The Honda Activa 125 FI was the first two-wheeler manufacturer to usher in a BS6-compliant scooter to our market, and with the SP 125, the Japanese brand has launched the first BS6-compliant motorcycle in the country. The brand is quite bullish about its BS6 models, and with the introduction of these two models, it only reflects the company’s confidence in the Indian two-wheeler space. The SP 125 also comes with some segment-first features.
After making the big move to BS6-compliant engines, manufacturers are also found to be upping the game when it comes to taking their products back to the drawing board for some good rethinking. What wasn’t perfect earlier, now seems to be getting sorted out. Coming to the SP 125, the design is all-new, and it looks sportier and sharper, unlike the CB Shine SP. Gone is the typical commuter look, and in comes an angular, contemporary looking bike. Honda Bikes have also dropped the ‘Shine’ branding.
The tank of the Honda SP 125 is muscular and the tank extensions are a clear inspiration from the CB Hornet 160R. From up-ahead, it looks quite aggressive with that sleek-looking headlamp and the cowl bordering it. The tail section has received subtle changes too, like the updated tail light. The motorcycle has a better presence now and doesn’t look like one of those slender 110cc motorcycles. This is a point that will be noted by a lot of youngsters who cannot afford stretching their budget any further.
A Practical Ride
A major chunk of Honda’s customer base will appreciate the move to BS6-compliant, fuel-injected engines – and this particular motor hasn’t lost out on power and torque, producing 10bhp and 10.9Nm of torque. Its 124cc motor now comes with a smaller bore, higher compression ratio and a longer stroke. The refinement is typical of what you can expect on a Honda, but once you’ve reached its rev range, the vibrations, along with a popping exhaust note, are prominent. However, by and large, the engine is smooth.
The Honda SP 125’s transmission is the same: a 5-speed unit, but compared to other 4-speed units, this one feels a lot smoother. The additional gear, however, is just an overdrive, which is evident in the fourth and fifth gears. In the fifth gear, the engine isn’t as stressed as it is in fourth. Honda also states that the BS6 motor offers more in terms of fuel efficiency. Performance is a factor a lot of buyers are going to be interested in, and ride quality remains pliant. The bike simply devours pot holes, but we found that the saddle is a little on the firm side. That flat and long seat is adequate for two passengers and the disc brake version we had on test offered good bite.
The SP 125’s tyres are clearly designed keeping in mind fuel efficiency, with less of the focus on handling – and this is apparent the moment you lean into a corner. However, it carries speed into corners without any fuss.
And the features
The Honda SP 125 comes with a whole bunch of features, like Honda’s silent start system, a new fully-digital instrument cluster that displays a host of information, like a service-due and gear-position indicator, real-time fuel-efficiency, distance-to-empty and an LED headlight. Now the equipment isn’t particularly fancy, but they do comes across as convenient and add to the comfort of a bike – something buyers in this segment are looking for.
Honda Bikes have indeed done a swell job with the Honda SP 125. It looks desirable, comes with more features, a few cosmetic updates – and more importantly – a BS6 engine. It costs that bit more than the old bike, but that’s acceptable since the entire industry has been making a transition to BS6 regulations. Its direct rival – the Bajaj Pulsar Neon 125 – is still better though. Dimensions-wise, the bike is longer by 13mm, making it 2020mm and wider at 785mm. This motorcycle is also taller at 1103mm and comes with a longer wheelbase of 1285mm. The Honda SP 125 is offered in four colours: Striking Green, Pearl Siren Blue, Imperial Red Metallic Matte Axis Grey Metallic. You’d be happy to know that waiting periods aren’t long; you’ll be able to get delivery very soon.