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Honda Activa 125 review

Sabyasachi Biswas | Updated on May 22, 2014 Published on May 15, 2014

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Honda has launched a more powerful variant of its bestselling scooter. Is the new Activa 125 just as good?



Market conditions are different, though traditional wisdom would require us to categorize the 125cc scooter segment as the ‘family’ scooter – it can offer more torque, ideal for frequent riding with a pillion. A family scooter in India would mean unisex and irrespective-of-age styling. A scooter that would sit well with the teenaged kids or mom and dad, or the working middle-aged couple.

In spite of having three steeds in the 110cc segment, Honda has decided to venture into the 125cc segment with new Activa 125. But will the gamble pay off? We take it for a spin around the city to find out.

Design and build

Honda has played it very safe in the styling department with the Activa 125. It draws a lot of inspiration from its existing models and keeps the familiarity quotient alive. The overall silhouette is very familiar to the Activa 110, especially the front mudguard and the entire rear section. The apron has a dash of chrome, a Honda Aviator design feature.

But that’s not to say that the design is dated or bland in any way. There are subtle but effective new design traits that differentiate the Activa 125 from the other scooters in HMSI’s lineup. The headlamp fairing gets a new smoked-black cowl, much like the one we’ve seen in Hero Maestro. The clear-lens indicator have been moved down to the front apron, next to the generous coating of chrome.

There’s a new instrument cluster, which is a mix of an analogue speedo and amber-backlit digital console for odo and fuel. The seat is wide enough to accommodate riders tall and short, and the handlebar reach is typically Honda – extremely comfortable. There’s quite a lot of room for the pillion’s comfort too. Only, we felt that there could’ve been a bit more of under-seat storage space.

Engine and performance

The Activa 125 has a completely new motor – a 124.9cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder, 4-stroke mill that churns out a peak power figure of 8.6 PS at 6,500 rpm, and a peak torque of 10.12Nm that kicks in a bit early at 5,500rpm. On paper, these figures surpass the Suzuki Swish’s performance. But on the road, these numbers beat any other scooter’s performance figures to ground. Because Honda, keeping true to its habit, has produced an extremely refined engine.

The Activa 125 pulls with so much ease that you’re left grinning inside the helmet. The acceleration is very smooth, and with a single rider, you can get to the 60-70kmph speed band very easily. It feels very happy to stay in the low-to-middle power band – it starts screaming for more power only beyond the 80kmph mark.

Ride and handling

Anyone who’s been on an Activa 110 will immediately feel at home on the Activa 125, in spite of new 12-inch front tyres. This gives the Activa 125 more stability than the family of 110cc family of scooters. The wheelbase is a bit longer, but that doesn’t affect the manoeuvrability even a bit. If anything, it weaves in and out of traffic with even more ease. Honda has installed telescopic shock absorbers on the front, and the traditional spring-loaded hydraulic types on the back.

Overall, the suspension does feel a little stiff, but it soaks up bumps efficiently nonetheless. Braking capability, on the disc-brake equipped model that we rode on, was very impressive. It has some serious stopping power, with Combined Braking System to add to safety.

Bottomline

The 125cc scooter space is currently dominated by Suzuki’s Access and Swish, and the more premium Vespa models. Honda’s new Activa 125 stands at a middle point, both in terms of price and quality. It is practical, comfortable, powerful and most importantly, has a history of reliability that Honda has established with its previous scooters.

Honda claims that this new scooter will offer a mileage of 59 kilometres to the litre, and even a realistic mileage of 50kmpl wouldn’t be too bad for a rather peppy 125cc scooter.

The drum-brake Standard variant is priced at ₹56,607 and the Deluxe variant (with disc-brake) costs ₹62,588. Prices are ex-showroom, Mumbai.

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Published on May 15, 2014
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