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Old 18th November 2023, 10:29   #1
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Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

Respected members,

I wanted advice on the following topic:

Context: I have been riding a Honda Activa 125 for the past 8.5 years. Earlier my daily running was hardly 10kms a day. I used to commute mostly by bus.

However, due to a change in the organization last year & due to poor bus connectivity on that route I had no other option but to use my Activa on that route. My daily usage of Activa escalated from 10kms a day to 45kms a day.

Last year my body somehow managed to bear the additional burden. But this year and certainly now my body has started protesting. I have been suffering from back spasms in my lower back and strain on my neck and shoulder area. Also, my hamstring has started to hurt. Please note I'm only 28 years old.

I have observed that the suspension of Activa 125 is very soft at the front which leads to it bottoming out and the rear one being excessively stiff.

Also, I ride between 40 to 55kmph Also my vehicle is being regularly serviced. Even my mum complains of the rear suspension being stiff .

I just wanted to know if I can deal with this problem by making adjustments to my riding style.

Should I stop riding scooter? I don't intend to upgrade at least in a year's time as I have some other commitments.

Would love to know your valuable views on this.

Regards
Pranav
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Old 18th November 2023, 10:41   #2
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re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

Maybe its got nothing to do with your scooter and just your general fitness that has taken a nosedive.

Fitness changes in as little as 3 weeks. That has been proven by sports physiologists. For elite athletes.

So for a common man, a year is a really long time. And youth is no guarantee of fitness.

Cheers, Doc
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Old 18th November 2023, 10:44   #3
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re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

Dude, 55 km on an Activa on bad roads? Kudos to your superhuman endurance for doing that. No, as someone who also graduated from a 1st gen Activa to a bike, riding style is not going to make enough of a difference. The Activa 125's suspension is not even close to as nice as many others, and even the best scooter is going to cause problems at that distance on bad roads.

The only thing you could do short of changing the vehicle is:

1. Start strengthening your lower and mid-back muscles. Push-ups, surya namaskar, deadlifts, the good old Indian jor are all good options to do. As many as you can, but keep in mind your fitness level and take a trainer's advice if necessary.
2. Try and move around while riding. Move to the front seat and back seat after a few minutes as your back starts hurting, change your arm positions, stretch the neck a few times and so on.

Other than that, changing bikes to an ADV seems like your only real option. Expulse or Scram suggest themselves.
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Old 18th November 2023, 10:55   #4
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re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

In 2015, when I was much younger, I had attempted once to ride our new Activa from Kandivli to Ballard Estate. The 76km to and fro was such a hairy experience that I didn't ever attempt it again.

Of course, there are a lot of hardy people who do a lot of riding in rural areas, and commuting to cities. However it's not for everyone.

I would suggest buying a good condition used Splendor or equivalent for your commute. If nothing else, the larger wheels would reduce some of the roughness from the road. It won't be an upgrade - just a side-grade, if I were to usurp some capital market jargon.
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Old 18th November 2023, 11:13   #5
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re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

Quote:
Originally Posted by pranavshet View Post
I'm only 28 years old...I have observed that the suspension of Activa 125 is very soft at the front which leads to it bottoming out and the rear one being excessively stiff
Activa definitely has stiffer suspension for sure; I once had an hairline fracture in one of Cx back bone & was managing to work {17 Km one way} by riding just carefully & not dropping to potholes until the fracture healed & beyond.

Just check your BMI {there're many people who will dispute, but atleast try this to begin with} with height & weight to see if it falls anywhere over 25. I will very strongly, undisputedly, more than agree with what Sir said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
Maybe its got nothing to do with your scooter and just your general fitness that has taken a nosedive
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Old 18th November 2023, 11:48   #6
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re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

I can feel your concern and my recommendations to alleviate your problem :

1. Fitness : gym/yoga/strength training/whatever suits you increase your power-to-weight ratio

2. You don't just need better suspension but also bigger wheels, no getting around that.
Look for a comfortable motorcycle, XPulse 200 4V being the most comfortable I reckon and there are others too.
Take a test ride for the XPulse 200 4V and then let us know if you're willing to switch over. Keep the Activa for short errands.

3. If you're not a fan of motorcycles then its time to think of a four wheeler instead trying to spend more money looking for a something which can alleviate your pain for some more time.
I found the Activa 6G's suspension, especially the rear to be soft, ditto for the Jupiter as compared to the Access. So you're out of luck when it comes to scooters. Jupiter does have adjustable suspension but I think even at its softest it might not make that big a difference.

4. #1 is indispensable.

Last edited by shancz : 18th November 2023 at 11:48. Reason: grammar
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Old 18th November 2023, 12:19   #7
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re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

Quote:
Originally Posted by pranavshet View Post
Respected members,

I wanted advice on the following topic:

Context: I have been riding a Honda Activa 125 for the past 8.5 years. Earlier my daily running was hardly 10kms a day. I used to commute mostly by bus.

However, due to a change in the organization last year & due to poor bus connectivity on that route I had no other option but to use my Activa on that route. My daily usage of Activa escalated from 10kms a day to 45kms a day.

Last year my body somehow managed to bear the additional burden. But this year and certainly now my body has started protesting. I have been suffering from back spasms in my lower back and strain on my neck and shoulder area. Also, my hamstring has started to hurt. Please note I'm only 28 years old.

I have observed that the suspension of Activa 125 is very soft at the front which leads to it bottoming out and the rear one being excessively stiff.

Also, I ride between 40 to 55kmph Also my vehicle is being regularly serviced. Even my mum complains of the rear suspension being stiff .

I just wanted to know if I can deal with this problem by making adjustments to my riding style.

Should I stop riding scooter? I don't intend to upgrade at least in a year's time as I have some other commitments.

Would love to know your valuable views on this.

Regards
Pranav
Hi Pranav

Your problem resonates with mine.
I had the same problem of back pain (But i ride a SF 250) thinking that roads and bike is the problem. For a 28 year old this shudnt be one except the occational pains.
No physiotherapy/homeopathy/ayuveda treatment helped.
Finally I was found to be deficient of Vitamin D3!!!
Took injection and the pain vanished like magic.

I would highly recommend you to take the test.

Also as others recommend, if u r severely out of shape that could be a reason.

Do let me know the results
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Old 18th November 2023, 12:22   #8
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re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

Quote:
Originally Posted by pranavshet View Post
Respected members,

I wanted advice on the following topic:

Context: I have been riding a Honda Activa 125 for the past 8.5 years. Earlier my daily running was hardly 10kms a day. I used to commute mostly by bus.
Scooters are terrible on the back. I picked up a tail bone injury trying to daily an Access 125 over bad roads. Took me almost two years to recover. It is not just the poor suspension travel and the small wheels, the riding position of most scooters puts all the stress on your lower back. If your seat foam has collapsed and you are a heavier rider, you will be sitting on the seat frame in no time.

And you can't keep your upper body relaxed because there is nothing to hold the scooter with your lower body, like a motorcycle. I never had a single trouble riding my motorcycles which included a stiffly sprung Duke 390 over bad patches for a whole day. Do yourself a favor and stop riding the Activa. 45kms is a lot for a scooter on our roads. Switch to a proper motorcycle, ideally one with a neutral or slightly leaned forward riding position with foot pegs in the middle and not front.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 18th November 2023 at 12:24. Reason: quote content trimmed
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Old 18th November 2023, 12:41   #9
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re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

Quote:
Originally Posted by Castro Gunner View Post
Finally I was found to be deficient of Vitamin D3!!!
Took injection and the pain vanished like magic.

I would highly recommend you to take the test.

Also as others recommend, if u r severely out of shape that could be a reason.

Do let me know the results
Excellent suggestion. Most of us would be severely low on D3 thanks to modern living and working.
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Old 19th November 2023, 11:03   #10
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Re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

You are talking about Activa 125, which is far more comfortable than what I commute on, a Honda Dio 110! Dio is the one of the best vehicles to ride on good roads, but it's the most horrible thing ever on bad roads. I can think of some things that may help improve comfort -

1. Replace the rear shock absorber with the gas charged unit of TVS Wego/Jupiter. Many people have done it, I am planning to do it. The TVS unit is a direct fit on all Honda scooters. It's an inch longer than Honda's stock shock, so seat height will increase slightly. You won't get the same ride quality as Jupiter because that's a combination of gas shocks and 12inch wheels. But it will be much better than Honda's rock hard shock.

2. Fill nitrogen in tyres. Keep tyre pressure as what Honda recommends.

3. Do push ups. Don't take this lightly. Push ups immensely help with shoulder, back and core strength. I've found that whenever I excercise daily, Dio's harsh ride doesn't affect me much.

4. Try the 3 step adjustable rear shock absorber of bs6 Activa 125. My friend has a bs6 example and it's ride quality is lovely. But I doubt if it's a direct fit, have to see.

Lastly, I would suggest to change to a motorcycle. There's only so much comfort that Indian scooters can offer, because all of them use puny 12 or 10 inch wheels. So even a commuter motorcycle with 18 or 17 inch wheels is more suitable for daily commute > 10kms.
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Old 19th November 2023, 11:24   #11
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Re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

You may consider selling your Activa and going for a second-hand bike if financially it makes sense.
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Old 19th November 2023, 12:54   #12
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Re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

Hi,
assuming you are not going to make any modifications to the scooter.
Check that the rear shock absorber is working correctly and the bushes are not worn.
Check the front suspension is working correctly and the headstock bearings are correctly adjusted.
Check that the engine and transmission are pivoting freely at the front.
Run the front and rear tyres are at the correct pressure for the number of people on the scooter. Over inflated tyres will give a harder ride.
What you really need is lower back support.
I have been riding bikes with a damaged lower spine and associated pain for 51 years. The pain is managed with a codeine/paracetamol prescription.
When I ride for more than 30 minutes I need to stop and walk around to relieve the pain, unless I am wearing a lower back support belt !!!
Buy a good quality lower back support belt, spend the money on a quality belt. You need your back to last your whole life.
What you really need is a seat with a built in adjustable lower back support.
I bought one for my Honda Valkyrie 1500 custom cruiser. When I was 57, I rode the bike for about 850 kms in one day on a ride from the U.K. to Denia in southern Spain. Only stopping for petrol, coffee and a smoke about every 200kms.
Without the back support the trip would have been impossible.
Pushing 68 now and riding a Yamaha XT600e single cylinder Trail Bike. Most trips now are under 200kms but still very enjoyable providing I wear my lower back belt.
Regards Neil
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Old 19th November 2023, 12:59   #13
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Re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

P.S. I ride a Gen 1 Suzuki Access 125 scooter while in India for 4 months every year. I fitted an upgraded rear shock brought from the U.K. to improve the ride quality as my wife and I often travel sightseeing with a full load of luggage. Previously the rear suspension would bottom out on more aggressive speed humps. Regards Neil
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Old 19th November 2023, 23:30   #14
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Re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redex View Post
P.S. I ride a Gen 1 Suzuki Access 125 scooter while in India for 4 months every year. I fitted an upgraded rear shock brought from the U.K. to improve the ride quality as my wife and I often travel sightseeing with a full load of luggage. Previously the rear suspension would bottom out on more aggressive speed humps. Regards Neil
I have a Gen 2 Access. Can you tell me the product name you got? So that I can see if it is available in India and will fit Gen 2 or not?
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Old 20th November 2023, 11:40   #15
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Re: Improving the Honda Activa's suspension

Hi,
I bought the upgraded shock absorber about 4 years ago. Cannot remember all of the details. However, I took the critical measurements, bolt diameter, overall length, weight range etc and searched the internet. I ended up buying an adjustable shock absorber used on a child's quad bike. The springing is a bit too stiff for solo riding. Adjusting the shock absorber on the scooter is difficult as access is restricted. When I decide to go for a ride away by myself for a few days I just refit the original unit, only takes about 20 minutes.
With the side cover removed it would be easy to modify the mounting points to suit a range of shock absorbers. If I have time on my hands I may look at fitting an adjustable air shocker. I found them to be priceless fitted to my Honda Valkyrie, so easy to change between solo and 2 up with heavy luggage.
Regards Neil
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