The ’Frontastic’ new scooter on the block

In today’s automotive scenario, the word ‘Honda Activa’ needs no introduction. For a scooter which revolutionised the entire scooter market, or to be precise, gave a fresh lease of life to the almost dying scooter, the Activa has enjoyed a golden journey to date becoming the highest selling two-wheeler in some of the previous months.

The Activa began its life with a 100cc engine which was later upgraded with an 110cc engine. A couple of years ago, Honda decided to make the Activa brand a bit more premium by launching a bigger and more powerful version of the same, the Activa 125.

The Activa 125 came with a slightly revised design and dimensions, the inclusion of a few new features and most importantly, a larger heart in the form of a bigger 125cc engine. This flagship scooter from Honda may not be a high volume churner as its 110cc counterpart, but it gave the scooter buyers an option to go for a big lifestyle or powerful scooter, which offers a more mature and better product over the regular Activa.

Recently, Honda silently launched the first ever facelift of the Activa 125, which hosts of a couple of new features and slight mechanical changes to its powertrain. Let’s have a look at what all changes the new Activa 125 has been blessed with:-

2017 Honda Activa 125
  • Year: 2017
  • Make: Honda
  • Model: Activa
  • Engine: inline-1
  • Displacement: 124.9 cc
  • Top Speed: 43 mph (Est.)
  • Price: INR 56954
  • Price: Affordable
  • Overall: 8.2/10

STYLING

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2017 honda Activa 125 2015 Honda Activa 125

In contrast to the now boring design of the 110cc Activa, the Activa 125 sported a more premium design without tinkering much with the original design of the Activa. Featuring larger body panels and chassis components, the Activa 125 has the word ‘premium’ written all over it. In this latest version of the scooter, the Activa 125 hasn’t undergone many drastic changes, but then, has included a couple of new features which make it a bit more upmarket than before.

To start with, the new Activa 125 retains the sophisticated front apron and headlamp design completely. However, there is a slight change here – at the centre of the front apron, you get new reindeer horn-shaped daytime running LEDs between the clear lens turn indicators and the thick Y-shaped strip of chrome, making it look much more modern than other Honda scooters. The handlebar gets the same trapezoidal headlamp with a tinted visor above it, which looks a bit Plain Jane, in our opinion. The rear view mirrors, as well as a long pointed front fender, have been lifted off from its predecessor model.

2017 Honda Activa 125
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2017 Honda Activa 125
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There is completely no change to the side profile of the scooter, for the Activa 125 retains the large side body panels with strong character lines as well as back panels of the front apron with luggage hooks on this new version as well. At the rear too, you get the same large single piece aluminium finished grab rail as well as large tail lamp cluster, which is a redesigned version of the tail light you get on the 110cc Activa. The optional alloy wheels which you get on the Activa 125 adds to the luxurious feel of the scooter. The scooter gets an 18-litre storage compartment under the seat, which also gets a USB charging socket.

Even the instrument console has been retained from the previous version of the scooter, and it continues to be a part digital unit, consisting of analogue dials for speedometer and digital readouts for the fuel gauge, odometer and trip meters. The unit is surrounded by silver accents around it, a premium touch in its overall appeal. Another significant feature which has made way into the Activa 125 is the auto headlamp on (AHO) feature, which is gradually becoming a common feature in the newer two wheelers in India.

The new Activa will get a new middle variant apart from the existing two and will have alloy wheels on it. Calling it a ‘Frontastic’ outlook, the new scooter has a fresh new front façade with LED integrated into the chrome chest. A new colour ‘Mat Crust Metallic’ is introduced and has features like mobile charging socket and a retractable front hook for more convenience to the rider.

Overall Dimensions

Make Model 2017 Honda Activa 125 Suzuki Access Vespa VXL 125
Length 1814mm 1870mm 1770mm
Width 704mm 655mm 690mm
Height 1151mm 1160mm 1140mm
Wheelbase 1260mm 1265mm 1290mm
Ground clearance 155mm 160mm 155mm
Seat height 765mm 780mm 770mm
Wet weight 108kg 102kg 109kg
Fuel tank 5.3l 5.6l 6l

POWERTRAIN

2017 Honda Activa 125 Exterior Drivetrain
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Apart from a couple of new features added to the engine, this is where the other substantial change is introduced to the scooter. Though it still retains the same four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 124.9cc engine from its previous model, the engine has been retuned and refined to make it compliant to BS-IV norms. Yes, there is a slight change in the way it performs as well, for the power output now stands at 8.52 bhp (0.1 bhp lesser than before) and 10.54 Nm (0.4 Nm more than before).

What this change means is that the new Activa has lost a slight of its steam at the top end range, but then recovers that by having a better mid range than before, with the scooter now feeling peppier to ride at city speeds. There is not much change in the way it sips fuel, with the Activa 125 averaging a fuel economy of 45-46 kmpl in real-world conditions. And what also hasn’t much changed is the engine refinement, with this 125cc engine being the most refined and vibe-free engine of its competition.

Honda calls this the ‘most technologically advanced’ scooter in the segment with it being the only one having the Combi Brake System (CBS) with Equalizer technology. This will, however, be made mandatory for every two-wheeler up to 125cc by April.

Engine Specification

Make Model 2017 Honda Activa 125 Suzuki Access Vespa VXL 125
Capacity cc 124.9 124 125
Output 9 bhp @ 6500 rpm 9 bhp @ 7000 rpm 10 bhp @ 7500 rpm
Torque 11 Nm @ 5000 rpm 10 Nm @ 5000 rpm 11 Nm @ 6000 rpm
Type Fan Cooled, 4 Stroke, SI Engine 4-Cycle, 1-Cylinder, Air cooled Fan Cooled, 4 Stroke, SI Engine
Transmission V – Matic CVT CVT

RIDE AND HANDLING

2017 Honda Activa 125 Exterior
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The Activa 125 has always been one sweet handling scooter and thankfully much hasn’t changed in this new version. Honda hasn’t introduced a single change in the chassis front, so you still continue to get the modern telescopic forks at the front and a hydraulic single spring suspension at the rear, which is tuned for a soft and supple ride quality.

Thanks to the large 12-inch wheel at the front and the regular 10-inch wheel at the rear, the scooter handles better in a less intimidating way, despite the large dimensions. The 130mm drum brake setup at both the ends do bring the scooter to a halt comfortably as and when needed, though we do recommend you to go for the optional 190mm disc brake at the front as it offers additional bite over the drum brake.

Chassis Specifications

Make Model 2017 Honda Activa 125 Suzuki Access Vespa VXL 125
Suspension / Front Telescopic fork Telescopic fork Telescopic with anti-friction bush
Suspension / Rear Spring Loaded Hydraulic Type Swing arm Nitrox mono shock absorber with Canister
Brakes / Front Disc 190mm Disc 190mm Disc 200mm
Brakes / Rear Drum 130 (CBS) Drum 130 Drum 140
Tyres / Front 90/90-12 90/90-12 110-70/11
Tyres / Rear 90/100-10 90/100-10 120-70/10

PRICE

2017 Honda Activa 125
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Being the flagship scooter of Honda, the Activa 125 did use to exist on the top of the pricing spectrum of Honda’s lineup, with the scooter being on a pricier side earlier.

You can get your hands on the new Activa 125 starting today for a price of ₹ 56954 for the standard variant, ₹ 58900 for the alloy drum variant and ₹ 61362 for the ally disc variant (all prices ex-showroom). In addition to the new Mat Crust Metallic colour, you will get the Pearl White, Midnight Blue, Black and Rebel Red Metallic colour options.

COMPETITION

The 125cc segment of scooters is already a niche segment in the Indian market, with the category currently having very limited options to choose from. Apart from a unique Vespa offerings, the only serious and direct competitor to the Activa 125 is the Suzuki Access and the pricey Vespa VXL 125.

Suzuki Access

Suzuki updates the Gixxer and Access for 2017. Exterior
- image 527370

Not all debuts are sure shot hits – ask Suzuki. When the Japanese manufacturer made its entry on its own almost a decade ago, it didn’t have a start as good as expected. Except for the 125cc scooter Access, no other product from Suzuki in India could shake up the already established models in their respective segments.The flagship scooter of the Japanese brand revived it from the burning ashes.

The royal and sophisticated look of the Access is now accentuated with new chrome embellishments, 3D emblem logo and quite a few segment firsts like the Suzuki Easy Start System, multi-function instrument cluster with digital display, front pocket, one central push lock and optional DC socket.

Suzuki has retained the tried and tested four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 124cc engine from the previous Access for this new generation model. The company says that it has been tweaked to better out the throttle responses and squeeze out a higher fuel efficiency, something which was a weak trait of the previous model. And is now BS-IV compliant, meaning, it pollutes less.The engine, more or less, produces still a maximum power output of 9 bhp at 7000 rpm and a maximum torque output of 10 Nm at 5000 rpm. However, the claimed fuel efficiency now stands at 64 kmpl. The engine remains a refined unit, which has a strong low-end punch.

The Suzuki Access is now priced at ₹ 54302 for the drum variant and ₹ 57615 for the disc brake variant.

Vespa VXL 125

2016 Suzuki Access Special Edition
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Since a long time, the Piaggio Vespa has been the perennial style quotient in the automatic scooter segment. Probably the most popular automatic scooter brand across the world, the Vespa has spawned into a variety of models, all of which depict a distinctive retro design which is eye-popping, to say the least.

Apart from playing with the styling and equipment list, Piaggio chose to play safe with the powertrain of the Vespa VXL 125. This new scooter retains the four stroke, single cylinder, 3-valve, air cooled, 125cc engine, which is capable enough to belt out 10.06 PS of maximum power and 10.6 Nm of peak torque.

Though these figures remain unchanged from the previously available Vespa VX, the Vespa VXL 125 continues to be the most powerful 125cc scooter when compared to the competition. Mated to a CVT transmission, this 125cc engine has a solid punch in low revs as well as mid-range, making this little scooter a powerful scooter for your daily riding duties. The scooter delivers promising fuel economy of 50-55 kmpl in the real world conditions.

Good things don’t come cheap. Staying true to this age old saying, Piaggio has priced the Vespa VXL 125 at a staggeringly high price tag of Rs. 77,308. This price does shoo away a majority of buyers who see the scooters as a mere means of travelling from point A to point B. But then, the Vespa VXL 125 isn’t meant for just a commuter, but a style statement on two wheels which indeed commands respect and attention.

VERDICT

2017 Honda Activa 125
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Honda did give a chance to all of its coveted customers a choice to upgrade to a more premium than other scooters in the Activa 125, an attempt to which it has succeeded as well. The new features do very little to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the scooter, and we did expect a bit more extensive changes on the scooter.

Nevertheless, considering the fact that the Activa 125 is already a fine looking scooter, we do not criticise Honda too much. Also, the minute changes which Honda has carried out for the engine has made it more lovable and convenient to ride than before. And with a supple ride quality and easy handling as its strong forte, the Activa 125 ticks all the right boxes to be on the list of buyers who are out for a premium scooter in the market.

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Sagar Patil
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