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Honda Navi - Road Test Review

Snapshot: What is this? A scooter? A bike? Read-on to know!

Till date there were only either motorcycles or scooters that were counted as two-wheelers and of course there are mopeds as well but they are too scaled downed to be listed anywhere. It’s not every day that two-wheelers manufacturers make something so out of the league that is approachable to such an immense set of audience. But everybody is not Honda right? So the Japanese auto maker decided to twist the things a bit and started working on the Navi.

Navi was nothing like anything seen on the Indian roads. Navi looked so different that it left everyone wondering what on Earth this thing is? To give you an example, as soon as we picked it up from the showroom and stopped at the very first red light we noticed the attention and curiosity it created among the people. Some of them had us like is this an electric scooter? And some of them mistook it for a sports bike but none of them forgot to compliment the Navi for its good looks! And it makes us proud because it’s been fully designed and made in India without the help of Honda Japan team.

Design –

Aesthetically, Navi has been designed in a way that everything just fits in the right place. Though it’s not big in dimensions but it doesn’t feels so as soon as one starts riding it. Its hexagonal headlamp looks good at the front and gives it a bold look. The elongated single seat touches the fuel tank just like the ones seen in the motocross bikes. On the other hand all the major components like the meter console, suspensions and seat comes finished in black.

Its 12 inch wheel upfront is a perfect choice and that along with the telescopic forks looks nothing short of a great combination. Its chrome finished handle-bar is higher placed and is probably the only thing about the Navi that didn’t quite gel with its unconventional looks. Over-all Navi looks contrasting with what is usually seen in this segment and that adds to a sense of excitement and one can feel euphoric just by looking at it.

Engine and performance –

It borrows its 110cc single cylinder engine from the Activa 110 but the same engine feels comparatively zippy under the Navi. This little thing is almost 7kgs lighter than the Activa and hence feels more responsive and fun compared to the latter. The engine comes mated to the same V-Matic auto transmission like Activa. Irrespective of the speeds you’re doing, the Navi feels utterly smooth thanks to its refined engine and perfect setup. The engine doesn’t feel stressed out until it hits the 81km mark which is the upper limit of this engine and at this speed its yowl is quite audible unlike the Activa.

Brakes and Suspensions –

Navi is a light weight machine and the way its suspensions are set-up, makes it a really fun bike to ride. Its front telescopic forks feel soft enough to rebound and so it glides over the small patches with ease. But at the same time it feels significantly stiff on really bad roads and hence transfers some of the major undulations on to the body.  Navi comes with drum brakes at the front as well as rear. Brakes on the rear felt really strong and progressive but the front didn’t quite have the same amount of braking power as the rear.

Ride and Handling –

The Navi handles extremely well and I found its steering geometry rather fun. Its wheelbase is longer than the one on Activa which makes it comparatively more stable. It’s fast enough to change directions thanks to its light weight and high placed handle-bar position which makes it simply effortless to handle. It feels significantly stable even at high speeds but forgive it if you want to push it hard around the corners. It’s not meant to do that. On the other hand it will leave you bums sore if you are riding it on longer distances. And so it might not be as comfortable as expected from a daily commuter.

The Fun Factor –

Navi is quick, Navi handles well, Navi can jump around really high. Its compact size allows it to zip through daily city traffic like a kid running across the crowded streets. It feels more balanced than any scooter and last but not the least Navi feels fresh and break the laws governing two-wheelers. This crossover between both the sides make the Navi a contemporary player in a segment dominated by scooters.

Verdict-

Some of the tiny things that we wished the Navi had is that first of all there is no hook in luggage space below, so where are we supposed to hang the grocery bag? The second thing, it has just 3.8 litres of fuel tank and so it cannot cross more than 180kms in a single run without refuelling. Braking on the rear is powerful but on the front it can be improved for sure. No it’s not as practical as a scooter but at the same time no scooter can be this fun to ride.

If you have teenage kids which are about to hit the riding stage and you are looking to buy them a scooter we’ll say you better keep Navi on the priority as overall its meant to be a non-serious, fun machine and one way or another it will give your kids a feel of riding a motorcycle. At a price of Rs 39,500 (Ex-Showroom, Delhi), Honda Navi makes a beautiful package overall and is surely a good value for money proposition.  

Photography - Mohd. Nasir

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