Perfection is a myth, really. There’s always scope of evolving into something better. Good old Darwin filled us in onto the Theory of Evolution and the fact that survival is the right of the fittest. Honda Motorcycles and Scooter India arrived in 2001 with their gearless wonder, the Activa. And almost as soon as it made its debut, magazines and owners alike were singing praises of the scooter. Word of mouth, which happens to be one of the most effective mediums of advertising, made sure that plenty of prospective scooter buyers walked into Honda dealerships, only to ride out on their own scooter with the Wings!
Now, nearly a decade later, the Activa still continues to be one of Honda’s largest selling two-wheelers in the country. Yes, it still is the same reliable and competent scooter, with build quality that would make it last a lifetime. But then, that in itself is kind of a problem. Let’s face it, the Activa looked old and it needed a fresh lease of life.‘Joy on and on’. Sounds like the catchline for an ad campaign for a popsicle that keeps growing the more you lick it. Er, actually, it’s what Honda’s using to sell the new Activa. This is something more substantial than a garish sticker job and a fluorescent coloured speedo. Yes, the new Activa is indeed all-new. And I shall start with the exterior and work myself within.
The old Activa was no ugly duckling and didn’t resemble a moth eaten rug. But, the Honda was too conventional and safely styled. It wasn’t bold and nor was it exciting to look at. If there is anyone who tells you that he had sleepless nights after catching a glimpse of the first few Activas on the streets, point him to a shrink because he needs some help. Unfortunately, the latest Honda is no show-stopper either. It certainly is more evolved as a design in appearance, but the side panels look a tad too ‘90s. The folk who penned the lines seem to have given all their attention to the front end of the scooter and by the time they reached the rear, it was time to hit the pub, er, the karaoke club. The leg shield has a pair of nostril-like things in the front and doesn’t resemble the old Activa in the slightest. Yay! But walk around and you’ll notice that apart from the clear lens indicators and a few creases here and there, it’s the old Activa alright. Sigh.
Fit and finish is predictably Honda, and I meant that as a compliment. I have seen plenty of five to seven year old Activas running around and not once have I seen one with panel gaps large enough to fit a horse through. The panels are metal and that should improve the longevity of the scooter considerably. Ding it and there’s much more you can do with metal than plastic. The new Activa is certainly going to last a long time and at the end of it, will not disappoint with rattles and squeaks.