Saturday, June 20, 2009
Honda SCV 110 Lead
2008 Honda SCV 110 Lead Red
Five-and-a-half hours, 30 miles.
Last week I part exchanged my X9 250 for an X9 500 Evolution. More about that bike later, but unfortunately, the Surrey Honda dealer which sold it to me failed to service the bike whilst they had it. A service was just about due according to the original Piaggio service schedule, and I wanted that bloody book stamped! They offered to service it the next Saturday, and offered a courtesy bike. So I set off early on Saturday morning to ride the ten miles to the dealer, queued up to hand in the keys of my pride and joy, and to pick up the courtesy bike, a Honda SCV 110 Lead.
The bike looked very well made. Everything seemed to fit well and there was a sense of quality. There was also a sense of being very small! I was having terrible flashbacks from my old Zip. It looked like my Zip, and when sitting on it, it felt like my Zip! It also seemed impossibly light compared with the bikes I have been riding for the last four years.
For a small scooter there seemed loads of space under the seat. Certainly enough for a helmet plus a bag of shopping. There was also a small glovebox, but I didn't try and put anything in that. There was also an integral robust looking rack on the back that looked like it would be ideal for strapping boxes and packages to.
For a small scooter with a 108cc engine performance was surprisingly good. I didn't have the opportunity to try it out at great speed, but it got to 30mph very quickly, and pulled very strongly up steep hills at 40mph. The engine is very smooth and very responsive.
It is light, it has small wheels that gives it a very light and twitchy feel when you first get on it. But after a few miles you adjust and the bike seems to have a good hold of the road and stays on line round corners. The rear suspension appears to be made out of a knackered old mattress as it is soft, spongy and bouncy. It may be possible to change the settings, but I didn't get chance to do that.
I imagine the bike must cost almost nothing to run. I picked up the bike and half way home realised the fuel gauge was actually the temperature gauge and the temperature gauge was actually the fuel gauge showing less then empty. I rode to the nearest petrol station, which these days not unusually was about three miles away. I then had no idea how much fuel to put in. I put in just under four pounds (about 4 litres) and that put the fuel gauge to more than full! Later in the day I rode back to the dealer, and having done over 20 miles since filling up, the gauge still showed the tank as being more than full. I imagine that as a Honda dealer has a fleet of these as courtesy bikes they must be cheap to maintain as they wouldn't make unnecessary expense for themselves.
Terrible! After the luxury of an X9, well known as an armchair on two wheels, the Lead felt terribly cramped and exposed. I imagine smaller riders and more frequent riders will get used it it!
It got me 30 miles.
The bike is small, very light and quite nippy. Given the likely low cost of fuel etc, I would say this was an ideal commuting bike for an urban commuter with a five mile journey, as long as they are not too big.
Not being in a hurry on the way back I took some diversions down some winding hilly roads. Cornering was quite good for a small wheeled scooter. The brakes always felt reliable and progressive, although nowhere near as good as on a larger scooter with triple disks. Whilst not ideal for this sort of riding, it is capable of it if required.
I quite enjoyed riding this once I got used to the small wheels and the less efficient brakes. It brought back memories of smaller scooters I started riding on. Riding it did feel rather exposed. There feels like no protection from the elements or other vehicles, and other vehicles, especially 4X4 treat the bike with contempt as it has no presence whatsoever. Several times I found large vehicles coming the other way on my side of the road who either had not seen me, or did not care that I was there. Having ridden the same roads loads of times on X9s the different treatment was very clear.
Brand new these are £2250 which is a lot for a small 110cc bike with no special features. Obviously they will be less than that secondhand, but the price seems high compared with other similar scooters from other manufacturers. Obviously you are paying for Honda quality.
What would I change?
The engine seems quite capable of pushing this bike along at reasonable commuting speeds and the general styling etc is fine. The handling and the brakes are acceptable for this sort of bike. The biggest problems as for me were the seat,
which is moulded so sitting back on it for long legged riders means you are sitting o
on a ridge, and the rear suspension which was impossibly soft!
Overall a good fun little scooter and I am glad to have had the opportunity to ride it.