Hero Maestro Test Ride Review
2012 Hero Maestro – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Hero Maestro Review

Bike tested: 2012 Hero Maestro

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 56,891/-

Maestro, the first scooter from independent Hero MotorCorp, is a freshly designed new scooter which surely has some boy thing in it. After the aged Pleasure, which was Hero Honda’s exclusive offering targeted at female buyers, the Maestro comes as a fresh air of surprise. It is targeted towards those who need a scooter that provides freedom from gear shifting, good storage, size and ample comfort but which does not look feminine. As the scooter market is flooded with many options now a days, the Hero Maestro has to stand out of the crowd and challenge the segment leader, Honda. We will try to find out if it has anything special other than boy thing that can attract buyers.

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Styling – The Hero Maestro follows a different design language that can attract the next generation and a functionality which will suit the ex-generation at the same time. At the front of the Hero Maestro, things which will gain your attention are the black colored visor and the two-tone rear view mirrors. Use of a black colored visor over the headlight is a nice touch and is first of its kind for a scooter. Also, nicely shaped rear view mirrors come in two-tone colors, one being the black as common and another being the color which is same as the body. Two-angled lines run from the top of the apron and extend to the front mudguard which adds some muscular appeal to it.

Look from the side and the design language of the Hero Maestro seems to be in harmony with the front, simple but with a hint of masculinity. From sharp nose to sharp tail, everything has an edgy feeling in it. Side panels are well executed with matte black strip running in between which discontinues monotony and gives it a distinct appeal. Rectangular tail light covers all the area at the rear along with the clear lens indicators, which appear to be inspired by the Honda Activa. Grab rails are also designed keeping in mind not only functionality but also style.

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Engine – We know that Hero borrowed engine technology from their ex-partner, in past, for various bikes and scooters. But while Pleasure continues to use the last generation 102cc Honda motor, this scooter gets the tried and tested motor from the current breed of Hondas. The 109cc, 8.2 HP engine has a different state of tune which has .2 BHP more (8.2 BHP) at the same 7500 RPM and an increase of .28 Nm of torque to 9.10 Nm over 8.82 Nm of the Activa. The Maestro is also 3 kgs lighter, making it much more peppier than the Honda Activa. The engine is smooth and refined, it does get loud at higher speeds and small amount of vibrations does kick in.

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Ergonomics – Bigger dimensions of scooters can accommodate big people like me easily. The seat is also wide and is cushioned nicely thus providing support well. Foot board is flat and spacious, thus one need not bend his/her legs while riding and same is for the pillion thanks to the proper placement of foldable footrests. Even with storage box (an accessory) at the front there is lot of room for my legs to play around. Longer saddle makes sure both rider and the pillion gets seated comfortably. Height and position of the handlebar is very comfortable and gives you a good upright stance while riding. Also the speed console comes in your line of sight and you need not take off your eyes from the roads. Switches are easily accessible too. The weight and saddle height is what can make this scooter difficult to ride for some female riders though.

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Instrument Cluster and Switch Gear – Bike-inspired instrument cluster has three pod layout which houses a digital display and all warning lights sitting at either side of central round speedo-meter. Digital display shows basic information like fuel gauge, single-trip meter, odometer and service due warning message and it has an orange colored back-light which is on all the time thus making it easy to read anytime. To make it appealing to males, speedo-meter needle swings from zero to full-scale and back once you switch ON the ignition just like every other sports bike.

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Some grey texture on the background and ‘Maestro’ written at the center in funky font also catches your attention. Lockable ignition cover is an added feature which has become common now a days for scooters. This ignition cover can be locked without the key by sliding a knob and unlocking obviously needs a key. Till what extent this feature increases the safety of the scooter is questionable but it inspires the confidence in the owner and also makes ignition tamper proof.

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Performance, Handling and Suspension – Seating position on this scooter is upright and you don’t need much effort to reach the handle bars. Once you twist the throttle, the scooter will give a nice response and accelerates smoothly. But if Hero wants to target young males then the performance is not as lively as the Honda Dio with the same engine. You get throttle response which gets dampened by the overall body weight and size. The Hero Maestro’s zippy engine and can take you around 90 km/h in considerably good time. The Maestro has a little feel of sportiness in it. Having conventional underbone type tubular chassis, straight line stability is good on high speeds, even with pillion rider. Handle bar feels quite heavy and hence at corners you will feel less confident.

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Equipped with combined braking system, the Maestro fails to impress when it comes to braking. You need to press both levers very hard for effective braking and thus it does not inspire confidence amongst the riders. On performance front let’s assume that the scooter is tuned for men and not boys. Suspension setup is typical bottom link type at the front and unit swing arm at the rear with hydraulic dampers providing cushion at both wheels. Telescopic suspension could have helped well though. Thus, the Hero Maestro is not that good at absorbing potholes. As a rider, you will feel hammering effect on your hands when you go through potholes, especially at high speeds. But your backbone is saved by a good suspension setup at the rear. Pillion comfort is also good.

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Miscellaneous – Under seat storage is generous and can house a full sized helmet easily with some space still left around it. We will give full marks for luggage space. Access to luggage space is provided by a lock located on the side and not at the back which is very convenient. One more feature which is carried over from Honda is the Combined Braking System. For the first time this technology is making its appearance on non-Honda scooter. Combined braking system, as the name suggests, is a system which applies brakes on both wheels even when you press the left brake lever only. This improves braking performance of the scooter theoretically. When you press the right lever, only front wheel will get the brake force.

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Conclusion – The Hero Maestro has good looks, tried, tested and trusted engine, conventional proven underpinnings, big dimensions and good features on offer. But pricing of this scooter could have been better, as direct competitor, the Honda Activa treads at a lesser price. This added price will get you fresh looks and Hero’s wide service network but remember, except this and good looks it has nothing new in it. When the scooter market is dominated by Honda, the Hero Maestro has potentials to challenge that dominance. The Maestro is thus a scooter worth considering.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/7844549398/[/flickr]

Whats Cool

* Looks
* Instrument console with digital display
* Size
* Hero’s service network

Whats Not So Cool

* Brakes
* Traditional suspension set-up

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/7844550196/[/flickr]

2012 Hero Maestro Specifications

* Engine: 109cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, 4-stroke, OHC
* Power: 8.2 BHP @ 7500 RPM
* Torque: 9.10 Nm @ 5500 RPM
* Top Speed: 90 km/h
* Fuel Consumption: 50 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: Bottom Link (Front), Unit Swing (Rear)
* Tires: 90/100/10
* Brakes: 130mm drums with Combined Braking System

2012 Hero Maestro Dimensions

* Wheelbase: 1240 mm
* Ground clearance: 155 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 5.3-litres
* Kerb Weight: 108 kgs