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The Scooter Industry in India is currently in a slump, with lesser growth percentages. However, it is still growing and the best-selling two-wheeler in the Indian market for the FY 2018-19 is still a scooter. This proves that there still is demand for scooters and Hero MotoCorp certainly wants the largest share of it. At least that seems to be the company's aim.
Hero MotoCorp currently has a total of four scooter brands on sale in India — Pleasure, Duet, Maestro Edge 110 and Destini 125. Hero has just added two new scooters to its line-up by launching the Maestro Edge 125 and Pleasure Plus 110. We got astride the Maestro Edge 125 and here is what we think of it.
Design & Styling
The Maestro Edge was one of Hero's first independently-developed products after its split from Honda. It has always been one of the best-looking scooters in India. With this new model though, the style-quotient has just been taken to the next level, especially with the colour schemes on offer.
The design is fairly simple and makes use of a lot of straight lines and edges. However, the way these lines and edges have been used makes all the difference. Up front is a sharp-looking apron with faux air-intakes that almost look like nostrils. The large turn signal indicators too are very stylish.
At the upper part of the apron is a triangular LED daytime running light that makes quite a statement especially when seen at dawn or dusk. The headlamp design remains just the same as the Maestro Edge 110. The top-spec variants now come with a disc brake up front and that immediately grabs attention.
At the rear is the same LED brake light and bulb-lit turn signal indicator setup. The biggest difference made to the styling is the availability of new colours in both matte and gloss finishes. The Hero Maestro Edge 125 is now the first scooter in the Indian market to feature fuel-injection. The scooter is also available in a lower variant with a carburetor-fueled engine.
Hero MotoCorp has distinguished the two variants via differences in the colours and finishes. The FI variants are available in dual-tone colours with a metallic finish while the carburetted variants are available with single-tone colours with a matte finish.
The colours offered with the FI variant include Pearl Fadeless White and Panther Black. The Pearl Fadeless White colour options comes with a brown-coloured seat, and brown coloured plastic paneling from the footboard till the dashboard, while the body is finished in a pearl white colour. This looks rather classy and premium.
The Panther Black on the other hand certainly looks sportier thanks to the contrasting red coloured plastic paneling. It looks more youthful, which is exactly what is needed, as Hero MotoCorp claims the Maestro Edge 125 scooter is targeted at a young audience. The carburetted variant is available with Matte Blue, Matte Brown, Matte Vernier Grey and Matte Red colours.
Hero is positioning the Maestro Edge 125 at the premium end of the 125cc scooter segment and the company has provided several features to make it look and feel premium. The most significant feature is evidently the fuel-injection system.
Other than the FI system, the Hero Maestro Edge 125 comes with a dual-tone colour scheme that sets it apart from the competition. The range of gloss and matte colours being offered with it is another interesting feature.
The scooter comes with a digital-analogue instrument cluster that displays the odometer, speedometer, side-stand position indicator, turn signal indicator on/off display, fuel-gauge and service reminder.
The Hero Maestro Edge 125 comes with telescopic front suspension, diamond-cut alloy wheels, front disc brake and i3S technology (on the carb variant. Other features include an underseat USB mobile phone charging port, LED boot lamp, external fuel-filler and multifunctional key-slot among others.
Engine & Performance
The Maestro Edge 125 is the second 125cc scooter in the Hero MotoCorp Product line-up but more importantly, it is a historic product for the company as it has now become India's first scooter to feature fuel-injection.
However, Hero has decided to play it safe and diversify the scooter further by offering it in carburetor as well as fuel-injected variants. The two variants have different output levels and feature different technologies. The top-spec variant is obviously the fuel-injected variant.
It is powered by an air-cooled, 124.6cc, single-cylinder engine with a maximum power output of 9.1bhp at 7,000RPM and a peak torque output of 10.2Nm at 5,000RPM. The rear wheel is driven by a variomatic gearbox.
Hero MotoCorp claims that the FI variant has the best power-to-weight ratio in it segment and this can easily be felt when one rides the scooter. The carburetted variant on the other hand produces a lower power output figure of 8.7bhp but still pushes out a peak torque figure of 10.2Nm.
Fueling and ignition on the FI variant is taken care of by an ECU whereas the former is taken care of by a carburetor and the latter is taken care of by a Digital TCI system in the carb variant. The carburetted variant also comes with Hero's i3S start-stop system to save fuel.
We got to ride the Hero Maestro Edge 125 FI, and came away quite impressed by the performance. The power-to-weight ratio makes it a delight to ride, especially in urban areas. It is a bit unusual to hear the whizz of the fuel pump getting primed in a scooter upon turning the ignition on.
However, this is something we need to get used to, as almost all petrol-powered scooters in the future will be fuel-injected. The Hero Maestro Edge 125 is just the start. The engine is pretty smooth while idling and moving the scooter ahead is easy work.
The engine remains smooth under partial throttle. However, if one gives it the beans while at low speeds, it is evident that the engine is stressed. The 125cc FI motor is one that is not very happy under full throttle at lower speeds.
However, the speeds builds up pretty quickly and you would soon find the engine to be humming along once the scooter is doing more than 50km/h. The max power figure comes in at 7,000rpm while peak torque comes in at 5,000rpm. It is in this power band that the engine is the happiest and smoothest.
0-60km/h is dispatched pretty quickly and on an open road, the scooter will soon touch speeds of over 90km/h. It did seem like it could go on to touch almost 100km/h, but the roads on the test-ride route didn't permit that.
Also, most scooters would never see such speeds in its lifetime. The Hero Maestro Edge 125 comes with the same 5.0-litre fuel tank as the 110cc variant. However, the range on this one would be a lot lower, thanks to the bigger and thirstier engine.
Hero claims a mileage of around 54km/l for the maestro Edge 125 FI. That gives the Maestro Edge a range of 270 kilometres.
Ride & Handling
The Hero Maestro Edge 125 handles well thanks to its low kerb weight, and also due to the fact that the weight has been distributed well. The scooter weighs in at 110 kilograms which is lower than most other scooters in the segment. Puttering around town is effortless and taking tight U-turns too is easy work.
We rode the new scooter over a short distance and most of the roads on the route were in good condition. However, we can judge the scooter's capability of handling bad roads through the way it handled the rumble strips and stone-clad pathways.
The suspension seems to have been tuned towards the harder side. This makes the scooter handle well at higher speeds, but it also makes the ride feel a bit harsh at lower speeds over patchy roads. Suspension duties are handled by a telescopic fork up front and a single coil sprung hydraulic suspension at the rear.
Braking duties are handled by a 190mm disc brake up front and a 130mm drum brake at the rear. Since it is a disc brake up front, most people would expect the braking capabilities to be excellent and so did we. However, the front brakes lack bite. This is not to say that the brakes are bad but it could have been better.
The Hero Maestro Edge 125 rides on cast alloy wheels — 12-inch up front and 10-inch at the rear. The wheels are shod with MRF Zapper tyres that offer decent grip levels. The Hero Maestro Edge 125 comes with a ground clearance of 155mm which is enough to take on almost all roads across India.
The 125cc segment is growing rapidly. The Maestro Edge 125 is Hero's second offering in the segment and will go up against the likes of the TVS Ntorq 125, Honda Grazia 125, etc. Despite the swelling number of scooters in the segment, Hero MotoCorp has managed to make the scooter stand out in the segment by offering it with several premium features.
Of course, the biggest trump card that will be played by Hero MotoCorp for the Maestro Edge 125 will be that it is India's first fuel-injected scooter and one cannot argue with this fact. It looks great, has good performance and comes with a good amount of features. All this combined, make it one of the best scooters in the segment.
However, its competition, especially the TVS Ntorq 125 cannot be undermined. The Hero Maestro Edge 125 will face tough competition from the scooter but will probably sell more thanks to its design and the large variety of colours on offer.
Kudos to Hero MotoCorp for making a scooter like the Maestro Edge 125 and for launching it with attractive design and styling. The engine and performance is great and so are the number of features being offered with the scooter.
However, we do think that a majority of the sales will be driven by the design of the scooter rather than anything else. The sharp design was loved by Hero's fans and critics alike when it first debuted in the current-gen Maestro 110. Seems like, design is what makes all the difference even today.