Air pollution is a major problem in India and the government’s idea of tackling this situation is a jump to BS-VI emission norms. Heeding to government notifications, Honda 2Wheelers India has launched the Honda Activa 125 BS-VI. With a lot of segment first features, the scooter is a huge step ahead not just for the brand, but also for the Indian two-wheeler industry.
Honda globally sold 20 million two-wheelers in 2018 and a major chunk of this was from India. Powering the scooter industry’s rise in India, has been Honda’s iconic Activa brand name. In 2009, scooters constituted just 12% of the market but now it has reached a healthy 32%. While the eagle-eyed enthusiasts will remember that scooter numbers have dropped in the course of last year, the numbers still constitute a significant chunk of the market.
The Honda Activa 125 is the company’s premium offering targeted towards a family audience. The BS-VI compliant Activa 125 carries over the design philosophy of the family but gets a major makeover internally. Here’s all you need to know about the differences between the Honda Activa 125's BS-VI and BS-IV versions.
Engine – Honda Activa 125 aims for an auditory revolution
No, we are not at electric yet. Instead, Honda has worked towards reducing the ignition noise. God knows how much we hated that (instead of rising fuel bills). Globally, Honda was the first two-wheeler brand to introduce ACG (Alternating Current Generator) based starter in a 125 cc scooter. This time the technology makes way to Honda’s Indian portfolio in the form of Activa 125 BS-VI.
The ACG starter in Honda Activa 125 BS-VI is supported by Idling Start Stop System. This system automatically stops the engine during brief stops, thereby reducing fuel consumption. While this technology is a first for Honda branded two-wheeler in India, we have seen it in the Hero Splendor i3S and Hero Destini 125. The Hero models, though, miss out on ACG starters.
ACG Starter – Honda’s quiet revolution technology explained
In case of a standard starter as seen in the present version of BS-IV compliant Activa 125, the engine uses logy to a sliding gear starter. In this system, the gears move against each other to bring motion to the piston. An ACG starter and an electric current is used to create electromagnets. These help in moving the flywheel, before finally moving the piston. The use of electromagnets instead of gears reduces friction and noise, thus leading to a silent start. In the Honda Activa 125 BS-VI, a swing back motion of the piston rotates the setup slightly backward. This allows a running start to the engine, requiring a lesser amount of power as compared to a standard electrical starter.
Programmed Fuel Injection – a new way to fuel the engine
For several decades, Honda and other manufacturers in India have used a conventional carburettor for supplying fuel-air mixture to the combustion chamber. Both the Activa 125 BS-IV and the Activa 5G utilize a carburettor. While a carburettor is cheaper initially and easier to maintain, the ratio of the fuel-air mixture cannot be regulated.
Regulating the ratio of fuel-air mixture helps in reducing the tailpipe emissions. This can be done only with the use of fuel injection. The newly introduced Honda Activa 125 BS-VI uses a programmed fuel injection technology. This injector directly transmits the fuel-air mixture to the combustion chamber. Fuel injection will help the Honda Activa 125 BS-VI return crisper throttle response, a linear power delivery. It will also provide a better response during a cold start.
Honda has also optimized the inlet port shape and used reverse flow technology to keep the combustion chamber compact. That’s not all, engineers at Honda have also used an offset cylinder and lightweight crankshaft and piston to reduce overall friction.
All these features and changes have been integrated to form Honda Enhanced Smart Power (eSP). Along with HET (Honda Eco Technology), eSP reduces friction and maximises efficient combustion.
Numbers – Kitna deti hai
The powerplant in the Honda Activa 125 BS-IV is a 124.9 cc carburetted air-cooled mill. The belt drive motor can produce 8.52 BHP and 10.54 Nm of torque. Honda has not revealed the numbers of the BS-VI version. However, expect them to be in the same region. If we talk about fuel efficiency, the company claims that the Honda Activa 125 BS-VI is 10 to 15% more fuel efficient than the BS-IV model.
Features – what makes Honda Activa 125 BS-VI stand out
Honda 2Wheelers India has made its R&D team work doubly hard for the Honda Activa 125 BS-VI. Gone is the blue themed instrument cluster present in the BS-IV version which had a cluttered feel. A greyish theme with a thin cool blue coloured band lends a sober look to the setup. Honda does not want anyone to be confused with the fact that the Grazia is their sporty scooter and the Activa is a family-oriented one, even the 125 cc variant.
The introduction of electronically controlled fuelling has allowed several readouts to be incorporated in the semi-digital instrumentation. This includes distance to empty, average fuel efficiency and real-time fuel efficiency. We'll know how accurate these readouts are when we get to ride the scooter. The Eco Speed Indicator and usual bells and whistles like a clock, fuel gauge, odometer and trip meter have been retained.
The presence of an On-Board Diagnostic allows the rider to be informed about serious malfunctions which need immediate attention. Honda has even popped in an engine inhibitor, which prevents engine from starting if the prop stand (side stand) is being used. That’s not all, they have also included a side-stand reminder on the instrument console. This feature has been seen in several Hero branded two-wheelers.
It’s finally here!
Another major complaint which consumers have had with the present crop of Activas has been the lack of an external fuel filler. Well, Honda has finally paid heed to this issue and has included an external fuel filling cap which is located just above the tail lamp. This cap can be controlled by the 4-in-1 lock…. Erm... Wait! Now it is a 5-in-1 lock for the switch can be used to open the fuel lid as well as the seat.
Honda 2Wheelers India has taken a lesson or two from its sibling HCIL (Honda Cars India Ltd) and introduced chrome on the body panel. The company calls it premium and attractive! For some strange reason, two-wheeler manufacturers in India, even Japanese ones, mention chrome cladding in the list of features! Do share your opinions on this in the comments section.
Small changes for the better
The chrome inserts in the front apron are new, while the indicators have been made smaller in size. The front fender has been made sharper. The design of the main stand has been changed and by the looks of it, it should be now even easier to operate. The kick starter in the Activa 125 BS-VI is no longer parallel to the crankcase cover but is parallel to the ground. This may allow the rider to use the kick starter without the main stand affecting its motion.
The luggage hook under the seat hinge has been made retractable as seen in the Activa 5G. Honda has even included a small glove box in the front but just like in the Grazia it is a small unit and can store just a phone. The unit seems sturdier, though. The grab rail design also has been changed. However, one grievance which remains is that the absence of a locking mechanism.
Honda has thankfully kept the exhaust canister completely black and replaced the chrome heat shield for a glossy black unit. The tail lamp has gained a chrome insert. Honda has changed the design of the Activa 125 in a subtle manner and made it sharper.
Common features – family legacy retained
Moving on, other features like telescopic suspension up front and 3-step adjustable spring-based setup in the rear have been retained. Just as the BS-IV version, the BS-VI compliant Honda Activa 125 features an LED headlamp and position lamp setup. Combined Braking System is present, now in all variants. Honda was first the two-wheeler in India which introduced the safety feature of CBS (as an option in Activa 110) a decade before the government made it compulsory. Full marks to Honda for this.
The alloy wheels continue to be black and the front wheel gets a disc brake. The latter though will be offered only in the top variant. A steel wheel variant can also be expected, an announcement of which should be made around the launch.
Colour options – Different, yet the same
The Honda Activa BS-VI will be available in 6 colour options. Rebel Red Metallic, Black and Midnight Blue Metallic have been retained. Pearl Amazing White makes way for Pearl Precious White. Matte Crust Metallic and Matte Selene Silver Metallic make way for Heavy Grey Metallic and Majestic Brown Metallic.
Availability and Price
The BS-VI complaint Activa 125 will not be available just yet. The company says the it will be on sale towards the end of the second quarter of the financial year 2019-20. That places it just around the festive season, before the end of September 2019.
Honda has not revealed the price of Activa 125 but has confirmed that it will be priced 10-15% more than the BS-IV version. To give you an idea, the present version of BS-IV Activa 125 is priced at INR 60,347 for the drum brake variant and INR 64,733 for the range-topping variant with disc brake and alloy wheels (both ex-showroom, Delhi). That place the new price tag in the range of INR 69,400 to INR 74,500 (ex-showroom).