Scooter buyers today have more choices than ever before. Not only are price, looks and features a differentiating factor, but also gender. Yes, the Hero Maestro is a scooter that is targeted towards male buyers. Unlike its first offering – Pleasure, which was aimed at the female buyer, the Maestro goes the other way. The Maestro was launched in 2012 and since then has been gaining well. While still being new in the scooter segment, Hero has scaled up to being the second largest scooter seller in India within a short span of time, thereby trumping competition, who have been present for many years now, except Honda.
The Maestro has a 109cc, air-cooled, 4 stroke, single cylinder engine that produces 8bhp of power @ 7500rpm. Hero has inherited this technology from its erstwhile partner Honda and is similar to that found on the Activa. Sizewise the Maestro looks big and has a bit bulky proportions, especially at the rear, with a wheelbase of 1240mm and weighs 110kgs. In terms of styling the Maestro uses conservative lines and has not experimented too much with the design, however, the tail lamp styling and the black plastic guard above the headlamp adds some flair to it. Instrumentation is a mix of digital and analogue.
While the speedometer is an analogue one, the odometer and fuel gauge are digital. It also has a digital tripmeter, which is a welcome feature on a scooter. The instrument console looks good. Smart dual coloured rear view mirrors which function well too, a shuttered ignition key socket and useful rear grab rails are some other highlights. The quality of the handlebar grips is good too, but the brake lock lever is tacky, which looks like a zinc-plated raw material abruptly fitted and cumbersome to use . The seat is pretty wide and designed keeping an average Indian male in mind, though the seat height is pretty high, favoring taller riders. The seat offers ample space for both rider and pillion. On the whole the scooter feels spacious.
The under seat storage has usable space, though a full face helmet will not fit. A glove box is not present, however, it is available as an accessory. There is a safe hook under the seat. Fuel tank capacity is 5.3 litres.
On the road, the Maestro is quick and accelerates briskly, though I won’t call it very smooth. The handling is fine too, though the scooter looks bulky, it handles very well. At high speeds too it is pretty stable. Top speed achieved was 90 kmph. The only glitch was that there is prominent engine vibration as the scooter picks up speed and one can feel it on the handlebar and foot board. This could be an issue only with this particular scooter but still an area which Hero would like to address. The ride quality isn’t anything to talk about either. I found the suspension to be hard and may become an irritant on potholed roads. A softer setup would really help deliver a more pleasurable ride and this can be achieved by replacing the front link suspension with a telescopic one. Brakes are decent and are the same Combi braking found on the Activa, which Hero call it the Combined Braking System. In the city one can expect a fuel efficiency between 45-50km/l, which is almost at par with competition.
The Maestro comes in a variety of colours, seven to be precise. The one we had was a dual tone one called Groovy Medley, which is essentially a combination of red and white and looks good differentiating itself from other scooters moving on the road. Other colours include Panther Black, Magnetic Matt Grey, Striking Silver, Vital White, Blazing Red and Electric Blue.
While the Maestro shares its mechanicals with the Activa, an area where it needs a little more focus is refinement. Though the overall build quality, fit and finish is good, a few tweaks can make it even better. Hero has been increasing its competence in scooters and the large sales and service network that spans across the country is the trump card the Hero holds. This is reflected in the way the company is clocking sales figures. That makes the Maestro a good choice because it has the necessary things one looks at while buying a scooter. The Maestro costs INR 57,595 (on road, Pune). It may not excel in any one department, but given the service support and the Hero brand image, one can never really go wrong with his decision.