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Old 6th May 2016, 17:55   #1
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Default Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood

"Sir, we only sell the Navi to 18 to 25 year olds. You are overage".

Well, that was what the dealership told me when I went to pick up my Navi which I had booked a couple of months back in March. Was I miffed? You bet! This was a bike that I was looking to buy ever since I saw it in the news in the AutoExpo in February this year. The Honda Navi was one of the standout products at the Expo for me this year, and I wasn't even looking at the bike launches this year! The only reason I was closely following the AutoExpo was because of the new Toyota Innova Crysta which I wanted to compare with the XUV 500 before deciding on my second car.

But the Navi, unveiled at the AutoExpo on the 3rd of Feb this year, with its funky styling and numerous Avatars did catch my eye! (Movie buffs, did you see what I did there!)

What the bikes name reminded me of.
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The Navi wasn't my first brush with the monkey bike styling though. During my visit to Thailand last year, I got a chance to closely see a vast variety of bikes in person. The only couple of bikes that stood out for me were the Kawasaki Z800 (I never imagined it to be so big in person, and those monstrous headlights still haunt me!), and the Honda Grom. And the Grom appealed more to me - to me, it was like the Mini Cooper of bikes.

The Honda Grom.
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But obviously there were no such bikes on sale in India, until Honda pulled out the rabbit out of the hat at a well executed reveal at the Auto-Expo. The price announced (less than 40K ex-showroom Delhi) was mouthwatering. The booking process over a mobile app was ingenious too. I probably wouldn't have gone down to the showroom to book the bike; this was a bike that I didn't need, and a huge change from what I was looking to own - the KTM Duke 390!

But book it I did, and it was an impulsive one. I made the booking on 3rd March, exactly a month later after the AutoExpo, and on a crazy day at office. I was looking down at my phone, checking office emails and suddenly noticed the Navi app I had installed after the expo. The booking app shows just the standard variant. There are no Street, Adventure, or Off-Road variants available for booking. The colour options are - Red, Black, Green, Orange and White. Within the next few minutes, I had booked the Navi in a Sparky Orange shade. I probably spend more time deciding which chocolate to buy!

About a month later from the booking date i.e. early April, I got a call from the dealership. This was a customer profiling call - you know, the ones they day to understand who their customer is? This included questions around my age, income, what interested me etc.

And then came the wait. The profiling call meant that the launch was imminent, and that is when I started growing a little impatient. The formal launch happened a week later, and the reviews from the auto magazines started trickling in. Yet there was no call from the dealer or sign of a launch.

And then the Hyderabad deliveries started. The Honda Navi thread on Team-BHP showed that Honda had started deliveries with quite a bit of fan-fare for selected customers (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...ml#post3966020 (Honda Navi: A scooter disguised as a bike)). I called up the dealer again and spoke with the sales coordinator, and he confirmed that I could pick up my Navi the next day - the 6th of May.

The D-Day.
Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood-20160506_134016.jpg

So off I went with all the documents and the Team-BHP PDI checklist to the dealership the next day. I filled up the required forms, and gave the dealership the required documents. Unfortunately, life for a married man in his thirties is never easy. Is it? Everything was sailing smoothly until -

"Sir, we cannot sell you the bike."
"Why?"
"Sir, we only sell the Navi to 18 to 25 year olds. You are overage"

And I didn't know how to respond. Actually, I wasn't sure whether to be amused or angry. Thankfully, I ended up being more amused and asked them to check with the senior guys just to make sure. From the Navi thread on Team-BHP, I knew that Honda had made home deliveries with fanfare to customers my age, and was pretty sure that there was nothing that can actually prevent the sale. Thankfully, the sales coordinator at the dealership stepped in and allowed the sales. Actually, you see, Honda intends to target the youth with the Navi, and they are very keen to protect this image. Old(er) people riding the bike will destroy its youthful image.

But with this hiccup sorted out, the rest of the delivery formalities proceeded without any event. The final invoice value came to INR 49,136/- including accessories (orange crash guard, beeper for side-indicators, side stand) and a Back-to-Invoice insurance (which indemnifies me to the total invoice value and not just the ex-showroom price).

Later that evening, my wife (who wasn't impressed with my choice of bike and thought I was throwing away money at some whim) saw the bike for the first time and exclaimed- "That's a gorgeous bike. Nice colour too!"

Ladies and Gentleman, the Navi in person!
Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood-20160508_071923.jpg
Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood-20160508_071953.jpg

Since taking delivery of the Navi, I have ridden it so much that I don't think there is anything else left to discover regarding it.

The Navi is light, nimble, and fun. Riding the bike will remind you of the first time you rode your cycle in your childhood : the fun bits make you forgive the other shortcomings that the bike has.

The Navi is a head-turner; I have been literally chased down a couple of times over the past 4 days by people wanting to ask about the bike -
"What bike is it?" "How much does it cost?" "What is the mileage?" "Is it an electric bike?"

This is what the Navi resembles most at first glance: a toy!
Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood-20160507_193126.jpg

I have been riding two wheelers for a while now; I had my first affair with two wheelers at the age of 16, way back in the 90s. This was the TVS Scooty (1st generation), and I had chosen it over the Bajaj Sunny (too plasticky, underpowered), the Kinetic Pride (felt a little weird with the handle bars too close) and the Kinetic Honda (way too costly). This is obviously in stark contrast to my Navi purchase, where I didn't even evaluate a single alternative!

I had my first fling with a bike on the Pulsar 180 (1st generation, again!) in 2002. This was the bike I learnt riding on, and I still use it. Actually, the Pulsar was lying unloved for close to 5 years after my marriage and a car, but the numerous restoration threads on Team-BHP, inspired me to rescue my bike and fall in love with biking all over again.

My riding/handling impressions of the Navi that follow are thus based on my experiences with the Scooty and the Pulsar:

In truth, the Navi feels more like a scooter than a motorcycle. The controls on the Navi, are similar to all scooters sold in India these days - no gears, no foot brakes. But the fact that there is a tank between your legs, and that your legs are resting slightly spread apart make it feel like a motorcycle in terms of riding posture. In fact, you might sometimes search for that non-existent foot brake pedal and the gear on a few occasions in the intial days!

The front of the Navi is light, unlike a motorcycle, which makes it handling dynamics different than a motorcycle's. The lighter front end but doesn't inspire confidence on high speeds, but what it does help in is making it easier to turn the handle and maneuver in tight gaps, thereby making it a boon in traffic. The vehicle weight of around 100 kgs (wet) makes it probably the lightest two wheeler. In fact, while cornering, the lightness of the Navi means that I sometimes feel that I should be shifting weight to the outside of a corner like a supermoto racer (http://www.motorcycledaily.com/2015/...-a-corner-why/). Cornering is definitely fun on the Navi, and the puny tyres seem to grip fine (I am not talking about extreme, footpeg scraping, cornerings though!)

At 110 cc, the Navi is quite underpowered compared to my Pulsar. But the fact that there are no gears to be fiddled, coupled with its light weight means that the initial acceleration is quite good - enough to surprise people when you start off the traffic lights.

The headlight is pretty bright. Not surprising, since it seems to be a direct lift off the Grom, which means it is a tried and tested design.

The top speed is around 80 Kmph - sufficient for most city use. It quickly reaches around 65 Kmph but takes a while from thereon.

I rode the Navi back-to-back with the TVS Jupiter (belonging to my friend) last Sunday morning, which allowed me further perspective on the Navi's strengths and weaknesses. Here's a quick comparison -

Looks much smaller than the competition!
Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood-20160508_082933.jpg
Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood-20160508_082942.jpg

I rode the Jupiter after the Navi, and the first thing that I noticed was that the Jupiter has really plush seats: really comfortable. It was a nice scooter, but it didn't feel as fun as the Navi. My legs on the Jupiter were in front of me on the footboard; this seating posture meant that I couldn't spread my legs or shift my weight around, making my ride fairly insipid.

The Honda Navi's elongated handlebars and its spread out foot pegs on the other hand made it the better handler of the two. The Navi for sure was faster than the Jupiter, with the Jupiter struggling to keep up on most occasions.

In conclusion of this comparison - at about 2/3rd the price of similarly powered scooters, better fuel economy and better handling the Navi has quite a bit going for it. It does however miss out on being more practical; Honda hasn't done enough with the gap beneath the fuel tank- they should have at least provided a hook to hang bags in that cavity.

Now for the other bits:

The Navi's underseat storage is similar to that of a bike, and has enough space to keep documents in addition to the tool kit and first aid that Honda provides.
Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood-20160508_083322.jpg

The Navi comes with three tyre options. I got the Ceats.
Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood-20160508_083132.jpg



However, there's always a flip side. To keep the prices in check, Honda has had to cut quite a few corners, and these aren't hard to find -

The plastic surrounding the fuel cap is flimsy. Really flimsy. Most of my son's toys have better plastics.
Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood-20160508_082606.jpg

Honda has used cheap rubber flaps to conceal some of the engine bits. They look really cheap too.
Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood-20160508_082541.jpg

The Navi has a handle lock on the side! Even my first vehicle, the venerable TVS Scooty from the 90s had the handle lock integrated with the ignition.
Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood-20160508_083153.jpg

The panels on the Navi aren't really painted. They seem to be pre-injected with that colour - similar to how you would find most coloured plastics. Detailing these is going to be a pain for those afflicted with the Rudra virus (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...ing-guide.html (A superb Car cleaning, polishing & detailing guide)) I am still trying various stuff to see what will make the panels shine more.

Now Honda intends to provide quite a few customization options for the Navi including stickers, coloured seat covers and body protectors. But I am really looking forward to the undertank storage box. That should add the much needed practicality. Oh, and I also intend to change the horn - it sounds really tiny.

In summary, the Navi isnt Captain America (it doesn't have the brute strength appeal), it isn't Iron Man (no real gadgetry, very spartan features).
The Navi instead is more like the Ant Man. The bike's strength lies in its ability to be fun - its looks spring a surprise on most, it goes through really tight gaps, and it punches well above its weight.

Note: All pictures in this review were taken with the Samsung Galaxy, which cost more than the bike!

Last edited by nishsingh : 13th May 2016 at 18:43.
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Old 14th May 2016, 10:45   #2
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Default Re: Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 14th May 2016, 13:19   #3
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Default Re: Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood

Congratulations for your new bike.
The design seemed a bit weird at first sight but it is acceptable and looks funky. Honda would do well to cover the gaping hole under the tank, maybe in the later models and substitute the cheap plastic parts.
Overall this bike (I'm not sure I would like to call it a bike) seems practical and more stable than the Activa. However, I would have preferred the handle bar in black colour matching with the rest of the body.
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Old 14th May 2016, 16:55   #4
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Default Re: Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood

Congrats!
And nice review.
Strange from Honda not to have integrated side/handle lock! Serious cost cutting. Plus horrible plastic covers.
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Old 14th May 2016, 20:38   #5
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Thanks for the great review.

I was also looking at the Navi as my first bike/scooter (what ever you call it). TDed it. Loved it. But what is putting me off is the very small fuel tank(3.8L) and not even a basic fuel gauge! I was disappointed, and it was the sole reason I am going for another scooter. Add to that the fact that the cheap plastics, medieval handle lock and the lack of customization options at the moment.
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Old 14th May 2016, 22:13   #6
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That is a very nice review and good pictures! I can completely feel your excitement. Please remember to post your experience a few weeks and months down the line as it would be nice to see how this all new model ages.
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Old 14th May 2016, 23:08   #7
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Default Re: Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood

Nice ride nishsingh. Never thought I would see an ownership review of the Navi on teambhp. Looking at the title of your thread I was reminded of the song "Hum bhi agar bachche hote....".

Anyways wishing you many happy miles on your toy and if possible do post a pic with yourself riding the Navi, preferably a pic from the side. Would like to see for myself what the riding stance is like.

PS: I am in the same age group as you and still consider my self a child at heart

Last edited by Flanker99 : 14th May 2016 at 23:12.
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Old 15th May 2016, 01:52   #8
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Default Re: Honda Navi Review: Like having a second childhood

Congrats Nishsingh, that is one cute bike err scooter err bike I mean
I instantly fell in love with it when I saw it in pics in that same color that you bought.
I wanted to buy it too, but mother demanded for a scooty and the wish of owning a navi disappeared.
Wish you many happy miles and hope you have a trouble free experience with it.
I am sure you must also be enjoying all the attention while riding the orange toy
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Old 15th May 2016, 09:25   #9
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Hi and welcome to the Navi owners club. I was lucky my age qualification was not questioned because I took my teenaged daughter along!

We are enjoying riding the Navi, it's such a blast to ride. Unfortunately we are restricted to riding it within our colony, thanks to Honda's screw up. I am not taking it out on the road till the RTA issue is resolved and the bike can be registered. This has really soured the experience.

I've had the same experience of people asking me if it's an electric bike in addition to the standard kitna deta hai!!

Last edited by John : 15th May 2016 at 09:47.
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Old 15th May 2016, 16:12   #10
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Congrats on your Navi. Happy to see an ownership review of Navi on team-bhp.
Me too was a big fan of Honda Grom and wished honda would lauch it in India, but they came up with the Navi instead. Although not a Grom, Navi struck me with its monkey-bike styling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nishsingh View Post

In summary, the Navi isnt Captain America (it doesn't have the brute strength appeal), it isn't Iron Man (no real gadgetry, very spartan features).
The Navi instead is more like the Ant Man. The bike's strength lies in its ability to be fun - its looks spring a surprise on most, it goes through really tight gaps, and it punches well above its weight.
This summary is something that forced me to write a reply. To someone who is into the Marvel's comic universe, you can't define a Honda Navi more accurately, an Antman! Yes, a bike that should be bought for its small size and agility by which it can ooze through those tightest gap in the traffic that might be impossible for its more powerful or practical counterparts.
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Old 16th May 2016, 15:21   #11
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@blueeyed

Going by the price of the Grom in the US ($3000), I don't think Honda can launch it in India. The Navi is the next best thing!
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Old 16th May 2016, 15:41   #12
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That is quite a review! I can feel the excitement through your words! I was also in a process of buying a two-wheeler and went to Honda for test drive of Hornet. What caught my attention there was this beautiful looking mini-bike, named Navi. I was instantly in love with it but was not able to convince wife for it. I have a CI bullet and my wife wanted me to own the newer bullet as my second bike. She was anyway not convinced with me seeing the Hondas and the Bajajs and thus out-rightly dismissed Navi. I have purchased a AS200 and would review it soon. I would take pointers from this thread to go in detail while I do the review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nishsingh View Post

Note: All pictures in this review were taken with the Samsung Galaxy, which cost more than the bike!
This 'Note' of yours had me laughing for almost 5 mins! Attractive line to finish off the thread!
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Old 16th May 2016, 21:48   #13
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So happy to see someone just get over all inhibitions and go for the Navi as opposed to a vanilla scooter

Wish you many happy miles with the Navi. Looks great in orange!
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Old 17th May 2016, 05:26   #14
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Great write-up! - Captures that sparkle fun factor very well. I am only 65 and I am seriously considering plunging in!
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Old 17th May 2016, 15:17   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nishsingh View Post
Note: All pictures in this review were taken with the Samsung Galaxy, which cost more than the bike!
This line in the end seriously takes the cake!! Superb write up and congrats on the new acquisition. Wishing you many many miles on the Navi!
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