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Old 21st July 2013, 08:02   #1
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Default Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Request to Mods : I am aware that team-bhp generally does not allow threads on buying decision and purchase experience, but I request you to make an exception for this one since Activa-i is a recently launched product for which no reviews/test ride experiences are available on the internet. My thread my be helpful to others who may be considering this gearless scooter.

The first 2 posts only contain my requirements, selection process for buying a gearless scooter and options considered. If you are in a hurry and need quick information only on Activa-i, jump to the 3rd post.

OK, so this is how it started - I currently own a 4 year old i10 and a 15 year old Yamaha RXZ. Touchwood, both of them are serving me very well. After I got married, we realised that we needed a gearless scooter mostly for running errands. The scooter should be thin and light so that my wife could ride and park it comfortably. But at the same time, it should also not be too girly or dull to drive. I might sell off my RXZ after a while, so the scooter should be decent enough for me to ride without feeling embarrassed. It should be powerful enough for carrying a pillion comfortably. I was looking for a long term ownership, hence availability of spareparts 10-15 years down the line was also a criteria. Resale value was not a big factor for me, but it never hurts if the scooter fetches a few bucks at the time of sale.

Other requirements being - decent reliability, fuel economy, ground clearance, comfort, braking, and other utility features. I was looking for a jack of all trades, a product that ticks a lot of boxes rather than one which excels only in one department and fails miserably in the others. This is just my way of selecting things, no offense to people who follow other approaches. At this point, I think it is worth mentioning that I have a soft corner for Japanese products and I hence I had a preference towards the big 3 (Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha). Still I was willing to consider Indian brands TVS and Hero.

Mahindra was a strict no-no for me because of lack of trust in the brand. Vespa was not considered because of its pricing and lack of features to justify the premium pricing. Also I don't really care for the retro looks. I have a personal bias against European brands, I feel that they treat India like a third world country. Again, no offense to people who are happy with their Mahindra 2-wheelers or Vespas.

So how difficult could it be to select a gearless scooter based on my requirements ? Let me tell you, it was not easy. I took much more time and many more test rides to select a scooter, than I took when I purchased my car. I started the test rides in January and finally made the purchase in July.

I consider myself as a very informed buyer. I do a lot of online research and read lots of user reviews before buying anything - vehicles, appliances, gadgets etc. I also take multiple test drives/rides before finalising the vehicle. I also visit multiple dealers to get the best quote.

There are 2 things I would never do while buying a vehicle:
1. Booking a vehicle without a test drive/ride
2. Booking a vehicle which has a waiting period

But while buying this scooter, I broke all my rules. I booked the Activa-i without a test ride. The only consolation for me was that this was based on the same mechanicals as the Activa, hence it would be mechanically sound. I was willing to compromise on anything else.
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Old 21st July 2013, 08:10   #2
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Default re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Following are the options which I considered :


Honda Activa/Dio
------------------

I personally like the regular Activa a lot. It is complete package with almost no shortcomings, except for the lack of telescopic front shock absorbers. The looks are to my liking and the size is just perfect. Unfortunately, my wife found it too heavy and bulky for her. So Activa was ruled out. Same for Dio, it is also similarly bulky and heavy. The plastic body doesn't help to reduce the bulk. Also, the pillion seating position is very uncomfortable.

At this point I would like to make a special mention regarding the pathetic experience we had at the Honda agency. Test ride was bluntly denied to us even though test ride vehicle was parked outside. The sales staff were busy chatting with each other and attending to the customer was too much of a trouble for them. They didn't even offer a seat to us and didn't even have a Dio on display. It was too much of a trouble for the sales girl to walk a few steps to show us a Dio, even though dozens of Dios were parked right outside the showroom door.

Also, I had booked a test ride for Activa-i on the Honda website. I received a few mails mentioning that Activa-i is not currently available. But nobody has contacted me for test ride even after it became available.


Suzuki Access/Swish
---------------------

Access and Swish had extra power, which we did not require. They were also heavy and bulky like the Honda Activa and Dio. During the test ride at low to medium speeds, I could not find any noticeable difference in the power delivery between Access and Activa. If the difference is felt only at speeds above 60kmph, it was of no use to me since I would not be riding the scooter at such speeds. The extra power causes a decrease in fuel efficiency and this was one factor which went against it.

Many Access owners have complained about poor fuel efficiency and poor braking. I am very particular about a vehicle's braking capability. Poor braking is something I can't tolerate.

I would like to quote Spideman's uncle - "With great power comes great responsibility". Translated into automotive terms - a more powerful vehicle should have better brakes.

I sincerely feel that our government should introduce some guidelines for safety features in vehicles. Just like power and mileage figures, the manufacturers should be made publish the braking figures too. Also, the so called auto experts and auto journalists should also mention the 60 to 0 time along with the 0 to 60 time in their reviews.

The sales experience at Suzuki dealer was marginally better than Honda, but nothing to mention.


TVS Wego
-----------

Even though I have a liking towards the Japs, a scooter search would never be complete without considering the TVS Wego. So I decided to give it a shot.

We entered the TVS agency and things were looking better already. The salesman approached us, rather than us having to chase the salesmen like in Honda and Suzuki dealerships.

Test ride was offered within a split second. I would like to mention that the TVS dealer did not have a dedicated test ride vehicle and offered a brand new unregistered vehicle for us to test ride. What this basically means is that if I were to buy a TVS Wego, it is possible that my brand new scooter would previously have been used by some other prospective customer for a test ride. Not a good feeling to have.

The test ride itself was very good. The shock absorbers did their job perfectly - they really absorbed the shocks on bad roads. The engine felt peppy and refined.

Wego is perhaps the only other truly unisex scooter in India. The looks are neutral and it suits everyone - males, females, college crowd, office crowd, house wife, senior citizens etc.

What went against the Wego was the huge number of bad reviews against the product. Complaints of leakages, battery issues etc. I was also not sure of the long term reliability and availability of spare parts in the long run. Final nail in the coffin was when I read that a fellow BHPian has sold off his Wego because of niggling issues.

I also did not like the step seat arrangement - the rear seat was too tall even for an average height person like me. I am also not a fan of external fuel lid. I prefer the fuel lid below the seat.


Hero Pleasure
---------------

I have been a fan of Hero Honda vehicles mainly for their cost of ownership and service network coverage. My colleagues who own Splendor used to spend very little on fuel and service bills compared to my Yamaha RXZ, even with a similar usage.

Also Hero Motors were giving 5 years warranty on their vehicles, which is a sign that the manufacturer has confidence on the quality of his product. And why not, its a Honda engine after all.

With this thought in mind, we took test ride of Pleasure. I had mixed reactions after the test ride. There was nothing really wrong with the vehicle, except for the fact that it was a very old design and uses older generation Activa engine.

Also, I don't understand why some companies are hell bent on branding certain scooters as girly. I'm sure many boys would reject the Pleasure only for this reason.

I don't care too much about these things, so I was willing to consider this, but in a neutral shade (any colour except pink, yellow, orange and green). You wouldn't believe the number of colours and multi colours available in Pleasure. It is like an Asian Paints colour catalogue.

So Hero Pleasure gets the bronze medal.


Yamaha Ray/Ray Z
------------------

First of all, hats off to fellow BHPian yikes6633, who has shared a very comprehensive ownership experience of his Yamaha Ray. It is so detailed that one can make a purchase only based on his review/ownership experience.

This is one scooter which really appeals to your heart. You may think what fun can you have on a girly scooty, but don't let its petite frame deceive you. This is a very exciting vehicle to drive. The ride and handling is simply class leading without any doubt. The low end response of the engine is very nice, and is ideal for city commute.

Again, I don't understand the logic behind the girly positioning of this lovely product. Also, after initially positioning this for the females, now they give it a slightly different paint job, put a few decals, increase the price and call it Ray-Z, and they expect the boys to suddenly start liking it.

I really wanted to buy this, but several small things kept holding me back - low ground clearance, no tubeless tyres, very shallow underseat storage space etc. Also the saddle height is very low - this may be a good or bad thing depending on your height.

I had almost made up my mind to go for this scooter, but then I came to know about the launch of Activa-i.

So Yamaha Ray gets the silver medal.
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Old 21st July 2013, 08:19   #3
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Default re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Ladies and Gentlemen, the winner is Activa-i.

Let me get this straight, I'm not saying that Activa-i is the best scooter money can buy. But this particular model satisfied most of my requirements and was value for money.

As soon as the model was unveiled last month, I was glued on the internet for any information about this product. Unfortunately, till date the only information available on this product is the list of specifications on the Honda website and a few initial impressions videos from the day of the launch.

Thats why I decided to write the review as soon as possible for the benefit of fellow buyers.

Let me start off with some images.

Front 3 quarter view.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-front-3-quarter.jpg

Rear 3 quarter view.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-rear-3-quarter.jpg

Under seat storage.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-under-seat-storage-area.jpg

Under seat storage with full face helmet.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-under-seat-storage-area-helmet.jpg

Speedometer and fuel gauge.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-speedometer-fuel-guage.jpg

Choke and ignition key.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-choke-ignition-key.jpg

Floor board.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-floor-board.jpg

Floor board with my feet.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-floor-board-my-feet.jpg

Rear view mirror.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-rear-view-mirror.jpg

Tyre information.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-tyre-information.jpg

Engine bay.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-engine-bay.jpg

Rear view.

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-rear-view.jpg
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Old 21st July 2013, 08:26   #4
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Default re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

I have not been able to ride it much because of the rains, but I will try to give you the initial impressions.

Since this is based on the existing Activa, there are really no surprises. Its engine and suspensions are identical to the Activa.

Engine feels very smooth while cruising at 50 kmph, I will restrict myself to 50 kmph during the run in period. Pick up is good, even with a pillion on board. But the engine/CVT is a bit juddery from 0 to 20 kmph. I'm not sure if this is the same for all gearless scooters or it is a trait of Honda engine/CVT.

When I brought the scooter home after delivery, the ride was very harsh. I was pretty sure that the tyres were over inflated by the Honda dealer. After getting the pressure adjusted, ride quality feels acceptable for short distances.

The seat compound feels a bit firm at the moment. I'm sure it will soften after a while. The seat is long and flat, hence is comfortable for the rider as well as pillion. The seat height is similar to regular Activa. I'm 5'8" and I can manage to rest both my toes on the ground. For comparison, Yamaha Ray has a very low seat, I could rest both my heels on the ground.

Under seat compartment is quite generous. Full face helmet easily fits inside, with room for a half litre water bottle, cleaning cloth, tool kit and papers. This is one area where Activa-i scores over Yamaha Ray. The under seat compartment in Ray is of a similar size, but is about 25% less deep, because of which it fails to accommodate a full face helmet.

The combi brakes are nice to have. Braking is also quite good. I had a few occasions when I needed to apply the brakes suddenly. The scooter stopped in no time, and in a very composed manner, even with a pillion.

The ground clearance has been improved from the existing Activa and the improvement is noticeable. My Honda dealership has a big hump at the exit point of the delivery area. The regular Activa bottoms out at this hump, whereas the Activa-i manages to clear it easily.

The tyres provided are MRF nylogrip tubeless tyres. I don't understand why the other manufacturers don't provide tubeless tyres on their scooters. Another area where Activa-i scores over Ray.

The scooter is very easy to balance. I don't feel the need to rest my foot on the ground even at very low speeds. This can be very convenient in the rainy season and you get much better confidence in tackling areas with stagnant water or muddy patches.

The grab rail provided has a similar design as the regular Activa. It is made of some kind of metal, probably aluminium. I don't like the plastic grab handle being provided by some other manufacturers.

The center stand is extremely easy to use. It is even better than the EZ centre stand in Wego. One just needs to put pressure on the stand using the right foot, there is hardly any need to use the hands.

A maintenance free battery has been provided. Lets see how it performs in the long run.

The kick start lever has to be pushed clockwise. This means that one has to go behind the scooter to use the kick start. Also, the kick start lever is partially blocked by the side step, hence is not very convenient to use. Not a big concern, since it has to be used probably once in a day, but I prefer the arrangement in TVS Wego, in which the kick start lever has to be pushed anti-clockwise.

I'm glad that Honda has marketed Activa-i as a unisex scooter, which it clearly is. My only grouse is why Honda couldn't come up with a better name for the product. It is a good product on its own, and doesn't need to piggyback on Activa's brand name for being successful. I'm also glad that Honda has not roped in some stupid celebrity for endorsing this product, hence they have been able to pass on the price benefit to the customer. Nobody cares if the product is endorsed by Deepika or Priyanka or Anushka, people buy products based on their needs and budgets.

The scooter is available in 4 colours - white, maroon, beige and purple. I didn't like beige and purple, these colours are very dull. White and maroon look good on this scooter. Honda needs to provide a few more bright colours on this product.

The looks are neutral. Honda has clearly adopted a please-all-and-offend-none approach. The downside is that people don't realise that this is a brand new model. I have been riding around in the city, but nobody had given this scooter a second look. This scooter just blends in the crowd and doesn't stand out.

The plastic panels on the sides are a bit flimsy. Not a major concern for me, but some people may not like it.

This was my initial impression about the Activa-i. Please feel free to ask anything, except mileage. I will not be able to answer queries related to mileage because of the following:

1. Your mileage may vary because of riding style and conditions
2. Its the same engine as Activa, Dio and Aviator
3. My usage is very less, it may take me a month to use one tank full
4. The mileage is generally less in the first few hundred kms
5. I'm not a mileage person. I never measure mileage for city runs.
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Old 21st July 2013, 09:24   #5
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Default re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Congratulations on the scooter and thank you for the educative review.

I learnt quite a few things, how to research, what factors to consider while buying a vehicle, the rules of buying a vehicle, that its OK to plan in January and buy in July! fantastic, thanks for 'sharing best practices', it does not matter if you are rich/poor/middle class, you should have respect for money and spend it sensibly

The scooter got me too interested. We have an Activa in the family and it has been serving us well for years, I live very close to a Honda showroom, I tried popping in twice or thrice to catch the Activa-i but it was not there, now that I know someone in Bangalore has bought one, will go there at the first given opportunity to take a look

No offence meant, but the Activa-i to me is like a baby-Aviator, which is not a bad thing. The combi-brake concept in brilliant, I think just like how we all went for Hero Honda a few decades ago, now Honda is the right horse to back. I have a similar need, I ride a Bullet to work everyday and taking nothing away from the bike, my ride would be so less complex if I had a gearless scooter, have been considering one for a long time and your review puts me in the right direction. RXZ, Bullet, all excellent bikes, bikes which have sole, but you need a vegetable knife to cut a vegetable, Bangalore traffic calls for gearless scooters, its much easier that way, placing your back in the foot-well and your helmet in your dickey instead of carrying it to your desk!

Just looking at the specs, this one should be easier to ride than the Activa/Dio/Aviator and should give a wee bit more mileage
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Old 21st July 2013, 09:59   #6
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Default re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheARUN View Post
Congratulations on the scooter and thank you for the educative review.

I live very close to a Honda showroom, I tried popping in twice or thrice to catch the Activa-i but it was not there

No offence meant, but the Activa-i to me is like a baby-Aviator, which is not a bad thing.

Just looking at the specs, this one should be easier to ride than the Activa/Dio/Aviator and should give a wee bit more mileage
Thanks for the wishes.

I have purchased my Activa-i from Haiku Honda dealership in Domlur. Yesterday I saw a demo vehicle there. Attaching a few images of the same.

The looks of Activa-i are an amalgamation of many scooters - Activa, Pleasure and Aviator. It brings nothing fresh in the looks department, but gives you a little bit of everything.

This is very easy to ride, feels very light and nimble. The turning radius is amazing. It gives me the confidence to venture into the narrowest of lanes and use the gaps between stationary 4 wheelers to get ahead at traffic lights.

Rohan
Attached Thumbnails
Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-haiku-front.jpg  

Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly-haiku-rear.jpg  

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Old 21st July 2013, 16:30   #7
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Default re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Congratulations Rohan on your new ride. It looks quite similar to the Hero Pleasure and will suit the needs of those for whom the regular Aciva is too bulky.
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Old 21st July 2013, 22:08   #8
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Default re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Front of an Aviator, console of an Aviator, rear similar to Hero Honda Pleasure and engine of an Activa!

Fantastic buying experience, it will certainly help a lot of people who are in the exact same situation as you are.

That being said, I generally recommend the Wego to people, or the Aviator. But what you said is true, spares availability for the Wego could be questioned after a few years. Given the resemblance the Activa-i bears to the Aviator, I doubt we'll have issues with finding spares for the externals of the Aviator now. :P
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Old 21st July 2013, 23:11   #9
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Default re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Congrats , Activa has become for scooters what Maggi is for noodles.

As a result dealers take customers for granted and hence such a behavior is found across most Honda dealerships which is a big put-off.

As result people have started buying Access and Wego over Activa in recent times.( My neighbor waited for 1 year for activa , after which he cancelled the booking and bought a Swish ).

I am not sure how the after-sales is at your place ( you will need to visit them every 3 months ), but in Pune, Honda service centers are choc a bloc and its a task to get booking for service.

I have been using a Wego for last 7k kms without a single issue.The service center services the vehicle in front of me and i get it back in 45 minutes to 1 hour.Overall very satisfied by the vehicle and its service center.

Activa-i would have been a more complete product had they introduced front forks.

In Engine department Honda wins over TVS and that is not a surprising thing.
But one department in which Wego shines is in Handling and braking.
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Old 22nd July 2013, 08:25   #10
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Smile re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

@rohan,

Congratulations on the Activa-i. Thanks for the review, I guess there was no dedicated Activa review on the forum and yours will be very similar to the Activa owners already on the forum.

The console is tweaked in comparison to the earlier Activa's. I wished they could have provided the telescopic suspension on the new Activa's. Also the boot open key is located at awkard position. By the pics, I feel the new Activa looks a bit fragile, is it less lighter than the earlier Activas?

Did you get the lane indicator buzzers installed? Mind sharing the OTR cost and any accessories which you opted for?

Frankly I am put off by scooters which have headlamps on the body rather than the driving handle, I feel the lamp throw is affected. No offence to any scooter owners though.
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Old 22nd July 2013, 10:36   #11
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Default re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

I guess its hard to go wrong with an Activa and the Activa-i makes a lot of sense.
Recently we were in the market for a city-runabout for my wife. We considered the Activa-i, TVS Wego and Suzuki Swish.
All three were equally compelling products but the Wego and Activa-i were in the top 2 purely because wifey said so

Between these two, the Honda sales associate was least bothered about selling the scooter. The activa-i failed our helmet test (Wifey uses a Pink XS Vega(US Spec) and with the chargeable - everything and no freebies we were left with a bitter taste in the mouth. Oh yes, we were not offered a test ride. The associate had the balls to say that you buy the vehicle, we will let you take a TD before delivery!!
In contrast, as you have mentioned, TVS associates were diligent and earnest. We took three test rides in different conditions and some of the aspects of the Wego like the alloy wheels, body balance(i actually felt it to be more stable), larger wheels and the external fuel lid were good for us. So, we decided to take the plunge. A major feature we lost out on was the tubeless tyre and i myself don't understand why it can't be standard on all two-wheelers in India.
After buying the scooter we parked it in our society basement parking and for the first time checked out other scooters. All different shades of the Activa. Ah well..
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Old 22nd July 2013, 11:12   #12
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Default re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Congrats on your purchase. At 50 kmph the engine is incredibly smooth, so smooth that it feel like an electric engine. Pure mechanical genius from Honda.

I was in the same dilemma when I went for the Dio last year primarily because Activa was too bulky owing to all steel body. I couldn't quite understand why you found the Dio heavy?

All said, if I was in the market for a gearless scooter, I would have bought the Ray Z eyes closed primarily because it looks great and comes with a telescopic front suspension. I also feel Ray Z has a wee bit better build quality than even the Honda.
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Old 22nd July 2013, 17:15   #13
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Default Re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Congrats Rohan!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rohan_iitr View Post
Request to Mods : I am aware that team-bhp generally does not allow threads on buying decision and purchase experience
Just a note: We don't permit ownership threads that merely / only talk about buying & purchase experiences. However, when they are accompanied by the actual review of the vehicle (i.e. the meat of the matter ), it's most welcome.

The more detailed the report (buying decision, purchase experience, full review), the better for all of us.
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Old 22nd July 2013, 19:39   #14
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Default Re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Quote:
Originally Posted by silverado View Post
I am not sure how the after-sales is at your place ( you will need to visit them every 3 months ), but in Pune, Honda service centers are choc a bloc and its a task to get booking for service.
I've heard that the situation is similar in Bangalore too. Will update on the experience when its time for service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
Also the boot open key is located at awkard position. By the pics, I feel the new Activa looks a bit fragile, is it less lighter than the earlier Activas?

Did you get the lane indicator buzzers installed? Mind sharing the OTR cost and any accessories which you opted for?
Yes the boot release key hole is located quite low. It gives you quite a nice bending exercise every time you use it.

The Activa-i has fiber body unlike the metal body of Activa. It is definitely lighter than Activa, but I don't have the exact figures. My guess would be about 5 kgs lighter.

The actual weight difference may not be much compared to the Activa, but the narrow body and tapering tail create an illusion of it being a very lightweight scooter. Hence ladies will feel more confident riding it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by extreme_torque View Post
I was in the same dilemma when I went for the Dio last year primarily because Activa was too bulky owing to all steel body. I couldn't quite understand why you found the Dio heavy?
Dio may be slightly lighter than Activa, but it is similarly wide. Also, my wife could not put it on the centre stand when we tried it at the Honda dealership.

Also, I prefer simple looks. The looks of Dio are more suited for the younger riders.

Rohan
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Old 22nd July 2013, 20:16   #15
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Default Re: Honda Activa-i : Ready to Fly

Congratulation Rohan and thanks for sharing your feedback on this two wheeler. For a short while I too was on the look out for a two wheeler to replace our old TVS Scooty ES. I am glad you did not go for TVS Wego. Though I have not used TVS Wego, going by my experience of the TVS Scooty and other issues I have seen at the service center, their vehicles does not last long and tend to have some niggling issue or the other.

I had almost zeroed in on the Yamaha Ray. But I think it does not sell that well, at least in Pune. The Honda two wheeler dealerships are not customer friendly at all. At least that was my experience. One of my friends who replaced his old activa with a new activa found the combi-brakes not so good. So your experience seems to be much better. Does the Activa-i weigh less than the Activa? May be lesser weight helps in better braking.

Last edited by pjbiju : 22nd July 2013 at 20:18.
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