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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!