2018 has been quite the year for 125cc scooters. Things started with the TVS Ntorq 125, which was soon followed by the Aprilia SR 125. Then came the maxi-scooter styled Suzuki Burgman Street and now we have the Hero Destini 125. The new Destini 125 is an important product for Hero as it marks the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer’s debut in the 125cc scooter segment. As expected from the brand, its latest offering has been positioned as a family scooter for a more mass market appeal. So has Hero got it right in its first attempt with the Destini 125? Read on to find out.
What is it all about?
The Destini 125 is being promoted as a family scooter and it thus adopts a conservative styling theme. The basic design of the new scooter is similar to the Duet 110. However, the 125cc offering differentiates itself with a slightly curvier apron that has a large chrome strip running below the turn indicators. Keeping with the simple theme, the handlebar-mounted headlight is a conventional halogen unit and not LED powered. The dual-tone textured seat looks and feels good, while the accentuated tail light has been carried forward from the Duet. Black alloy wheels add a touch of sportiness but the rather large exhaust muffler sticks out and doesn’t flow well with the design.
The Destini 125 features a semi-digital instrument console with a digital readout for basic information like fuel level, trip log and the odometer. There’s a side-stand down indicator, which is a useful addition. Also, it has a multi-function key slot which also opens the external fuel-filler cap. Hero states an under seat storage capacity of 19 litres for the Destini although it still isn’t enough to fit an international-spec full-face helmet, which is the case with most scooters on sale in India. The Vx variant gets a mobile charger and a boot lamp as standard, while it’s optional on the base Lx variant.
The Destini gets a touch of premiumness in the form of 3D badges, while fit and finish levels are impressive with tight panel gaps and rich paint quality. The scooter has been shod with metal body panels, which many customers seem to prefer. Switchgear quality is average and the Destini 125 also features a pass light switch. It’s available in two variants and the base Lx variant misses out on dual-texture seats, alloy wheels and chrome garnishes on the apron. Overall, the Destini 125 isn’t a scooter which will turn heads since the safe styling is meant to appeal to the masses.
What is it like to ride?
Powering the Destini is a 125cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder motor rated at 8.7hp and 10.2Nm of peak torque. It won’t wow you with its performance as the power delivery is sedate and throttle response is also a bit laidback. What will impress you, though, is its refinement although the engine does sound a bit gruff at higher speeds. On the few open straights we could find during our first ride, the engine was able to cruise at speeds between 65 to 75kph without any effort.
On another note, the Destini 125 is also the first scooter in India to feature start-stop tech. The i3S (idle-start-stop) tech is similar to the one seen on Hero commuters and it can be switched off if desired. Once the vehicle comes to a halt, the system cuts off the motor automatically. Press the rear brake and twist the throttle, and the engine restarts automatically; the tech works efficiently and is easy to use, just like on Hero’s motorcycles. Hero has revealed a 51.5 kpl ARAI-tested figure for the Destini, which is respectable – wait for our full road test for real-world numbers, though.
At 111.5kg, the Destini 125 is among the heavier 125cc scooters on sale. However, the weight has been well distributed and it doesn’t feel lazy in terms of cornering. The smaller, 10-inch wheels mean the scooter is agile, and filtering through traffic is an easy affair. The chassis is suspended on a telescopic fork with a monoshock unit at the back. Ride quality is decent, and while it isn’t as supple as the TVS Ntorq 125 or even the Suzuki Access 125, it isn’t anywhere close to as stiff as the Aprilia SR 125. The front, though, has a tendency to crash a bit on broken roads and with a pillion the rear did wallow slightly; it wasn’t as pronounced as on the Honda Grazia, however.
Braking duties are handled by drum brakes (no option for a front disc) at both ends and CBS (combined braking system) is standard. Bite and feedback offered is average and we believe that a disc brake should have featured at least in the options list. As per Hero’s officials, a disc brake option was skipped keeping costs in mind and also because they feel that demand for a front disc brake is too low.
Should you buy one?
The USP of the Hero Destini 125 is its pricing. At Rs 54,650 (all prices mentioned are ex-showroom, Delhi) for the base, Lx variant, the Destini 125 is the cheapest 125cc scooter on sale in India. However, it does offer more than good value as it has a decent set of features, is easy to ride and, of course, comes with the Hero brand name, which means an exhaustive service network and affordable spare parts.
Hero’s first attempt in the 125cc scooter segment is a good one as it retains the core values of its commuter motorcycles, which will make it appeal to the masses. While the Vx variant, at Rs 57,500, is on the expensive side, it’s worth the premium and is our pick of the two. Whether this value makes it the pick of the entry 125cc segment is something only a comparison test can reveal. Stay tuned!