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Class act or common sense?

In the 125-cc scooter market, the Suzuki Access and the Kinetic Flyte face off in a closely fought contest, reports Rishad Cooper.

autos Updated: May 28, 2008 17:32 IST

Gearless 125 cc scooters are quickly making their presence felt across India and the Suzuki Access and Kinetic SYM Flyte are slugging it out in this segment.

It took a no-holds-barred shootout to find out who wins in the real world.

Despite belonging to the same segment, the Access and the Flyte look as different as night and day. The Access sports retro hints and seems larger, while the Flyte conceals its bulk very smartly with petite styling that will hold more allure for female buyers.

The Flyte is by far the more modern looking of the two. However, the Access wins an advantage with the brilliant illumination offered by its halogen-bulbequipped headlight.

Details, details
Both scooters feature analogue gauges but we prefer the Access' instrument face. Both have bold, legible speedometers and fuel gauges along with the obligatory sets of warning lights. Again, while both scooters are equipped with similar control levers and switches, we prefer the Access' grips.

We also found the lack of a rear brake-locking clamp on the Flyte a nuisance. However, the Flyte scores with body-coloured, impact-resistant and adjustable mirrors that offer excellent, vibration-free rear vision.

Both scooters feature handy multi-functional ignition key slots - an innovation - that include a security feature that shuts the key slots for extra security. But the Access suffers from some glaring omissions - no front storage bib, front fuelling facility or integrated floor mat. In addition, its solitary bag hook is poorly-located and too low to hang an average-sized bag.

The Flyte houses a useful mobile charging slot within its front panel as well as a much larger, illuminated storage cubbyhole under its saddle. While the Access excels with its better-executed rear footrests, its derriere is not as attractive as the Flyte's. Its silencer too could have been better-looking.

Both scooters boast outstanding paint quality, good fit-and-finish and great attention to detail. However, the Access has better quality rubber bits.

Up the power curve
The automatic and electric-started Access (124 cc) and Flyte (124.6 cc) have plenty in common - both four-stroke engines use air-cooling and long-stroke dimensions. Their single cylinders feed off carburettors and are equipped with twin valves.

The Access puts out 8.58 bhp at 7,000 rpm, marginally higher than the 8 bhp made at 7,000 rpm by the Flyte. Similarly, maximum torque available is 1 kgm at 5,500 rpm for the Access, and 0.91 kgm at 5,500 rpm for the Flyte.

Both scooters are equipped with manual choke pullers, although the Access seldom requires it, while the Flyte did occasionally depend on hints of choke to clear its throat and fire away cleanly from cold starts. Both engines feel enjoyably refined, and are absolutely vibefree with crisp, satisfyingly smooth power delivery through ample power bands.

The Flyte's pleasant exhaust note is sweeter than the Access'. However, both 125s flex their excess muscle to offer a performance edge over 100 cc scooters. They also muster a torque-laden feel and relaxed cruising ability that will not be matched by their 100 cc rivals.

We tested the duo back-to-back on a stretch of tarmac for an accurate acceleration comparison, and found that the Access consistently posted faster times. Acceleration to 60 kph took us 9.64 seconds on the Access and 11.23 secs on the Flyte. Both attained near-identical true top speeds of 88 kph (Access) and 86 kph (Flyte).

Ride and posture
Both scooters seat their riders in an upright, commuter-friendly stance, although we think the Flyte betters the Access with more space on its floorboard.

These scooters belong to a new generation that has forsaken the inferior linked-front suspension in favour of sturdy telescopic-fork systems. The Flyte and the Access have adequately wide and long saddles, but the Access comes with better padding.

Traditional steel-tubular frames are the norm on both vehicles, with the engines being used as stressed members to link with their hydraulic single rear shock absorbers. While inching through city traffic on Indian roads is less of a chore on these neutral and light-steering scooters, the Access has a noticeable ride-and-handling advantage over the Flyte when attempting higher speeds and edging close to the limit.

The Flyte's ride quality is plush but the Access' firmer ride helps it retain better composure through most situations.

The Flyte, though, offers a far more reassuring brake-feel advantage thanks to its larger 130-mm diameter brake drums. In comparison, the Access' brakes tend to lack adequate bite when speeds are high.

The verdict
The Access racked up a superior 38.8 kpl to the Flyte's 37.4 kpl in city traffic, while highway fuel consumption for the Suzuki was 40 kpl compared to 39.8 kpl for the Kinetic. This translates into overall fuel economy figures of 39.4 kpl for the Access and 38.6 kpl for the Flyte.

The Access and Flyte each have distinct virtues. The Access may lack feel-good features and its looks are conservative. Yet, it's no pushover, making up in quality, a superb engine, smart handling and solid build what it lacks in looks.

However, all these still can't bring it up to speed with the Flyte, a class act from Kinetic and SYM. There's virtually nothing we can denounce about this attractive scooter, which offers great specs, convenient features and adequate handling. All at a killer price.
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