Hero Duet – Road test review
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Hero MotoCorp is better known for their motorcycles like the Karizma and the Splendor and not so much for their scooters. Ever since their split for Honda, they’ve been trying to build themselves up and show the Indian market that they can come out with some good products. Hero have launched a few new motorcycles last year but now they are concentrating their efforts on winning over the scooter segment with this – the new Hero Duet.
The Pros: Punchy engine and good suspension.
The Cons: The gearbox isn’t very smooth and vibrations creep in while accelerating.
The Crux: It’s a good scooter for everyday running around but Hero still needs to work on refinement of the gearbox and engine.
Design and features
On the styling front, the Duet gets a unisex design and Hero have made sure it looks stylish without going overboard on the bling. It does get a few chrome strips, one in the front and on either side with the Duet name embossed on the side panels.
The front gets a big headlight flanked with massive clear glass indicators and slopes smoothly down to the front fender. The side panels lead up to a sharp but bulky tail section that looks a bit out of place. Above the rear tail light you have a luggage rack linked to the pillion grab handle that has a load limit of 10kg.
The Duet is packed full of useful features. It comes with a semi digital instrument console where the speedometer and the fuel gauge are analog. On the digital screen you have an odometer, a trip A and B meter, a service due indicator and on the upper left of the console you have a side stand indicator.
Keeping the daily needs of a scooter rider in mind, the Duet also gets a rear external fuel filler cap, an optional fruit cargo box and a light in the under-seat storage box where you also get a 3.0 USB port to charge your devices. One of the biggest features Hero has introduced in the Duet is the ignition key slot where one turn to the left opens the lock of the seat and a turn to the right opens the fuel filler cap. This makes life a whole lot better as you now never have to take out the key to open the seat to fill petrol or to access the storage box.
Engine and Performance
The Duet gets an upgraded version of Hero’s 110cc engine that churns out 8PS at 8,000rpm and 8Nm at 6,500rpm. Now this is on par with other 110cc scooters but the engine characteristics is where it defers. The Duet gets a punchy grunt and right from the get go the power delivery is linear. It will do 0-60km/h in 10seconds and can reach a top speed of 85km/h. The engine has the power you need but Hero needs to work more on the engine to reduce vibrations. We rode the scooter for a couple of days and it returned a decent fuel economy of 55kmpl. Now that’s not the best in the 110cc segment but its high kerb weight of 116kg and its full metal body could be reason for the low fuel economy.
Ride, Handling and Braking
The Duet feels quite comfortable to sit on and has a decent seat height so that tall riders won’t feel cramped. The handle bar grips feel comfortable but I found the placement of the switchgear to be a bit off. It’s difficult to reach the turn indicator switch and the low beam switch. You might be wondering why I would want to use the low beam switch while riding. Well that’s because the low beam switch when depressed further works as a pass light switch. Now this is a good feature that you’ll see only on the TVS Jupiter but owing to the position of the switch, it’s difficult to use.
Another issue I faced was along with the good acceleration came some annoying vibrations. Every time you accelerate, you’ll feel the handlebar vibrate which does get a bit unsettling. It does calm down after a bit but it shouldn’t vibrate in the first place. On the plus point, once you accelerate to higher speeds you’ll notice how stable the Duet is for a scooter in this segment. This is due to its added weight from the all metal body.
Hero have done a superb job on the suspension setup on the Duet. No matter what I threw at it, the telescopic forks in the front and the spring loaded hydraulic damper at the rear worked really well. It surprisingly is one of the most comfortable 110cc scooters I’ve ridden. Braking on the Duet is handled by drum brakes at the front and the rear but now you get the help of Hero’s integrated braking system. This works well and brings to scooter to a halt quicker. But although the brakes had a good amount of bite, it lacked any feedback at all.
The 110cc scooter segment is already very competitive and lucrative. The Duet is Hero MotoCorp’s shot at eating into a piece of that pie. It stands stiff competition from the leaders in this class the Honda Activa i and the benchmark in this segment the TVS Scooty Zest. With a price tag of Rs. 50,000(ex-showroom Mumbai), it’s on par with the Activa i but still more expensive than the Scooty Zest. On the plus point, it has a full metal body, an integrated braking system and a host of features. Overall the Duet is a decent scooter and we’re looking forward to see more products like this come out of the Hero garage.