and supple’ were the only two things in my head. It rode surprisingly well. The 140mm telescopic forks and the 120mm gas-filled twin shocks worked in tandem with the cushioned seat resulting in a smooth, jerk-free ride. Bad roads too did not pose a problem for the motorcycle. The four-speed all-up gearbox complements the 8.4bhp produced by the 115.5cc motor at 7000 revolutions per minute. But I did experience a few false neutrals while shifting from neutral to first gear. Torque was the name of the game however. Bajaj says that this is a new ‘long stroke’ engine with best in class torque, 9.81Nm. And that number translates very well within the city. The motorcycle could be easily chugged in top gear at 25kmph and climb inclinations at 30kmph. Refinement was another thing to take note of. Vibrations only kicked in after 7000rpm. Well above the limits to what a regular commuter would take it to.
The long wheelbase of 1305mm meant that my ride wasn’t twitchy and felt stable at higher speeds too. Braking, however, was a letdown. The front drums felt way too spongy. And the rear locked way too easily. With a disc variant not available even as an option on the 110, it is a little disappointing. But again, they provide adequate braking from a commuting stand point, as the average Joe won’t ride as spiritedly as we do. An ARAI mileage figure of 76.3kmpl obtainable with an eight litre fuel tank results in a tank range of 610 kilometres, which is fairly decent when compared to the other motorcycles in its class.
With the Discover, Bajaj plans to dig up its past. And considering how well the brand did for Bajaj years back, they are optimistic about its future. They have an excellent commuter in their arsenal, with the Discover 110. And priced at just Rs. 50,176 the motorcycle is sure to attract a lot of buyers.