We list down our top five options for a consumer looking to upgrade from an entry-level motorcycle to the 125cc class
Most Indians step into the world of motorcycles with an 110cc commuter. There are many aspects that make these workhorses the stepping stone for a majority of the first time buyers - like fuel efficiency, reliability and low maintenance cost. But unlike the commuter motorcycle buyer a decade ago, who used to be loyal to his machine for a long period of time, consumers now prefer to move up the ladder at a faster pace. The first logical jump is from the 110cc class to the 125cc segment, mainly since there isn’t a major difference in price and it falls next in terms of displacement. We list down our top five options for a consumer upgrading from 110cc to 125cc segment.
All two-wheelers were rated on a scale on 1-5 with 1 being poor and 5 being outstanding.
Design: Design was one parameter that was neglected by two-wheeler buyers for many years as function was always given priority over form. Gladly things have changed over the years and design has become one of the most important factors in finalising a purchase. Also design contributes heavily on the aspiration front as a buyer who plans to upgrade also wants a better looking motorcycle from his previous steed.
Performance: Performance is the most influential criteria for a consumer to upgrade. As one of the objectives of upgrading to a new two-wheeler is the hike in displacement which in turns means improved power figures. With the youth becoming the major consumers for two-wheelers, manufacturers are concentrating on this aspect more than ever.
Fuel Efficiency: No matter which ever segment of two-wheelers we are talking about the Indian consumer is fascinated by this figure. Fuel efficiency still remains the most important standard when it comes to finalising the deal and the more efficient the bike is the wider the smile on a typical Indian two-wheeler consumer.
Price: The Indian two-wheeler market is extremely price conscious. Owing to this fact manufacturers have their task cut out to price their products as competitively as they can. For a consumer, value for money proposition is of vital importance, which means the most amounts of features in the least possible price.
Handling and comfort: Handling isn’t restricted to getting around a corner in the fastest way possible as most of us ride our two-wheelers on congested city roads rather than on twisting mountain roads. For this purpose flickability is of major importance so as to gauge how easily one can carve out through traffic. Travelling times has increased due to traffic jams and poor quality roads. A two-wheeler with a comfortable riding posture and supple suspension setup makes the journey more so endurable.
Note: All prices mentioned are ex-showroom Delhi and for the top-end variant.
5, Honda Activa 125 One would be amused to see a scooter feature in this list but if you have been following the two-wheeler sales figures this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Activa 125 ticks all the boxes when it comes to the basic requirements of a 125cc segment commuter. Talking about engine specifications the Activa 125’s powerplant is just 1.5PS less in comparison to the Honda CB Shine but trumps it in torque rating. This translates into a peppy scooter as the Activa 125 cruises between speeds of 80 to 90km/h without much effort. It comes equipped with an automatic transmission, which is a boon in the traffic congested city riding conditions as the rider doesn’t have to constantly change the gear in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
One of the major qualms with automatic scooters was that they weren’t as fuel efficient as their geared compatriots. But this has changed over a period of time and the Activa 125 delivered us an impressive overall efficiency figure of 52kmpl. Honda has also equipped the Activa 125 with telescopic front forks which have made a notable difference in terms of ride quality. Other added benefits of the Activa 125 is the underseat storage and the fact that the fairer sex can ride it with ease as normally motorcycles are restricted to men in our two-wheeler spectrum. At Rs 58,156, the Activa 125 is pricy proposition but it counters it with the benefits it has on offer. Score: 16.5/25 Price: Rs 58,156 Overall Fuel Efficiency: 52kmpl
4, Hero Glamour The Glamour was Hero’s pitch to dominate the 125cc segment as it had done in the 100/110cc class of motorcycles but after the initial buzz it hasn’t been able to garner in the numbers that it had expected. The Glamour comes in two variants in terms of fuelling, carburetted and fuel injected; we will pick the former due to enormous difference in price of both the offerings. The styling of the Glamour isn’t its forte as it looks like any other motorcycle in the 125cc segment barring its dual-tone colour.
The 124.7cc has been detuned to give fuel efficiency preference above performance. Due to which it doesn’t feel as an upgrade in terms of performance with respect to most 125cc offerings and the engine feels a lot more stressed at high speeds. Overall fuel efficiency for the Glamour is around 62kmpl which is marginally better than its arch rival, the Honda CB Shine. It also has an upright and comfortable riding posture and low running cost which should appeal to commuter buyers and Hero loyalists. But at Rs 55,375 there are better options available in the market. Score: 17.5/25 Price: Rs 55,375 Overall Fuel Efficiency: 62kmpl
3, Honda CBF Stunner The Honda CBF Stunner is definitely the most striking and sporty looking 125cc motorcycle offering on sale in our market currently. With its floating semi-fairing, stepped seats and under cowl it is sure to appeal to the youngsters. Powering the Honda CBF Stunner is a 124.7cc, air-cooled powerplant as seen on the CB Shine but has been tuned to extract a bit more power. Also the gearbox sports an extra cog as it is a five-speed gearbox. On paper the difference in power doesn’t seem noteworthy but due to the short gearing and a slightly sportier riding posture, the Stunner feels brisker and sportier. Although it feels peppy, sadly it isn’t as fuel efficient as Honda claims it to be. Another downside of the Stunner is its steep pricing. Even so, if you are in the market for a sporty 125cc offering the Honda CBF Stunner fits the bill. Score: 18/25 Price: Rs 55,884 Overall Fuel Efficiency: 48kmpl
2, Bajaj Discover 125M Bajaj has two offerings in the 125cc segment; the Discover 125M and 125T, our pick is the latter due to its more powerful engine and the five-speed gearbox. In terms of styling, the Discover 125M is a striking motorcycle with crescent-shaped DC headlight, sculpted fuel tank and snazzy decals. But sadly the Discover range, be it the 100cc offering or the 125cc offering, follow the same design language, which makes the design monotonous.
The highlight of the Discover 125T is its powerplant as it’s the only bike in the segment to feature 4-valve technology. The 124.6cc air-cooled, DTS-i motor churns out 12.5 PS of power and 10.8Nm of torque making it the most powerful offering in the 125cc segment. Also, the Discover 125T is also among the most fuel efficient of the lot as the bike has an overall mileage of around 60kmpl. At Rs 54,659, the Discover 125T is priced on par with its rivals despite its additional features and the only qualm being its reliability factor. Score: 19/25 Price: Rs 50,499 Overall Fuel Efficiency: 60kmpl
1, Honda CB Shine
It is no surprise that the Honda CB Shine features on top of our list as it has dominated the 125cc segment ever since its debut in 2006. The fact that Honda has sold over 30 lakh units of the bike in our market is testimony of the fact. Powering the CB Shine is the same motor as seen on the Stunner but it has been detuned for better efficiency and is mated to a four-speed gearbox. The gearing on the CB Shine is well sorted, which is helpful while commuting in city traffic.
The CB Shine has an upright and comfortable riding posture and being one of the lightest bikes in the segment, it is also easily flickable. Although the Honda CB Shine doesn’t excel in any of the parameters that a consumer in this segment would be looking at but it is a well rounded product which makes it the favourite among the 125cc segment buyers. The success of the CB Shine can be credited to its refined powerplant and low running cost. Score: 20/25 Price: Rs 54,051 Overall Fuel Efficiency: 60kmpl