In the past couple of years, we’ve seen the most number of 125cc scooters being launched in India. We did plenty of comparisons to find out which one came out on top. The TVS Ntorq 125, which was a part of our long-term fleet for a year, won the title of being the most enthusiast-friendly 125cc scooter while the Suzuki Access 125 turned out to be the most sensible of the lot. While the 110cc Honda Activa is by far the largest selling scooter since a long time, its 125cc sibling hasn’t been doing comparatively well. With BS6 norms kicking in soon, Honda has promptly launched an all-new Activa 125. There are some genuine innovations underneath and it not only gets a fuel-injected engine but also a BS6 compliant one. The top-spec Activa 125 BS6 commands a premium of Rs 8000 over the current-gen Activa 125 and Rs 11,000 over its closest competitor, the Hero Maestro Edge 125. Is the price justified?
The new Activa 125 excels in terms of build quality and fit and finish. The LED headlamp, LED DRL and chrome strips on the all-around render it an upmarket feel. The additional cuts and creases on the front apron make it look much sharper. It also gets a metal body, unlike the fibre body that many of its competitors sport.
It’s in the powertrain where Honda has taken a lot of effort in further refining an already refined engine. It switches on with the help of the AC generator starter (the same unit that charges the battery on the go) eliminating the need for a conventional starter motor and thus avoiding any gear meshing and gear engagement noises. It’s absolutely smooth and jolt-free. The idle start/stop system works exceptionally well too, eliminating all kinds of vibrations and jerks as it uses the same AC generator starter for the start/stop function.
On the go, the Activa 125 feels laid-back in the way it delivers power. It builds speeds leisurely but no complains here because the Activa’s core focus was always on efficiency. In fact, Honda claims that it’s 13 per cent more efficient than earlier. There’s also a drop in power - from 8.52bhp to 8.18bhp while torque is down from 10.54Nm to 10.3Nm. The BS6 compliant engine is all new and is ‘weight-optimized’ according to Honda. It gets a compact crankshaft and piston while the new motor is stroked-out as well, thus making it easier to ride at lower speeds; which clearly shows, because the Activa takes its own leisurely time to pick up speed and getting past 70kmph is a task.
Similar is the ride and handling setup. The suspension is developed for maximum comfort and that shows; because the Activa hates corners. It wobbles around corners and offers little feedback. But again, this is a pure gentleman’s scooter and thus you cannot expect it to handle like an SR 125 anyway. What’s impressive is the way it flattens out road undulations at low speeds. Most buyers will find it hard to find faults in the Activa 125’s ride.
The Activa 125 BS6 is the new benchmark when it comes to build-quality and refinement. Even on the features front, the Activa 125 scores over most of its competitors by offering an additional idle start/stop system, digital-analogue display that shows distance to empty, real-time efficiency and overall fuel economy. All these features are usually seen on motorcycles and then adding to the list is the side-stand sensor too with engine cut off. It may not be quick and the ride is cushy too but considering what it’s meant for, we cannot think of a more premium and practical option at least as of now.