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2012 Honda Silver Wing: The Scooter equivalent of the Gold Wing

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Honda’s Gold Wing cruising motorcycle is upheld by many to be the epitome of touring bikes -- the RV of motorcycles if you will.

Honda’s Gold Wing cruising motorcycle is upheld by many to be the epitome of touring bikes — the RV of motorcycles if you will. Their Silver Wing scooter matches that status in the scooter category.

Honda’s Gold Wing cruising motorcycle is upheld by many to be the epitome of touring bikes -- the RV of motorcycles if you will.

The Honda Silver Wing has been around for a couple of years, since 2001 in fact, and it is essentially what is now commonly referred to as a Maxi or Super scooter. At 551 pounds, ready to ride (wet), it weighs more than many motorcycles and also “scoots” down the road with more oomph than bikes as well.

It’s not surprising that in today’s society, that there are lots of testosterone-loaded male riders who shudder at the prospect of even being seen aboard a scooter of any size, shape or form, but trust me, there’s nothing wimpy, or to be ashamed of, about riding a scooter of this magnitude. Okay, so there’s no big V-twin “potato, potato, potato exhaust note, but the fuel economy delivered by the Honda Silver Wing is a heck of a lot better, averaging 46 mpg combined, and your neighbors won’t be annoyed when you fire it up to take off on an early Sunday morning ride. There’s also no clutch or foot brake to concern yourself with either. Both front and rear brakes are linked with ABS, and operated by handlebar-mounted hand levers.

Power for the Honda Silver Wing comes from a 582cc DOHC, 8-valve, liquid-cooled four-stroke parallel-twin engine with PGM-FI with an automatic enricher circuit, four-hole injectors and a computer-controlled, fully transistorized ignition with electronic advance. The motor’s power is transferred to the rear wheel through Honda’s automatic V-Matic transmission, via a final belt drive. Honda traditionally des not publish or release horsepower or torque figures.

Honda’s Gold Wing cruising motorcycle is upheld by many to be the epitome of touring bikes -- the RV of motorcycles if you will.

Suspension componentry consists of 41mm hydraulic forks with 4.2 inches of travel up front and a swingarm setup with dual hydraulic shocks featuring five-position spring preload adjustability and 4.5 inches of travel in the rear. The Silver Wing rolls on IRC SS530 -120/80-14 rubber in front and IRC SS530 -150/70-13 tire aft, each mounted on 3-swirl-spoke silver painted alloy wheels.

The standard Anti Lock Braking System is linked, featuring a single 276mm disc with CBS three-piston caliper. Forward and a single 240mm disc with CBS twin-piston caliper out back.

Coming at one from the front, the Silver Wing looks more like a sport bike, while form the rear, its appearance is more akin to a cruiser. In profile, there’s no question that it’s a scooter albeit a very large scooter. The wheelbase is 63-inches and the overall length measures 91.5-inches. It’s also fairly wide (the width measurement was not listed) making legal lane splitting somewhat ”iffy”. The forward mounted tank holds 4.3 gallons, which includes a 0.9-gallon reserve – enough for roughly a 200-mile range per tanks under normal riding scenarios. The overall look is sleek and streamlined, with a faired front and finished rear.

Honda’s Gold Wing cruising motorcycle is upheld by many to be the epitome of touring bikes -- the RV of motorcycles if you will.

The seat height is a comfortable 29.7-inches and the scooter’s low center of gravity along with the large step-through makes balancing it at a stop easy and comfortable, even for those with shorter inseams. The Silver Wing provides both a side and center stand.

My test 2012 Honda Silver Wing sported a basic Black finish with chrome and satin Silver accents (including the wheels). The base price was set at $9,270 with the final total estimated at $9,520 figuring an average $250 Dealer prep and handling fee, which can vary from dealer to dealer.

The Honda Silver Wing’s riding position is upright with a large step through and large flat floorboard surface that features forward kicked up areas allowing placing one’s feet further forward. The handlebars are ideally placed for an optimum, comfortable reach, and the rider’s seat is a long and well-padded with a raised low back rest for lumbar support, followed by an accommodating passenger seat area with a short seat back and fold-out foot pegs. The entire lockable seat assembly pivots forward to reveal a storage area large enough for two helmets or other gear. There’s also a small locking compartment on the left side of the fairing, matched by a similar, but non-locking compartment on the right. The locking fuel filler is forward in the lower center beneath a small door.

Instrumentation includes an odometer, a bar-graph fuel gauge, a digital clock, directional signal indicators (signals are non-self canceling) and a series of indicator alert lights for, oil temp, low fuel, etc.

Honda’s Gold Wing cruising motorcycle is upheld by many to be the epitome of touring bikes -- the RV of motorcycles if you will.

The Silver Wing, as already stated, is heavy, but well balanced. The windscreen is stable enough at lower speeds, but is not adjustable, and though ideal for 6-footers or under, it is a tad short for someone 6’4” like myself. The angle and height of the screen was at a level to send the air directly into my helmet. Ducking down 3 or 4-inches eliminated the buffeting issue, but eliminated the comfortable riding position. At higher speeds, the windscreen tends flap excessively. The floor surface was also a little short for me on longer distance rides, with no place to stretch out my legs. The Silver Wing accelerates quickly and smoothly. It’s fast – capable of doing roughly 100 mph with stability, but it seems much happier in the 65-70 mph range. It’s ideal for commuting, zipping around town or even for extended touring – in fact, if you happen to reside in a geographic area where it’s warm and dry most of the time, the Honda Silver Wing could well serve satisfactorily as one’s only form of transportation.

As the Gold Wing of scooters, it’s lacking a sound system, reverse, GPS and other amenities. There are ways to overcome all of these issues (except perhaps reverse) through aftermarket sources. It’s not really inexpensive either unless you consider the competitive set, then it seems right in line. Is the Maxi scooter here to stay? Probably, at least for the time being, but there are other alternatives on the way that may well prove to be more popular.

All in all, the Honda Silver Wing is a practical and attractive concept for modern alternative transportation. A future update may be forthcoming, but for now, and for a person of the right stature, it’s a fun and viable solution to high-priced fuel. It also expands the notion of what a scooter can be.


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