The Access 125 scooter was Suzuki two-wheeler's first firm foothold in the Indian market. The robust, peppy and tireless nature of the Access 125 won it a strong following. Now Suzuki has unveiled an 'All New Access 125' which will sell along side the older model (and is still called Access 125!) and will in all cost around Rs 4,000 more. So should you shell out the extra cash?
In terms of its persona, the old Access was quite a homebody and wall-flowerish, while the ANA (it will be tiring to keep saying All New Access 125) has clearly taken the effort to dress up. Touches like the chrome bezel for the headlamp, a higher hemline for the engine covers, the alloy wheels and the swoopy lines help it look richer and more modern. While it is more appealing, the ANA isn’t going to elicit envy from the Vespas and Yamaha Fascinos of the scooter world. Suzuki has clearly chosen to stay with the 'safe and solid' school of thought. So, to please the Indian palette the ANA also offers a metal front fender and apron. The instrument cluster though is quite bland with a large easy-to-read speedo and an LCD display that shows the odometer, two trip meters and a fuel gauge.
Peek into the mechanical details and it's clear that the ANA really is all new, a few numbers support that claim strongly. For instance, the ANA is 10kg lighter than the Access and that’s despite boasting of a 15mm longer wheelbase and a 90mm stretch between the tip of its nose and tail. The 124cc displacement for the engine is identical to the older scooter, but, the engine itself isn’t. The engine is all new and accounts for around 6kg of the weight savings! It uses a smaller bore and a longer stroke, a bumped-up compression ratio and reduced internal friction for more efficient combustion. The end result is better overall performance. The numbers indicate a slight bump up in power and torque, but along with that Suzuki also claims a fuel efficiency of 64kpl!
Our first taste of the new Suzuki was in the city. The first pleasant realisation was that the two chunky testers on board had clear air between them. Clearly, the new longer seat is long enough. Secondly, despite the considerable payload that we presented, the Access was handling the rigours of the city without letting out so much so as a whimper. Even as the engine was put under high loads, it remained smooth and quiet. At lower speeds, throttle response is prompt, and it pulled in a linear manner even as speeds climbed.
The engine wasn’t the only thing that felt unruffled, the suspension too, coped with the city roads very well. The front forks didn’t feel jarring and soaked up sharp edges with a fair amount of pliancy. No doubt the larger 12-inch front wheel aiding the ride quality. Although absorbent, the suspension felt well controlled and didn’t have us bouncing over bumps and undulations.
We even took the Access out onto the highway and found that it went to hit a true top speed of 96kph. Our V-Box tests showed that the Suzuki was also 0.6 seconds faster in the sprint to 60kph as compared to the original Access. However, what was truly incredible was its refinement as it showed virtually no signs of discomfort in terms of vibrations or noise even at the upper end of its performance envelope! In terms of performance this is an impressive package.
The high speeds didn’t make the Access feel nervous either, as the 12-inch front wheel and the controlled suspension setup created a sense of confidence. The optional front disc brake (variant prices yet to be announced) felt confident even when shedding speed. Braking won’t worry commuters as the lever offers good modulation and offers progressive bite. However, when braking hard the tyres do squeal in protest.
As can be expected from a scooter, convenience features are high on the priority list. We always appreciate having a brake-lock clamp on a scooter and the Access has one. There are two hooks to hang bags from and there’s a pocket on the front to keep a bottle of water in. The under-seat storage has also increased and Suzuki is offering a front storage box as an option. A charging point is also on the accessory list. As before, Suzuki is offering the push-to-lock mechanism for the ignition slot and now the boot release is conveniently also packaged on the combi-lock.
All put together, the new Access is undoubtedly a cut above the older model and deserves the additional money it asks for. Yes it seems a little ordinary in terms of features, but it is priced very well. Finally, the mechanical and engineering finesse of the Access 125 ensures that its bland flavour doesn’t mar the prospects of what is one of the finest 125cc scooters in the market today.