In any segment in the world of motor vehicles, when you see the name Honda in the list of makers, it's safe to say that they would be one of the top players. The scene is no different in the Indian scooter market. The turn of the millennium saw the launch of the Honda's first scooter for India, the Activa. To term it as just a success would be gross understatement, but Honda being who they are, did not stop there. Mere market share is not their aim, they want the whole market! In came the Dio, a stylish brother to the more elegant Activa. The Aviator is another step in the direction of market domination. The Aviator builds on the best qualities of its siblings, and even outclassing them in some parameters, but let us find out if it is really worth the extra cash over the competition.
The Aviator is a bulbous scooter. It feels much wider and heavier than the Activa (which it actually isn’t!). The friendly headlamp design, clear lens indicators and an attractive rear end are a good departure from the Activa's rather simple design. The 3D badging adds good aesthetic value over conventional stickering. While the Dio caters to the younger generation, and Activa being more utilitarian and universally ridden, the Aviator's styling will augur well with the more matured commuter, one who prefers the ease of riding a scooter and not just utilitarian runs to the local grocery store.
The genes of the well-built Activa and Dio carry forward to the Aviator. Fit and finish are typically Honda – there isn’t any clattering or loose fitting. All it requires is periodic maintenance checks to last as long as your pet dog.
Riding position is near spot on. 9 out of 10 people will find it perfect, while the last guy will complain about the stepped seat. It is not immediately noticeable, but a long commute can show the problem, especially if you are over 5'10 and are trying to move around. There is plenty of room to accommodate a pillion, so no worries about perching on half seat-half grab rail. Switches are easily accessible, but lack a pass light flash. Fuel top-up still requires you to open the seat (come on Honda, it is about time you offered a more convenient method!).
Engine & Performance
The tried and tested 109cc engine from the Activa makes its way here too, putting out around 8 odd BHP, which is transmitted to the rear wheel via CVT setup. Power delivery is smooth, and far less noisy than the Suzuki Access and Vespa LX125. Vibration levels are minimal, and only at top speed do you notice things becoming slightly rough.
The refined character of the engine is unmatched. At city speeds the engine is barely audible. Performance is similar to the Activa, though it does feel occasionally sluggish despite a lower kerb weight. Still, traffic light launches are sprightly when given the twist and can easily put most commuters to shame. While the competition has moved on to 125cc scoots, the 109cc engine here lags in outright numbers, but if those numbers ever mattered, you wouldn't be looking at getting a scooter, would you?
A near 80 kmph top whack allows it to run at 65 kmph without much effort. Roll-on acceleration is on par with competition, and overtaking between 40-50 kmph is effortless and easy.
A little over 210 kms was what we managed from the 5.5 litres of fuel it can store under mixed riding environs, which is approx. 40 kms to the litre. A softer right hand can eke out a couple more. Under ideal riding conditions, Honda claims that the Aviator will deliver around 60 kmpl.
Handing & Ride Quality
The telescopic forks at the front ensure much better stability than the conventional trailing link. Despite the setup being a tad soft, the scooter could be pushed through corners at a fair pace with confidence. Slicing through traffic is a lot of fun!
Ride quality is brilliant when bumps are tackled slowly. Even moderate increase in speed causes it to bounce around. That said, the plush seat and soft setup are more than adequate to tackle our roads.
This is undoubtedly the best brakes on a scooter we have tested in India. Disc brakes up front and drum at the rear operated in a balanced manner by the Combi-Brake System setup work wonderfully in stopping the Aviator from any speed without much fuss. The CBS unit distributes braking forces evenly between both wheels, thereby reducing the tendency of one wheel to lock. Braking power is exceptional and stability levels are unmatched under hard braking for any scooter and even some commuter motorcycles.
The conventional instrument cluster is easy to read and all toggles feel solid. The front disc brake and large underseat storage are two big plusses, but beyond those you are left wanting for more features, considering the price Honda is asking for it. A quick comparo with rivals reveals that the Aviator lacks a mobile charger socket, external fuel-filler lid, a digital information readout and so on.
(Left To Right: Speedometer is easy to read; Underseat storage can hold upto 20 L of luggage)
The Aviator is a good option for those looking for something more than the Activa. Be it office commutes or running errands, the Aviator will be an excellent companion, although the high price might put off some buyers considering the competition offers more power and better styling, and in most cases, better standard features as well.
Special thanks to Didar Honda, Chennai, who provided us the Honda Aviator 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.
Mileage Disclaimer: The mileage that we received from the Aviator was under extreme testing conditions, and is bound to vary from the mileage you may experience
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|Engine||4 Stroke, Single Cylinder, Air Cooled, OHC|
|Power||8 bhp @ 8000 rpm|
|Torque||9 Nm @ 5500 rpm|
|Chassis Type||High rididity Underbone Type|
|Brakes||Front:130mm dia drum (CBS) (Base), 190 mm dia, 3 pin caliper, hydraulic (CBS) (Disc)
Rear:130mm dia drum (CBS)(Base),
Rear:unit swing with spring loaded hydraulic damper(Base)
|Fuel Tank Capacity||6|