Which is the Best First-Buy Motorcycle?
Which bike fits best as the first buy bike? It has to be a basic one, a 100-cc with spokes-wheels, preferably, says Sheetal Bidaye, as she recounts her very first bike, the then Hero Honda CD100. This is one bike that helped her in more ways than one can imagine…
A young friend of mine who just learnt riding a motorcycle wanted to buy the best first-buy motorcycle and so, consulted me. He wanted to know which one to pick amongst so many wonderful machines that we see zooming past us on the roads today. His interesting queries and curious questions took me back to my bike learning days. I could see the same anxious expressions as mine were years ago.
At the time when I learnt riding, motorcycles were considered majorly as a mode of transportation in India. I began my riding lessons on the Hero Honda CD100, a commuter bike.
When I began guiding my friend, I relived the memories of my own learning curve and urged him to buy a similar bike — Hero HF-Dawn comes closest to it. You might wonder why this particular, low profile bike since there are so many options to choose from! I’ll tell you why, as I also give a quick comparison with other similar brand. Pick the one that suits you as the best first-buy motorcycle!
Low Power: It is always better to start riding on a low powered motorcycle and then move on to a higher powered one. Hero HF-Dawn has a 97.2cc engine making it just right for the beginner. Similar bikes fitting this category would be Bajaj Discover 100, Bajaj Platina, TVS Star City or TVS MAX4R.
4- Gear Transmission: The Hero HF-Dawn has a 4-speed gear transmission which is comparatively easier and non-confusing for those who are new to motorcycling. So do the others listed above, barring the Bajaj Discover 100, which has a 5-gear transmission.
Sitting Stance: The overall sitting stance on the Hero HF-Dawn is relaxed. Its seat is in a straight level keeping the rider and pillion comfortable over longer durations as compared to other street bikes with high-raised seats. TVS MAX4R fits this bill here, while the others, viz, Bajaj Discover 100, Bajaj Platina and TVS Star City have contoured seating, which may prove a bit uncomfortable for a novice rider, if s/he has a pillion.
Weight: Having an overall weight of 109kgs makes the Hero HF-Dawn a light bike, which in-turn helps the rider be comfortable on bad or congested roads. This light-weight motorcycle allows better maneuverability and helps in reducing the rider’s stress levels while boosting confidence in beginners. Parking or using main-stand while on uneven surfaces is hassle-free too. Let’s look at the others: Bajaj Discover 100 (113Kgs), Bajaj Platina (115 kgs), Mahindra Pantero (120Kgs), Mahindra Centuro (111kgs), TVS Star City (99Kgs) and TVS MAX4R (118 kgs).
Wheels: Most of the bikes today sport alloy wheels unlike the HF-Dawn. Spoked wheels have their own benefits. They don’t crack or bend that easily on impact as opposed to alloy wheels, which is good in terms of security for the beginner. If the air-pressure is maintained regularly, the chances of a tubed tyre (as on a stock HF Dawn) getting punctured are minimal if compared to a tubeless one. If at all, you do come across a puncture, consider it as a part of your learning and watch the mechanic mend your tyre – you won’t lose much but gain a lot in terms of experience! Here, you may thank yourself for choosing a light bike since weight plays a major role while you drag the bike to the puncture-repair shed. Out of the other bikes mentioned earlier, TVS MAX4R has spoked wheels as well.
Brakes: Another good thing about this bike is that it has drum brakes – the shoe-type ones. It is best to learn applying these before you upgrade to a bike with disc brakes. We know of many beginners who have had a bad fall or crashed trying to learn on bikes with disc brakes. Bajaj Discover 100, Bajaj Platina, Mahindra Pantero, Mahindra Centuro and TVS Star City too have drum brakes as well.
If you are on that learning curve, the bike’s top-speed of 90kmph is just right for you, sending you from 0 to 60kmph in around 9-10 seconds – perfect, I say!
Apart from giving a good mileage of around 70kmpl, the Hero HF-Dawn is helpful for beginners, as most of them tend to lose track of their fuel. With a 10.5 litre fuel tank and a good 1.8 litres in its reserve, the Hero HF-Dawn will surely take you to the next petrol pump once you twist the fuel knob.
Priced at 37,350/- (Delhi, Ex-showroom price) the HF-Dawn isn’t too costly a motorcycle and once you are out of the learning curve and wish to upgrade, you could easily sell it off. Check out the other brands as well: Bajaj Discover 100 (43820/-), Bajaj Platina (39,814/-), Mahindra Pantero (40,508/-), Mahindra Centuro (45,000/-) and TVS Star City (38000/-) and TVS MAX4R (37,590/-).
Apart from the HF-Dawn, you could choose from Bajaj Discover 100 or Platina.
Here’s my take. After doing many comparisons with other bikes of the day, I still consider Hero HF-Dawn to be the best first-buy motorcycle. With a host of features that suit and satisfy a beginner’s needs, I would strongly recommend this one as the best first-buy motorcycle to every motorcycle learner.
TVS Star City