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Old 22nd January 2015, 18:01   #1
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Thumbs up Ownership Review: Honda Aviator (Pearl Sunbeam White)

Why ?
Well, to be honest I never expected to be in the market for a 2 wheeler this year, especially a gearless scooter after so many years.

After the old workhorse Kinetic Honda left our home for use by one of my relatives who needed it urgently, I found myself in a situation where I was missing having a 2 wheeler for all those short errands & chores at home and using a car was not the ideal option given the parking, traffic situation these days. While the Kinetic was around, it was always there for those quick rides nearby and probably I just took it for granted, never knew it's worth in utilitarian terms till it left our home

So, now I wanted to replace it with a gearless scooter that could also be used for the once-a-while commute of ~10Km (each way) to my workplace and back. The route usually has dense, slow moving traffic so manoeuvrability was important as also the ride quality.

And I wanted the scooter as soon as possible (within a couple of weeks at least).

Initial Contenders
When the time came to (short)list the contenders, the obvious ones in my list were the Honda Activa, Suzuki Access and Yamaha Alpha (a friend had recently bought one and I liked it).

Now, if only I could validate my thoughts and get some inputs from others..where ? Obviously, Team-BHP!

I posted here (The Gearless Scooter Thread) and got suggestions & inputs so the next step was to do test rides of these scooters.

From the responses I got, I decided to add the TVS Jupiter and Wego to the list but ignored the Hero Maestro as I wasn't so happy after test rides last year when a friend was buying a scooter.

During the test ride process, I also decided to drop the sleeker/funkier looking gearless scooters from my list - TVS Wego, Suzuki Lets,
Honda Dio and focus only on the full size scooters.

Up next...more about the Dealership experiences and Test Rides

Last edited by NPV : 23rd January 2015 at 09:39.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 18:08   #2
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Default Re: Honda Aviator in Pearl Sunbeam White - Buying, Review and Ownership Experience (Initia

Dealership Experiences
One fine Sunday morning we headed out towards Inner Ring Road and then Old Airport Road, Domlur to visit the TVS, Honda and Suzuki showrooms that are nearby.

1. Tristar TVS, Inner Ring Road, Domlur - they'd just moved to a new location on the Inner Ring Road, almost opposite to their old location on the other side of the same road. There was some work in progress with the interiors but the sales folk were very enthusiastic and polite. The test drive vehicle was a brand new one in a brownish/beige colour. After the test ride, the staff was very quick with giving the brochures and quote and explained the pricing break up very well. I also looked at the Wego but decided to give it a miss.
Overall experience at this dealership was very good. I left telling them that I will decide in a week after test rides of other scooters. They also followed up the next week to ask about my decision.

2. Haiku Honda, Domlur - the staff here were very busy, understandable since there is so much demand especially for their scooters. The staff was courteous and I was given a test ride quickly, again a new Activa 125. They also gave the brochure-ware and quotation quickly. I was told that wait time for the Activa 125 would be 30-45 days. Surprising part was they would not take any bookings for the disc brake version of the Activa 125, reason given was their manufacturing plant still did not meet capacity for this vehicle.
I also wanted to try the regular Activa 110, but they did not have the key to the test ride scooter. They made a few phone calls but could not locate the sales staff who had the key
Overall, a kind of mixed impression about this dealership. These guys did not bother to call me back after that day.

3. Aryan Suzuki, Domlur - Our next stop was Aryan Suzuki, located just opposite to Haiku Honda, the sales staff here were very courteous and eager to share information. The test ride scooter was old, badly maintained and dirty, not a good first impression. The vehicle itself was not great from the test ride experience but I still picked up the brochures and quotation.
Did not receive any follow up call from this dealership.

While heading home, I remembered that Haiku Honda also has a branch on Old Madras Road in Indiranagar which was on our way, so that was the next stop.
4. Haiku Honda, Indiranagar - the sales guys here said Activa 125 can take upto 3 months! I took the Activa 110 on a test ride here after which the sales staff quickly gave me a quotation and I left after thanking them.
Again, they did not bother to call back.

Sunday evening I visited the place around 5pm and found it closed. I went back the next day evening after work around 6pm.
5. Panache Enterprises (Yamaha), CMH Road - The sales guy was very polite and courteous but he said no test rides after 5pm! It did take some convincing and he reluctantly gave me the test ride scooter's key. When I returned from the test ride, the sales person whom I'd interacted with was not around, so much for all his concern about the 5pm deadline, he'd even told me not to tell anyone about the test ride!
Another sales staff then gave me the brochure and quote. He mentioned that the following day prices would be revised upwards by about Rs.2500. I took the papers, thanked him and left.
This dealership also did not call me back.

The following week, on Wednesday visited this dealership.
6. Haiku Honda, Pai Layout, Old Madras Road - this showroom was Haiku's newest and biggest (bigger than the other two I'd visited earlier). The sales person was very polite and helpful. I explained the situation and took test rides of both Activa 110 (again! this time an extended one) and the Aviator. Quickly got the brochures, quotes and was told that Activa 125 can take upto 3 months(!). Aviator was available immediately in White and Red colours, other colours would take a maximum of 10 days. The sales guy here diligently followed up the very next day.
Would definitely recommend this dealership, surprisingly different and better than the other two branches of the same dealer! .

Last edited by NPV : 23rd January 2015 at 05:33.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 20:01   #3
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Default Re: Honda Aviator in Pearl Sunbeam White - Buying, Review and Ownership Experience (Initia

The Test Rides
1. TVS Jupiter - Took 2 short rides around the showroom. Ride quality was good with the 12" tyres
and telescopic front suspension doing their bit to perfection.

2. Honda Activa 125 - Again took short rides around the showroom. Ride quality was good, the front 12" tyres and
telescopic front suspension worked well and of course the engine was a lot smoother than the TVS Jupiter.
I somehow felt the handlebar was quite rigid causing the manoeuvrability to be not great.

3. Honda Activa 110 - This one felt very familiar from past uage, but I did feel the difference when compared to the Activa 125.
Ride quality was on lower side but manoeuvrability was better. However, on doing an extended test ride, I felt it was uncomfortable on
bad roads and the stress could be felt on my wrists, it was just transmitting all the vibrations up to the rider.

4. Suzuki Access 125 - The test ride scooter was badly maintained and dirty but I ignored this and took it for couple of test rides.
Ride quality wasn't great and my daughter who was riding pillion immediately said it is not as comfortable as the Activa and Jupiter!

5. Yamaha Alpha - Really liked this one but somehow felt the scooter to be a little tall for my liking but then I realised it is probably
the seating position/shape that was the contributor. Ride quality was superb and engine was peppy and super rev-happy. Surprisingly, though
the seat height was more than the Activa, the ground clearance was a lot lesser on the Alpha.

I also did a "helmet test" to see if my old school open face helmet (with visor) fits into the under-seat storage space. The only one that
actually managed to hold it was the Activa and the seat just barely managed to lock with a light click sound.

**This test had nothing to do with final decision making , rather just added some fun to the whole process (I'd told my daughter I will only
buy the scooter that could fit the old helmet so she was worried)!

Last edited by NPV : 23rd January 2015 at 05:37.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 20:14   #4
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Default Re: Honda Aviator in Pearl Sunbeam White - Buying, Review and Ownership Experience (Initia

Initial Comparison
I also did a comparo of the Pricing and Features/Specification - details here (The Gearless Scooter Thread)

Initial Decision
After the test rides, my ranking was :
#1 Honda Activa 125
#2 TVS Jupiter
#3 Yamaha Alpha (a very close third, almost #2 actually)

So, looked like I was headed to buy the Activa 125 - but the stock position at the dealerships would not allow this!

Before going with #2 or #3 from my ranking list, I was almost ready for a compromise by settling for the Honda Activa 110. Thanks to @ghodlur who suggested not going with the Activa 110 - thank you Sir! - details here (The Gearless Scooter Thread)

Assessment, Course Correction
At this point, I decided to go slow and not hurry into making a hasty decision so took it easy for a day.

I thought about my options - book and wait for potentially 3 months and get the Activa 125, or get the Jupiter or Alpha or bite the bullet
and get the Activa 110, or get something else altogether ?

I suddenly had that "Dimag ki batti jala de" moment and thought why not the Aviator, it had the 12" front wheel, telescopic front suspension like the Activa 125 and the same engine as that of the Activa 110 - details here (The Gearless Scooter Thread) and here (The Gearless Scooter Thread)

I got some reassuring responses (that I was on the right track) like this one from @turbodude - thank you Sir! - details here (The Gearless Scooter Thread) and from @Gansan - thank you Sir! - details here (The Gearless Scooter Thread)

I needed to take a test ride and find out the availability.

I then spoke to a few people about my predicament and one piece of great advice I got was from TBhpian @unk9ja - thank you sir!
@unk9ja suggested doing extended test rides and then making the decision.

Looking at the brochures from Haiku Honda, I saw that they also had a branch at Pai Layout on Old Madras Road. This was also quite close to my home so decided to go there.

Couple of pictures that summarise my situation at this point - Loads of paper!
Contenders - Brochures with Features/Specifications
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Contenders - Pricing Quotes
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Last edited by NPV : 23rd January 2015 at 05:33.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 20:40   #5
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Default Re: Honda Aviator in Pearl Sunbeam White - Buying, Review and Ownership Experience (Initia

The Test Rides - Part 2
Activa 110 - At the Haiku Honda Pai Layout dealership, I did a longish test ride of the Activa 110, did not feel comfortable (felt pain in the wrists when riding on bad roads).

Aviator - Next up was the Aviator, at the back of my mind I was thinking if the height of the vehicle being more than the Activa would be a problem.
But once I took it out for the test ride, I felt the height was fine, just needed a little bit of getting used to. I liked the position of the handlebar
and riding stance was much better than all the other scooters. This scooter felt heavier, sturdy and planted on the road and the handling and ride quality
was excellent. Another extended test ride of the Aviator proved beyond doubt that it is superior to the Activa 110 so my decision was almost made there.
Around this dealership, the bad roads in Pai Layout actually helped with the evaluation.

And the Aviator also failed my "helmet test"

Final Decision
Now, it was time to consult the ladies.
The senior lady of the house (wifey) had no problem with my decision but the most important clearance was the one from the little lady of the house (daughter) who has Executive & Veto powers on most decisions
Even before we started out on this scooter hunt, she wanted a White Activa (110 or 125cc did not matter), but now we were getting something else. I had to show her a side by side comparison of the brochures of Activa 125 and Aviator to prove my point.

Due to our commitments at work and school, I could not take her for the test ride so she reluctantly said "Ok, fine go ahead but only White colour"!

Since White colour was available immediately, we decided to go for it.

And the winner is...
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Buying Experience
I decided not to go in for a loan so the process was a lot simpler and I also "assumed" it would be quicker.
The sales guy told me that if I paid by cheque on Friday I could get the vehicle on Monday. I asked if all the paperwork would be done and he nodded in the affirmative.

Also, what I liked was he did not indulge in any hardsell talk, explained the pricing in detail and was more than happy when I asked for
additional break up for the standard and optional accessories. The standard accessories included Teflon coating which I wasn't too sure I should get done.

I also thought I'd get the insurance myself so told them I'll confirm on Monday morning. Nevertheless, handed over the cheque for full amount including Teflon coating and insurance. Also, gave the documents for ID & Address Proof for registration of the vehicle.

Final calls, Tying up the loose ends
Teflon Coating - I did some reading up on Teflon coating and the consensus seemed to be that it wasn't proven for use as a paint protectant. I called the dealership to find out more about it. They mentioned it does not come with warranty of any sort nor were they really able to explain what was done, obviously it wasn't their area of expertise.

I thought maybe Paint Protection Film (PPF) was an option at least for the places prone to scratches and nicks so I then spoke to our friendly moderator @n_aditya to get some expert Gyan about Teflon coating Vs PPF - thank you Sir! Decided not to go in for Teflon coating, PPF to be done later.

Insurance - Spoke to United India Insurance and was told that they will require the Invoice with Engine and Chassis number to issue the policy.
Monday morning, on my way to work, quickly stopped at Haiku Honda and told them about the decision to drop Teflon coating and asked for the Invoice so I could get the insurance done. They said their head office (Domlur branch) would generate the invoice and it would reach this branch only in the evening. I also found that their insurance was a zero depreciation policy from ICICI Lombard, decided to go with this for now though a little expensive.

Vehicle Inspection - I wanted to inspect the vehicle before it was invoiced, it was in their stockyard (same building's basement).
Looked good, had some dust on it which they said will be cleaned up before delivery. The inspection did not reveal anything amiss, noted down the Engine & Chassis numbers to verify the Invoice, Registration and other documents later. Vehicle would be delivered at 6.30pm I was told.

All set to get the vehicle that evening!

Last edited by NPV : 23rd January 2015 at 05:34.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 21:08   #6
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Default Re: Honda Aviator in Pearl Sunbeam White - Buying, Review and Ownership Experience (Initia

Delivery Experience
I called Haiku Honda around 5pm that day to find out the status. The scooter was ready to be delivered and I could be there as early as 5.30pm, this was great news indeed!

My daughter and I reached Haiku Honda around 5:30pm. I suddenly remembered that we didn't have a gift for the sales person (as a token of appreciation).

Could not find good shops around, had to settle for a Parker Pen, so added a Team-BHP Key chain as well

Token of appreciation for Sales associate
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At Haiku Honda, I was first asked to get the clearance from billing section. Did that and then proceeded to collect the documents.

Now came the shock that they hadn't done the insurance, the reason given was that the usual procedure is to deliver the vehicle a day after it is invoiced and in my case it was same day and they blamed it on a communication gap between sales and delivery teams.

This also meant that the vehicle wasn't registered at the RTO, so it only had the temporary registration.

This was definitely not professional on their part so I made it known but did not lose my cool. The sales guy again assured me that by 10am the next day he would email the insurance certificate. The registration would take 2-3 days I was told. Now I had to decide if I wanted to leave the vehicle behind and take it the next day or take a risk by riding it back home. I decided to ride the scooter home as it was under 1.5Km away and there were back roads I could take.

The only documents I had were the Invoice, Owner's Manual and Payment receipts. I also found that I'd paid for a body cover that was part of accessories. Decided not to take the body cover, so adjusted the cost of Teflon Coating & the body cover for a "STUDDS" make helmet with Honda branding. The helmet fits snugly in the under-seat storage compartment. The pillion can always use the old helmet so seemed like a good decision.

The actual delivery of the vehicle was handled by the service department staff and was rather quick. The person quickly explained the various controls, asked me to verify the accessories, check electricals and we were done.
After the vehicle was registered, I would need to go back for the stickers (with the registration number), for now the vehicle only had hand written temporary registration.

I was given the front number plate and asked if I wanted to fix it. Apparently no one buying a White scooter fixes it as it looks odd and needs couple of holes to be drilled on the front panel. Instead, they just use a transparent sticker with the registration number and stick it on to the front panel. I decided not to fix the front number plate for now.

Vehicle was filled with 0.75 litre of petrol(!) so we were all set to go. The ride back home was quick and comfortable.

The new Honda Aviator in Pearl Sunbeam White was now at home!
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The next day (Tuesday) I received the insurance certificate by email but I decided to visit the dealership that evening on my way back from work to collect other documents.

On Thursday, Haiku Honda called me to inform that registration is completed, so visited them to get registration number stickers pasted.

I will be receiving the RC Smart card by Postal Mail in about 30 days.

Last edited by Technocrat : 23rd January 2015 at 23:47. Reason: Typo corrected as requested, thanks
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Old 22nd January 2015, 21:41   #7
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Default Re: Honda Aviator in Pearl Sunbeam White - Buying, Review and Ownership Experience (Initia

Initial Ownership Experience
Pros:
- Excellent ride quality, engine is very smooth, almost just purrs.
- Very good pickup, feels effortless to ride it, feels planted, sturdy and stable.
- The main/centre stand is very easy to operate, hardly takes any effort to operate.
- Has a brake lock clamp (yes, some of the other contenders did not have this!).
- Brakes feel good and confidence inspiring so far (haven't crossed 50kmph yet).
- Glides over all the speed breakers/humps, including the unscientific, odd shaped ones, seems like the "Duster" of gearless scooters
- Liked the foot rests for pillion rider - when not in use, they fold in and get tucked in neatly on the sides and don't project outwards.
- Kicker is very comfortable to use. One can use it when standing on the side of the scooter, much the usual way with traditional scooters - though it entails kicking it to the right in clock-wise direction, one does not have to operate it from the tail end of the vehicle. I always use the centre stand when using the kicker, an old practice from using the Kinetic Honda.
- The button start has never failed so far, always starts up with the first press.

Cons:
-Nothing really at this point

And...
- Heard a "wheeze" kind of sound when applying the rear brake but this was only on my way home from the dealership on Day 1.
After this, I have used the vehicle for short rides each day on the streets around our home and today when I visited the dealership for registration number but haven't heard this sound again. Will keep a watch out for it though.
- no starting trouble woes like those mentioned in some of the Aviator review threads and I've not had the need to use the choke so far. Another old practice from the Kinetic Honda days is that I always use the kick starter in the morning for the first cold start and so far it seems to work just fine and starts on the first kick without choke.
- Getting used to the seat locking mechanism. After shutting it, it needs a gentle press to lock it unlike the crude push that did the job on the Kinetic Honda (I'm so used to that!).

Now for some pictures..
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Last edited by NPV : 23rd January 2015 at 10:29.
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Old 23rd January 2015, 11:18   #8
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Default Re: Honda Aviator in Pearl Sunbeam White - Buying, Review and Ownership experience (Initia

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 23rd January 2015, 11:39   #9
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Default Re: Honda Aviator in Pearl Sunbeam White - Buying, Review and Ownership experience (Initia

Many Congratulations on the new buy !
My younger brother is riding an Aviator for the past 4 years.
Must say it is one of the most comfortable scooters I had been on.
I love the linear acceleration of the scooter. It doesn't give a jerk, yet pulls out first from a signal.
Add to that, a full face Studds standard helmet fits easily into the storage space, with space left for a 500 ml water bottle, papers and a cleaning towel.

I am not a fan of the White colour on vehicles, wished you had bought a more funkier colour option. To each, his own.

I am on a casual lookout for a gearless cooter to replace my 10 year old Yamaha Libero. The green and black Dio looks appealing to me (to go with my Green Beat), but its a small sized scooter.
I guess for a familyman with kid, the choice is limited betwen Aviator, Activa, Access. The rest have more more negatives over positives.
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Old 23rd January 2015, 12:54   #10
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Smile Re: Honda Aviator in Pearl Sunbeam White - Buying, Review and Ownership experience (Initia

Heartiest Congratulations NPV on getting home the Aviator. Now time to fly around in the most under rated scooter (of course it was the costliest a couple of years back). White colour is easy to maintain. Did you opt for the Extended warranty too? Better to have one. Did you get a tool kit along with the scooter?

Did your better half feel the scooter was high to ride? Coz my wife had felt that 4 yrs back when we bought the Activa.

Happy aviating around.
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Old 23rd January 2015, 13:36   #11
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Default Re: Honda Aviator in Pearl Sunbeam White - Buying, Review and Ownership experience (Initia

Congratulations on the Aviator - I have used it for few months in bangalore and have found it much better, compared to Activa.

Wish you countless happy miles

--Anoop
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Old 23rd January 2015, 15:31   #12
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Default Re: Ownership Review: Honda Aviator (Pearl Sunbeam White)

Thanks guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
I am not a fan of the White colour on vehicles, wished you had bought a more funkier colour option. To each, his own.
I actually liked the Aviator in Royal Gold Metallic colour but I really didn't have a choice, it was a mandate from my daughter - as I'd mentioned in the earlier post, my preference did not matter

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
Now time to fly around in the most under rated scooter (of course it was the costliest a couple of years back). White colour is easy to maintain. Did you opt for the Extended warranty too? Better to have one. Did you get a tool kit along with the scooter?

Did your better half feel the scooter was high to ride? Coz my wife had felt that 4 yrs back when we bought the Activa.
Aviator pricing was very close to that of the Activa, I will share the pricing comparison soon!

What surprises me most is that even the sales folks at the Honda dealerships do not even suggest/recommend the Aviator, their faces light up with a wry smile when someone specifically asks for the Aviator! And then they slowly open up saying yes it's a better scooter but no one seems to want it. Most enquiries & sales are for Activas.

Yes, I opted for Extended Warranty and the Honda Road Side Assistance Package as well but did not take the additional free services package - details on these coming soon.
I did get the tool kit & first-aid kit with the scooter, both have small compartments (separators to hold them in place) in the under-seat storage (tool kit check was part of my PDI as well).

Wifey liked the scooter, felt very comfortable as a pillion rider, feels it is quite tall but then she is not a scooter person, she is more comfortable driving her Maruti 800. She told me to only focus on getting a scooter that I would feel comfortable with

Quote:
Originally Posted by theexperthand View Post
Congratulations on the Aviator - I have used it for few months in bangalore and have found it much better, compared to Activa.
Yes, this is an excellent scooter but sells much lesser, as @ghodlur said it is the most under rated scooter!

Last edited by NPV : 23rd January 2015 at 15:39.
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Old 23rd January 2015, 16:23   #13
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Default Re: Ownership Review: Honda Aviator (Pearl Sunbeam White)

Good decision. I see you have taken the non-disc version. Any particular reason?

I am surprised you did not choose the Activa 125, considering it is a different and more powerful avatar of the Aviator.
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Old 23rd January 2015, 17:45   #14
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Default Re: Ownership Review: Honda Aviator (Pearl Sunbeam White)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
Good decision. I see you have taken the non-disc version. Any particular reason?

I am surprised you did not choose the Activa 125, considering it is a different and more powerful avatar of the Aviator.
Thanks.
Bought the Non-disc version (Std model) since I did not want to spend an additional 6-7k rupees on that. My usage would be pretty low and short distances as well, didn't really think that was a must-have. Brakes on the Std model are pretty good too.

Activa 125 - waiting period is anywhere between 30-90 days, did not want to wait that long. Also, did not need the additional power offered by the 125cc engine, the old 110cc would suffice for my requirements and usage.

Aviator's front Telescopic suspension alone provided a big improvement in terms of handling and ride quality so decided on it over the Activa 110.
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Old 23rd January 2015, 17:52   #15
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Default Re: Ownership Review: Honda Aviator (Pearl Sunbeam White)

Congratulations NPV. A perfect choice I would say.

I was always for the Aviator for its telescopic suspension against the erstwhile Active that came with Pivot arm suspension.

My sister owns one in Aurangabad and when I rode it on bad roads of the city, I was delighted to experience the ride quality over the prevalent road conditions then. I felt the sitting was taller and the vertical bounce was lesser to the Activa (100cc) that we have at home, especially when riding on bad roads.

Disc Brakes and Combi braking further adds a lot of confidence when driving on our unpredictable roads.

Wish you good luck and happy riding!

Last edited by paragsachania : 23rd January 2015 at 17:53.
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