Honda Activa 5G: Road Test Review
- Jun 6, 2018
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We recently reviewed Honda’s latest offering in the scooter segment, the Activa 125, and found it to be a seriously impressive scooter. So much, that we felt it betters its 110cc sibling in pretty much every aspect. And that is definitely saying something considering the fact that the 110cc Activa is publically acclaimed and has nearly 43 per cent share in the scooter segment. But while Honda was beaming with its success in the 110cc market, Suzuki, with the help of the Access has been doing to same in the 125cc class. Launched in 2007, the Access has managed to make a mark for itself in the scooter market while Honda despite being the scooter king has been absent from this space until now. The question now is, was it worth the wait?
Form and Function
Both these scooters are primarily targeted at a more mature audience and to suit their taste the styling has been kept subtle. The Activa 125 with its chrome bits on the front fascia, the smoked windscreen, the new taillights and the larger grab rail looks fresh. The Access on the other hand hasn’t really got an update since the time it was launched. Although thanks to its smooth lines it does have an endearing disposition, the featureless front end, the flat u-shaped taillights, the instrument cluster, the pipe-like grab rails and the chrome heat shield on the exhaust make it look rather bland and dated.
That said, buyers interested in scooters demand a balance between looks and ergonomics, with the latter taking higher priority. In this regard the big H has always been spot on, and it is no different with the Activa 125. The raised handle bars make for a comfortable riding posture. The floorboard too is roomy and has ample of space not just for your foot but also for carrying knick-knacks. And it’s quite easy to mount on the main stand as well.
What we didn’t like was the seat which was a tad bit too soft for our liking. The switch gear too could have been of better quality as Suzuki trumps its compatriot on this front. The Access’ relatively low set and narrower handle bars make the seating cramped and might just be a cause of discomfort for someone who is tall. The floorboard too isn’t as spaced out as on the Activa 125 either. But overall quality of the switchgear and the seating comfort does earn a few points for the scooter.
A matter of the heart
On paper both these scooters have pretty much the same engine specifications. The Access is powered by a 124cc unit that produces 8.7PS of power and 9.8Nm of torque. The Activa 125 produces the same amount of power but at 10.1Nm has a marginally higher torque rating. While the engine configurations might be very similar, there is quite a difference in the way the two scooters feel. The Access’ engine feels extremely smooth and has a linear power delivery.
Twist your wrist on the Activa and you will immediately feel that the Honda engine is peppier than its rival in discussion. It gains speed quickly and isn’t stressed even when you keep it pinned at 80kmph. And while there is just a difference of 0.3Nm of torque between the two, the Activa 125 feel a lot easier climbing up as opposed to the Access in which you need to work the throttle a little more. The Honda’s powerplant isn’t error free either there is a minor judder on the Activa 125 when picking up from standstill but once in motion the engine is absolutely butter smooth.
Both bikes are pretty neck-and-neck as far as the engine dynamics are concerned and picking out the superior between the two in that regard is like Sophie’s choice. Having said that, if we were to make a pick, purely for its eagerness and reliability, we would go for the Activa.
Which one is more rideable?
Unlike its smaller sibling, the Activa 125 gets equipped with Telescopic front forks up front and spring loaded hydraulic type suspension at the back. Even on the new scooter, the setup is still stiff due to which the overall ride quality isn’t by any means relaxed but at the same time it does manage to absorb the undulations of the road pretty efficiently. The wide and tall set handle bar makes it easy to maneuver through city traffic. Braking duties are being performed well thanks to the 130mm disc brakes up front. And while there is enough bite to quickly bring the scooter to a halt, we would have liked a little more feedback on the levers. The brakes aren’t really well supported by the 90/90-12 section MRF tyres either and tend to give away under heavy braking.
The combination of telescopic forks up front and swing arm type coil springs at the back works well on the Access which offers a plush ride quality especially over broken roads. Although the Activa runs the same setup at the front, it feels jittery but at the same time has better handling dynamics. Unlike the Activa, the Access doesn’t flaunt disc brakes but that doesn’t mean that it’s a slouch when it comes to braking. Feedback from the brakes is a lot more than what we felt on the Activa. In fact, the 90/100-10 Dunlop supports the Access better than the MRFs that do duty on the Activa.
This is one extremely important aspect that influences the buying decision. Thanks to the HET technology Honda scooters have always proven to be quite efficient and it continues to be so even with the Activa 125. In our efficiency tests it returned an impressive overall efficiency of 51.6kmpl which is considerably higher than Access that returned just 47kmpl.
The Activa 125 that we tested was the top end trim with the optional disc brakes and alloys is priced at Rs 63,645 (on-road Delhi) while the Access is priced at Rs 51,611 (on-road Delhi). But the standard variant of the Activa without the disc brake and the alloy wheels is priced at Rs 57,351 (on-road Delhi). So on the pricing front, the Access pips the Activa 125, but for that extra premium you get greater comfort, more space and most importantly better fuel efficiency which makes the Activa 125 our pick in this comparison.
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