Honda, it appears, is in a hurry—to launch new products, to new enter into new segments, to expand production capacity and network, to foray into new initiatives. Step-by-step, the company is moving towards its target of becoming the leading two-wheeler player in India. Last month Honda announced that its scooter, the Activa, has touched the 1 crore unit sales landmark. A few days before that the company launched five new motorcycles across five segments, including the CBR 650F—one of the most awaited bikes of the year. We plan to review all, beginning with the entry-level Livo.
How does it look?
The oddly-named Livo gets a contemporary and aggressive design. It has polished looks and, at first glance, doesn’t come across as an entry-level motorcycle. Honda says the Livo has been conceptualised keeping in mind the first-time biker’s interest. The curved fuel tank and black alloy wheels give it a sporty stance. The meter design and the headlight console, similarly, are catchy and innovative. The meter, however, doesn’t get a clock—urban commuters value such small but important features. The rear section gets a two-piece muffler, good-looking tail-lights and a strong grab rail. It weighs 111 kg.
What about the engine?
The Livo is powered by the proven 110cc, four-stroke Honda Eco Technology (HET) engine. The company says the engine has an improved combustion efficiency and increased compression ratio, allowing the Livo to deliver a class-leading mileage of 74 kmpl*. It also gets a technology called the Honda Intelligent Ignition Control System, which enables the engine to deliver power output as per load conditions.
How does it ride?
As you fire the engine, the smooth engine note fills the air. Getting astraddle is easy, because the seat is low, so even short-stature people can easily jump on. The Livo has an upright handle position and rightly set foot pegs, so the rider can clock long distances—for a city bike, even 50 km is a long distance—without much strain. Its turning angle is good and, therefore, steering the bike in tight traffic conditions is easy. The gear-shift is smooth and there is enough power for urban manoeuvres. The maximum power the engine produces is 8.2-bhp. While the claimed top speed is 86 kmph, the Livo rides the best in the speed range of 40-70 kmph.
A wheelbase of 1,285-mm ensures stability in city traffic conditions and the five-step adjustable rear suspension means the pillion rider can sit easy even on bad roads. The ground clearance is 180-mm. The Livo comes with tubeless tyres, reducing the chances of immediate deflation in case of a tyre puncture. During dense traffic requiring frequent gear shifts, full gear lever helps make riding convenient. Honda claims that the viscous filter does not need to be cleaned regularly and requires only to be replaced after 16,000 km, and that the battery is maintenance-free and doesn’t require a top-up, invalidating the chances of leakage completely.
An 8.5-litre fuel tank means the bike has a maximum range of more than 500 km on a full tank.
Should you buy one?
The Livo—which replaces the CB Twister—will primarily compete with Bajaj Discover 100M and Hero Passion XPRO. It is available in four colours and two variants. At the ex-showroom, Delhi, price of R52,989 (drum brakes) and R55,489 (front disc brake), it is slightly costlier than its two competitors mentioned above. However, the Livo, as an urban commuter with urbane stance, is one of the best performers in its segment. It is also Honda’s best bet towards improving the company’s market share in the 100-110cc segment, which, on the day of Livo’s launch, stood at a mere 6%. (Honda’s market share in the overall motorcycle segment is about 14%, while it remains the leader in the scooter segment with a whopping 59% market share.)
* Honda calculates the fuel-efficiency of its vehicles using a method called the ‘Honda Mode’, which, the company claims, is similar to actual riding conditions.