Happy families can croon on this Duet

Happy families can  croon on this Duet
Cashing in the burgeoning mass scooter market in India, the world’s largest selling two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp has launched its new scooter ‘Duet’ recently. Hero’s existing scooters — the largest seller in its segment Pleasure (100cc) designed and uniquely positioned for women, and the Maestro (110cc) — are consistently among the top three best-sellers in India, and the company emerged as the largest exporter of scooters in financial year 2014-15.

The new scooter, however, hopes to tap the unisex market (both for men and women), and is positioned as a family scooter. Built on a completely new engine and chassis platform at its Gurgaon plant, the attractive 110cc Duet comes with a metal body, which makes it more sturdy and durable.

In case of any impact, the metal has the added advantage in that it will deform and can be repaired in case of damage by dry denting, or denting and painting. The metal body does increase the vehicle weight slightly, but doesn’t seem to impact mileage directly.

Designed for a wide spectrum of customers, with its array of features like external fuel filling, mobile charging port, telescopic front suspension, boot light, digital analog meter console and many more, the scooter provides with a great riding experience. The Duet boasts of multiple safety features like the side-stand indicator, throttle position sensor (TPS), integrated braking system (IBS), tubeless tyres, and so on.

Let us understand IBS
IBS, or the integrated braking system (IBS), is a system to link the front and rear brakes of the scooter. In this, by activating the rear brake, the front brake is also activated. This leads to better braking performance as both brakes work together. It, however, doesn’t come into play when the front brake alone is applied. The IBS system is already being used in Pleasure and Maestro Edge models.

Tubeless tyres are common in cars. So it is nice to see even tubeless tyres in small scooters. In a tubeless tyre, the internal tube used to hold air is not present. Instead, the tyre has additional internal layers to prevent air leakage. Due to this difference, the tyre is stiffer than tube type tyres.

The advantage of tubeless tyre is that it enables better dynamics, does not puncture as easily, and in case of puncture, takes longer to deflate, thereby giving the rider a chance to reach a service centre.

The digital analog combo meter console looks very pretty with varied designs and colours. There is a service due indicator with a key-and-spanner symbol. It has side-stand indicator too. Surprisingly, one can lock the handle from both sides, which is convenient and saves time in a rush.

The single key factor
One was surprised to see the features of the multi-function ignition single key slot, which not only controls ignition and the steering lock, but is also used for opening the seat and to release the fuel cap mounted behind the rear seat. I was eager to know the wear and tear of the single key slot which controls many processes. The company said the multi-function combination lock undergoes multiple levels of testing, like cyclic tests, and its functionality is checked in respective cycles. Thus they are made to last.

The fuel cap mounted behind the rear seat is a more convenient feature when compared with other scooters where the tank cap is placed beneath the seat. The latter can be difficult, especially while filling petrol, and wastes a lot of time.

At the rear, there is a handy black grab rail which has the capacity to carry 10 kg of load and gets a hook to tie the luggage. The Duet also gets a ‘pass’ switch, which is not common in scooters. The body-coloured rear view mirrors add a bit of ‘premium-ness’ to the scooter.

Awesome ride quality
It was a misty morning when I tried my hands on the cute Duet. The scooter, which is powered by a new 110 cc engine, takes little time to come alive. Once you start the scooter, one can feel the excitement. The 110cc engine gives an 8.4PS of power at 8,000rpm, and 8.3Nm of torque at 6,500rpm.

Hero claims the Duet has an overall mileage of 63.8 kmpl, which is among the highest for scooters on sale in India. I want to push the scooter to even higher speeds, but the economy mode in green colour on the instrument panel reminds you not to exceed speed for good mileage.

Since I love driving cars equipped with ABS (anti-lock braking system) and EBD (electronic brake force distribution), I realised the importance of IBS on the scooter. When brakes are applied, the Duet stops instantly without skidding, even in the rainy season. The ride quality of the Duet is fantastic. Many a pothole in Bengaluru did not bother me much, as I noticed the robust front telescopic suspension. It is the assembly of spring and hydraulic damper enveloped in a set of sliding tubes. This supports the vehicle load, absorbs shocks coming from road undulations, and its rigidity provides directional stability to the front wheel.

With six magnificent colours to choose from, the Duet VX retails at Rs 49,900 (ex-showroom Bengaluru). After an adventurous 70-km-long ride, I reluctantly parted ways with the stylish Duet.

With over 1,08,000 units of scooters sold in October, Hero MotoCorp crossed the landmark one-lakh unit sales in scooters in a month. In the domestic market, Hero MotoCorp scooter sales grew by 74.6 per cent in October this year over the corresponding month in 2014. With this, the market share of Hero MotoCorp in the domestic scooter market has risen from 13 per cent in September to almost 20 per cent at the end of October.​

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