I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


(click any image to enlarge)

Barrett Bonden has posted about Honda's latest motorcycle which has an automatic gearbox and asked for my opinion (as a dyed in the wool motorcyclist ) . This naturally got me thinking about the automatic scooter that I have added to my stable, the Honda SH300i .

I have ridden and restored motorcycles, exclusively, for over 50 years having owned about 42 over that period. Scooters had never remotely interested me. However Honda brought out this range with larger, motorcycle type wheels and I threw prejudice aside and had a test ride. What a revelation!

I can honestly say that it is the best "motorcycle" that I have ever owned. Not the most expensive, the most interesting, the most desirable or the most characterful, but the one which does everything I want it to comfortably, smoothly, efficiently and economically. I ride it in ordinary clothes in a breathable "Peter Storm" outdoor jacket. Once off the machine the helmet and gloves are stowed in the top box. It has an underseat storage area which takes a lightweight waterproof overall and any small goodies purchased along the way. Behind the front fairing is a glove box with a 12 volt charging outlet for a mobile phone.

My BMW motorcycle gives me exhilaration, but the Honda is the most used - in preference even to the car and it was used throughout last winter in snow, rain and frost. The worst aspect of such use is the salt which is spread on our roads in winter to keep them ice free - however all vulnerable parts were liberally sprayed with ACF-50 which keeps corrosion at bay, although at the end of the winter the road parts looked like the bike had been through a farmyard! But when cleaned off it was as good as new.

I suffer from poor circulation in the hands and the ultimate luxury it has to offer is heated handgrips. These, combined with its designed-in protection and the extra clip -on lap blanket meant that I was warm and cosy all winter.

Its 280cc engine, taken from a Honda motocross bike, enables it to cruise on motorways at 70mph (116kmh) with some 15mph still in hand for overtakes. In my hands it consistently returns 80mpg ( 3.5 litres per 100 km). With fuel here costing £1.04 per litre what more could one ask?

It has ABS on both brakes, electric starting, fuel injection, watercooling and completely automatic (CVT) transmission (so no gear changes or clutch to bother about). For those interested in such things a technical spec. can be seen here .

You might think that I was somewhat enthusiastic about the machine - you would be right. I can think of no better answer to open air, comfortable and economical travel.

"Works Well", B.B.? I should think so!


Judith said...

As a one-time scooter fan I can well appreciate your enthusiasm, Avus. With all those comforts it makes me wonder whether I could start again. But I don't think I could balance a two-wheeler any more.

I do hope, though, that despite the poor circulation you are not actually 'died' in the wool yet -forgive the gentle tease!

Barrett Bonden said...

I takes a brave BMW biker to admit to the world - and to the hairy-chested brigades in particular - that he takes pleasure from a scooter. Prior to buying my auto-gearbox old man's car I had a succession of three Lexi (thanks, Alan Partridge) all of them a pure joy to drive. But mature reflection suggests that even here in rural Herefordshire I spend quite some time in slow traffic and an auto is the car for that.

In fact your scooter sounds to be the latest evolution (I refuse to use the car mags' preferred "iteration") of those mopeds back in the late fifties which came with infinitely variable gears. The intermediary V-belt drive used to slip when it rained and I assume that in the intervening fifty years Honda has got that sorted. I love the idea of heated handlebar grips - cold hands was always the cross I bore reluctantly during my biking days.

Avus said...

One up to you! Do you know, as I read the draft I had the feeling something was wrong there, but the penny did not drop.

Loved you plural of "Lexus" - the sort of delight that Sammy Davis jnr. used to drop into his articles in the old "Motor Sport".

Yes the belt is enclosed in the case seen on the left side of the scooter. It is kevlar woven, toothed and running onto a toothed cog. Service book say change every 10,000 miles "if necessary". Most Harley Davison motorcycles now use a similar (unenclosed) system to good effect - less dirty, more flexible and less noisy than an unenclosed chain.

Vita said...

Himself thinks your Honda isn't marketed in the states. Wow! All winter, and even in snow. I want one, too! It sounds perfect. I'm a great fan of auto-gearboxes.

Avus said...

And I think you would enjoy it. Looking at US chat sites they all seem to be moaning that it is not imported at present (answer is to lobby Honda USA)It is actually made in Italy. Its smaller brother, the 125cc is brought in, I believe. That is quite fun - in fact I got one of them first and liked it so much I traded it after 6 months for the bigger engined one for more puff on motorways and for good overtaking.

herhimnbryn said...

That last pic. looks as though you are about to do a side saddle dressage event;^)

Am expecting a ride to Rye etc on the BMW next year. Should I book you now?

Doohickie said...

I wonder if you can get one of those in the States?

Avus said...

See what you mean about the "dressage" thing however that is not me, it's a young lady (I have not got quite such a willowy figure) - I just used Honda's pic to illustrate the lap-blanket.
The BMW awaits your pleasure.

Afraid not - see my answer to Vita next but one above. Push Honda USA. If enough of you Yanks want one they might bring them in. New Zealand has just imported two to test the water out there. The motor cycle press have dubbed it "The Best Scooter in the World" (as opposed to the larger and heavier "super-scoots" which are a different breed)

Lucy said...

So glad you two easy riders have found each other...


Lee said...

It's obviously touched a spot!

pohanginapete said...

Well, that's got me thinking. A trip into town for me is about 70 km — a bit too far to lug a load of groceries on a pushbike, particularly in vile weather (which is one of the reasons I don't do it). The car seems environmentally unsound and I'd like to reserve it for special purposes, so the thought of a motorbike has certainly crossed my mind, but something like this would seem to fit the bill almost perfectly. What's more, I too have poor circulation in my hands, so heated grips ... ah, sounds like bliss.

A recommendation like this, coming from a BMW rider, impresses me. Thanks Avus :^)

Avus said...

I enjoy cycling but would think twice about lugging the groceries 70k on one!
I guess the scooter would suit your needs, but "UnZud" has yet to bring them in. I guess they might be too costly, since they would need to be shipped from Europe. Although Hondas, they are built by Honda (Italy)

pohanginapete said...

Avus, you're right. I hunted around and found they're not available here in NZ (clearly, you remember the accent well). I did see a second-hand one on TradeMe (the auction had long closed) and it was well beyond my price range — 3–4 times the value of my car. Still, in 10 years' time, who knows what will be available second-hand at affordable prices?

Anyway, thanks again for getting me thinking.

Kay said...

Wasn't it made famous in USA by the Beach Boys? ;) We have a few Hondas here in NZ, yes. My friend had a great one in the 70s that she used to go to work as a teacher, and to Queenstown (from Invercargill) on some weekends (to visit her boyfriend, who eventually became her husband.)
Your Honda looks like a real trooper.

mansuetude said...

that looks enticing!
heated handlegrips...

bearly domesticated boneman said...

And, I noticed you had the stylish right handed steering installed.
My brother has the left handed steering (for the states) but I await eagerly as i know him to be a 'wimp' when it comes to weather.
I will gladly step up and purchase said used cycle from him.
(terrible i am, in an odd sort of way
but then, he's oft had a bite out of me in his day.

zephyr said...

Hello Avus, saw your comments over at HHb's blog...and found this post in your very nice blog. I've been mulling over buying a scooter...but nervous about our very cold winters here in New Jersey...but this sounds very appealing, I must say. Road a small Honda motorcycle when I first moved here 30+ years ago...but I'm itching to be on two motorized wheels again! Thanks for the review.

javieth said...

The scooter are very useful specially when there are traffic jump. I hater to drive my car in this days. But the scooter is a great alternative, although is necessary to be careful. Actually i visited a beautiful country and approached
costa rica investment opportunities
and i rode an scooter all the time, it was really fantastic.

james john said...

I had it for three years. Honda SH 300i is a fantastic scooter having amazing mileage.
cheap scooters

Sweet Fairy said...

Grate post with nice details. I really love these. Where i can fond these? affordable houston user cars

Roy said...

I am 81 and still ride my Honda 300 shi and love it like you I have had lots and lots of bikes and this is the nicest bike I have ridden and I will keep on riding it as long as I can LOVE MY BIKE .Roy