Honda SH 300 – The Scooter Review

5 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Honda SH 300 – The Scooter Review

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I looked at my right hand; slowly I lifted it to the throttle, gently does it now, I gripped the rubber hand grip and slowly tightened my knuckles. I moved my eyes towards the road ahead…nothing. No cars, no bikes, no kids on skateboards…nothing to impede my progress.

I’d been waiting for this moment for a long time, I was about to unleash the Honda SH 300. Time slowed, I sucked in a last minute breath and twisted the throttle to full open…

Now in comparison to say a 2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R I can’t really say that the SH was fast, not at all. However, for a standard sized scooter the SH is the current benchmark for rapidness.

Initial acceleration was a little on the weak side for the first second or so, then wammo the transmission fully engages and I smoothly accelerate continuously to over 140kph. Inside my helmet a grin forms on my face. This is more like it; this is what a scooter should feel like.

Why on earth has it taken so long for scooter manufactures to give us what we actually want?

Someone at Honda Italy made a decision a few years back to build a scooter from the ground up. They threw away all the crappy old scooter designs and started with a clean slate…the SH series was born. Now to say the SH series was a success is a total understatement, the SH is the new benchmark.

Honda’s target was total domination of the lucrative Italian scooter market. Target reached, target blown completely to *^#% bits. In 2007 the SH 150 was the number one selling scooter in Italy, the SH 300 was number two and the SH 125 was number three.

Not even Toyota has a sales success that powerful, especially not with a premium model.

I’m not going to give you a complete technical rundown on the SH, that’s just not my style. That’s for other people, other websites and other humans sometimes called…NERDS. What I will do is tell you what the SH is like to ride.

The SH 300 is the first scooter I have ever ridden that I actually WANT to ride HARD. The improved chassis and tight suspension give the Honda road holding that other scooters could only dream of. Hell, on a really twisty road I’d have a hard time keeping up with an SH300 on a motorcycle. The rear suspension is a little on the hard side, but it suits the bikes sporty nature far better than the usual cushy scooter set-up.

The large 16 inch wheels do a superb job of ironing out most road imperfections anyway.

So after falling in love with the SH’s superb handling I tried the brakes. Holy cow! I can’t stress how much better the Honda’s brakes are than a standard scooter. The SH runs Honda’s linked braking system which links the front and rear brakes off a single lever. This gives you added stopping power under panic situations when you’re only able to get a single hand on the lever.

Now combine these linked brakes with a powerful and foolproof ABS (anti lock braking system) and you have well…the best brakes of any scooter I’ve ridden. Actually the brakes on the SH leave the brakes on most motorcycles for dead. After riding the SH 300 in terrible wet conditions I’d say I’d NEVER purchase a bike without ABS.

It’s just that good. Welcome to the future. If the scooter you’re looking at buying doesn’t run ABS, simply don’t buy it. In comparison to the SH, it’s junk.

Honda Dream Kids Dokitto

As I said at the beginning of this review the Honda SH 300 is fast; the SH 300 makes 27hp. That isn’t a massive number by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a big number in scooter-land. Basically, Honda re-engineered an engine from one of their off road motorcycles and de-tuned it to run a smoother power curve and better fuel economy. What they also did was beat the crap out of the competition. All of the SH’s competing bikes make a miserable 21-22hp.

The extra 5-6hp means the lightweight Honda simply rides away from all of them in a straight line. In our tests the SH hit 100kph in just 10.9 seconds. That’s significantly faster than any other non-maxi scooter we’ve tested to date.

Ease of use wise the SH 300 is a breeze to live with. The bikes small size and weight mean it’s easy to move around at low speed and fairly easy to put on the center stand. Combine this with remote seat release off the ignition, a detailed set of gauges and a small glove box and you have a near perfect scooter.

I say near perfect because the SH does have one major failing point. The under seat storage area is tiny and won’t fit any kind of full face helmet. Obviously Honda wanted to keep the seat height to a minimum and just couldn’t fit a larger storage area without raising the seat further. You can fit a top box to store a larger helmet but really, this is a pain.

Hopefully Honda can address this poor storage problem in the future. We reviewed the SYM’s new Citycom 300i and it simply kills the SH when it comes to storage. Finally, you get Honda’s solid build quality and legendary reliability combined with good fuel economy for such a rapid bike of 3.5L/100kms (67MPG).

Summing up the Honda SH 300. Honda have set the benchmark with the SH; it’s probably the best scooter in the world. Most other manufacturers are scrambling to offer a competitor, but they seem to be missing the mark; some by a long long way. Vespa answered with the new GTS 300 Super but sadly the new engine is a total joke and only makes 1hp more than their 250cc model. No chance.

Piaggio who own Vespa are using the same 300 motor (it’s actually only a 278cc engine) across their various brands. So I expect the new Aprilia’s, Gilera’s and Piaggio’s will be no match for the SH 300’s dominance until they actually make a 300cc engine that makes decent power.

The SH 300 is a lot of money for a scooter but, think of it as the Porsche 911 of current scooters. So value for money, it isn’t bad at all. It really deserves to cost more money because it’s significantly better than its competitors. If I was buying a large wheeled scooter today there are only two real options. SYM’s new Citycom 300i or the Honda SH 300.

The Citycom is a fantastic bike at a fantastic price, but the Honda is better again in nearly every department. It just comes down to money; if you can afford it…buy the Honda.

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