Sunday, September 11, 2005

My Splendor !!!!

Right at the outset let me tell the reader that I before I bought a bike, I had driven a car for around 23 yrs (and not the other way around). I say this so that one gets the correct perspective of my opinion or u can call it prejudice as I am used to the facilities available on cars & would like to see @ least some of them on 2 wheelers.

I bought a bike, as I cannot take our family bus to all locations in Mumbai coz of parking space constraints. Also I am a certified ANc (Automobile Nutcase) J who is extremely fussy about my automobiles.

I bought a Splendor (from Fort Point in Mumbai) as I wanted a 4 stoke bike, around 100 cc & in 2001 this was the only one that fitted the bill. I was advised against the Bajaj 100cc bike at that time. There weren?t too many of them in Mumbai (Bajaj 100cc).

Now for the Splendor talk. I had read a lot of rah rah rah about the GREAT quality of the Hero Honda bikes so when I took delivery of my bike, I was quite disappointed. In fact I would equate the quality of my 2001 Splendor bike with the quality of our 1978 Ambassador car my dad bought. Now do u get the picture.

I took delivery of my bike in June by the end of that month there were showers in Mumbai & hey presto there was corrosion @ all the weld joints as well in the chrome plated parts !!!!!!!.

I was disappointed but this is India and this is what one gets around here. So all u can do is find a solution for this problem. (More of that later)

This bike has a good engine, which has been relatively trouble free till now (2004) except for the odd tuning. Other problems I had were not the fault of Hero Honda eg rat chewing up the spark plug cable, petrol pipe cut to steal petrol etc. It has a good pick up (This is a single user/load bike) good for the city.

To get good mileage the quality of petrol is important which can be dicey in Mumbai (It’s true) I now use IOC xtra premium petrol and I get a good average around 70 - 85 kms. I am no speednik & ride between 40 - 55 kmh at a steady pace. If I use 93 Oct petrol I get better mileage, but for some reason the tappet adjustment goes off spec so I have to repeatedly go to Fort Point for adjustments who’s service is between OK to average, but one has to be patient.

The electricals of this bike are a BIG disappointment.

The headlight is very poor even for city use also in circa 2001 I was shocked to see that the headlight becomes dim/bright according to the rpm of the engine just like a Bajaj scooter from the ‘60s even though it has a alternator!!!!!!! The switches on the handle bar are just about average & there is no auto canceling for the signal & no headlight flasher switch. I consider this absence as criminal Many 2 wheelers of that vintage have it so why not the GREAT leader.

The MRF tyres I have, have a good reputation as long lasting, but that’s @ the cost of having less grip especially on the new concrete roads in Mumbai. I have found that if I inflate the rear tyre for a pillion rider & I happen to be riding alone, I have found that the rear tyre skids often on braking, so I always inflate for single rider use (which is what it always is in my case). I would like to hear from other users on this issue
On the issue of the seat I have read many complaints, & they are all true.

There is a major security problem with Splendor steering locks. I read on that there is a lot of commonality in the keys of some bikes. What it means is that some else’s keys could open ur bike lock, so a lock on the front fork may be a good idea. After reading it I got my friends together to check & we all got a shock to find keys opening each others bikes !!!!!!!!!!!!. This may true with other bike too.
Also at 3885 kms the speedo cable gave up its ghost even though its serviced every 2 months @ FORTPOINT. I have a AMC with them from the second year itself, I suppose that tells how well they service the bike.

Now to get back to the solutions I have devised regarding the corrosion. Please don’t laugh it works and I use it. I selected a black bike so I could do all the minor touch up by myself. Since I wash the bike myself I constantly keep a close watch for new spots of corrosion. Under the seat inspection is carried out before & after the monsoon. If possible the rust is sand papered away (difficult @ the joints) if u can’t do that no worry and then I apply Touchwood made by Asian paints. It’s a transparent polyurethane paint meant for wood finish after its dry I then apply the black paint, this has solved my rust problem. I have even applied it on the chrome plated saree guard but here one may have to re apply, as it tends to flake off due to the sunlight.

For the chrome plate wheels, before the monsoon I apply a thin film of car polish on the chrome plated wheels and let it dry DO NOT WIPE OFF. This should stop corrosion on the wheels; this may require touch up during the course of the monsoon. A word of warning it will accumulate dirt and wont be a pretty sight. That’s something u will have to forgo during the monsoon unless u want to remove all of it & reapply it again.

I even apply car polish to the chrome plated handle bar during the monsoon, which is under a riding cover.
Also while on the topic of car polish, u can shine up the matt finish fiber parts like the mirror, the fiber switch console on the handle bar and rear mudguard below the rear number plate. It will improve its look and protect it from the strong sunlight. So overall a good bike, which has it own foibles but what does not have it. Would recommend it for a person who wants a stingy bike with no great show & great resale value (in case want to sell it) If you are on a budget go for Bajaj 100cc AT (new model). Also have a close look @ the new Bajaj ’Discover’.

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