One truly mind-boggling dilemma that every individual faces nowadays in India is as to whether one should purchase a bike or a scooter. Some may prefer shifting back and forth between gears frequently and whizzing past traffic, while the more conservative and comfort-minded ones would prefer to weave their way through traffic with just a twist of the accelerator, with their legs at ease while seated. Sure, bikes may offer you more speed and acceleration besides the thrill toggling through the gears, but a scooter in simple words is simplicity at its best, and sometimes simple is better.
Scooters have been on the rise for a while and currently indicate a 25% market share in the Indian automotive market. Hero detected this trend a tad too late but nevertheless came out with their gender centric scooters – Pleasure and the Maestro. The Maestro was initially launched in 2012 with the tagline ‘It’s a boy thing’ which is a clear indicator of who this scooter is targeted at. We find out if the Maestro is as good at Hero MotoCorp claims it to be.
Design and Build Quality
The Hero Maestro is a sleek but sturdy scooter. Its frontal design may look similar to the Honda Activa which garnered much acclaim and success, but has a few changes. The pilot indicator lights that are placed on the front body are distinctively shaped like eyes. There is also a small and narrow slit on the body forefront which adds to the aesthetics. The Hero scooter comes in various shades namely Panther Black, Blazing Red, Electric Blue, Force Silver, Harvest Green, and Pearl White.
The curvy creases on the body and black paintwork on top of the headlight contribute immensely to its pleasing and attractive look. The chrome-coated letters that spell out ‘MAESTRO’ on both sides make sure you can’t mistake it for anything else. Compared to the rest of the scooter, the rear taillights seem a little mundane.
The seats on the Maestro could have been made a bit wider with a little bit more cushioning to alleviate stress while riding over rough terrain, but otherwise it is satisfactory. The placement of the handlebars and mirrors is just about perfect, and there is a generous amount of leg space for the riders. The rear foot pegs are also well-positioned, providing the right amount of comfort for the pillion, particularly when riding on highways.
Left: The Maestro gets aluminium pillion foot pegs that look upmarket; Right: The chunky pillion grabrail is finished in body colour, and is very comfortable to hold on to.
Engine and Performance
Hero has gone for the 109cc engine for the Maestro, which offers 8bhp of peak power at 7500rpm and 9.1Nm of maximum torque at 5500rpm. This engine is similar to the one that is used by Honda, although Hero has incorporated their proprietary Advanced Swirl Flow Induction System technology (ASFS) into their version, which supposedly improves speed and acceleration while maintaining optimum efficiency. The engine provides good acceleration till about 50-60 kmph, and can notch up a top speed of around 90 kmph with a little bit of effort. Vibrations can be felt but it isn’t too heavy or intrusive. We felt that the Hero Maestro is a very hard scooter to criticize in terms of its engine performance, and it scores well in this department.
The Hero Maestro is touted to deliver an efficiency of 66.7 kmpl of fuel. A decent figure, but this depends on riding conditions, weight of the pillion, tire conditions, nature of riding and so on. One can expect a real world mileage of 45 kmpl, which is very commendable for an automatic scooter.
Ride Quality, Dynamics and Braking
On the suspension characteristics, the front end uses a trailing link suspension system which helps the bike to stay stable when the brakes are applied. The rear uses a hydraulic shock absorber system. The low saddle height of 770mm makes hopping onto this vehicle an effortless task. Although the bike weighs a 110 kg, it feels a lot lighter on the road. Indian roads are notorious for their badly designed roads and speed breakers, and riders might experience uneasiness at speeds over 50-60 kmph over such surfaces.
Hero has also equipped the Maestro with the Combined Braking System (CBS). A mere tug on the rear brake lever actuates both the brakes. Although the CBS unit does a good job in keeping the braking distance in check, we feel that an additional front disc brake could have been made optional to customers. The suspensions and brake systems work efficiently in tandem and ensure that the rider and pillion have as pleasurable a ride as possible.
The instrument cluster comprises of a circular analogue speedometer in the middle and two sections on either sides with the LED indicators. A digital speed indicator, side stand indicator, fuel meter, service due indicator and odometer come on the right fraction apart from the headlight LED on the left fraction. Additionally, it comes with a front storage box with just about enough space for two bottles and a bunch of papers. The underseat storage is sufficient and has enough space to place a helmet. Hero should have used the opportunity when designing the Maestro to place the petrol tank lid in an easily accessible location, rather than the conventional underseat position which proves to be quite inconvenient to the rider.
Left: The Maestro's speedometer console has a futuristic design and is pleasing to behold; Right: The underseat storage is spacious enough to store a helmet.
Priced at Rs. 45,500 (ex-showroom Delhi) this scooter is decently priced for the features it provides, and will prove to be quite a good vehicle for commuting on a day-to-day basis. The Hero Maestro is more than your average Joe scooter, and is definitely bound to enthrall the male faction of the Indian society.
Special thanks to Adyar Motors, Chennai, who provided us the Hero Maestro for the review
Disclaimer: This review is purely based on the test conducted by "ChooseMyBike.in". All views expressed in this review are that of ChooseMyBike.in's, and not of the manufacturer's.
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|Engine||Air cooled, 4 - stroke single cylinder|
|Power||8 bhp @ 7500 rpm|
|Torque||9.1 Nm @ 5500 rpm|
|Chassis Type||High Rigidity Underbone Type|
|Brakes||Front:Drum, dia. 130 mm, Internal expanding shoe type
Rear:Drum, dia. 130 mm, Internal expanding shoe type
|Suspension||Front:Bottom Link with spring loaded hydraulic dampers
Rear:Unit Swing with spring loaded hydraulic dampers
|Fuel Tank Capacity||5.3|