Priced at INR 40,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi); Neither a scooter, nor a motorcycle. It’s something that brings vividness and fun to everyday mundane commutes. Should you afford one?
You know, new ideas are always hard to grasp. They rebel against your establishes sensibilities, but also make you rethink your choices for good. Scooters were, for all time, mild and inconspicuous, but there emerge few outliers nowadays here and there. The Aprilia SR 150 stands in one direction, while the all-new Honda Navi stands in the other end. The Navi seems adventurous in creation itself – it is peppy, flamboyant, and pretty much affordable perhaps! I’m afraid that this motorcycle-scooter crossover may even become a cult bike among the urban teens.
Basically, what Honda has done is mashing up mediocre scooter mechanicals into a new underbone chassis and quirky body of a tiny motorcycle. Elements like telescopic forks, handlebar, high-held fuel tank, long and narrow saddle, swooping side panels, and head and tail lamps confirm that the Navi is more of a commuter bike. Yet, the dimensions are equivalent to that of the Activa scooter, thanks to Navi’s diminutive styling. The seat height is also same as the Activa, although the handlebars are a bit higher, along with a marginally high ride height. The wheelbase is definitely longer than Activa, and the Navi manages to weigh 7 kgs less than its scooter sibling.
However, the build and plastic quality feels flimsy, the handlebar switches and speedometer console looks ridiculously simple and dated. There is no fuel gauge either, and the really inconvenient handle lock down at the base of the steering head is absurd. Obviously, no storage space as in case of a scooters.
The Navi is powered by a 110 cc single-cylinder, air-cooler engine (same as Activa) mated to a automatic CVT gearbox. The unit produces 8 hp at 7,000 rpm and 9 Nm at 5,500 rpm of max output, mostly similar to Activa in performance. The power delivery is more smooth and responsive, perfect for urban conditions and traffic. The mini-bike manages to clock 60-70 kmph with ease, while the top speed is claimed at 81 kmph by the company. Riding position and comfort is also similar to Activa, and the upright seating with legs pushed out and forward is a different experience. Further, the fuel tank clinching your legs brings a bike-ride feel, you end up searching for the gear lever and brake pedal unconsciously!
The 12-and 10-inch steel rims helps on a nimble and manoeuvrable ride, while the suspension feels little unsettled once you speed up the bike. This is where the Navi starts to show its true scooter ancestry. The 130 mm drum brakes on both the wheels are adequate, while the 3.8-litre fuel tank limits riding range even against scooters.
Now to answer the ultimate buying dilemma, the Navi isn’t practical as scooters (or even motorcycles either!). The plastics feel cheap, and certain essentials are missing as well. It still rides like a scooter, although feels better and is more fun to ride for sure. Where this mini-bike scores at is its affordability and showy styling – it’s one of the kind, and when was the last time you had an affordable, tiny two-wheeler that made a fashion statement? It is priced within the reach of every scooters and commuter bikes, and is reasonably ‘the best’ for urban everyday commutes. The real question is, are you ready to try something different and amusing?
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Image Credits: PowerDrift Youtube Channel, Autocar India