TVS NTorq vs Suzuki Access vs Aprilia SR 125...
- Jun 12, 2018
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While 110cc scooters remain rooted in their traditional ways, scooter manufacturers seem to be experimenting in the 125cc segment. Honda made the Grazia feature-rich, TVS went the sporty way with the Ntorq. Meanwhile, Suzuki has reached out to its international scooter portfolio. Its Burgman maxi-scooter range sold abroad comes with a plethora of engines ranging from 125cc to 650cc. That said, the 125cc Burgman Street it sells abroad isn’t the one Suzuki has launched in India. What we get is an ‘Indianised version,’ which is a maxi-scooter-like bodywork grafted onto the Access 125’s frame and engine. Now, this shouldn't be a problem as the Access 125 is a good scooter by itself. But the Burgman Street commands a Rs 8,800 premium over the scooter it is based on, making it the second most expensive 125cc scooter in India after the Vespa 125.
So is there more to the Burgman or is it just a case of an Access 125 in stylish clothes? And is the premium it commands over the Access 125 justified?
The emperor's clothes:
Maxi-scooter is a term used for full-bodied scooters. We wouldn't classify the Burgman Street as a proper maxi-scooter, though. However, it is larger than other scooters sold in the country. The design has a lot of subtle curves that lends it a clean and fuss-free look. The front section is large and encloses an equally large all-LED headlamp unit with turn indicators mounted a little lower on its large apron. And these headlamps have a good spread and intensity - much better than the TVS Ntorq’s halogen setup and only overshadowed by the Honda Activa 5G’s high-mounted LED headlamp.
Another highlight is the large floating windscreen that is more of a cosmetic addition than a functional one. Along with this windscreen, the all-digital instrument console, too, is mounted on the body, ahead of the handlebars. It is quite a unique feeling to have a fixed instrument console that does not turn with the handlebar on a scooter. The console draws inspiration from the one on the Gixxer. However, the absence of a gear position indicator and tachometer enables it to have a cleaner interface with large, more legible fonts. The handlebar is covered with two-tone plastics and the Burgman also borrows switchgear from the Access 125.
Moving towards the rear, the pillion footpeg folds flush into the bodywork but unfolding them requires you to bend down and use your fingers. A notch around the footpegs would have made it easier to open them with your boots. The exhaust muffler gets dual tone cladding, a means to add bulk to the design. While most other scooters feature bodywork that gets narrower towards the rear, the Burgman has wide panels with a horizontal tail unit. It holds a large LED tail lamp flanked by integrated bulb lit turn indicators. There are a couple of chrome accents that lift up the overall design.
The only sore point to the design is the small 10-inch rear wheel that looks woefully out of place among the large panels and tail section.
More weight equals less performance:
That's the general consensus at least. At 108kg, the Burgman weighs 7kg more than the Access 125. It carries forward the Access 125’s air-cooled, 124cc single-cylinder motor and makes the same 8.7PS at 7000rpm and 10.2Nm at 5000rpm. So it's logical that the Burgman would be slower than the Access 125. But it isn't!
In our acceleration tests, the Burgman got from 0-60kmph in 8.69 seconds - that’s half a second quicker than the Access 125! That gap spreads to almost a second and a half in the run to 80kmph (16.28 seconds vs 18.24 seconds). However, in the roll-on time of 20-50kmph, both scooters registered an identical time of 4.65 seconds. This shows that the Burgman has better initial grunt, which allows it to get off the line quicker. Interestingly, the Burgman has a more linear power delivery when compared to the Access 125. And this gives you the feeling that the Burgman isn’t accelerating as quickly as its sibling. Its refinement adds to that feeling as well. Vibrations, too, are non-existent and this scooter feels a lot smoother than the Access 125.
At speeds of 50kmph, the Burgman’s motor is completely unstressed, which allows it to return a fantastic fuel efficiency of 54.9kmpl in the city - the best in its class. And it continues to remain stress-free even as the speeds climb higher. So even on the highway, it returns a fuel efficiency figure of 54.7kmpl - again the best in the 125cc scooter segment.
This motor is a gem. It’s refined, linear, quick as well as fuel efficient.
Does it ride as well as it looks?
Yes it does. The Burgman uses the Access 125’s underbone chassis and that includes the front telescopic forks and single rear shock absorber as well. So the ride at the rear does remain a little stiff, but its extra weight makes it bounce a bit less on sharp bumps. But that bounce is not entirely absent, especially if you’re riding solo. However, it does improve drastically with a pillion on board. The front forks, on the other hand, soak up bumps really well, even over sharp road edges and small bumps. So the overall ride is more composed over bad roads than the Access 125. And on the rare occasion that you do end up bottoming out the suspension, the shocks aren’t transmitted to the rider or pillion either. That said, the cushioned ride isn't as forgiving as the TVS Ntorq, whose 12-inch wheels cocoon the rider better. There is only so much the Burgman’s 10-inch rear wheel can do.
A narrower section tyre than the Ntorq’s means the Burgman is quicker to tip into corners and lighter to turn in. The smaller rear wheel, however, does not afford the Burgman the kind of stability that the Ntorq has. There is a bit of wallow in corners. That said, it is not as bad as the Honda Grazia. The Burgman’s overall ride quality is second only to the Ntorq, while handling is what you'd expect of a typical scooter. Light and manoeuvrable at city speeds and good enough for the occasional highway runs.
One of the Burgman’s highlights is the seating position. At 780mm, it is on the taller side, and the wide seat profile can make it cumbersome for anyone below 5ft 8in to place both feet flat on the ground. Thankfully the seat tapers down towards the front, so it’s not much of a bother. But the seat itself is extremely comfortable for both rider and pillion. What impressed us most, however, was the floorboard space and footrests moulded into the apron. It enables the rider to stretch his or her legs and gain a lazy, almost cruiser-like stance that is extremely relaxed over long distances. The pillion, too, has a wide perch and the large and chunky grabrail is easy to hold onto.
While the Burgman’s extra weight fails to dampen performance or fuel efficiency, it is in the braking department that it makes a difference. The braking setup comes from the Access 125, which means it gets a front disc and rear drum. The Burgman, however, gets combined braking, something the Access 125 we tested missed out on. Although CBS helps the rider brake better in an emergency situation, it has no real effect on braking distance, which mainly depends on the effectiveness of the brake and tyre grip. During our braking tests, the Burgman came to a standstill from 60kmph in 21.56 metres. The lighter Access 125 does it in 20.44 metres. Under hard braking, the front 90/90 R12 and 90/100 R10 MRF tyres offer good grip but at the end, the narrow rear tyre ends up locking. However, the lockup is progressive and gives you enough time to react.
Yay or nay?
To answer the questions we asked earlier - Is the Burgman just another Access 125 in stylish clothes? Well, we think it’s much more than that. Not only is the Burgman better in terms of performance and fuel efficiency, it also offers a more mature and relaxed ride experience thanks to its blend of seating position, refinement and ride quality. It is a premium product and feels a notch above the Access 125.
Is the premium it commands over the Access 125 justified? Here’s the caveat. At Rs 68,000 (ex-showroom), the Burgman Street costs a whopping Rs 7,282 more than the new CBS-equipped Access 125. While the Burgman gets premium bodywork and features like LED headlamps and digital instrument console, the 12 per cent increase in price takes away from its value-for-money aspect.
But at the end of the day, we think the Burgman Street is capable of attracting a more mature audience that wants something more premium and prestigious than your traditional scooters, yet modern at the same time. It ticks all the right boxes of performance, refinement and the even more important fuel efficiency while offering a balanced ride and handling package. The high price tag, however, is one thing that’ll hold back price-conscious buyers, especially when there are plenty of options in the 125cc scooter segment, including the TVS Ntorq (Rs 59.687) and even Suzuki’s own Access 125. If only Suzuki were to price the Burgman lower...
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