A jazzy commuter

K Shivraj
Saturday, 10 March 2018

More sporty and funky looking than the Passion Pro, the Hero Passion XPro makes a good commuter bike

After Splendor, Passion is the most familiar brand from Hero MotoCorp. It is a step up from the Splendor for those who are looking for a more premium commuter bike. Unlike the Splendor, the Passion Pro seemed liberal in its styling and approach. For the 2018 year model, the Passion XPro has further evolved. It is a touch jazzier than the Passion Pro, and aimed at those who want more from a commuter machine. Both, the Passion XPro and the Passion Pro share the same platform. There are differences between the two that go beyond the graphics and styling details, but hard to notice. 

ELECTRIC STARTER
Like the Passion Pro, the Passion XPro is powered by a 9.5bhp 109.1cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine that has been developed in-house. This engine was previously seen on the Splendor iSmart 110, and produces a peak torque of 9Nm at 5,500rpm. Like that of the Passion Pro, the Passion XPro’s transmission is a four-speed constant mesh unit. Breathing through a carburettor, the bike comes with an electric starter. There is a provision of kickstarting the bike in case the need arises. Measuring 5 mm longer than the Passion Pro because of a longer swing arm, the Passion XPro is fitted with stiffer rear shock absorbers. 

ENJOYABLE TO RIDE
The visual difference between the two bikes stems from the fact that the Passion Xpro is more expressive and funkier looking than the Passion Pro. The design and stickering is more appealing. The head lamp fairing, replete with pilot lamps, is different from that of the Passion Pro. The 9.2-litre fuel tank gets extensions at the front, and the side and rear panels are quite different too. The seat of the Passion XPro is sportier looking and flatter than that of the Passion Pro. Fitted with tubeless tyres and a 240mm disc brake at front, the Passion XPro is enjoyable to ride. 

PERFORMS WELL TILL 80 KMPH
The engine is not exactly rev-happy, and supplies power from earlier on. Power delivery is linear, and is better explored by shifting early through the gears. Not the most refined in its segment, the Passion XPro makes a good commuter bike to ride in town with its higher dynamic threshold. The early supply of torque makes for better lugging ability. Out on an open road, the bike comfortably rides in the region of 60-70kmph. It progresses beyond 80kmph, and could do more. That however is not its forte, it is quite clear as vibrations start creeping through the handle bar and foot pegs. 

LONGER SWING ARM
The heel-toe design of the gear shifter is a constant reminder that this is a commuter bike with a bit of sportiness thrown in for added fun. Weighing 119kg, the XPro, due to its stiffer rear shock absorbers and a longer swing arm, feels dynamically more alert and rewarding than the Passion Pro. The ride is however a little harsh than the Passion Pro though not annoyingly so. Over a variety of surfaces, the ride of the XPro is as pliant as that of the Passion Pro. Only a shade less absorbing over certain surfaces. The 18-inch alloys contribute to the dynamic ability of the bike, and the tyres exert good grip. Inspiring confidence, the XPro seems to beg the rider to ride it a bit more sportily. If the longer swing arm improves straight-line stability, along with the stiffer rear suspension, it will make for a good cornering experience. The brakes exert a good bite and help the bike shed weight. 

VERDICT
At Rs 54,000 ex-showroom approximately, the Passion XPro is only about a thousand bucks costlier than the Passion Pro, but is definitely more rewarding to ride. 

The subtle differences in styling, and in apparatus, like the tubeless tyres and the longer swing arm, make the XPro feel sportier and a shade more premium.  

Pros: Styling, sportier
Cons: Not the most practical when compared to Passion Pro

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