2012 Honda Activa Test Ride Review
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Honda Activa Review

Bike tested: 2012 Honda Activa

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 54,500/-

Honda’s success in the scooter market can be greatly attributed to the Activa. The Japanese automaker has commanded numero uno position in the scooter segment for a long time now, and leading the charge is the Honda Activa. The Activa is so popular that you can’t get one off the shelf, you have to wait. So what makes the Honda Activa so popular amongst the scooter buyers? We take it for a quick spin to find out what the hype is all about.

Styling – The Honda Activa has a conservative design which pleases everyone with its neutral design language but it has the traditional edgy lines, scoops at the front and on the swooping side panels. The headlight and the indicators at the front have an edgy design. The exhaust comes with the same old boxy design which isn’t to our taste. The front mudguard of the Honda Activa is sleek and well sculpted. The massive tail and the indicators at the rear light helps in supreme illumination.

Instrument Cluster and Switch Gear – The instrument cluster is simple. There is a fuel gauge with speedometer and odometer. Indicator lights on the instrument cluster are differently placed for left and right, unlike all other scooters where there is a solitary indicator. Switch gear is like any other scooter, with the same functionality and placement, nothing new, but they feel a bit up market than the competition.

Ergonomics – The Honda Activa has a very comfortable seating position, upright and not so wide, perfect for city rounds. The switch gear is very friendly and easy to operate for newbie riders as well. The seat is well cushioned. It has a perfect balance, comfortable enough for short trips and will help in long journeys as well. The aluminium grab rail at the back for the pillion is a perfect size to hold on. Rear view mirrors are very easy to adjust and offer very wide view of what is behind. The floor bed is wide and can carry huge amounts of your baggage.

Performance and Gearbox – The Honda Activa is powered by a 109cc 4-stroke, air-cooled engine which churns out 8 BHP of power at 7500 RPM and 8.82 Nm of torque at 5500 RPM. Engine is smooth and utterly refined. It’s even more refined than the previous generation Activa. Performance is decent and one should not expect anything sporty from the scooter. Power delivery is linear and the throttle response acts quickly to your inputs. Initially there is negligible CVT lag, after which the scooter really gets going. Low end is excellent and the mid-range of the Honda Activa is quick too (50 to 70 km/h is very quickly dealt with). It will eventually pull smoothly to its top speed of 85 km/hr.

Ride, Handling, and Braking – The Honda Activa, like 99% of the scooters, rides on a very basic and common set of 90 x 100 tyres with 10-inch wheels. Ride quality is good but we found it to be a slightly stiffer than the older version. Maneuvering in the city is a hassle free job, U-turn radius is short, and it’s nimble while cutting through traffic. Handling is nothing to speak off; the culprit is the lack of telescopic suspension at the front. Its lacks grip while cornering and feels unstable when riding enthusiastically, however, it’s nowhere near to the class leader, the TVS Wego.

Braking is good, thanks to the ‘Combi Brakes’ which work effectively. This system applies brakes to both the wheels even when you depress the right side brake lever only, which makes it very safe when shedding high speeds. During emergency braking, this helps the scooter not to lose composure. High-speed stability is good and there is very little wind blast. Wider rubber is always welcome on any scooter but all the scooters are fighting for fuel economy rather than cornering speeds and stability.

Miscellaneous – Plastic quality all around the Activa is good. Ground clearance is less and you will scrape your under-body on huge speed breakers, when you have a pillion on-board. Under seat storage is an improvement over the previous generation but not class leading, but you can fit a full faced helmet due to clever packaging which consist of a shallow boot and space squeezed below. You will have to pay for basic accessory like a side stand while the RVM and the shutter lock comes as a standard.

Conclusion – The Honda Activa has already proven itself overtime. Despite the fact that it doesn’t handle well, lacks goodies, has a conservative design and lacks telescopic suspension, it scores high on braking, quality, comfort and most of all, the desirable Honda badge which it carries. The Honda Activa is a tough and reliable, easy to use scooter, something which everyone wants.

What’s Cool

* Ease of use nature
* Reliability

What’s Not So Cool

* Handling
* Long waiting period

Honda Activa Specifications

* Engine: 109cc, 4-stroke, single-cylinder, air-cooled, OHC
* Power: 8 BHP @ 7500 RPM
* Torque: 8.82 Nm @ 5500 RPM
* Transmission: V-matic
* Top Speed: 85 km/h
* 0-60 km/h: 11 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 45 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: Bottom link with spring loaded Hydraulic Damper (Front), Unit swing with spring loaded Hydraulic Damper (Rear)
* Tires: 90/100-10 53J
* Brakes: 130 mm Drums (with CBS)

Honda Activa Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 1761 mm x 710 mm x 1147 mm
* Wheelbase: 1238 mm
* Ground clearance: 145 mm
* Seat Height: 765 mm
* Under-seat Storage Volume: 18-litres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 5.3-litres
* Kerb Weight: 110 kgs