I had another scooter in the shed recently. Totally different proposition to the big Tmax I had a couple of months back which you can read more about here. This time around it was Honda’s ADV150. They dub it an ‘adventure scooter’ which is probably having a bit of a laugh in comparison to genuine adventure bikes, but it’s certainly a little bit different and worth a look.
What are we looking at? Well, 150cc fuel injected single cylinder, auto gearbox, ABS on the front and even Showa shocks. It tips the scales at 133 kilos and will set you back around 6 grand.
My impression didn’t necessarily start off that well, it has a not-very-intuitive at first key fob and startup system. The key fob (it has no key as such so you can just keep it in your pocket) has three buttons with icons and no text and a start-up process that involves a push-and-turn dial on the bike as well as having to have the side stand upright and brakes on to start it. It took three blokes about five-minutes to get it started for the first time. The alarm had to be turned off and the dial turned to the right position before it would jump to life. A simple key would have certainly been quicker… but once you figure it out and get used to it, it’s ok. The fob comes with a button to make the bike beep if you’ve lost it in a car-park (although I didn’t test the range on that…), an alarm on and off button. I honestly left them all alone and just got on and rode.
On the road it’s quite refined. The auto clutch take-up is seamless, the engine is smooth and quiet while the stoppers both ends feel up to the task. Mechanically its Honda through and through and feels bulletproof and well sorted.
It has quite a nice, nimble lightness to it that I think a lot of folks would find appealing. In traffic it’s able to hold its own against most cars from the front of the lights. Pumping out 14 horsepower and about the same number of Newton Metres of torque, it’s no rocket ship and doesn’t scream away from the lights. But for a nimble low-capacity scooter it goes ok in traffic.
Around town and on shorter jaunts it’s in its element – and certainly the slightly bigger than average sized wheels (for a scooter), help navigate rougher urban roads, potholes and tram tracks etc. But I wouldn’t want to spend extended hours touring on one out in the countryside. In fact, after the first 40 kilometres of mind numbingly boring highway work on the way home from picking it up I was already feeling it in my lower back and hips. I got used to it with some more time aboard, but it’s worth noting that the seat is quite firm and there’s not a lot of soaking up of serious bumps going on for longer trips.
So I’m not sure what sort of ‘Adventure’s’ Honda has in mind. While yes, it will handle good quality gravel roads (just like any other bike), however, I wouldn’t suggest you conjure up any plans to tackle anything gnarlier than that on it. I wouldn’t like to ride it through loose gravel.. (I did see a youtube video of someone trying it. And they tucked the front at the first sign of soft gravel and dropped it… so…), and I don’t think the undertray would like you for it either. On the flip side – It does have slightly taller ride height than some of its competitors, so it’s probably less likely to scrape on gutters. Maybe ‘Urban Adventurer’ might be more apt?
An 8 litre fuel tank is going to force you to stop fairly regularly on any longer trips too. I was averaging around 3.5L per hundred kays overall, but was seeing 4.5 – 5L/100ks on the dash while holding it pinned at 110 down the freeway (tucked in behind the adjustable two position front screen), so don’t expect to be getting any more than 200 kilometres per tank. I’d suggest it’d get better mileage than that on full time urban work. Especially with the auto stop-start enabled via the simple switch on the rhs switchgear which worked just as expected. Sit still for a few seconds. It shuts down, twist the throttle and it starts back up again. Nice.
I did note one interesting thing however in that if you turn the engine off fully with the dial while having it on auto stop, then you need to give it a little rev to get it started.. It wont just start by pressing the button. Had me scratching my head again for a bit.
When it comes time to park, the centre-stand is a doddle to use as it’s such a lightweight bike for even the most physically challenged amongst us. Super easy to put on and off the stand.
The dash is a bit unusual. It has a display that shows you the day and month and it also shows you ambient temp. But doesnt show you the engine temp, which I’m starting to see more of on the latest motorcycles and can’t say I like it. And where I was expecting a tacho that space is instead replaced with an ‘insta fuel consumption’ readout. I did pay attention to it every now and again initially for curiosity’s sake, but I’m not sure I’d look at it much after the first couple of weeks if it was mine. I think most folks understand that when you twist the throttle harder it uses more fuel… 🙂
Styling wise it seems nicely executed if a little busy but I don’t mind it. Lots of individual surface details and they’re all quite nicely finished with good quality materials. Plenty to look at while you’re sipping your latte. I did seem to have to keep wiping the bike down in that colour scheme, the footrest areas in particular just kept showing up dirt and scuffs.
And although there’s plenty of useful storage space including a charger equipped 2 Litre pod in the dash, note that the underseat storage didn’t fit either of the two full face helmets I tried which I thought was disappointing. We tried every which way to make it fit, but it was about an inch short of closing. Probably would have got it to shut if I forced it, but I’m not going to do that to a helmet… I’d expect it’s made for open faced helmets even though the blurb says full face… So you’d want to check it before buying a lid.
To top it off – that great price tag for Honda build quality and confidence. And for that, you can ignore some quirks in the dash etc. I actually think it’s a pretty solid offering. Plenty to like, especially for those wanting something a little different to the Vespa look.
Why I like it:
Light, nimble, get on and go once you get used to the fob
Honda build quality – good smooth engine, no shortfalls mechanically
I’d like it more if:
The underseat storage actually fitted my full faced lids
The adjustable screen had some more height to it
The seat could be a little softer for soaking up our rubbish roads
Wayne loves all things motorsport, but lives for two wheels. Mountain bikes, dirt bikes, adventure bikes, road bikes, race bikes, the lot.
An ex riding coach and road racer wannabe who simultaneously ran out of talent and money.
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