First ride: Hero Maestro Edge
With the gearless scooter market booming, it's no surprise that Hero MotoCorp decided to launch a scooter like this instead of the funky-looking Zir. And to make a dent in Honda's Activa sales, it has come up with its first home-grown offering - the Maestro Edge.
As the name suggests, the Edge has a sleek, edgy styling with lots of sharp angles and creases. It makes the Edge stand out in a crowd of scooters, which over the years have managed to ape the Activa design template quite well. The 12-inch alloys and the telescopic suspension upfront add to the Edge's sporty look. But in our opinion, the scooter would have looked even better if the headlight would be integrated with the indicators, like seen on the Honda Dio.
There are some nice design touches though\: like the fuel cap, which sit right above the taillight, like on the TVS Jupiter, and is neatly fused with the rest of the bodywork. The exhaust design too is a neat touch.
Like the styling, Hero claims the engine is also a ground-up design. It makes 8.31bhp at 8000rpm and 8.30Nm of torque at 6500rpm. The power figures might not be too impressive, but are similar to what the competition has on offer.
On the move you quickly realise that the Edge needs to be persuaded to achieve respectable speeds. This is not due to a lack of power, though. It's due to higher revs at which the engine makes that power. So if you are riding with a pillion, the Edge feels a tad sluggish initially.
The motor feels happy doing 50kph to 60kph, which should be more than enough for most daily commuters. If you really want to push this timid scooter to the edge, an indicated speed of 90kph is eminently achievable. Also achievable, we would think, is a real-world fuel efficiency of 45kpl.
In the ride department the Maestro Edge does very well for itself. The telescopic suspension does a good job of soaking up bumps. The scooter inspires confidence while tackling broken or uneven roads. The wheelbase is 30mm longer than the Activa's and this ensures a stable ride at higher speeds.
Most scooters are prone to have their underbodies assaulted by devious speedbreakers. But, thanks to a generous ground clearance of 155mm, that is hardly an issue with the Edge.
One thing Hero should have included is a disc brake option. The drums on the Edge are competent, but they tend to steadily lose their effectiveness after prolonged use. Thankfully, the Edge gets Integrated Braking System (IBS), which should enhance stopping power and prove especially useful during panic braking.
Speaking of features, the Edge is equipped with USB 3.0 charging port in the boot. A less useful but a handy feature is the boot light. This along with the IBS will be offered on the VX variant, which we think is the one to go for, as it costs just a grand more than the base LX.
Overall, like most players in this segment, the Hero Maestro Edge is a value-for-money proposition. It has good ride quality and generous ground clearance. Apart from Honda's Combi Brake, Hero is the only one to offer IBS. It is also a good-looking scooter that is priced - our test VX costs Rs 51,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi) - pretty well.
1cyl, 111cc, 8.3bhp, 8.3Nm, CVT, Weight\: 110kg, 65.8kpl (claimed), Price\: Rs 50,700, ex-showroom, Delhi
Verdict\: Sporty styling, features, good ride and handling, but lacks a peppy engine