Honda's Activa 125: A legend re-activated

May 04, 2014, 10:17 IST | Amit Chhangani

India’s largest-selling two-wheeler nameplate gets a bigger, more powerful engine with better features. Power to the people, says Honda this election season, with the Activa 125

It may come as a surprise to you, but the Honda Activa recently overtook the Hero Motocorp Splendor to become the largest-selling two-wheeler in the country. You heard it right, the largest selling two-wheeler, not just scooter. That stat underlines the importance that the Indian two-wheeler consumer is giving to the convenience, comfort and space offered by an automatic scooter. Having cracked and made so dominant this once non-existent segment is testimony to Honda’s ability to understand and deliver on what the market needs. 

Gearless convenience, under-seat storage along with a footboard and a low saddle height almost invariably makes gearless scooters score over geared motorcycles in an urban setting. While gearless scooters have more appeal for both sexes, the low power and performance specs associated with them sometimes leave the customers wanting for more. The newly-launched Activa 125 powered by a bigger 125cc engine, thus, is a natural evolution for the immensely successful scooter brand. It offers more power and features for customers who may have been desiring an upgrade, as well for new customers fancying a powerful scooter.

Honda has ensured that the Activa 125 scores not only in terms of performance, but also has an enhanced visual appeal. The front panel of the scooter features an entirely new design with a big Y-shaped central chrome piece flanked by upswept blinkers. The scooter also gets a fresh new design for headlamps along with a new front fender.

The Activa 125 boasts of a standard  combined braking system on both variants. Front disc brake is available on the higher spec Deluxe variant only

The instrument panel on the scooter has been redesigned too. The special satin silver surrounding for the instrument panel on the rider’s side is also a neat touch and unique to the segment. Body panels on the scooter are new, and have been designed to lend an air of dynamism to the machine. Grab rails for the scooter are new, and so are the X-shaped broad tail lights. The Activa 125 looks substantially more appealing, not just than the smaller Activa, but that chrome garnished face makes it one of the best-looking mainstream scooters across brands in India.

Powering the Activa 125 is a newly developed 125cc single cylinder air cooled engine boasting more power and torque than the smaller Activa. While the cubic capacity is up by 16cc (against Activa’s 109cc), power and torque are up by 0.5 PS and 1.12 Nm respectively. With the bigger engine, the Activa 125’s power and torque output figures stand at 8.7PS @ 6500 rpm and 10.12 Nm @ 5500 rpm. With the new scooter, Honda is also claiming best in class climbing capability. This would be an advantage for people residing in hilly towns or in cities with numerous flyovers. With the new engine, steep inclines won’t bog the Activa 125 down even with two-up seating.

The patented Honda Eco Technology (HET) has also been employed in the new scooter to ensure optimum fuel efficiency. HET makes use of technology that enhances combustion efficiency, reduces friction and minimises transmission losses. With the new engine, Honda is claiming a fuel efficiency figure of 59kmpl in the real world riding conditions. That number is a little optimistic in our view, but a figure of 45-50 kmpl in the real world should be good enough, given the bigger engine and more power on tap.

In addition to more spunk from a bigger engine, the Activa 125 also boasts of new features. To start with, Honda’s proprietary Combined Braking System or CBS is a standard fitment in both Standard and Deluxe variants of the Activa 125. CBS is a braking system which applies brakes to both wheels, even when the rider applies only one brake for stronger braking power. Tests by Honda have shown that the system can reduce braking distance by up to 24 per cent as compared to a conventional braking system. In addition, the top-of-the-line Deluxe variant of the scooter gets 190mm front disc brakes for even stronger braking.

The brand new instrument cluster features a big speedo flanked by turn indicators. The digital screen below features a trip meter and fuel gauge

Honda have also introduced a digital readout in the instrument cluster for the Activa 125 as against the analogue unit on the smaller Activa. While the big speedometer is still a traditional analogue unit, it has a small screen at the bottom delivering a lot of useful information in digital format. The new scooter also features a pair of stylish five spoke alloy wheels. It’s body is made of metal for durability. Tubeless tyres come as standard on the Activa 125, along with a maintenance-free battery and a viscous air filter that requires to be cleaned less frequently.

The Activa 125 also offers a longer and wider seat for more comfort. The wheel size up front has been increased to 12 inch, which, along with a longer wheelbase should offer more stability and control. Storage space is capacious and the new CLIC or ‘Convenient Lift up Independent Cover’ mechanism makes maintenance easy and simple to operate.

The Activa has built a reputation for itself as one of the most reliable and easy to run scooters available in the country today. A hassle free ownership experience with low running costs has been central to the brand's incredible success story in India. With the Activa 125, Honda plans to expand the ambit of the brand's influence, bringing both upgrade aspirants and new buyers under the umbrella. 

The new scooter has been priced competitively while offering better styling and more features than the immediate competition. Available in four colours, the Activa 125 cannot be omitted as a choice if a powerful everyday scooter is something you’re looking for.

Honda Activa 125 Standard: Rs 56,607

Honda Activa 125 Deluxe: Rs 62,588

Technical specs 
Engine — 4 Stroke, Air Cooled, single cylinder
Displacement — 124.9cc
Max Torque — 10.12 Nm @5500 rpm
Max Power — 8.7 PS @6500 rpm
Fuel Efficiency (claimed) — 59 kmpl

The rivals

Suzuki Access/swish

The original 125cc scooter that raised the performance bar in the segment is a quality product from the international bike maker. Priced at par with the new Activa 125, the 125cc scooter is also available under a snazzier, more up-to-date and slightly more expensive Swish nameplate. A voluminous under seat storage, centralised ignition key switch with shutter and good dynamics are the highlights of this scooter.
Price: R56,400 to R57,500 (Ex-showroom price)

Mahindra Roadeo Rz

Mahindra Two Wheelers have been hard at work to crack the scooter market. The Roadeo Rz 125cc scooter is their top of the line offering for the segment. A capable scooter with impressive performance, the Roadeo also scores high in terms of space and features on offer. A fully digital, multi-colour instrument console, mobile charging socket and front fueling are some of the highlights. Priced very aggressively the Roadeo has to be one of the most economical scooters to own in the segment.
Price: R47,600 (Ex-showroom price)

Yamaha Ray

While not a 125cc engine scooter, the 110cc Ray, a product from the Yamaha stable has a natural appeal to it. Styled appealingly for the urban rider, the Ray looks every bit like an international product. Offering good under seat storage along with small open storage spaces in the front panel, the Ray has managed to quickly make a niche for itself in the Indian market. A more male specific variant Christened Ray Z is also available.
Price: R50,000 to R51,600 (Ex-showroom price)

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