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Test riding the Honda Livo and Hero Passion Pro X

We pitch three motorcycles against each other. Who will emerge the winner?

The commuter motorcycle segment is so important in India that companies like Honda have focused on small bikes. In fact, in their quest to become number one they have intensified efforts in this segment. Therefore, when Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) launched their latest commuter, the Livo, we decided that it would be apt to compare it with Hero’s Passion X Pro. And, to keep it interesting decided to include the Star City+ from the TVS stable.

While all three bikes have decent design, the Honda Livo (left) is the best looking of the lot.
While all three bikes have decent design, the Honda Livo (left) is the best looking of the lot.Pics/Sanjay Raikar

First up are the aesthetics. Many people would ridicule the very idea of referring to a commuter motorcycle as breathtakingly beautiful. Nevertheless, reality says that there are people who still care about how their newly bought bike looks. All the bikes competing here feature decent designs, but the Honda Livo is the best looking of the lot. It has a fresh and young design that is sure to be a hit among youngster. While both the Passion X Pro and the TVS are decent lookers, they pale in comparison to the Livo.

Next, we look at the mechanicals. Powering the Honda Livo is a 109.1-cc motor that is capable of producing 8.36 PS and 8.63 Nm of torque. The Hero Passion X Pro has a motor of a similar capacity, but produces 8.7 PS and 9.36 Nm of torque, which is slightly more than the Livo's. The TVS Star City+, on the other hand, produces 8.4 PS and 8.7 Nm of torque from its 109.7-cc motor.

However, when it comes to engine refinement, the Honda Livo takes the cake. The refinement of the Livo is addictive; there are hardly any vibrations at any time. The Hero Passion X Pro is not far behind either. The reason for this is that the 109.19-cc motor of this motorcycle is essentially the same motor that powers the Livo. It was introduced on the Passion X Pro at a time when Hero was still using Honda technology. As for the TVS Star City+, its refinement is decent, but is not quite up to the standard where it can challenge the Honda. Performance is not exactly the forte of these motorcycles, but for the curious ones here are a few figures. All three contenders are capable of breaching 90 km/h, sprinting from 0 to 60 km/h in slightly over eight seconds.

Where ride quality is concerned, the Passion X Pro performs well thanks to its soft suspension set-up. It goes over bumps and potholes with ease and without letting any of those shocks make their way to the rider’s backbone. At the same time this soft suspension robs the Passion X Pro of its handling abilities. Although the X Pro is a decent handler, it does feel a bit nervous while cornering. The Livo, on the other hand, feels planted and stable most of the time. Its suspension set-up is just right with a perfect balance between firm and soft. It takes care of the potholes and undulations with ease and in corners continues to boost your confidence owing to its superb stability and handling. The suspension of the Star City+ takes care of bumps, potholes and undulations easily, but, as in the case of the Passion X Pro, it also hampers the handling a bit. It is also quite stable despite being the lightest at 109 kilograms. Among the three, we found the Honda Livo to be the most fun-to-ride motorcycle of the three.

Now, about India’s favourite question: “Kitna deti hai?” Here are the magic numbers: the Passion X Pro, manages an impressive 70 km/l. The new kid on the block, the Livo, also posted an impressive 70.25 km/l, whereas the TVS Star City+ came in third at 67 km/l.

It is now time for the verdict. The Honda Livo costs R57,109 (ex-Pune) which makes it the most expensive bike among the trio under discussion, but at that price you get to own a Honda that features a refined and peppy engine with 70.25 km/l, good ride quality and best handling of the lot. Features such as alloy wheels, electric starter, front disc brake and a fresh design add to its appeal.

Should that be beyond your budget, then the Passion X Pro is the next best option. It is the most mature 110-cc commuter in the mix and, at Rs 52,801 (ex-Pune), the Passion X Pro offers a refined and capable engine with 70 km/l, good ride quality and features such as alloy wheels, electric starter, disc brake, dual-tone paint-job, attractive stickers and a digital instrument console.

The TVS Star City+ at Rs 46,860 (ex-Pune) offers the best value for money in a package that still manages to look different from the current crop of commuters. However, the lack of a disc brake option and engine refinement work against it.

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