There was a time when the 150cc motorcycle category was considered the performance segment of the Indian two-wheeler market. Today, with the growth in preferences and maturity of the market, this category is itself an agglomeration of sub-segments like commuter, executive and sports. The 150cc bike category is now nearly 50 per cent of the motorcycle market with more than a dozen different models.
Hero MotoCorp has a few models in this category and has been attempting to work its way up to take on its erstwhile partner Honda Motorcycles, and segment leader Bajaj Auto. Hero’s Achiever is a key part of the portfolio. So, while the company eyes a larger share of the pie higher up the CC-ladder and into the domain of real performance bikes, it makes good sense to strengthen its presence in the commuter part of the segment. The new 2016 model of the Achiever 150 comes just in time for the festive season. It is also timely since model fatigue had set in and the competition in this segment is cranking it up.Design
The new generation Achiever 150 borrows the same diamond chassis from the predecessor with the same wheelbase, but other dimensions have changed marginally. The design is familiar without seeming too close to the earlier model. A larger fuel tank with new graphics and a flush type fuel cap, a new rectangular rear grab rail, new head and tail lamps, and a new silencer and muffler cover are the major differentiators. New seat profile and finish texture offers better riding position.
Instrument cluster is a new twin-pod, analog-digital unit with clear read out and a large side-stand indicator. The feel and quality of all the switch gear and machined parts are good, and there are the bits in chrome, including the new 3D logo on the tank, that go on to add a bit of premiumness to the bike. Similarly the blackened bottom half effect with matt black finish coat for the alloys, engine and gearbox, crash guard and swing arm works very well to improve the new Achiever’s looks.Performance
The new Achiever 150 is BS IV emissions compliant and has also been teamed with the Hero patented i3S (idle start-stop) system. This system, not very unlike the smart hybrids in a few Indian cars now, cuts off the engine during idling and restarts when the clutch lever is engaged. The system has its own in-built operating algorithm to detect conditions such as cold start and battery charge levels.
The 149.1cc mill gets new engine mapping, a new CV carburettor and changes to the exhaust and catalytic converter to enable it to meet the new emission norms. The air-cooled engine now makes 13.6PS of peak power at 8,000rpm and 12.8Nm of torque at 5,000rpm. On tarmac, the engine doesn’t feel like a whopper, but there is a clear sense of improvement in refinement that has been achieved. Hero MotoCorp, of course, officially claims a 0-60kmph time of five seconds.
Our test ride of the bike was on mixed tarmac. The low-end torque that one can squeeze from out of the engine is not remarkable, but clearly not bad for the segment either. The best performance to be had is between 3,500rpm to about 7,000rpm. The engine refinement level is good, but at high rpms it does loud. Surprisingly though, vibrations have been well contained. Shifts from the 5-speed gearbox are not exactly notchy, but neither are they crisp. There were no false neutrals during the entire test ride.
The other interesting bit about the new Achiever 150 was the ride quality. The suspension is essentially the same set up as the predecessor with adjustable shocks at the rear, but the ride in the new model is substantially better. On patched up, rough and broken tarmac, the Achiever 150 manages to sail over without much effort. Handling characteristics are similar to other motorcycles in the category. The 80/100 Ceat tyres on our test mules shod on 18-inch alloys, provided good grip. Mileage is expected to be 50kmpl under testing conditions. The bike has a few firsts to its credit including the automatic, always-on headlamps and the i3S system.Bottom Line
The new Hero Achiever 150 is step up for the brand. Hero MotoCorp has priced the bike aggressively starting at ₹61,800 (ex-showroom Delhi) for the drum brake version. The disc brake version is just another ₹1,000 more.
Though its design doesn’t excite, for buyers who seek value-for-money and longevity in the 150cc motorcycle category, the new Achiever could be the best choice.
Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.
We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of TheHindu Businessline and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.