We’re such a big country that no matter how crowded the 2-wheeler industry gets, a new product is always welcome. Yes, mass market might be the word, but there are specific buyers for products that are separated by minor differences and a few cubic centimetres. Let’s just take the example of 125cc scooters in India. They’re inherently commuters, offer great fuel economy and these days they are even packed with all modern connectivity and convenience features. And yet, every product is so distinct that amongst the segment itself, there are sporty 125cc offerings and family-oriented ones. And the latter of which is what Hero says their new Destini 125 aims to be. So, we just rode the Destini 125 in New Delhi to see if it keeps up with the ever-so-crowded 125cc scooter market.
Design and styling
Hero has not gone overboard with the design of the Destini 125 and it’s neat looking. In fact, it draws cues from the Maestro Edge and the Duet and certainly looks like a mature sibling. There’s a large chrome brow at the front that borderlines the turn indicators and the always-on headlamps are traditional halogen units rather than LEDs that are more commonly seen these days. The tail lamps too are halogen units but sport the signature Hero design, also seen on the 110cc siblings. By no means does the Destini appears radical but with its sharp shoulder line and chrome upfront, it surely throws a stylish and modern first impression. On the cars obsessed New Delhi roads, there were plenty of eyes staring at our shiny new test vehicle.
How does it perform?
With the Destini, Hero Moto Corp has entered the 125cc scooter segment for the first time. And the commuter’s 124.6cc air cooled engine packs enough punch for city roads. It makes 8.7bhp at 6750rpm and 10.2Nm at 5000rpm. And the Destini 125 is quite brisk. The power is nicely spread over the rev range and it breaches the 60kmph mark quite effortlessly. That apart it’s light and nimble and snakes through city traffic very easily. At high speeds too the ride is very stable. In fact, we got to ride on some empty roads where the Destini even cruised comfortably at 80kmph. The bike was planted at all times and it never felt jittery or uncomfortable when I opened the throttle. There were no bad patches of road to test the bike’s suspension, but the Destini 125 glided over the minor undulations.
On the features front
This is where the Destini 125 stands out from the lot. It’s the first scooter in India to feature the idle-start-stop technology, that we’re used to seeing in cars. Hero calls it the i3S and in slow moving traffic the system worked wonders. And this is how it functions- when the scooter is at halt, the power is automatically cut-off after a few seconds (30 seconds precisely) but on our test vehicle it even cut power just after 5-6 seconds. For re-ignition all we have to do is press the rear brake, twist the right wrist. That simple. Technically, the push-button start performs the exact same function, but the i3S system is better suited for hassle free stop and go. There’s even a dedicated blue coloured switch to enable and disable the idle-start-stop system.
On the other hand, the semi digital instrument cluster offers some useful information like service due reminder and side stand indicator. Apart from this, the Destini sports an external fuel filling port, a combination lock that includes seat and fuel cap opening, integrated braking (Similar to the combi brake system on Honda two-wheelers), a USB charging port and illumination for under seat storage. It surely ticks all the right boxes and offers good levels of practicality.
So, is it perfect?
There are quite a few things missing on the Destini 125. There’s no option of owning it with disc brakes and the stopping power of the standard drum brakes too could have been better. Moreover, there are no LEDs either and the instrument cluster still sports the analogue digital unit instead of the fully digital TFT displays that are seen on some of its competitors.
But then, looking at it’s starting price of just Rs 54,650 ex showroom, Delhi, the Destini 125 is the most affordable offering in the 125cc scooter segment right now. The top Vx trim of the Destini 125 that is priced at Rs 57,500 is cheaper than the Honda Activa 125 by around Rs 8,000. It’s an extremely capable handler, provides you the peppiness of a 125cc motor while scoring on practicality as well. And hence offers great value for what you pay and will please families looking for this combination.
Words by Suvrat Kothari