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Honda Navi: Something really new

first_imgHonda has been a pioneer in introducing new motorcycle genres and their steps have been quite daring in the past. When the company brought the iconic Cub to America, even dealers refused to accept that a piddly 50cc machine could sell in a country which was more accustomed to massive cruisers. But they sold and sold in the millions.The same goes for the ‘Monkey’ range which were first introduced in the 60s. From then there has been massive demand for these little machines and that has resulted in Honda offering the Grom internationally.USD forks (above) and 12-inch wheels up front. Would have been better with alloys.In India Honda has been more inclined towards the commuter but all that changed at the recent Auto Expo where the company launched the Navi which resembles the Grom and can be called an Indian interpretation of the same. Priced phenomenally the Navi then is a potent offering. But is it just a showpiece or can it really handle the rigours of Indian conditions and riders? Let’s find out.ALSO READ:Volkswagen Ameo: V for ValueThe headlamp seems to have been inspired by the internationally available HondaGrom 125. Let’s first start with the nomenclature which stands for New Additional Value for India, hence NAVI. So what is the additional value? It is a combination of a scooter and a bike. That is where the value lies. Honda has chosen the tried and tested Activa platform for the Navi.The frame is identical apart from the top half where brackets have been added to support the fuel tank which unfortunately can hold a rather miniscule 3.8 litres of fuel. Moving forward the Navi gets USD telescopic suspension and chunky 12-inch wheels shod with 90/90 MRF Zappers from the Activa 125. What we would have liked is to have a set of snazzy alloy wheels which would spruce up the glamour quotient.advertisementJump up a speed hump or jump off a pavement, the navi loves to play around. but one thing the rider can’t handle is the attention it grabs on the road.The Navi also gets drum brakes both up front and rear and yes, no Combi Braking here as yet. The instrument panel comprises of a single pod which houses a speedo within which one can find an odo and basic tell tales. The single piece plastic panel is painted and the rest of the package remains black. You will also spot a hollow chamber under the tank where ideally the engine on a bike sits. In the Navi though it is used as storage space. Having a scooter like hook would have made things better.The idea behind, styling, ease of riding, in-city handling, smooth engine, accessory list, price.ALSO READ:Toyota sets the bar high with Innova CrystaAt the back resides the 110cc engine from the Activa. Power and torque ratings are nearly identical to the Activa as well. However the Navi does offer more ground clearance at 156mm. Seat height too at 765mm is identical to the Activa. This comes as a surprise as the Navi does look tiny as compared to the Activa.Only a speedo, odo and tell tales here.At the back one would find a splash guard and a registration plate housing which look cool. The indicators though look slightly large but that can be changed thanks to the million aftermarket options. The tail lamp seems like it came from the Stunner and blends well with the overall package. It would be apt to mention here that the paint is not as lustrous as I would have hoped and the cost cutting measures are clearly evident. But whatever you say, you can hate it or love it but you cannot ignore the Navi.Engine sports HET and is smooth. Power rating is mildly lower while torque has gone up marginally. For those who do not mind spending a bit more, Honda is offering a variety of accessories for the Navi. This includes the much needed utility box which sits under the tank, headlight guards, visors, leg guards, chassis guards and various decal kits.ALSO READ:Armed with redi-GO, Datsun all set to take on Renault’s KwidThe three other variants which the company showcased at the Auto Expo will come in the following months and will be priced around Rs 6,000 roughly. So you can buy the kits and keep changing the Navi as per your heart’s desire.The tail lamp comes from the Honda Stunner but it blends well with the design. Swing your leg over and one will find the tall handlebar and high seat ensuring a very comfortable riding position. The footpegs which are added to the chassis are cleverly positioned and as a result it adds to the comfortable riding position. However with a pillion onboard things get a bit tight.Start up the motor and the 4-stroke air cooled engine purrs to life with typical smoothness. The first mistake I made was to look for first gear! My brain is so not tuned to the luxury of having an automatic bike that this happened. Nevertheless twist and go. Literally! The Navi gathers speed rather easily and feels even more brisk than the Activa. This is perhaps because the Navi is seven kilograms lighter than the metal bodied Activa.advertisementThe navi was designed and developed completely inhouse in India.ALSO READ:Nissan GTR: King of the MonstersThe speedo rises quickly to the 60kmph mark and then acceleration reduces until the speedo locks itself around the indicated 80kmph mark. But what makes the Navi very interesting is its light weight and the ability to change direction like a fly.Utility box fits in the hollow space under the fuel tank which holds 3.8 litres, less than we expected.It is a bike which is best in the city where quick changes are required. It handles well too and much better than the Activa which still employs a front trailing link suspension as compared to the Navi’s telescopic setup. It also does not mind being jumped off pavements etc. Not that we recommend it but it’s fun and that is what the Navi is all about.Utility box fits in the hollow space under the fuel tank which holds 3.8 litres, less than we expected. After having ridden it for a while we never felt like stopping for those notorious speed humps. The little Navi would literally fly by much to the amusement of the passerby. So much so that we were stopped numerous times as people wanted to ask us if it was a pocket bike or a kid’s bike or even if it was a toy!ALSO READ:Royal Enfield Himalayan: A befitting tribute Moving on to the ride, the Navi finds itself at home on city streets. Small potholes, bumps and undulations are taken into stride with ease and the rider remains pliant. However as speed climbs, the Navi does get shaky and it finds itself pretty out of place on expressways or highways.The exhaust is also from the Activa and blends well with the design. VerdictAt Rs 39,500 (ex-showroom Delhi), the Navi is phenomenal value-for-money considering you are getting an Activa in a new guise. But what sets this little champ apart is its looks. Believe me, you will get more attention on the road than someone on a big bike!ALSO READ:The new Skoda Superb has the looks to succeed much above its classBut you also get a city slicker which is very easy to ride, offers good economy and is a tried and tested platform. At the end of the day the Navi is one to have and I am definitely getting one.advertisementlast_img read more