“Whatever it is, It’s FUN!”
That is the tagline HMSI has gone with for their new product, the NAVi. It certainly does justice to the tagline, because the impression after the first test run left us smiling. We were thinking,
“What is this? In what category should we put it?” and it seems like Honda Motorcyle and Scooter India gave away to the impasse they were in. As when you check their official website (https://www.honda2wheelersindia.com) , they have four categories, namely : Motorcycle, Scooters, Super Bikes and NAVi, which makes NAVi a whole new category. A two-wheeler which cannot be typecasted always meets an ample amount of reactions, each different from the previous. Few loved it, few hated it, few even laughed about it and it also left a bunch of people puzzled in their head. But one thing was certain that no matter what, the new Honda NAVi always captured attention and we were always showered with questions. Now we pretty much have the brochure by heart, thanks to all the FAQs.
If you are writing it off due to its teensy-weensy frame, you would be dreadfully wrong. It comes as a surprise and certainly does pack a punch. But will HMSI’s gamble pay off? That is something only time can tell. Although there is something that we know, the answers that echoed to us after spending 1000 km and 20 days with the NAVi, not to forget the blistering session at a nearby Go-Kart Track where we pushed the NAVi to its limit.
Powering the Honda NAVi is a 4-stroke 109.19cc engine mated to an automatic (V-matic) transmission, generating 7.83 hp of power and 8.96 Nm of torque. Doesn’t sound much but if you mount it on a vehicle like NAVi, with the kerb weight being 101 kg only, it does quite a number. What we loved about the engine was its character; refined, smooth and linear power delivery. Especially when you accelerate hard from 20-25 km/h it picks up pace really well, all the way up to 65-70 km/h with negligible sluggish feel. The engine has been tuned so well that it does not show any sort of strain while riding in the city, it almost felt effortless. When tested on the Go-Kart track, the engine took to the tight and twisty layout like fish to water. In no time the Honda NAVi was within grasp of competitive lap timings and thanks to its characteristics you can do those laps all day long.
Ride Quality :
Riding the Honda NAVi may start as a saunter but before you realize it becomes a promenade, such is the comfort and maneuvering equally nimble. Although the suspension is on the stiffer side causing a scant discomfort but it more than makes up with its sublime braking prowess. The brakes are so good that no pot-hole can surprise you. But the initial braking does give a floating feeling in the front, robbing away your confidence. The reason being its Under Born frame. Because of a typical rear-biased frame and engine load towards the rear, the front end was pretty much weight-less. The front end is so weightless that an aggressive weave bobs the front wheel, causing quite a scare. This characteristic was a sizable impediment while we tried to push the Honda NAVi into the corners at the Go-Kart track. We pushed it till the front gave up on us and what was surprising that even after an average speed crash, the Honda NAVi survived with just couple of scratches. Causing us to fuel our imagination of Honda NAVi being a perfect training tool for budding racers. Though the Under Born frame showed signs of hardship, when laden with above average sized rider and pillion. The seat is also quite small and thus makes it preferrable for solo riding.
Unique Selling Point :
HMSI is offering ample customization options for the NAVi. From 5 different colours to body coloured accessories which you can mix and match to chrome finished accessories, you can almost have your own unique version of the Honda NAVi. HMSI is also offering Adventure Customization which includes high wind shield, handle bar guards, crash protectors and also an under body. But with only a 3.8L tank and 156 mm of ground clearance how much purpose does the Adventure version achieve, cannot be told unless tried.
Also the unconventional body and design is definitely a plus point, a whole new category for all types of people. And not to forget that it is a perfect city commuter, though you would not go very far (roughly 200 km) without a visit to the fuel station, thanks to the small fuel tank.
But can the NAVi do what the Dio did? Can it break the stereotype and have our buyers advance further? Well, it is very much capable of doing that but it will definitely take a lot more time than what Dio took. As we sit back and enjoy the NAVi rides, we hope that the numbers grow as we close this with HMSI’s own phrase about the NAVi
“The New Honda NAVi is just like you. Little unsure. Little weird. You can’t really typecast it. Is it a scooter? Ummmmm… Is it a bike? Don’t know. But one thing is for sure, whatever it is, it’s one heck of a fun ride.”