Hero Achiever 150 review, test ride
30th Sep 2016 12:15 pm
Targeted at the premium commuter segment, the Hero Achiever has received an update. So just what has changed in this decade-old motorcycle?
The Achiever has been around for almost 10 years and, though it has seen a few visual updates, it’s the oft-neglected member in the Hero family. But, of late, Hero Motocorp has been on a roll. Their Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Jaipur has been giving the company’s established brands a good shot in the arm, with the most recent example being of the Splendor iSmart 110, an all-new bike which was designed and engineered completely in-house. Now, it is the Achiever that has gone under the knife of sorts. It’s not an all-new motorcycle, but the boffins at CIT have taken the 150cc premium commuter formula and made it better.
Reserved but premium
This new update cleans up the design of the Achiever to a large extent. It’s still recognisable as an Achiever, but a new, taller fuel tank with a flush filler cap adds a bit of chunkiness to the design. The centre panels are now more filled out as well and they flow smoothly into the new, meatier tail piece – none of those silly faux air scoops here, thankfully. The bikini fairing is sharper as well and there are new lights all around – headlight, clear-lens indicators and even a new, larger tail light. To enhance safety, the new headlights have an 'always-on' feature, which means they’ll stay on as long as the bike is running and can only be switched off by turning off the ignition. New on this update are body-coloured rear view mirrors as well. Now we do agree that there are some bits of the design that might look like they have been inspired by other motorcycles – the tank bears a striking resemblance to that of the Suzuki GS150R and the tail-light is reminiscent of the first-generation Honda Unicorn. However, with minimal graphics and good build quality all around, the Achiever does have a premium air about it. But the skinny 80/100-18 size Ceat Secura Zoom tyres remind you that this bike has been squarely aimed at the commuter market. While the overall design might not be called exciting in any way, there's not much to find fault with, and that makes it perfectly palatable to its target audience.
Heart of gold
Though Hero has worked on improving this 150cc motor, it is fundamentally unchanged from its predecessor. It’s important to remember just how old this engine is though; a relic of the old Hero Honda days, with its roots firmly embedded in the original Honda Unicorn. However, a thorough reworking of this engine’s mapping has resulted in a much smoother powertrain and an almost vibe-free experience, even near its redline of over 9,000rpm. And though its peak horsepower and peak torque figures of 13.6hp and 12.80Nm respectively haven’t been altered, the motor’s tractability has been improved. It can pull way more easily from low speeds in high gears without stuttering, which should give its usability a big boost in heavy traffic conditions. In fact, it’s comfortable at slightly higher speeds as well, and Hero claims a 0-60kph time of just 5 seconds. Not too shabby for a bike that, in Hero’s own words, isn’t targeted towards boy-racers!
The biggest change has been the inclusion of i3S, or the Idle Start-Stop System. With the i3s switched on, when you pull to a stop and let the bike idle for 5 seconds, the system automatically kills the engine. To restart, all you need to do is pull in the clutch and you’re ready to go. Thanks to the improved engine and i3S, Hero says that the Achiever achieves a mileage figure of 50kpl. This figure has been calculated using new test cycles called WMTC, which better mimics real-world conditions as compared to the Indian Test Cycle, so it is quite respectable.
Now our first ride inside the Indira Gandhi stadium didn't give us a chance to explore the Acheiver’s handling. However, the bike does feel nimble in tight spaces, which should be a big boon when riding the bike through its home turf – the urban jungle. However, at our test location, the skinny Ceat tyres felt very skittish on the combination of concrete, tiles and cobblestone surfaces. Agreed that this surface probably represented the worst-case scenario in terms of available grip, we’ll still have to wait to try out the bike on a proper road to talk about its handling abilities. Hero tells us that while the chassis hasn’t really changed on this new Achiever 150 in terms of design and geometry, there have been some refinements made to improve the bike’s ride quality, and it shows! Even though it doesn’t get monoshock rear suspension like some of its immediate rivals, the dual-shock setup handles bumps quite well, as was experienced over the sometimes broken, always varying surfaces we rode the bike on. Together with the pliant suspension, the relaxed riding position and adequate seat make for a very comfortable ride. Braking performance is quite remarkable as well, with the 240mm front disc providing clear feedback and adequate stopping power. We didn’t get a chance to ride the drum-brake version of the bike, but we would wholeheartedly recommend the disc brake version, as it only commands a tiny premium of Rs 1,000 over the all-drum equipped version. Overall though, the Achiever’s handling characteristics can be described as unexciting, but its predictable behaviour is in line with the expectations in this segment. So, that lack of drama is actually a very good thing.
Now the Achiever 150 really has not been designed to woo those of us with performance on our minds. However, the bike isn’t just a re-skin of an existing motorcycle, similar to what we’ve seen in the past. Even though Hero has consistently been at the head of the sales chart for many years now, and produced over 70 million motorcycles until today, the company is keeping a sharp eye on developing this fledging segment. In fact, the 70 millionth bike rolled out by the company was an Achiever 150 and to celebrate that fact, a special-edition (70 units) version of the bike has been released. Hero has really worked on this updated Achiever. And to top it off, at Rs 61,800 for the drum-brake variant and Rs 62,800 for the disc-brake variant (both prices ex-showroom, Delhi), it’s good value as well, putting it in the perfect position for commuters stepping up from the 125cc segment. So as a premium commuter motorcycle that is easy to ride, well made, frugal and economical, this updated Achiever 150 certainly checks all the right boxes.