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.

General Riding

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.


HMEGRE said...

Great review ... thanks a lot.


Owen said...

I bought one of these in August 2008 (second hand), it cost £1300 and had done what I thought to be 113km. The owner of the shop told me to expect 60-70mpg from it, but as I told him, I'm a big lad, and if I managed 50+ I was going to be quite content (it was to be used only for commuting, a nine mile ride in each direction over relatively hilly terrain in the Pennines).

I didn't check the odometer at all during the first week, which is probably a bit daft, but filled it at the end of one week. It took less than £5 to fill it up (which, at the time, was about a gallon/4.5 litres). I made a note of the odometer reading, and noticed that it read 218. 105km to the gallon - 65mpg - nice.

I then noted the mileage when I arrived at work the next time I rode it - and it became clear that the odometer reading was not actually in km, but miles. 100+mpg, and it did that every week for 18 months until some scrotes nicked it in January.

When the insurers coughed up, I bought another. It's never going to be exciting, but for a commuter (and that's all I bought it for) it's spot on. Even the spongy rear suspension suits me, I'm knocking 40 now so a bit of give is quite welcome for me!

John King said...

At the expense of commercial symbol, the actual displacement of 300 cc is not: the 4-valve single cylinder Quasar, with electronic injection and liquid-cooled, in fact, has a bore of 75 mm and a stroke of 63 mm, which on balance worth 278 cc.

toltec said...

Great bike.
I previously owned a Suzuki 400 Burgman and did find The Honda a bit slow at first but appreciate it's lightness and fuel economy. It is actually good fun to ride.
I have used it for short local trips, regular 40 mile round trips to visit family and so far, one 400 mile round trip.
Top speed is about 52-53mph until the rev limiter cuts in (a somewhat odd sensation) and so far, over 1000 miles, have averaged 105 mpg. Pretty good considering half of that has been flat out at 50mph.
One warning though. Never buy a Givi screen. I bought one for winter riding and they mis-supplied right hand thread bolts to fix the screen bracket to the Honda mounts. Three weeks on I am still waiting.
In fact the initial response was that it must be a "fault on my particular bike". Really ! Honda accidentally threaded it back to front? I did check with my dealer and all Hondas use left hand thread fixing so basically Givi are just incompetant.
If Givi are that useless who knows if the stuff they sell is safe? Toyota initially denied a fault with their cars but after several people were killed in America, they had to recall millions of cars. I no longer trust Givi. Better to buy a Puig (German made and TUV approved) or a genuine Honda.