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2009 Honda SH150i: A Japanese scooter made in Italy

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Generally speaking, when one thinks of Italian two-wheeled transportation, several names instantly come to mind: for instance, Aprilia, Ducati and Moto Guzzi on the motorcycle scene, and Piaggio or Vespa in the scooter marketplace. In fact, for decades, Vespa scooter models and other scooter models made by Piaggio, Vespa’s parent company which is also now the owner of the Aprilia brand, have long been the scooter of choice not only in Italy, but in the global marketplace as well.


The scooter scenario has changed dramatically of late however, with Honda now offering what may well be the best selling scooter in the boot-shaped country and other European countries as well – the 2010 SH150i scooter


Now, the Italian made Honda scooter has become available on our shores, as viable and practical urban transportation. Admittedly, there are many motorcyclists – especially within the sportbike crowd, who shudder at the prospect of being seen aboard any craft even remotely resembling a scooter. I’m here to say though, that scooters have a definitive place in the world of two-wheeled rides, and they can also be great fun as well as proving to be highly functional in the proper scenario.


The Honda SH 150i combines smart Euro styling elements along with low maintenance requirements and economical operation. Power for the visually non-traditional scooter is provided by a responsive 153cc SOHC, two-valve, liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke motor with automatic enrichment PGM-Fuel Injection. Energy is delivered to the rear wheel via Honda’s V-Matic belt-converter automatic – a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and shaft final drive.


The SH150i is capable of two-up cruising within city limits, as long as the two on board are not overly large in stature, and provided the terrain to be traversed is relatively level – in fact, given the 153cc displacement, freeway travel is highly discouraged even if riding solo, particularly if the rider is in the 200 or more pound category. The cruising sweet spot for the SH150i is really in a range between 40 and 50 mph on level ground. I found that 55 mph was the absolute maximum on a level, with the throttle twisted to a full stop, which really isn’t in the best interest of top fuel economy for an extended period. Exceptionally tall riders may find the riding position of the SH150i to be on the short side as far as legroom and maximum windscreen effectiveness are concerned.
      
On the plus side, the SH150i offers a comfortable ride with its larger than normal (for a scooter) 16-inch wheels and tires (Dunlop D451 – 100/80-16 M/C 60P in the front and 120/80-16 M/C 60P in the rear, both mounted on 5-spoke alloy wheels), along with the 33mm hydraulic forks up front providing 3.5 inches of travel, and the rear swingarm with dual hydraulic shocks and spring preload adjustability with 3.3 inches of travel.


Bringing the SH150i to a halt is accomplished by a hydraulic front 220mm single disc with two-piston caliper and a drum with a Combined Braking System in the rear. The wheelbase is 53.4-inches, while the overall length measures a highly maneuverable 79.7-inches. Getting the scooter up on its center stand is quite easy, with its 302 pound curb weight. The relatively tall seat height (30.9-inches) really poses no problem for vertically challenged riders, since, in traditional fashion, there’s no frame cross-member to contend with.


Controls are easy to use – there’s no clutch or foot brake to worry about – just twist the throttle and go. The seat is long and comfortable for two-up riding, with a large under-seat storage area, and the option of an accessory rear box and passenger backrest pad for the trunk that’s not only fashionable, but functional as well. The fuel filler for the 1.8 gallon tank with a 0.5 reserve is located aft, beneath the locking seat. Instrumentation is simple and includes an analog speedometer, odometer, a fuel gauge, clock and coolant temperature gauge. The battery is maintenance- free, and there’s an ignition switch/steering lock that provides security when the scooter is parked. Turn signals are not self canceling.

My test 2010 Honda SH150i scooter was finished in a subtle metallic Black – one of two available colors – the other is Red, and came with a base price of $4,499. Figure roughly another $300 to cover dealer handling and prep along with the optional windscreen.

SUMMARY:  The Honda SH150i is a comfortable, simple to ride scooter. It won’t smoke the tires off the line, won’t do a “wheelie” (at least not with me aboard), and won’t keep up with most freeway traffic, even in the so-called slow lane, but it is right at home in an urban setting, which is what it is intended for. It is lightweight and highly maneuverable, not to mention, FUN to ride. It is obviously not as well suited to riders who are much more than 6-feet tall and who tip the scales at 235 pounds.

When riding the SH150i, think Italian villages, olive groves and vineyards, and enjoy life at a more relaxed pace. It may well be the coolest way to get around on a warm summer’s day, and Honda’s transferable one-year, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage is available with a Honda Protection Plan for even greater peace of mind.

SPECIFICATIONS:
Honda SH 150i Scooter – 2010


Base Price: $4,499.
Price as Tested: $4,769. – estimated.
Engine Type and Size: 153cc SOHC, two-valve, liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke with automatic enrichment PGM-Fuel Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): Not rated.
Torque (ft./ lbs.): Not rated.
Transmission: Honda V-Matic belt-converter automatic (CVT).
Drive Train: Final drive – Shaft.


Suspension: Front – 33mm hydraulic forks with 3.5 inches of travel.
Rear – Swingarm with dual hydraulic shocks with spring preload adjustability and 3.3 inches of travel.
Brakes: Hydraulic front single 220mm disc with two-piston caliper and Drum with Combined Braking System in the rear.
Tires: Dunlop D451 – 100/80-16 M/C 60P – front / 120/80-16 M/C 60P – rear mounted on 5-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 53.4 inches  
Length Overall: 79.7 inches          
Curb Weight: 302  lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 1.8  gallons with 0.5 gallon reserve.
Seat height: 30.9 inches      
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.




 


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