2010 Honda SH150I

This Scooter Wears The Crown

By Kristi Martel, Photography by Jason Hammer

The Honda SH150i may be unknown in the United States, but it's been zooming off showroom floors in Europe. In fact, Honda says it's the best-selling feet-forward machine in scooter-crazy Italy, land of Vespa/Aprilia/Piaggio. Surprised? Me too. But maybe we shouldn't be. The reasonably priced, mid-size SH150i is everything a scooter rider wants. With plenty of power, high-tech brakes and a modern, sporty style, I can see why the SH150i is king.

The grunt for this little pony comes from a fuel-efficient, 153cc single-cylinder engine chock-full of Honda ingenuity. An overhead-cam engine, fuel injection and liquid cooling all help the little scoot sip fuel and operate trouble-free. Pull in either safety-switch-equipped brake lever, push the starter button and the SH150i purrs to life. Twist the grip and you're magically moving forward on a steady swell of power, aided by Honda's smooth three-speed V-Matic transmission. Off-the-line acceleration is enough to excite, but not so remarkable that it'll raise the eyebrow of the local constabulary. Flat-out acceleration on level ground earns you 65 mph in roughly 15 seconds, but anything faster will require a downward-sloping roadway. Although the SH's top speed and displacement make it freeway-legal, I wouldn't feel safe riding it on the interstate.

The front wheel carries a single 220mm disc that's pinched by a twin-piston caliper. The rear hub holds a standard drum brake that's linked to the front via Honda's Combined Braking System (CBS). Pulling in the left-hand brake lever applies the rear brake and also routes some pressure to the front for improved braking performance. But it's a one-way street: Pulling the right-hand lever does not activate the rear brake. This way, the rider can choose sportier front-wheel-only braking or squeeze both levers together for a stable, lickety-split stop.

Unlike its tubby counterparts, the SH has a lean, sporty look. Large, 16-inch aluminum wheels help, as does the thin tail section and exposed twin shocks. The cockpit is roomy and comfortable, but comes at the expense of storage space. A small cargo hook holds a bag on the floorboard to schlep delicates home from Victoria's Secret, but under-seat storage is minimal. Better ask for a small to-go box or spring for the $268.95 accessory trunk.

With just over 3 inches of travel front and rear, the SH is a bit jarring over larger bumps, but the cushy diving board of a seat kept my tush comfy. And those big wheels smooth out small to mid-sized road imperfections way better than an old 10-inch-wheeled scooter! I also spent some time as a passenger, and couldn't find fault with the ergonomics. This scooter is definitely a player when it comes to comfortable, two-up transportation.

So, will the SH150i succeed in the States? If comfortable, twist-and-go transport with the fuel efficiency and reliability of a Honda sound appealing, then this king of scooters might just reign on your commute.

tech
SPEC
Price $4499
Engine type l-c single
Valve train SOHC, 2v
Displacement 153cc
Transmission Automatic
Claimed horsepower na
Claime torque na
Frame Steel under-bone
Front suspension Showa 33mm telescopic fork
Rear Twin Showa shocks with adjustable
suspension spring preload
Front brake Nissin two-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Rear brake Drum
Front tire 100/80-16 Dunlop
Rear tire 120/80-16 Dunlop
Seat height 30.9 in.
Wheelbase 53.4 in.
Fuel capacity 1.8 gal.
Claimed dry weight 302 lbs.

Verdict 4 stars out of 5
Big wheels and edgy styling make this one of the coolest Japanese scooters yet.

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