No other personal mode of transport offers quite the same amount of relief that automatic scooters do, when commuting in the city. They blend in and help negotiate aggressive traffic with relative ease and without driving up your fuel bills.
We've had the Honda Activa 125 for some time now and I've been using it quite regularly within the city as well as for the occasional trip out. Here's how it's performed so far.
At first glance, the Activa 125 is similar to its older stablemate, albeit with an added dose of attractive styling, helping it stay appealing to a wide, diverse audience. Chrome touches up front and smoothly flowing lines are inspired by Honda's current crop of larger bikes. Bits like the 125’s functional mirrors, decent quality palm grips and nice brake control levers lend the Activa 125 a polished feel; expected of a comfortable automatic scooter from the big H. The digi-analogue display is clearly legible on the go, and the Activa 125’s headlight does a good job of illuminating the road ahead when riding through an inky night. The lack of a rear brake lock clamp, however, did sometimes compromise my desired parking spots and Honda would have done well to include this feature on the premium Activa 125.
Like most automatic scooters, the Activa 125 idles silently, with minimum vibrations. But to start the scooter, the left brake lever needs to be pulled in really hard and almost all the way back to the handlebar, which is sure to be an irritant for some riders, and makes life very difficult for members of the fairer sex. Also, the choke lever could do with freer action here, as this proved sticky early in its life, and required lubrication a couple of times.
Once on the go, the Activa 125’s light throttle is a delight to use, and the user friendly scooter darts in and out of gaps in traffic effortlessly. It’s not just the engine power output that is impressive, but the urgency with which it responds at low revs, making for a tension-free ride, every time.
When turning into corners or negotiating your way through traffic, the 12-inch alloy front wheel makes life a lot easier, apart from adding to the scooter's up-market style. The upright riding position is comfortable. What does help here is a large, wide and roomy saddle which not only provides good space for the rider but for pillion riders as well. Good leg room up front ensures steering movement is unhampered by your knees and the footboard is spacious enough to accommodate larger feet also. Although few might choose an automatic scooter for highway hauls, the Activa 125 does the job quite well, providing a stress free, gear and clutch less experience as I found out on a quick shuttle trip from Pune to the Autocar India head office, in Mumbai.
The Activa 125’s ride quality is plush, and a well set up suspension ensures the scooter doesn't bottom out even when riding over broken roads, so frequently encountered in India. This new Honda makes quite a predictable and forgiving scooter. Likewise, the Honda Activa 125's braking abilities deserve a pat on the back too. Its Combined Braking System (CBS) works brilliantly, ensuring a precise, quick and reassuring halt each time you pull in at the levers. Also, the individually operated front disc brake responds with feisty bite when called upon.
An automatic scooter like the Honda Activa 125 offers so much more flexibility compared to geared motorbikes in the city, thanks to its twist-and-go operation. Ample storage room on its flat floorboard means you can even carry your daily groceries or a hand bag without any hassle. And the under-seat storage bay allows you to fit in a small helmet too.
The Activa 125 has successfully made my life easier in these past few months, making travelling in the city quite effortless and comfortable. Thanks to the new HET technology that aims to increase efficiency and enhance power, the new Activa 125 feels peppier yet dishes out just as good mileage figures as the conventional 109.2cc Activa, of around an impressive overall 45kpl.
Living with the Honda Activa 125 over the past few months has us convinced this is a perfect example of a good, upmarket automatic scooter that makes good sense if looking for urban commuting, which is simple, reliable and thoroughly hassle free.
Rs 60,588 (ex-showroom, Pune)