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Review: Hero Maestro
Driven September 2012
Scooters seem to be the flavour of the year. Honda, Suzuki, Piaggio – all of them have enticed buyers with their little runabouts, the only big name left to join the party being Yamaha, with the motoscooter it showed at the Auto Expo this year.
Apparently, demand is so robust that the manufacturers can’t churn out enough of them. Which brings us to the Maestro, Hero’s entry in the scooter segment this year.
We have great expectations from the Maestro. And that optimism comes from the fact that it is based on the Activa – Hero would need to be truly gifted to mess up a winner like the Activa. So, is it better than the ‘original’?
Well, it did manage to impress on our first proper ride. The proportions are bigger than the Activa’s, but somehow Hero has managed to disguise the bulk. Fit-and-finish is top notch. The headlight looks smart and the tinted visor sitting on top of it is a nice touch. Other subtle design elements include the part body-coloured rear-view mirrors.
The instrument cluster is a mix of analog speedo and digital fuel gauge and trip meter. This by itself makes other scooters, with their dated instrument clusters, look so last century. Add to that the switchgear and the soft palm grips, and the Maestro becomes a new benchmark for its competition to follow.
Hero is calling the Maestro a men’s scooter and by no means is that marketing jargon. Seat’s height is low, so shorter riders can place feet firmly on the ground. Handlebars are placed upright to add to the already comfortable riding position. The seat is wide enough to accommodate even XL-size posteriors (both yours and/or your pillion’s) without any overhang. On longer rides, the Maestro feels comfortable thanks to the riding position and adequate seat cushioning.
The 109cc motor is borrowed from Honda as well. Hero has pretty much kept the entire motor intact. It pumps out the same 8bhp and 9Nm of torque, which is enough for puttering down to the grocery store and back. Which reminds us, the Maestro also comes with a larger boot to stow some of those shopping bags in.
Of course, those largish proportions do make the Maestro a tad heavier than the Activa. But the upside to that is it also improves ride. The suspension is good – on our test, it swallowed most bumps well, without unsettling either scooter or rider.
Overall, the Maestro surprises you with Hero’s capabilities. If someone were to ask us which “Honda” scooter to buy, we’d definitely recommend they look at the Maestro first.
109cc single-cylinder, 8bhp, 9.1Nm, automatic, 110kg, 43.6kpl, Rs 57,000 (on-road, Mumbai)
An impressive new entry into the scooter market – it’ll have the other manufacturers worried.