Aren't we seeing a quite some transitional change in the scooter segment? Honda Activa that has been the dominant ruler of the scooter market for many years now is certainly facing the heat of many rivals. That's Activa's headaches as consumers we are lucky to have a line up of scooters to choose from than just following the Activa herd.
One thing is for sure that Activa is an out and out family vehicle rather a unisex scooter and has a universal appeal, which was followed by other branded scooters. The new entrant in the scooter league is Hero Maestro which is launched in 2012 and which is second after Pleasure by the Hero (first scooter after its separation from Honda).
While Pleasure has been designed as an out and out female scooter, Hero has taken the chance of pleasing the Misters with the new Hero Maestro, which is predominantly for male population. Now can the Maestro lure the men to take a ride and give a tough competition to the newbies Piaggio Vespa LX 125, or the Suzuki Swish or the Dio? Take a virtual test ride of the new "Hero Maestro" in the following lines...
Styling, design and appearance
There is nothing very stylish or strikingly great about the Hero Maestro; it is plain, simple and conservative in its styling. And the typical traditional creases on the broad front panels of the scooter just go on to say that the scooter makers have chosen to stay away from decorating the vehicle with unwanted fancy features.
Nevertheless, it all means to say that the scooter maybe sober yet masculine and in my opinion middle-aged men would prefer this no-nonsense looking scooter without any regrets. The front apron is nicely decorated with clear lens indicators and the handlebar features a very big headlamp with dual tone casing rear view mirrors mounted on, which looks neat and complete. The instrument panel is big and is nicely adorned with three pods; analogue speedometer, warning lights and one pod for LCD information screen and an important feature worth mentioning here is the palm grip on the handlebar section is remarkable. Not to forget the good quality switches and brake levers but the rear brake comes equipped with a lock clamp, which instead of adding value to the scooter makes it a little problematic to operate.
Keeping safety factor in mind the Maestro is braced with encased ignition key slot and has a manual latch, which means that even if the rider forgets to close the safety shutter he can push the latch and lock the key access manually without the keys. And once I sat on the scooter the first thing that caught my thought process was that the company has rightly targeted this scooter for male riders; the wide footboard, a bag hook placed under the seat helps to carry small belongings and there is huge leg room for tall riders. The seat is wide to comfortably accommodate even the pillion. The under seat storage is enormous and you can stuff quite a lot in there. The rear end features brake light cluster and stylish grab rail, so that makes Hero Maestro a good to go scooter for the Mister.
Engine, performance and mileage
Maestro is equipped with a 4-stroke, single cylinder, 109 cc engine churns 8.09 bhp @7500 rpm power that is extremely smooth and is free of any kind of vibration. The maximum torque of Maestro is 0.92 kgm @ 5500 rpm and the scooter features CVT transmission. The front end of the Maestro gets a dual link shock absorbers and the rear end is fixed with a single shock absorber and Combined Braking System (CBS) which is simultaneous application of front and rear brakes ensures sharp braking for safe journey. The scooter sports drum brakes at both ends though which disappointed me.
The seat is soft padded to ensure comfortable seating and riding and the efficient suspension enables a smooth ride. Talking of the mileage Maestro goes with the crowd and doesn't give anything big to boast of. The scooter returns a mileage of around 45 kmpl.
The new Hero Maestro is available in six exciting colors: maestro blue mart, candy blazing red, pearl harvest green, pearl fadeless white, panther black med and force silver met. The scooter comes at an ex-showroom (Delhi) price of Rs. 44,000.
Now boys are surely going to have more fun with the new Maestro, as the bike has all that to tempt the male riders but even though the company's main focus is to impress the men, there could well be female riders who might own this scooter. For me it could be a good scooter for the Mister if not the best in the town.