The Honda Activa-based NAVi went out of production for a couple of months, prompting many to write the epitaph of this funky moto-scooter/monkey bike. Now though, the NAVi is back with a bang, with Honda re-introducing the 2019 edition of the moped with the Activa-derived combi braking system (CBS). CBS is now mandatory on all two wheelers sold in India with engine capacity less than 125cc. Two wheelers with engines bigger than 125cc now need to offer ABS as standard.
Coming back to the 2019 Honda NAVi, it’s priced at Rs. 47,110, ex-showroom Delhi. This price represents a Rs. 1,500 increase over the non-CBS model, and represents a modest price hike that most customers will not mind paying considering the additional factor of safety this feature offers. CBS, or combi braking system, works by activating both the front and rear brakes even if a single brake lever is pressed. This results in shorter stopping distances by making braking more effective. Also, it reduces the possibility of skids. However, CBS is still not as effective as ABS, and is not an alternative to ABS. It’s a safety feature built to a cost, mainly for affordable two wheelers.
The NAVi is mechanically a Honda Activa with different styling. It’s powered by the same 110cc, four stroke engine that puts out 8 Bhp of peak power and 8.7 Nm of peak torque. A CVT automatic gearbox drives the rear wheel of the NAVi. The NAVi rides on taller 12 inch wheels, which give it better ability over bad roads than the Activa. The suspension is also slightly different. While the rear retains a monoshock unit, the front uses telescopic forks. While the Activa sells more than 2 lakh units each month and is aimed at a very wide range of buyers, the NAVi sells less than 2,000 units a month, and is primarily aimed at younger buyers.
The NAVi’s funky styling meant for younger buyers hasn’t really found big appeal, just as the sales charts reveal. Honda does offer a range of customization options for the NAVi making it both practical, and even more funkier for those who want to go that way.
In 2020, Honda is expected to offer fuel injection on the NAVi as it gears up to meet Bharat Stage 6 emission norms. Now that the CBS version of the NAVi is here, it’s evident that Honda is aggressively pushing the moto-scooter, which is far from culling it from the product line-up due to poor sales.
The NAVi is a very unique offering in the Indian market though, and there’s no real alternative to it. Globally, Honda sells the Grom 125, a monkey bike that’s powered by a 125cc, has four gears, and fuel injection as standard. The Grom 125 is a lot more expensive too, and uses upside down front forks.