In a time where the Indian motorcycle industry is moving in the direction of bikes getting bigger and techier, Japanese bigwig Honda has done something totally disruptive and uncalled for - it’s called the Navi.
Is it a bike, is it a scooter, Is it a mod?
“What is this contraption?” Think of it as the reincarnation of the Rajdoot GTS, better known as the “Bobby” - one of the early entrants in the “mini bike” or “monkey bike” segment in the early 70s. However, the 175cc two-stroke Bobby didn’t quite make the cut - it was noisy. Yet, most veterans would swear it was fun! Thirty years down, we now have the Navi - Honda’s latest offering, apparently for no specific purpose, and no, it’s not electric.
One look at it and you can see that it’s assembled from parts of the existing Honda line-up. There’s the 109.19cc HET petrol engine, which also serves the plastic-bodied Activa, and control switches and carbonfibre-looking plastics borrowed from the Hornet 160, to name a few.
Clearly there’s not much technological development put to the Navi, but it sure makes heads turn.
How does it feel?
Swing your leg around the mini bike and the low seating with a low handlebar position seems odd at first. You’ll soon get used to it though, as it shares the same tech as most gearless scooters.
Once you’re done jamming the left lever and tapping your left foot to change the gear, only to realise it’s a scooter in the form of a bike, you’ll take a while to ignore the odd stares you get. To be fair, it is rather odd to spot a grown-up (yes, you) riding a mini bike.
Apart from that, there’s absolutely no rocket science to running the Navi.
So what can I do with the Navi?
The right question to ask here is: What can you not do with a Navi? We tried grocery shopping with the Navi. Although there’s an undercarriage below the 3.82-litre fuel tank, there’s very little you can store, like other gearless scooters.
The fact that the Navi is 7kg lighter than the Activa and shares the same engine makes all the difference to the power-to-weight ratio, making it zippy and easy to manoeuvre, regardless of how experienced or inexperienced a rider you are. In bumper-to-bumper traffic, the Navi outperformed any other two wheeler on the road, thanks to its compact size and probably the confusion it caused in the minds of other commuters as they stopped to watch what whizzed by.
Kitna deti hai?
The most asked question by Indian automobile consumers. In our city test, with a mixed riding speed of 40kmph to a mind-numbing 80kmph, we got a mileage of 56.2kmpl, which is pretty impressive.
What's the catch?
For a price point of ₹50,000 (on road, Mumbai), it doesn’t seem to have a lot of quirks. The Navi isn’t exactly any motorcycle enthusiast’s must-have bike, but one ride around the block will surely bring a smile on your face.
Moreover, its non-threatening, easy-going stance may appeal to first-time / aspiring motorcyclists, making it the perfect bike to learn on. While we did not find any utility factor with the Navi, it sure was a fun ride.