I always felt that Hero scooters lived in the shadows of Honda units. The powertrain was the same and there was perceptibly no difference between the two. But, how wrong can I be? The Hero Destini 125 is one scooter that changed my perception on the Indian motorcycle maker’s products. How and why did the Hero Destini impress me so much? Read on in the Hero Destini 125 review.
Hero Destini 125 looks and features
Honestly speaking, Hero could have done much more with the Destini 125’s design. It looks like your typical conservative Hero product. No new ZMR influences thankfully. The Destini has a Y-shaped chrome outline running on the front apron, something which even the Honda Activa 125 and Aviator too have. In the sense, I feel there isn’t much differentiation in the way the Duet and the Destini look. You may more or less mistake one for the another.
The headlight is a conventional bulb while the area above the light has been given a black treatment. Hero has given large clear lens indicators and have made sure you won’t miss them either. Telescopic front forks suspend the black alloy wheels. The side profile is similar to that of the Duet. A look at the exhaust and you will wonder if that was an after thought. Any ways, the Destini never claimed to be a glamour queen. The tail light has been borrowed from the Duet.
In terms of features, the meter console of the Destini 125 features a digi-analog layout. This includes the analogue speedometer and digital readouts for the fuel gauge, odometer as well as the trip meter. A service due indicator, side stand warning, tell tale lights as well as i3S logo too are part of the fare. The handle bar on the right has the blue i3S button and electric starter button. The one on the left has your turn indicators, horn and upper-dipper button with the pass light integrated onto it. There is also a useful rear brake lock clamp as well.
The seat of the Destini is well padded and offers spacious accommodation. However, the lit boot could have been a bit bigger than its current 19 litres capacity. It holds your regular full face ISI approved helmet but not the international spec ones. Hero has also provided a charging port. I particularly liked the brushed aluminium foot pegs. The fuel filler is external and is operated by a multi-function key hole that also acts as the ignition slot. One can also twist the key to the other side to open the seat.
Hero Destini 125 engine and transmission
This is Hero’s first 125cc scooter in India. The engine is a new unit and is air-cooled. It makes 8.7PS of power and 10.2Nm of torque. Performance is okay but the meat of the torque is available right from the start. This ensures that pulling heavy loads (my photographer weighs 125kg) isn’t a problem at all. There is no whining from the CVT as well. Given this, the scooter builds pace in a linear manner. The engine is happy doing 80kmph with two heavyweights on board. It is refined for most part but then it takes a gruff note when you try and push it beyond 80kmph.
In our tests, the scooter maxed out around 86kmph and delivered a combined fuel efficiency of 41kmpl. This is at par with what we got with the new TVS NTorq 125 but is lower than what the Burgman achieves. Hero harps on this being the first scooter with the i3S technology. This system basically cuts off the ignition if you’re stationary at a traffic light. The condition is that one shouldn’t be using the accelerator at all. To restart the scooter, just press the brake lever and twist the throttle.
For most parts, the i3S works perfectly. However, given the Indian conditions where we don’t usually stop for more than 30 seconds at a signal, the long term benefits aren’t many. You save a minuscule amount of fuel and emissions too are lowered in the process. Luckily, one can turn the i3S off as well. Speaking of which, the blue i3S button could have been better designed with a simple start and stop imprint. The “O” and “I” will tend to confuse many.
Hero Destini 125 ride and handling
The Hero Destini 125, as discussed, has telescopic front forks. The rear has a monoshock. Hero has tuned the suspension to be on the softer side. Ground clearance is generous and the scooter rarely bottomed out during the test. Low speed bumps are dispatched off with ease while the high speed ones may slightly unsettle the pillion rider. The Destini is no slouch when it comes to handling and can take corners at 50kmph with ease. That being said, a taller rider will not be at ease with a pillion as the handlebar will foul with his knees while cornering.
Hero has provided 130mm drum brakes with Integrated Braking System. The brakes are just average and I was left wanting for more feedback. There is no option of a disc brake at the moment as well.
Hero Destini 125 verdict
There are two variants of the Destini available – LX and VX. The Hero Destini price in India is Rs 55,550 for the LX and Rs 58,800 for the VX, ex-Mumbai. I like the Destini scooter and there are many things that differentiate it from, say the Honda Activa 125. It has good bottom and mid-range torque, delivers decent fuel efficiency and above all gets your bragging rights with the i3S. Hero service centres can be found in every nook and cranny. A slump in the quality of service centres had seen most of the customers resorting to the roadside mechanic. However, from what I have heard recently, stringent measures have been taken to ensure quality of service is up to the mark as well.
In the world of different exotic flavours, the Hero Destini 125 stands out as your plain Jane vanilla. And mind you, there are many takers for vanilla flavour as well.
Things we like about the Hero Destini 125
Luggability, i3S technology is unique, most affordable 125
Things we don’t like about the Hero Destini 125
Plain styling, acceleration could be better, not many features
Trivia: Hero has displayed many a concepts in the past but sadly most of them never made it to production. The Destini was never showcased before though.