Sometimes meeting a bike after an absence is like meeting a relative you rather not say belonged to the clan.
Sometimes the meeting is open arms and warm embraces and back-slapping and heartfelt good cheer. A true family reunion.
My recent meeting with the Passion Pro was just this; a truly joyful family reunion. Our (Motor) history with the delightful Passion Pro goes back a long way. Early 2009 we set eye on the Pro for the first time. And loved the bike. The Pro revisit was mid 2010 and we still loved the bike and found that in the interim the Pro had developed some tweaks which brought it closer to our hearts (read Motor Ride Test September 2010). Then, we said of the “same strong enjoyable versatile motorcycle” and of the Passion Pro “becoming a much valued family member“.
It looks like the Passion Pro is here to remain, a faithful and evergreen piece of our motorcycling landscape. I am most certainly glad at the fact. The Passion Pro has the enduring characteristic of solid ruggedness yet presented and delivered in soft terms, a family-friendly personality. You might even, over time, get to trust the Pro so intimately you may park her at home to babysit the … baby. The Passion Pro has come from being the birth child of the long-time Indo-Nippon marriage which was a household name in our market and overseas. In time, the principals went separate ways, the Passion Pro continued its successful path in the market of its birthplace and in Sri Lanka and other territories, and is now offered by Abans Auto (Pvt) Limited for the joy of ownership of Sri Lankan riders.
What’s new with the trusty Pro? Most notably, the streamlined under-tank bodywork, the new graphics, the revised tail light, the side-stand warning indicator, and beneath all of this the intelligent Hero devised i3S system; that and the ventilated disc brake unit at the front. The cleaner lines coming from the removal of the earlier ‘lunch box’ look-alike that hung beneath the fuel tank and replacing with straighter restructured panels has brought an appearance of modernity to the Pro, as have also the fluid graphics. To the eye, today’s Pro is longer and more streamlined. The smoother lines of the taillight assembly, too, help in producing a neater overall silhouette.
On the features front, the side-stand, if errant, is caught out by the red glow on the meter panel on turning the key to the ignition mode. Another attribute is the i3S - the ‘thinking’ engine stop-start feature. i3S is Hero for ‘idle Stop Start System’ and operates thus: Select ’On’ on the On-Off switch (the blue one where a kill switch would normally reside) and you activate the i3S mode allowing the engine to idle (in, say, traffic light or similar scenario) for 5 secs only (when in neutral and clutch released), cutting off the engine at the end of this period. The engine will remain sleeping till you need to move again. When the light changes to green (if you and your Pro are at a traffic light scene), simply squeeze the clutch lever, the motor will fire up instantly, and you continue on your merry way, the clutch lever being the trigger to re-fire this little engine.
Conversely, opting for ‘Off’ deactivates the i3s system, so you will run as is normal on other bikes - no cutting off/restarting. The only other motorcycle in Sri Lanka, to the best of our knowledge, to come equipped with this ‘thinking’ feature is the Splendor iSmart also from Hero MotoCorp and by Abans Auto (Pvt) Limited. This technology is so welcome especially seeing as how hydrocarbon combustion affects the quality of air we inhale. On paper, the reduced incidence of combustion would lower noxious emissions. Fuel economy too could improve with this intelligent technology.
The Passion and Splendor model ranges are based on a timeless design. Simple single cylinder, square-ish bore and stroke dimensions (Bore 50.0mm, Stroke 49.5mm) running at a reasonable combustion chamber compression figure (9.9:1), a simple and easy to use 4 speed gearbox, family sized dimensions (seat height and acreage), all strongly cradled within a robust frame.
However, some differences have been designed into the Passion Pro. Length, width and height are different on paper by a few millimeters this way and that but one does not feel any of this on the road. Most significant is the power output and the revs at which maximum power is delivered. At 6.15 kW (8.36 PS) the Pro is a bit more powerful than the sister Splendor iSmart (5.74 kW, 7.8 PS). The Pro’s max power is delivered at a ‘lazy’ 6000 rpm, while the iSmart cranks up to 7500. Torque figures on both versions of the same powerplant are so close they could be identical twins. These figures are from Hero literature.
The lower max power revs for the Pro indicate a ‘flat’ low-level power band designed into the engine meaning an easy to ride motor that does not really need much gearbox action to keep it on the boil. In traffic-clogged cities, in areas with tight turns, in places with frequent elevation changes, the Pro ought to feel right at home. The Pro’s 12.5 lit fuel tank (iSmart 8.7 lit) should provide many more kilometers of joyous on-road fun with fewer pit-stops on the way. The claimed 75-80 km/l fuel figure would further enhance this characteristic.
The comfortable Pro is spacious for two up riding, the dimensions making this a practical and versatile personal transporter. With a rack or container on the back end the Pro could turn out to be quite a handy, and nippy, small-materials transporter, too. Abans Auto, we are told, have the office executive level two-wheeler user in mind for their Passion Pro, and the easy on the eye, easy on the purse, simple and proven design which could be easy on maintenance charts could resonate well with busy professionals. The thinking (i3S) engine, too, could be a conversation point when the executive rider of the Pro meets up with riders of other bikes that are not ‘intelligent’ enough to carry this feature. The ventilated disc brake up front has a sporty appearance and would, no doubt, add to the appeal of the Pro.
That the Passion Pro comes from the basic platform that has lasted decades (or so it seems like when we look back to the early days of this design) is evidence of the goodness inherent in this simple, robust machine, and the continuous tweaking by the Hero engineers behind the scenes.
The Passion Pro is of yesterday’s lineage with today’s attributes.
50.0 x 49.5 mm Bore x Stroke
9.9:1 Compression Ratio
Electric / Kick
4 speed constant mesh heel-and-toe
CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR
Frame Tubular double cradle
Wheelbase 1235 mm
Suspension Front Telescopic
Rear Coil spring and damper
Tyres Front 2.75 x 18
Rear 3.00 x 18
Brakes Front Disc 240mm
Rear Drum 130mm
DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES
Length 1980 mm
Width 765 mm
Height 1075 mm
Weight 116 kg
Fuel tank 12.5 lit
THE GO FACTOR
Max Power 6.15 kW (8.36 PS) @ 6000 rpm
Max Torque 8.05 Nm @ 5000 rpm
Warranty 5 years/70,000 kms whichever first
Colours Black Blue Green Red
HOW MUCH Rs 239,999/-