There was a point in time when Hero Honda ruled the commuter segment in India, as the Indian and Japanese companies worked hand in hand. When the two companies split by the end of 2010, there was the case of who got custody of what, and in the process, Hero Motocorp got to continue the production and sale of the Splendor. The bike went on to become one of the most popular models and is still in production to date, in the form of the updated Splendor Plus Xtec. The fact that it was developed with the Japanese manufacturer back then and is still relevant speaks volumes about its capability.
This brought about the question as to why Honda was refraining from re-entering the 100cc commuter segment for so long. Now that they finally have, the question remains as to whether they have managed to replicate that same winning formula with the new Honda Shine 100. As far as first impressions go, the Shine 100 carries the same smart design cues as its bigger sibling, the CB Shine. Featuring petite proportions and lines that seamlessly flow into each other, one can say with certainty that this bike has been developed by the Japanese.
Right from the get-go, the bike felt as refined as a commuter can get and pulled away smoothly. I soon found myself shifting up the available four gears in quick succession, as the Shine 100 made a lively case for itself. It displays the same enthusiasm with a pillion rider in tow, showcasing how this mini can also be fairly mighty. Being as light as it is, the handling feels pretty confident, though I was expecting it to sprout wings and take off at any moment. The 98.98cc, single-cylinder engine, which has been newly developed from the ground up, did not feel overburdened at any point during the ride.
Coming to the ride comfort, the riding ergonomics feel well laid out, with a more upright riding position than other commuters. The seat is fairly long and comfortable, keeping the utility and passenger aspect in mind, while the suspension setup provides more than enough cushioning to glide over the broken roads of our countryside (not excluding the pothole-ridden urban settings). At 168mm, the ground clearance is already better than most in the segment. The large wheelbase also does make a difference in stability and handling.
The Honda Shine 100 features conventional drum brakes on both ends, complemented by a combi-brake system, which is more than enough to bring this commuter to a safe and snappy halt. It features basic electrical components, with a halogen headlamp and a simple dual-pod analogue instrument panel. The bike also gets an electric starter button and side-stand cut-off. Considering the fact that Honda has worked the product to compete with the current segment benchmark (we all know what that is), all this would qualify as the bare minimum.
The overall conclusion that we can draw is that the Shine 100 is a pretty capable commuter, and Honda isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to pricing either, with a price tag of Rs 64,900. The way things are going, it can be confirmed that Honda is very serious when it comes to entering this segment with a bang.
MOTODATAHonda Shine 100
7.28 bhp@7500 rpm
0.82 kgm@5000 rpm
Type: Diamond Type
F/R: 130-mm drum / 110-mm drum
F/R: 2.75 R17 tube type / 3.00 R17 tube type
Rs 64,900 (ex-showroom)