BS-VI 2019 Honda Activa 125 - First Ride Review

27/12/2019 - 18:00 | ,  ,   | Suvil Susvirkar

The Honda Activa 110 was a game-changer for Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, and it continues to be the company’s highest-selling model. In fact, the 110 cc scooter is often the country’s highest-selling two-wheeler. The 125 cc model, however, did not replicate the success of its lower displacement sibling. Now, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India have used the BS-VI transition to pull out the big guns and get a chunk of the growing 125 cc segment. We recently test rode the new BS-VI Honda Activa 125 and here are our first impressions.

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Prices of the BS-VI Honda Activa 125 start from INR 67,490*. The new scooter is available in three variants - Standard, Alloy and Deluxe.

Also Read: BS-VI Honda Activa 125 vs. BS-IV Honda Activa 125 - Old vs. New

Design and Features

The Honda Activa 125 continues to carry the family scooter theme, and it is instantly recognizable as an Activa series product. However, Honda has revised several details to make it look even more premium than its predecessor. The front fascia packs a sleek, full-LED headlight that is surrounded by a body-coloured mask and a dark visor. Chrome garnishing on the front apron and the body panels further enhance the premium look of the vehicle. The chrome highlights on the body panel feature an embossed branding for the Activa 125, which looks subtle, yet appealing.

The cockpit gets a revision too, and the new BS-VI Activa 125 features a semi-digital instrument console. The speed is indicated through an analogue meter while the rest of the information is available on the digital screen. The information-rich digital display shows that odometer, a trip meter, real-time fuel economy, average fuel economy, distance to empty, service due indicator and a clock. An Eco indicator is also part of the package, and it aims to provide the information about when the scooter is delivering the maximum fuel economy.

The switchgear comprises the control for the Idling Stop System. We will speak more on that in the latter part of the review. The left side switches include a pass function that is integrated into the high and low beam button. A multifunction keyhole with a switch to access the under-seat storage and the external fuel filler cap enhances the convenience factor.

Luggage solutions include 18-litre under-seat storage that can easily accommodate an open face helmet, a front glove box that can be used to keep documents or a phone and a hook that can be used to hang a bag. The under-seat storage also has a smart design to hold the tool kit, first-aid kit and some documents.

The footboard is spacious enough, and at 5’9” tall, I did not suffer from any legroom issues. The saddle, too, is sufficiently large to accommodate two adults comfortably. The thick padding further enhances the comfort levels. The rear-end features a bold and stylish taillight along with a chrome garnishing, and this setup looks premium. The external fuel filler cap is a neat addition, and it will make life easier during the refuelling stops.

The dimensions have also changed, and the BS-VI Activa 125 is 36 mm longer, 3 mm wider and 19 mm taller than the BS-IV version. The wheelbase is the same, though - 1,260 mm.

The scooter features a full metal body, and the fit and finish are commendable. We did not hear any unpleasant sounds from the bodywork during our brief ride experience. The chrome highlights add a very neat and premium look to the scooter as well. We had a tough time finding any flaws with the design, although we would like to point out that it may take a while to get used to the multifunction keyhole setup and the seat opening mechanism. The new instrument console is also quite useful, although a slightly larger digital display would have been a neat addition.

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The top-spec Deluxe version, which retails at INR 74,490*, comes with alloy wheels and a front disc brake.

All three variants – Standard, Alloy and Deluxe – of the BS-VI Activa 125 are available in four colours – Rebel Red Metallic, Midnight Blue Metallic, Heavy Grey Metallic & Pearl Precious White. Overall, the Activa 125 should appeal to anyone who is looking to purchase a family-oriented scooter, although it may not win any beauty pageants in the 125 cc segment.

Engine and Performance

In terms of mechanical specifications, the new BS-VI Activa 125 uses a 124 cc single-cylinder, air-cooled engine that now features a fuel-injection system instead of a carburettor to comply with the more stringent emission norms. The power and torque numbers have dropped marginally, and the BS-VI Activa 125 makes 8.29 PS of maximum output at 6,500 rpm as against 8.63 PS of the BS-IV guise. The peak torque, too, has come down marginally, and the BS-VI model produces 10.3 Nm at 5,000 rpm as against 10.54 Nm of the BS-IV model.

Honda has revised the bore and stroke on the BS-VI Activa 125, and the new model uses 50.0 mm x 63.1 mm setup as against 52.4 mm x 57.9 mm on its predecessor. The new motor further benefits from Honda Eco Technology (HET), Honda Enhanced Smart Power (eSP), a new ACG silent start system and Idling Stop System.

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The new engine of the BS-VI Honda Activa features revised bore and stroke sizes, fuel injection system, Honda Eco Technology (HET), Honda Enhanced Smart Power (eSP) and ACG silent start system.

Pushing the start button introduces you to the ACG silent start system. The tech starts the engine via the same AC generator that is used to generate current and charge the battery while riding the scooter.

The pre-ride presentation from Honda revealed that the BS-VI model makes slightly more power at lower engine revs than its predecessor. The difference, however, isn’t massive. Part of the reason is the increased bodyweight that is three kilograms more than the BS-IV version's. But that does not mean that the acceleration is lethargic, and the BS-VI Activa 125 climbs up to speeds of 70 km/h quite effortlessly. You can cruise at around 70 km/h mark without much stress on the engine.

The Idling Stop System is one of the USPs of the BS-VI Honda Activa 125. The concept isn’t new, and we have already seen a similar system on Hero MotoCorp’s products. Activated once the scooter crosses 20 km/h speeds, it cuts off the power to the motor at long halts, thus saving fuel and returning better economy. The power is sent to the engine as soon as the throttle is engaged without the need to pull the brake levers. It may surprise you the first time, although it would not take too long to get accustomed. The system can be disengaged using the switch on the right side of the handlebar.

Anchoring setup is available in two options. As standard, both wheels carry a drum brake, but optionally you can swap the front one with a disc brake. We tested the part-disc brake setup, and thus we cannot comment on the performance of the base version with two drum brakes. The disc brake does a commendable job of shedding speed without too much drama. The safety net comprises a combined braking system (CBS) as standard. The side-stand indicator with engine inhibitor further enhances the safety, by preventing the scooter from starting up when the side-stand is in use.

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A side-stand indicator with engine inhibitor tech ensures that the scooter does not move until the side-stand is lifted.

The overall performance may not be the fun-oriented, but it does a decent job and should suffice an average buyer. We could not test the fuel economy due to the limited time we had with the scooter, although Honda claims a 13% improvement over the BS-IV model.

Ride and Handling

The BS-VI Honda Activa 125 has the same suspension setup as the BS-IV model. Thus, shock absorption tasks are handled by telescopic forks at the front and a preload-adjustable spring at the back. The setup does a decent job at absorbing most of the undulations on the road. The sufficiently large footboard and well-padded seats further enhance the comfort levels. The rider’s triangle, too, is on the comfortable side, although taller riders may find the handlebar to be lower.

The handling department is satisfactory for city use, and the BS-VI Activa 125 filters through traffic effortlessly. High-speed rides and cornering prowess are not its best aspects, though. The scooter rides on 12-inch front and 10-inch rear wheels that are wrapped in 90/90-12 and 90/100-10 tyres respectively.

Verdict

The BS-VI Honda Activa 125 is quite an upgrade over the model it replaces. The build, fit and finish are commendable, and the full metal body further enhances the overall package. The information-rich instrument console is also a welcome addition, and the readings on the digital display along with the Eco indicator will help the riders to achieve good fuel economy numbers. The updated convenience features such as the multifunction (5-in-1) key slot and external fuel filler cap further improve the ownership experience.

The performance numbers may have gone down marginally but the BS-VI Honda Activa does not feel slower than its predecessor. The addition of ACG Starter, Idling Stop System and the side-stand indicator with engine inhibitor are welcome additions as well. It may not be the quickest or the fastest scooter in its segment but it’s a tried and tested formula that should sufficiently suit the requirements of an average buyer (family guy).

The prices of the BS-VI Activa 125 start from INR 67,490* for the base model while the mid (alloy) and the top (Deluxe) variants retail at INR 70,990* and INR 74,490* respectively.

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The BS-VI Honda Activa comes across as a very appealing package, although it isn't something that one can describe as "fun". It uses a tried and tested formula that works well for a good family scooter.

Also Read: BS-VI Honda Activa 125 and BS-VI Honda SP 125 cross 60,000 dispatch landmark in record time

Young buyers who are looking for something more intriguing can check out the likes of TVS Ntorq 125 or the Suzuki Access 125. Buyers with deeper pockets (higher budget) can also check out the Aprilia and Vespa 125 cc scooters. Plan to upgrade to a motorcycle instead? Don’t forget to check out the Honda SP 125.

*Ex-showroom Delhi

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