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Honda Grazia First Ride Review

12 November 2017, 10:01 AM Ranjan R. Bhat

What is it?

Why I would buy the Honda Grazia

Because it is a Honda. And a good-looking and feature-loaded one at that. 

Why I would avoid the Honda Grazia

It lacks the punch to match its looks.

Every once in a while, Honda pulls a rabbit out of its hat. Take the Navi or the Cliq; both are quirky scooters with a very specific target audience. These are the kind of products that the company’s risk management team wouldn’t approve of. But a manufacturer like Honda can afford to keep experimenting; it is one of the benefits of having the highest selling two-wheeler in your portfolio. The Grazia is the latest in this line of rabbits.

The 125cc scooter segment contributes just nine per cent towards the overall scooter sales. But if the success of the Suzuki Access 125 is anything to go by, the segment seems to have caught the attention of the urban audience. Both the major players in the segment, the Access 125 and the Activa 125, are conservative family scooters. So the Grazia is here to fill the void of a youth-centric 125cc scooter.

Think of the Grazia as an Activa 125 which spent some time in the gym and likes to dress up like 50 Cent. The dimensions, weight and the even the heart are more or less the same, although the body fat has been replaced with muscular and sharp lines. The front apron sports a LED headlamp setup like a blingy chain, while the paint schemes are loud and flashy like a rapper’s clothes. 

 

How does it ride?

The most remarkable thing about the Honda Grazia is the refinement. There is a healthy amount of vibrations coming through the handlebar, floorboard and the seat while idling. But once you get on the move, there is no sign of engine stress or vibrations even as you hit the limiter at 95kmph (indicated).

Honda Grazia

Honda Grazia

  • Displacement124 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported45 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)8.14 bhp
  • Kerb Weight108 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 79,587

At the heart of the Grazia is a 125cc single-cylinder engine, delivering 8.5bhp and 10.5Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a CVT transmission which has been tuned to extract maximum efficiency. Pin it off the line, and the Grazia surges forward with a sense of urgency. Even when in motion, you can feel a momentary burst of torque every time you whack open the throttle. However, the excitement is short lived as the engine speed settles down at 5,500rpm, and the rubber band effect acts like a kill joy. The engine response thereafter feels held-back and the Grazia keeps rolling lazily. It is only once you go past 60kmph that the engine speed starts climbing again, and you feel a slight improvement in engine response. But by then the engine has already run out of grunt. Opening the throttle progressively spares you the frustration of dealing with the rubber band effect, but there isn’t any marked improvement in performance either. 

The suspension of the Grazia has been tuned to offer a slightly stiff ride. The front end has a point-and-shoot nature which makes it fun to filter through traffic. It feels very nimble and is ready to change directions at the tip of a hat. Even out on the highways, the Grazia feels well-planted. But this stiff setup has compromised the slow speed ride quality. With my weight, the ride through pothole-ridden roads felt bouncy and took a toll on my back. However with a pillion, there was a noticeable improvement in the ride quality.

The front disc brake is a standard fitment on the top-of-the-line variant. The 190mm disc unit has a good initial bite and stopping power, although it felt wooden and short of feel. The Grazia gets combi braking system (CBS) which reduces the rider’s reliance on the front brakes, and is useful for novices. 

Anything else I should know?

Honda scooters are usually a step behind the competition when it comes to features. However, the Grazia is different. It gets segment-first features like LED headlamps and twin digital displays, one of which even includes a tachometer. The optional 12v socket in the Grazia located in the front glovebox, and the seat-opening switch located next to the ignition key make for convenient touches. Apart from its sibling, Grazia is also the only other disc brake-equipped scooter in India to feature CBS. 

Even when you put it through the worst of Mumbai roads, the Grazia feels ‘solid’ and capable of withstanding abuse. The seating triangle and the firm seat make it very comfortable to ride around the city. The raised handlebar did not interfere with my knee while taking U-turns, although this might not be the case with six-foot giants.

 

Should I buy one?

For most people, a scooter is supposed to be a means of transport to get them from point A to point B with minimum fuss. And in this aspect, Honda is the king of the hill. It has developed a reputation of making reliable, fuel efficiency and hassle free scooters. Ask any Honda scooter owner (if you aren’t one already) and you would know what I mean. And in these aspects, the Grazia ticks all the right boxes. 

And probably that is its only problem. Honda is pegging the Grazia as an exciting scooter, but the excitement is the only bit it lacks. The riding experience does not tingle the senses as you would expect such a sporty-looking scooter to. I blame the Aprilia SR150 and the Access 125 for setting my expectations so high. But of course, that’s me nitpicking at the Grazia.

 

Where does it fit in?

As tested, the Honda Grazia Deluxe costs Rs 69,205. This makes it Rs 4,300 pricier than its closest rival, the Access 125 Disc, which retails at Rs 64,880. For the extra money, you get a bunch of extra features and a maxi scooter-like body style. Surprisingly, the Activa 125 is marginally more expensive than the Grazia. While it misses out on the fancy features, the Activa 125 does get a metal body. 

All prices are on-road, Delhi. 

 
 
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

Gear Check

1. Icon Airmada helmet – 

Comfortable, aerodynamic, lightweight and a well-ventilated helmet with a wide peripheral vision. Oval headform fit might not suit everyone though. Price - Rs 15,000.

2. Joe Rocket Alter Ego 3.0 jacket – 

An extremely versatile all-weather jacket. In this guise, it is being used as a ventilated mesh jacket, though it ships with two more liners - waterproof and thermal. Price – Rs 20,000.

3. Ixon Moto HP gloves – 

High quality full gauntlet leather gloves suited for city riding, touring and track use. Offers good ventilation and a high level of protection. Expensive though. Price - Rs 9,500

4. Café Racer Moto Kevlar Jeans: These Kevlar lined denims offer adequate breathability and are comfortable even on long rides.

Price: Rs 4,500

5. Sidi B2 boots – 

All-round street and sportbike riding shoes also suitable for track days. Not ventilated, which can make it uncomfortable for everyday use. Price - Rs 17,000

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