Japanese bike maker Honda has been making rapid strides in the Indian two wheeler space in recent times. After its divorce with Hero a few years back, the company has had a slew of launches, most of them in the commuter segment. Whether it comes to scooters or bikes Honda has enough products to appease most. The commuter segment contributes to the bulk of sales in the Indian two wheeler segment. This is where the numbers come from, therefore, automakers take this segment extremely seriously. The focus of bike makers especially here is to give a set of wheels that’s economical to buy, economical to run and economical to maintain. But no one has gone beyond that and given a bike in this segment that is big on features and can boast of a really high style quotient. With the Livo India’s fastest growing two-wheeler company Honda is aiming to bridge that gap. It is presenting the Livo as a stylish commuter bike, that apart from the essential qualities also makes heads turn on the roads. The Livo is part of Honda’s commitment to launch 15 new products in India this year and fits into the scheme of things.
Honda has surely tried to do things differently with the Livo. It makes your head turn with its appeal when you spot it for the first time. The minimal graphics are a refreshing change as most bike makers these days prefer to go the other way and load the bikes with a lot of graphics. The edgy, muscular design will surely be appreciated by most and will barely get any criticism. The meters are analog while the quality of switches can be a bit better. There’s a lot of black on the bike – the handlebar, the alloys, the engine, the exhaust and the grab rail are all painted in black so that is the colour that dominates the overall presence of the bike.
The engine is extremely refined and therefore very silent; to the point where sometimes you don’t even realise if the ignition is switched on. Pick up is decent in spite of a 110 cc engine but peak power kicks in only at about 7,500 rpms. But the fairly even distribution of torque is what makes the Livo an able performer in the stop-and-go-city traffic. The 8.25 bhp that the engine generates is more than adequate for a bike of this segment and you feel the lack of power. The engine is mated to a four-speed gearbox and works in a four up pattern. That is different from the one down three up shift pattern followed by Honda and makes it much simpler for the rider. The Honda eco technology or HET has been aiding Honda two wheelers with great fuel efficiency and the story is the same here as well.
Honda has surely tried to do things differently with the Livo. It makes your head turn with its appeal when you spot it for the first time. The minimal graphics are a refreshing change as most bike makers these days prefer to go the other way and load the bikes with a lot of graphics.
Ride and Handling
Very importantly, the Livo offers a tight tuning radius which is a big boon in traffic. At every traffic signal you’ll find yourself right ahead. The suspension is tuned well and even on the bad pothole laden roads of Mumbai we rode on the bike gave a fairly comfortable ride. Now the bike is a bit tall but that doesn’t hamper the handling in any way. In fact, it’s a blessing in disguise for a tall rider. The bike comes with discs on the front and drum brakes on the rear and both combine together for a confident braking experience.
The Honda Livo is overall an impressive motorbike. In a segment full of so any bikes that one can lose count, this one surely stands out more so for its style. It could do well some more features but the slight hiccup is the price and clearly the Japanese bike maker wants a premium in return for all the style it’s giving you. The self drum alloy version is priced at 57,909 rupees (ex-showroom, Mumbai) while you’ll have to shell out 2,500 rupees more for the self start version. That is venturing into the 125 cc territory but looking at the impressive numbers this festive season Honda two wheelers seems to have another winner on its hands.