Honda Activa 5G: Road Test Review
- Jun 6, 2018
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The new Honda Activa 125 won't replace the Activa 110; at least not yet. But, with the trend of motorcycle owners moving to scooters and car owners choosing to buy scooters for daily short run-abouts catching on, the 125cc automatic scooter segment is bound to grow. And Honda doesn't want to miss out on the party. Plus, there's the question of retaining Activa 110 buyers in the Honda fold once they grow tired of the 110.
Honda's answer to all this is the new Activa 125. Like the 110, the 125 follows a more conventional design. But, it has a bit more flair. The chrome on the front apron and the new one piece tail lamp with integrated turn indicators give the Activa 125 a premium feel. It also looks taller and bigger than the Activa.
One you get astride, it feels familiar to the Activa, but better, nonetheless. The seating ergonomics are upright and the Activa 125 feels roomy, like a larger scooter should. It also has a large, comfortable seat making it a nice place to be in even over extended rides you don't generally associate with scooters. The rider's view is good too. There's a part-digital-part-analogue instrumentation with digital display for odo, trip and fuel and an analogue readout for the speed. The instrumentation gives the Activa 125 a more upmarket and modern feel. The grips, the levers and the switchgear, however, are similar to the Activa, and work equally well. The Activa 125 has a large enough floorboard and a 18-litre underseat stowage which many - including small time traders - will find handy.
Also worth praise and recognition is the Activa 125's engine. The 125cc engine is based on the 110cc engine that powers both the Activa and the Activa i. And, it only makes 0.6PS more. But, the torque rating is higher at a little over 10Nm, and one can feel this difference the moment you open the throttle. The Activa 125 accelerates quicker, feels lighter on its feet, and even if you sit at its top speed of around 90kmph, it doesn't feel stressed. The refinement levels are top class and only after you cross 80kmph can you really feel the vibrations; but again, these are muted and never in the way. The CVT is borrowed from the Activa 110, but on the 125 we found more judder at start up. Once past 15kmph though, it settles down and the throttle response is quite alert too, especially for a scooter.
The Activa 125 is sold in two trims - standard and deluxe. We have the Deluxe and it gets alloy wheels and a front disc brake, while the standard has steel rims and a drum at the front. Both versions gets tubeless tyres and telescopic forks upfront. And like the Aviator, the Activa 125 too uses a 10in rear wheel and a 12in front. Honda failed to give us a proper explanation for the setup just stating their tests proved the 12-10 setup worked best for Indian roads, even though the Activa doesn't use it. Our take is, since the engine and the CVT on the 125 are heavily based on the 110 engine, Honda couldn't change the rear wheel size. As for the front wheel size, Honda doesn't do telescopic forks on 10in wheels, and therefore it uses 12in in not just the Activa 125 but the Aviator as well, for the latter too uses telescopic forks.
Anyways, 12 or 10, the bottom line is, the Activa 125 rides much better than the Activa 110. The ride is still on the stiffer side and we won't call it plush, but it absorbs bumps better and there's less shake of the front when tackling a series of bumps at higher speeds. Plus, the Activa 125 Deluxe gets a disc brake upfront and this has hugely improved its stopping power. The brake offers good bite and progression but it has a tendency to lock under less lever pressure than one expects. The best way to stop the Activa 125 in a hurry then is to call on CBS or Combined Braking System by using the left lever liberally and the right one judiciously.
What we have here then, is a much improved Activa. It's almost like a generation change, for the better. Everything - apart from fuel economy and purchase price - the Activa 125 does better than the 110 version, which we think is a job well done by Honda. Like we said at the beginning, the 2014 Honda Activa 125 is a seriously impressive scooter.
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