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Suzuki Access 125 vs Honda Activa 125: Comparison Test

29 April 2016, 09:57 AM Pratheek Kunder

Introduction

Scooters in India cater to everyone - college kids, working professionals, housewives and even small business establishments. Why? Because they are easy to ride, affordable, there’s no need to change gear and yes, they’re easy to maintain too. But just like the mass market motorcycles, there’s a decent amount of segmentation here – 110cc and the 125cc. While the Indian market has almost 80 per cent of the scooters in the 110cc, there are a few who dared to enter the more expensive 125cc segment and Suzuki was one of them with the Access 125. Now with the new Access 125 in picture, it deserves a comparison test with the Honda Activa 125 - the scooter that spoiled Suzuki’s party. So read on. 

Looks & Styling

The old Suzuki Access 125 didn’t have a character of its own. In fact, when we talk about design, the Access 125 never made it to the list. It lacked the attention grabbing skills but Suzuki has taken care of that on the new Access 125. While the styling is not entirely retro modern, it’s clear that Suzuki wanted to go in that direction with the new Access. Rectangular headlamp and vertical long turn indicators are some of the giveaways. The side profile too, with its flowing curves gives an attractive stance to the scooter. The five-spoke alloy design on the Access gives a solid feel too.

The Honda Activa 125, on the other hand, is a two-year-old scooter. So it should look outdated right? No! It shouldn’t and it doesn’t. Look wise, the Activa 125 is still the real deal among the buyers. It has the right amount of body proportions, coupled with sharp creases that gives it an aggressive look. The massive V-shaped chrome patch on the fascia is obviously the best part (for most of the Indians). Along with that, the Activa 125 is equipped with a big grab rail, five-spoke running alloy design and that Honda branding. But there’s something not to like about this Honda – the exhaust. It’s black, bland and looks boring. 

Suzuki Access 125: 5/10

Honda Activa 125: 5/10 

Ergonomics & Quality

Here, the new Access 125 takes the top spot. Its higher set handlebar gives more control and yes, it doesn’t touch your legs while taking a U-turn – something that I experienced with the Activa 125. The floorboard is slightly wider and longer on the Access, which means more area for your legs. Seat is wide and well cushioned too. The pillion rider didn’t have a single complaint about his ride experience. The placement of footpegs are bang on. What didn’t work in the Access’ favour is the quality of plastics used. It has a texture that looks and feels cheap. However, the paint quality is outstanding and is something that we would like all the scooters to have. 

Suzuki Access 125

Suzuki Access 125

  • Displacement124 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported48 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)8.6 bhp
  • Kerb Weight104 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 77,191

As far as the Activa 125 is concerned – it has a neutral sitting position. It’s something that you’ll experience even in the smaller Activas. The seat comfort isn’t as good as the Access but yes, you won’t get tired during long rides. Like I mentioned above, the handlebar position is slightly lowerset, making it difficult during U-turns for people like me with long legs. When it comes to quality on this one, it’s very good for a two year old scooter but compared to the present competitions, it doesn’t match up. 

Suzuki Access 125: 6/10

Honda Activa 125: 5/10

Features & Technology

The new Access 125 gets a new instrument cluster, which looks basic, however, a small LCD screen integrated into it also shows service reminders, something that other scooters don’t offer. It also gets a 12V power socket, which is placed close to the front pocket area – easy stowage for your smartphone. For luggage, there’s a hook in the front and also below the seat to take care of your shopping chores. The seat can be opened remotely via the ignition switch and once it’s opened, a half face helmet and couple of documents can easily fit in there. Telescopic suspension comes as standard whereas disc brake and alloy wheels comes as an option. 

The Activa 125 has easily the best instrument cluster- it’s big, the fonts can be easily read and not to forget the rectangular LCD screen that shows the trip meter and the fuel level. Other than that, the Activa gets the same space under the seat, telescopic suspension and also it gets alloy wheels and disc brakes as option. But there are a couple of things that it doesn’t come with like the front luggage hook, 12V power socket and front storage pocket. The Activa also misses out on the remote locking for the seat. 

Suzuki Access 125: 6/10

Honda Activa 125: 5/10 

Engine & Performance

Know why the Activas are sold so much? Their engines! They’re refined, vibe free, fuel efficient and can be easily maintained too. The Activa 125 fulfills each of these aspects. This engine produces 8.6bhp at 6500rpm and peak torque of 10.12Nm at 5000rpm. The CVT gearbox is smooth, so open the throttle and the scooter won’t disappoint you at all. While there isn’t much difference between the scooters in the performance department, the new Access feels slightly better. Why? This heavily reworked engine which now gets SEP (Suzuki Eco Performance tech) generates the same amount of power, but the Access is almost 8kg lighter than the Activa 125. Couple this with the brilliant CVT engagement time of the Access and you’ve a brilliant and a fun scooter. The throttle response is crisp, the mid-range let you ride in the economy mode easily. And yes, the Suzuki Access can easily touch 90kmph.  

Suzuki Access 125: 6/10

Honda Activa 125: 6/10

 

Ride, Handling & Braking

Here things are almost similar. Both the scooters – the Access 125 and the Activa 125 behave the same in city traffic and also on the highways. Both absorbs the bumps the same way – thanks to the same suspension setup. The suspension setup of both the scooters are not very firm nor very soft, that means it does a good job on the Indian roads. However, try taking on some potholes in high speed and the Activa tends to make the rider little uncomfortable. 

Riding both the scooters is easy in the city traffic. They’re light, compact and easy to maneuver in the traffic. But thanks to the higher set handlebar on the Access 125, there’s a sense of much better control over the scooter. In terms of braking the Access 125 and the Activa 125 excel in their own ways. With a disc brake in the front, the Access 125 will stop whenever and wherever you want it to. But the rear tyre tends to lock up if there’s too much application. And this is where the combi-braking system (CBS) comes as a saviour on the Activa 125. The tyres don’t lock up at all. There’s more than enough bite and feel on the lever. 

Suzuki Access 125: 6/10

Honda Activa 125: 6/10

Fuel Efficiency

This is the real deal. It doesn’t matter how good the scooter is, it doesn’t matter how expensive it is, what matters the most is ‘Kitna deti hai?’.Well to answer this, the Access 125 returned 60kmpl which is quite impressive, considering the fact that Suzuki claims an ARAI figure of 64kmpl. The Honda Activa 125, on the other hand, was also quite fuel efficient at 52kmpl. To give you a better perspective, the Access 125 will go for 336kms in one full tank and that’ll cost you Rs 347. So we’re looking at close to Rs 1 per km running cost. The Honda Activa 125 is limited to close to 275kms in one full tank. 

Suzuki Access 125: 6/10

Honda Activa 125: 5/10

Price & Warranty

We tested out the disc brake version of the new Suzuki Access 125.  Unfortunately, this model hasn’t been launched yet. But the drum brake version retails for Rs 64,314 (on-road Mumbai) whereas the same variant of the Honda Activa 125 is priced at Rs 65,995(on-road Mumbai) which is Rs 1,681 more than the Access 125. The CBS version of the Activa is priced at Rs 70,997 (on-road Mumbai). So expect the disc brake version of the Access to be at least Rs 3,000 cheaper than the Activa. When it comes to warranty, both the scooters have the same figures – 2 years/24,000kms. 

Suzuki Access 125: 7/10

Honda Activa 125: 6/10

Desirability

Desirability is something we associate with premium or super premium bikes or scooters. These scooters are more utilitarian and for everyday use. But if we talk about brand recall, most of the Indian consumers are obsessed with the Honda brand.

So here too, the Activa is more desirable than the Access but the truth is, the Access is so much better than the Activa 125 in many ways. 

Suzuki Access 125: 5.5/10

Honda Activa 125: 6/10

Verdict

Suzuki Access 125: Rank 1

Final scores: 59.5/100

Price: Rs 64,314, OTR, Mumbai

Our winner is clear – the Access 125. Suzuki has got this new scooter right in terms of styling, features list and also the mechanicals. While we agree the design of the Access is not something a lot of people will crave for, but it is attractive and is in sync with the current trend. The engine is brilliant and is easily one of the best scooter engines available in the market today. 

Honda Activa 125: Rank 2

Final scores: 56/100

Price: Rs 65,995, OTR, Mumbai

The Activa 125 comes second here. Why? It has less features, isn’t as fuel efficient its Japanese counterpart and not to forget its price. You also have to consider that this price doesn’t include things like number plate and side stand, for that you need to shell out more. 

Photography by Kapil Angane

Read our first ride review of the new Suzuki Access 125

Read our first ride review of the Honda Activa here 

Final Scores

 Parameters/Models  Max Points Suzuki Access 125 Honda Activa 125
 Rank    1  2
 Looks & styling  10 5 5
 Ergonomics & Quality  10 6 5
 Features & Technology  10  6 5
 Engine & Gearbox  10 6 6
 Performance  10 6 6
 Ride quality  10 6 6
 Handling & Braking  10 6 6
 Fuel Efficiency  10 6 5
 Price & Warranty  10 7 6
 Desirablility  10 5.5 6
 Total  100  59.5 56
 Price (OTR, Mumbai)   Rs 64,314 Rs 65,995

Specifications

 MAKE Suzuki  Honda
 Model Access 125 Activa 125 
 POWER TRAIN    
 Engine Type Air-cooled Air-cooled
 Capacity 124cc 124.9cc
 Max Power  8.6bhp 8.6bhp
 Max Torque  10.02Nm 10.12Nm
 Gearbox CVT CVT
 CYCLE PARTS    
 Chassis Under bone Under bone
 Supension F  Telescopic Telescopic
 Suspension R  Mono shock Mono shock 
 Brakes F  Drum/Disc Drum/Disc
 Brakes R  Drum Drum
 Tyre F 90/90-12 Tubeless 90/90-12 Tubeless
 Tyre R 90/100-10 Tubeless 90/100-10 Tubeless
 MEASURES    
 Fuel Tank  5.6 litres 5.3 litres
 LxWxH  1870mm x 655mm x 1190m6 1814mm x 704mm x 1151mm
 Wheelbase  1265mm 1260mm 
 Kerb Weight  102kg 110kg 
 COST    
 Price (OTR, Mumbai) Rs 64,314 Rs 65,995
 Warranty 2 years/24,000kms   2 years/24,000kms

Gallery

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