Kinetic Nova 135 - Nova-va-voom!


I’m probably not the correct person to be writing this article, to be perfectly honest. Unlike a lot of my friends, who began riding on scooters like the Bajaj Sunny, the TVS Scooty and the Kinetic Honda and then graduated to geared bikes, I was always a motorcycle person (I learnt how to ride on my uncle’s RD350 – you can’t get any more ‘motorcycle person’ than that!). Since I began riding, I’ve been astride scooters perhaps 20-30 times, which is the proverbial drop in the ocean. Scooters seem so...small, so fragile, so...wait a minute, maybe I am  the right person to be writing this. Let’s see if the Nova 135 can make me sing a different tune.

Right, the Nova’s sitting in the parking lot, I’m told. It took me about two minutes to locate it, which says a few things about its styling. This isn’t a striking scooter by any means, but to be fair to it, once it’s standing on its own it manages to look quite handsome in an understated sort of way. Actually, apart from a two-tone paint job and new meters, there isn’t anything that sets the Nova 135 apart from its 115cc sibling; it’s just ‘nicely styled’. The black version is really quite anonymous, but the ones that come in brighter colours are more cheerful. What did gain the Nova brownie points with me were the cavernous underseat storage (helmets, veggies et al will pose no problems), the LEDs that light up the storage area and the mobile charger that’s provided – all most useful. The meters were easy to read, the handgrips were just the right size and the mirrors allowed for decent  visibility.   Thumbing the starter produced a fairly muted exhaust note, in keeping with the rest of the scooter’s character, and swinging a leg over the seat found me in a relaxed, upright riding position with plenty of legroom. A twist of the throttle and I was off – and I really do mean off. The Nova had a surprisingly large amount of fizz on tap and shot off the line in a most pleasing manner. I surprised other scooters, cars and bikes at the lights many times, building up a healthy lead over everyone else in what seemed like next to no time. This scoot put a smile on my face every time I used the loud handle, which is always a sign of a fun-to-use vehicle. Hey, I was beginning to warm to it already! Speed runs saw it dart from 0 to 40 kph in 5.7 seconds and it did a 0-60 kph time of 9.3 seconds, both of which are respectable. Frankly, it feels faster to ride than it actually is, but that’s part of the fun of it. Wringing the throttle open and holding it there will see you to an indicated 95 kph, at which point the Nova is admirably stable and waft-free. However, I wouldn’t recommend too much of that kind of activity because the brakes, although they’re very good otherwise, cause the front to dive under hard braking. The Nova is happiest (and probably safest) ridden at 70 kph or thereabouts, which should be more than enough for anybody.   Apart from being a great point-and-squirt tool, this is a scooter that rides well, as I discovered. I put it through all manner and sizes of potholes and it soaked them up without switching the lobes of my brain around. Add that to the fact that it doesn’t transmit too many vibes through the seat – which, by the way, is broad and comfortable – and you have a close-to-ideal mix of performance and ride quality. Even in fairly stiff crosswinds, the Nova held its line well and stability was never an issue. Obviously, this isn’t the vehicle on which you should attack tight corners with gusto, but those that it does encounter it manages to negotiate without too much drama. ‘That’s all very well, but what about mileage?’, I hear you ask. Well, I took it out and thrashed it and it returned 35 kpl, a figure that leapt to 53 kpl when I rode it in a more sane manner. I was sold. A comfortable, quick, stable, reasonably frugal scooter for Rs 37,000 (ex-showroom Pune)? It’s a bargain, if you ask me. I’m keeping the keys to the Nova a bit longer...

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