Honda Activa 125 (BS-6) Ownership Review: Flying Like a Bird Over Crowded Streets


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The Background Story

I owned bajaj discover 125 dtsi bike(2006 model) for the past 13 years. In the past few years I found myself avoiding it more and more and driving it less and less.I had a nagging right shoulder and upper back injury during my bodybuilding days.It had healed somewhat in the past few decades. In the earlier years of bike ownership with my healed injury, I enjoyed biking a lot. But of late that back injury resurfaced which made driving with arms extended (the typical bike riding posture) painful and exhausting. When my wife used to sit behind me,it became even more difficult to balance and drive. And when my son came along ,driving with the two of them behind me became a torture!! I was only saving my self respect by driving them home safely without falling down on the way!It was becoming that difficult for me to balance them and the bike at the same time especially while braking.I started avoiding my bike more and more,and chose my car instead,for the city roundabouts. In 2016 I bought Activa 125 with drum brakes because I needed a two wheeler for small errands. And then only I realised that driving Activa was 10 times more easy as compared to my bike.There were no gears.Contrary to common belief,it was more comfortable and less tiring to drive and also it was way more zippy and adequately fast as compared to my bajaj discover. I simply couldn't believe it. I had actually started enjoying the two wheeler once again and that too without the shoulder and back pain, after so many years. Activa was easy to maneuver,easy to ride,easy to brake,easy to tilt and change lanes,and was very zippy and nimble in traffic jams. Automatic transmission was the icing on the cake.
In the meantime my bike simply just stood there sadly in its parking space. No one wanted to drive it. I dreaded riding it. My son is too small for a licence. Wife never drives 2 wheelers. So it was all left up to me to manage it.It was even more painful to see it getting rusted and just parked at one place with nobody to drive it. I kept on changing the oils and all timely consumables despite of very few kms to show for it.I had to get the insurance each year even though it was just parked 99% of the time. I never imagined my bike will become a burden one day, but it was true that now it had actually become a burden.I was worried that next year I will have to renew the RC too,when it will reach 15 years of it life.I started wishing someone should drive it as it had much life still left in it,and I did not want it to go to waste.
Finally on 27th november 2019 after much discussion with the family,with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes I let go of it,and exchanged it for a brand new Honda Activa 125 BS6 Rebel Red Metallic colour.O boy! what a contrast it was,in comparison to the bike. I drove it myself from the stockyard to the showroom!The odometer was only 0.3 kms then. It was pure pleasure to drive it on the road.


Engine:
The engine is a gem and is very-very smooth.The Activa 125BS6 is powered by a 124cc, single-cylinder engine with fuel-injection. It produces 8.18 BHP @ 6,500 rpm and 10.3 Nm @ 5,000 rpm. The scooter comes equipped with a 190 mm disc brake at the front and a 130 mm drum at the rear.
My bike had very much noise and harshness and during driving so many vibrations got transmitted to my arms that it used to feel like I am using a concrete drill, and this used to tire me up after riding some kms.In stark contrast my Activa125BS6 is utterly silent,with very fine vibrations on the handle.Honda has given the start- stop system in this scooter. What this system does is that it senses if the scooter is idling (for some time), say a red-light on a traffic signal, it switches the engine off and one can restart the engine simply by twisting the throttle little bit . And for those who don’t want this system it can be switched off using the same start stop switch .


Good points of Activa 125 BS6:
1. Engine is butter smooth and it's a gem.It has programmed fuel injection.Pleasure to drive with that sweet honda exhaust note which I haven't noticed in other scooters.Also it has a quiet start .Sensor-based advanced PGM-FI system constantly injects optimum fuel resulting in efficient combustion which aides in consistent power output & higher mileage.
2. Safety of disc brakes as well as combi braking system. This was missing in the competitor Hero Destiny. Also Tubeless tyres.This is the first 2 wheeler in my life which has disc brakes.
3. Smart and stylish looking with all the cuts and creases at the right places.Even the head light is at the right place and not at the abdomen ,which I despise! Overall neat and clean design,with little chrome at the nose and sides.
4. All LEDs lights.Joy on the road especially in the nighttime.The glamorous LED Headlamp with restyled Signature LED Position Lamps adds to the beauty of the front looks.
5. Engine Start-Stop feature,when it switches off automatically after 3 seconds at the traffic light and frequent other small stoppages in the city.
6. Economy mode,which optimizes fuel efficiency.Real time fuel efficiency + average fuel efficiency + DTE(Distance to empty) feature,warns beforehand about the emptying fuel tank.These features were available in pricey cars only,till few years ago.
7. Absence of startup sound.You have to start up one Activa to believe it.There is no sound at all.Engine start is totally silent on pressing the switch. Actually there is no conventional startup motor.Instead honda has given AEG.The new Activa 125 BS-VI is powered by the eSP technology which helps in silent start. Its ACG Starter Motor removes gear meshing, gear engagement noise and reduces maintenance.
8. External fuel filler for the 1st time in any honda scooter.Very convenient at the petrol pump,where all I have to do is flick a switch and the lid opens.No need to get off from the scooter,just keep on sitting on the seat like a bike!
9. First in segment revolutionary side stand indicator with engine cut off stops the engine when the side stand is engaged.I have numerous times rubbed off the stand in my 2016 Activa because of careless takeoffs with stand still open while starting driving.More than 3 times I had to open the side stand base and re-tighten the bolts because they had come loose after getting brutally rubbed on the road.That headache is totally gone! The scooter simply wont start if side stand with light pointing it out on the speedometer is on.
10.Honda has provided front glove box,where phone and wallet can be kept.


Not so good points: But I could live with them!
1.
Alloy wheel design is not to my taste.It could have been better.
2. Air filler nozzle in the tyre is quite difficult to reach because of alloy design.This problem is not there in the Non-alloy wheel version.
3. Fuel filler flap doesn't open fully by design.I fear some careless fuel pump attendant will break it while putting the petrol nozzle inside!
4. Battery (even though of TATA green brand ) is not good enough,at least in my case. It got discharged fully and the scooter refused to start even before the 1st free service .
5. Glove box plastic quality is not upto the mark and it is non lockable.so valuables can't be left there.
6. Minor squeak noticed just around the panel/cowl near the rear brake light.Everytime I press it or polish that panel,it makes squeaky sound,although nothing appears loose.


Why only Activa and no other scooter or bike:
For me It was always like this that scooter means Honda Activa and nothing else. I wanted Peace of mind + Reliability + Easy Spare Parts availability (for my DIYs ) + Smart simple modern and beautiful Looks. Nothing in scooter segment comes close to it in all these parameters. Engine smoothness is like cherry topping on the dessert.I hate modern designs with headlights in the abdomen.Headlight must be at the proper place which is the head,that's why they are called headlights,right? I totally dislike new scooters as well as cars and suvs with leds put up in the place of headlights,while the actual headlight is positioned lower down at the abdomen,which actually is the correct place for fog lights or indicators.So most of the scooters like N torque,suzuki burgman,Grazia etc were never on my list. Hero Destiny, was good but the last time I checked,it had no disc brakes in any version whatsoever!!. I would have preferred disc-brakes, at least as an option with HERO. So in this way Hero was ruled out of my Destiny.



Variant confusion:
There are 3 models to choose from.Standard,Alloy and Deluxe version which has all the bells and whistles.I was targeting disc brakes.I chose the Deluxe version which is alloy wheel with the disc brake combination.I never was a fan of alloy wheels provided,but disc brake was in the top variant only,so went ahead and took the plunge for the topmost variant only.



Booking and delivery experience:
I was paying regular visits to the dealer Axis Honda,nearby my home, right from the month of september ,even before the Activa was launched in my city! I came to know that it was launched in september itself,but only in metros. Overall I visited them about 10 times,before I got my hand on the Activa125BS6.Even after so many visits I could not test drive even once! They asked for advance payment / token amount of 2000/- for the scooter to be delivered on dhanteras or Diwali.I refused this as first I wanted to see with my own eyes how is the look of the BS6 Activa.I waited for 2 more months for my choice to arrive,and I never ever paid any advance booking amount.
I don't understand why the salesperson do not promote the disc brake version?Whenever I insisted on the disc brake version,the SA used to say.."Sir,why do you want disc brake in a scooter?It's risky and dangerous and will make you fall flat on the road.It's good only on the bikes and is overkill for the scooter.Sir why waste money on disc brake when you can have instant delivery of drum brake version."etc etc..I stood my ground and did not budge at all.I wonder how many lesser informed buyers will go for the disc brake version because of negative publicity by these salespeople?
Dealership tried to force unnecessary accessories down my throat, like pipe fairing all around the scooter, headlight protector,muffler protector teflon coating,silencer coating and what not.They said you will not get" naked "scooter (ie without any accessories) so soon,wait for 3 months,when the stock and demand clears up,then only we will give you the "naked" scooter.The funniest part was when they billed me for side stand in the final bill,telling me that side stand is always an accessory.Hello sir, please look up the manual!Side stand in top version is provided from the factory because that's what works for the side stand indicator and kill switch on the instrument console. The sales person was very embarrassed,I tell you,after this demonstration from me. Here again I stood my ground and did not budge at all.Although I okayed few accessories as he was literally pleading to me.
At first I chose grey colour,and it was brought out from the stockyard to the showroom at my request.Then I went back to my home to bring my family at the showroom for the final delivery.On seeing the grey colour in person,they wished to see the other colour options.I took my wife to the stockyard itself.She fell for the Rebel Red Metallic colour!! In the meantime the grey one was being prepared for the delivery.I immediately rushed to the showroom to convey my family's final choice.The sales incharger was a kind one.He smiled and understood everything.Again a person was sent to bring and prepare the Rebel Red Metallic scooter from the stockyard! The whole procedure was repeated all over again.I was embarrassed but helpless.Good thing is they complied and never expressed displeasure over all this.I even took the liberty of driving the New Rebel Red Metallic Activa myself from the stockyard to their showroom,even before I had payed a single penny.I will give them 8/10 marks for making me happy in each and every way,and treating me and my scooter the way I wanted.2 marks are cut for the above mentioned accessories episodes.
I paid the whole amount in full,and there was no such thing as loan and finance etc,and therefore I took out the scooter on the day of payment only.It took about 2 hours from entry in the showroom to delivery of the scooter.


How does it drive / the ride quality for patients of low back and neck pain:
It's very smooth and easy to drive.Turning radius is quite small unlike modern bikes, having fairing and all.Its very easy to take a U-turn and negotiate in the city traffic.Balance is superb and this one has softer suspension,so speed breakers and potholes are felt less jerky and bone jarring as compared to the earlier Activas. Its due to better tuned Telescopic fork suspension in the front. Pickup from zero speed is slightly more than the earlier version.I haven't crossed more than 70 km/hr as its still in the run in period.Those with lower back problems in earlier Activas will find that this one rides softer over potholes and speed breakers.But still it's nowhere near bikes,with long travel shockers.Seat is slightly larger than earlier Activa 125 and is also flat making it easy to sit for both the rider and pillion .The 125ccBS6 engine has a fantastic low + mid-range which is mostly put in use during city traffic conditions.I am usually the first to take off from a red light because of very good low end pull + CVT transmission.


Suspension / Handling:
Honda Activa 125 BS6
has telescopic forks in front as compared to the Trailing arm type which is employed in the Activa6G .This was the same in older generation too.The new thing is that now I can customize my Activa with 3-step rear adjustable suspension. Both front & rear suspension offer better comfort as compared to the past Activas.Earlier I used to feel each and every pothole as well the speedbreaker till my teeth! Now it's far more soft. Also it is even softer and doesn't lose composure if I miss seeing the speed breaker and just ride over it with speed. Earlier the whole scooter used to jump up with the hump and the rider or pillon may even fall down! For me this is the biggest improvement in suspension.


Braking,Tyres and alloys:
My Activa is having Disc brakes at the front and drum at the rear.Disc brakes have improved the braking capacity,and the tyres are tubeless,so puncture repairing is easy as compared to tube-type tyres.I came to know that even some 3 lakh Rs bikes have tube type Pirelli tyres with spoked wheel rims.So its good that most of the scooter brands (which are economical then these bikes), have moved ahead and improved. It comes equipped with the Combi-Brake System (CBS)which works with disc brakes as well .
Alloys are black powder coated with matte effect.Tyres are MAXXIS brand.I like the tread design on the tyres.It's better than MRF on my earlier Activa 125.


Accessories installed:
I installed only the following Honda marked genuine accessories at the time of delivery itself, and avoided aftermarket ones like extra horn or leds.
1) Rubber foot mat and plastic hand grips on the handle.
2) Ladies foot rest.
3) Turn signal sound buzzer.
4) Rubber grip on the kick start lever.(no honda does not provide even those as OEM!!)


LOOKS :Exterior paint +Chrome + Plastics and the Rearview mirrors:
In 2 words,it looks smart and modern. The 'Y-shape' Chrome on the central cowl is now made in a smaller size and the shape is also different. Paint quality is top notch and the Rebel Red Metallic colour is pristine.This time the RVM are angular in shape,instead of the round cute ones of the earlier Activa 125.This ones goes better with the design of the scooter and look more modern and smart than before. I like them. Backlights are beautiful looking single piece with chrome line in between with honda lettering.
I especially like the LED Headlamp with restyled Signature LED Position Lamps.They make my scooter stand out a bit from others.


Ergonomics and storage compartments:
There is the regular underseat storage for the helmet and tools and owners manual and other smaller items.There are now 2 hanging hooks instead of only 1 on the earlier version.These 2 hooks are foldable inside too,which was not there earlier.So it does not poke on the legs while not in use.Also there is a front glove box with a tight lid on the left side. It has enough space to store your phone or wallet or coins etc,while you are driving.


Safety and security:
Disc brakes are a good addition.The Equalizer Technology in Combi-Brake System works with disc brakes too and reduces braking distance, so I feel slightly more confidence while braking as compared to my earlier drum brake version..This is my first 2 wheeler with disc brakes,so its an upgrade for me in every aspect.I appreciate Honda for it.


Display and the instrument cluster:
Its partly digital and partly analog.It shows real time fuel efficiency as well as average fuel efficiency.It also shows distance to empty, which is a segment first.This was so far heard in cars,and premium bikes.
It also gets a new trip meter, side-stand indicator with engine inhibitor that stops the engine from starting when the side stand is on, digital clock, an eco indicator, and a service due indicator. The updated instrument cluster also gets a malfunction light as well.


Fuel efficiency and Kilometers completed :
So far I have completed 200 kms and I am getting an average of 50 km/litre.I feel this gives best efficiency when I remain in the speed range of around 35 to 55 km/hr.Since its still in the run-in period ,maybe the fuel stats will improve in future with more kms.

First service Experience:
A day before the 1st service my battery got discharged so much that check engine light came up on the instrument cluster and the scooter refused to start by pressing the start switch.It was starting all right by kick starting,also the engine note and all other drivability parameters were not affected. It was very cold (min. temp was zero degrees)next morning and I wanted to postpone the 1st service till the next day.But because of the warning light on the instrument console I pushed myself to the ASS that very day. There they found out that battery was going into deep discharge,and connected it to their battery charging unit.They charged it fully and installed it back after an hour.It has been working fine so far.
Oil was changed in this service.Honda has changed the grading as well as the quantity of engine oil recommendations.Now its 5w30,while earlier it was 10w30. Now it recommends 600ml of oil in service while earlier it was 700ml.I think this engine is more advanced ,refined and improved as compared to the earlier unit.


Finer points I noticed:
Honda branded foot matting is of far superior quality than aftermarket ones.Same is the case with foot rest.Although the price difference between the two is minimal.
Front glove box is a sweet added touch. But the plastic quality leaves a lot of scope for improvement.
The beautiful chrome plated emblem on the side cowl matches and complements the broader v-shaped chrome in the front nose portion.
Air filter is still the same viscous paper filter,with a different design.
Battery is put up below the driver footrest mat ! I never imagined that. Its easier to access than the earlier version as now I don't need to open the front apron .
 
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Thread Starter #2
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Pictures of my Activa 126BS6



In my home at its parking
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while being prepared for delivery
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Fan shroud design is changed and fan is different from the earlier version
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chrome badge at the sides
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window for observing brake fluid level
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New front visor,fairing and chrome design
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12 inchers in front.Brand is MAXXIS
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Multi control switches
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I like the tread of MAXXIS tyres

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Thread Starter #3
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Some more Pictures of my Activa126BS6


Alloy wheel is black powder coated
IMG-20200105-WA0053.jpg
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side fender/cowl has thick chrome with Activa badging which has a shimmering effect in light
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the disc brakes are cute and functional
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back light too has chrome and Activa badging
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front nose chrome is now sleeker
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battery wires are joined to the scooter wiring before driving from the stockyard
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external fuel filler lid first time in any Activa
IMG-20200105-WA0039.jpg





side plastic moulding

IMG-20200105-WA0045.jpg
IMG-20200105-WA0044.jpg
 
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Thread Starter #6
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More Pictures of my Activa 125 BS6


Battery wires being connected at the stockyard
IMG-20200105-WA0037.jpg





Battery is below the rubber foot mat
IMG-20200105-WA0042.jpg




Disc brakes are a beauty.Incidentally this is my first 2 wheeler ever with disc brakes,so an upgrade for me in every way
IMG-20200106-WA0064.jpg
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Front black fairing (above the instrument console) design is changed now with more cuts and creases.
IMG-20200106-WA0073.jpg




side silencer cover is black plastic
IMG-20200106-WA0071.jpg





Rear tail lamp cluster and external fuel filler. This is very beautiful.Pictures are not doing justice to it.
Also notice how they have now given slightly extended plastic applique below the tail lamp cluster.This sort of acts as a bumper at the rear for those rowdy bikers who often rub the tail lamps with their tyres,leaving them scratched or cracked, at the traffic lights,while stopping suddenly. Earlier this area was round continuing with the tail lamp curve,with no protrusion,and therefore was not able to protect the beautiful tail lights from getting rubbed by tyres. Already in my scooter it defended the tail lights from one E- rickshaw.

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Front look is smart with chrome V shaped nose integrated with the DRLs and the indicators
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Ladies footrest is different for Activa 125
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Number plate bracket is sturdy plastic so less risk of rusting
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side footrest opens with a nice click.This is also new design.Its all silver metallic.
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Front bag hook is given at a very convenient location.This can be opened and closed as per use,so that it doesn't fowl with the legs.
IMG-20200106-WA0061.jpg



closed position
IMG-20200106-WA0058.jpg




this is in open position
IMG-20200106-WA0056.jpg



open position of the 2nd bag hook below the seats
IMG-20200106-WA0057.jpg
 
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vijay

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Congtatulations Mayank and wish you many happy miles with it.Can you share few things about new bs6 125 activa.
1.Whats the under seat storage capacity now?
2. Whats the fuel tank capacity?
3. If you had driven the earlier versions whats the difference between two and any loss of power compared to earlier tuned engine as i have heard there is a bit of loss in power.
4. Whats the on road price for it and if you have the pricelist of all the variants OTR prices do share.
 
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Just my safety concern always with externl fuel fill - What about a rear collision (won't it catch fire ) ?
Also , its high time that scooter manufacturers in India , do give basic features like Turn Indicator Buzzer , Side stand etc , as standard.
Mayankji , do install a headlight switch , as it is the cause of battery drain in most new 2 wheelers . One of my friend's new bullet signal edition , we first installed Headlight switch (RE also has battery drain issue ) .
 
Thread Starter #10
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Congrats @mayankdixit on your Activa 125, beautiful colour.
Very nicely detailed and explained ownership review.
Enjoy your ride.
Thank you sir for your nice words.I know you too have a good scooter at home.I read about it and like it very much.
Well written Ownership review and Congratulation on owning this new beauty.[cheers]

Finally, Honda introducing external fuel filling which was much awaited feature.

Thanks Nair sir for your appreciation.Yes external fuel filling is a welcome addition from Honda.

Congratulations Mayank and wish you many happy miles with it.Can you share few things about new bs6 125 activa.
1.Whats the under seat storage capacity now?
2. Whats the fuel tank capacity?
3. If you had driven the earlier versions whats the difference between two and any loss of power compared to earlier tuned engine as i have heard there is a bit of loss in power.
4. Whats the on road price for it and if you have the price list of all the variants OTR prices do share.

1. 18 litres.
2. 5.3 liters
3. No loss of power at all.Its equally zippy and fast.Loss is only on paper in specifications.Doesn't matter in real world on road.
4. About 90,000/- (without accessories)for the deluxe version,which is mine. Price is going up and up! Fully loaded with accessories,is touching eye watering 1 lakh Rs on road. I will post the rates of others shortly .


Just my safety concern always with external fuel fill - What about a rear collision (won't it catch fire ) ?
Also , its high time that scooter manufacturers in India , do give basic features like Turn Indicator Buzzer , Side stand etc , as standard.
Mayankji , do install a headlight switch , as it is the cause of battery drain in most new 2 wheelers . One of my friend's new bullet signal edition , we first installed Headlight switch (RE also has battery drain issue ) .

Thanks for your concern.I believe the actual tank is still in the middle portion.It's only the filler cap that they have provided externally,for convenience.
Side stand is provided from the factory,in mine version.
Since its in warranty and all,I would avoid external switches and all.Moreover I am totally noob in electronics+lights+LEDs+relays+splicing wires+ circuits etc unlike bhvm,you sir,and Deville,Saroya and company. I have yet to learn from these masters!
 
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Thread Starter #12
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More pics of my Honda 125 BS6


This sticker was stuck after 1st service
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Contents of the the First aid medical kit. Interesting to me atleast.
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Tool kit provided is having basic minimum tools
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Tool kit provided is having basic minimum tools, just 3 in no.
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I appreciate the creases on front fender and apron.It makes the scooter look smart
IMG-20200106-WA0073.jpg
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Rear petrol filler has a double lid.Actual cap is below this flap.This flap protects from rain water and while washing etc
IMG-20200106-WA0052.jpg





rear grab rail in silver matte finish
IMG-20200106-WA0055.jpg





Even the ladies footrest of BS6 Activa is differently designed and fits on BS6 version only
IMG-20200106-WA0044.jpg
 
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Thread Starter #13
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More Pictures Of my Activa 125 BS6



headlight adjustment bolt is situated below
IMG-20200107-WA0005.jpg




disc brakes are beautiful and functional
IMG-20200107-WA0004.jpg




reflector above the tail lamp cluster
IMG-20200107-WA0003.jpg





matte effect on the instrument console
IMG-20200106-WA0037.jpg





front chrome is smaller now
IMG-20200105-WA0040.jpg



this window is meant for checking up the brake fluid level
IMG-20200105-WA0057.jpg






pass switch is a new addition
IMG-20200106-WA0038.jpg





RVM are now angular shaped suiting and matching the cuts in this Activa design more than the earlier round ones
IMG-20200106-WA0039.jpg



kick start lever is almost fouling with the centre stand
IMG-20200106-WA0040.jpg





DRLs are a beauty.Alongwith are the indicators in the same cluster
IMG-20200106-WA0042.jpg




glovebox in the front apron
IMG-20200106-WA0046.jpg





engine start stop switch is very nicely executed,better than some cars I have seen
IMG-20200106-WA0043.jpg






glove box is not lockable and plastic appears flimsy.Hope it lasts the distance
IMG-20200106-WA0045.jpg




this is the side stand indicator cutoff switch,first time in any scooter.Very good!
IMG-20200106-WA0048.jpg




Rubber beading provided around the glove box,to protect water entry,in case if wallet or phone is kept there.Also rattling is avoided due to this beading,Nice touch.
IMG-20200106-WA0049.jpg





Similarly the sensor is protected by rubber cap,to prevent water splashes.
IMG-20200106-WA0050.jpg
IMG-20200106-WA0051.jpg
 
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