The Discover has traditionally been a conventional commuter motorcycle that was introduced by Bajaj Auto in 2003. In the coming years, Bajaj had introduced different variations of the Discover from a 100cc to a 135cc mill, different body designs, the number of spark plugs and so on. This ideology of providing the customer with a wide spectrum of options unfortunately only left the buyer rather confused. With the sales figures plummeting to less than half of what the motorcycle once used to generate, Bajaj has reworked their strategy for the Discover by downsizing this exhaustive variant list. What Bajaj has done is, kept only two models, the original Discover 125 which continues the motorcycle’s 14-year legacy and the 110 cc version that has been re-introduced almost after a decade. That being said, with the 110 variant being the newest addition, here are my first impressions on the Discover 110 after spending time on the bustling streets of Pune.
In the commuter motorcycle market, prospective buyers mostly prefer a practical and conservative design approach without much change to the original design. Bajaj has taken note of the same and given the 2018 Discover 110 the same silhouette of the original Discover. In order to stay updated with the competition, Bajaj has incorporated few updates like the horn-shaped LED DRLs that are cleverly positioned within the signature headlamp unit, redesigned side panels and rear cowl and an edgier looking visor for the bikini fairing. There is a semi-digital instrument console that is simple and easy to read even when the sun is perched on top of your head. Overall, Bajaj has kept the originality of the Discover intact with subtle changes keeping the buyers perspective in check.
What the Discover does get completely new is the 115.5cc single-cylinder air-cooled mill. Bajaj has opted for a long-stroke motor as it allows for more torque to be produced which is crucial for this segment of motorcycles. That being said, at 1 kgm@5000 rpm, the Discover 110 has the highest torque rating in the segment and a power output of 8.5 bhp which is second highest in the segment after the Victor 110. The 4-speed gearbox is a breeze to operate with positive shifts for every gear change. The most notable quality of the powertrain is its tractability. With a pillion astride and in top gear, the motorcycle can comfortably hold a speed of 20kph without any hesitation and continue all the way up to 65 kph. Above that, the motor feels strained as vibrations start to creep in from the foot pegs and handlebar. Also, Bajaj has used a ‘paper-based clutch’ which allows for swift and quick gear changes. This means, once in top gear, the gear most commuters prefer to ride their motorcycles in most of the time, can now achieve maximum efficiency comfortably.
Being a commuter, getting the ergonomics right is the most crucial part of a successful motorcycle. Keeping that in mind, Bajaj has got it pretty much right in this department with the neutral commuter riding posture, long re-profiled seat for comfortable long-distance travelling, raised handlebars and simple switchgear, which is easy to reach and operate. On the move, the ride quality of the motorcycle feels well-balanced. Going over potholes, ruts and speed breakers, the Discover 110 takes them all in its stride without any complaints thanks to the 16 percent more suspension travel from the 140mm telescopic forks and the 120mm Nitrox twin-shock at the back.
However, the Discover 110 does have few shortcomings as well. Having the longest wheelbase (1305mm) in the segment and along with the added suspension travel has caused the handling of the motorcycle to take a slight hit. At speeds close to 40kph when trying to negotiate through long sweeping turns, the rear tends to get unsettled, which is something that can be addressed. Also, while it’s common of motorcycles in this segment to have a light front-end, I strongly feel a slightly firmer steering would have aided with better stability at low speeds. The Discover 110 comes with a drum brake setup at both ends. While the 110mm rear unit does a fairly good job, the 130mm unit at the front is unfortunately not up to the mark. For a fact, we all know that drum brakes do lack the bite and progression offered by a disc brake but in this case, the front brake doesn’t really offer sufficient stopping power to give you braking confidence.
In conclusion, as a commuter, the Bajaj Discover 110, apart from the few niggles is a lucrative and practical offering. It has a healthy amount of torque, outstanding tractability and a simple-yet-appealing design, which with better brakes would have made it the ideal commuter. For the sticker price of Rs 50,176 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Discover 110 does undercut the segment leader like Hero and Honda by a decent margin and holds a promising future for Bajaj to resurrect the Discover brand image in the commuter market.
Bajaj Discover 110
Displacement: 115.5cc, single
Max power: 8.5 bhp@7000 rpm
Max torque: 1 kgm@5000 rpm
Type: Semi-Double Cradle
(F/R): Telescopic fork/twin shock absorber
(F/R): 130mm drum/110mm drum
(F/R): 2.75×17 / 3.00×17
L/W/H (mm): 2035/760/800
Kerb weight: 118 kg
Fuel tank: 8 litres
PRICE: Rs 50,176 (ex-showroom, Delhi)