Review – Honda Scoopy SH300

I got a Honda Plus Card when I bought the AT, meaning that on top of an extended warranty and a 20% discount on accessories, I also have free use of a replacement motorbike each time I took mine to the garage.

When I took the AT for her first service, predictably, the replacement “motorbike” was a scooter. At least it was a 300cc one, so I could still ride to work without much trouble.

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Even though I have no love for such contraptions, the scooter in question was not one to snigger at. The Honda Scoopy SH, both the 125 and the 300cc version, is one of the all-time best sellers in Barcelona, ranking high in the sales lists year after year and swarming the streets of the city in the thousands. As a consequence, it also holds the more dubious honour of being the most stolen vehicle, but that is a different story. With such credentials, I must admit that I was curious to see what was all about.

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Finished in matte dark grey, the SH300 looks understated but undeniably classy, and sports a gadget that I found very practical: keyless start. As long as you have the keys on you, you simple walk to the scooter, press a knob located where the key hole normally is and when it lights up in blue, turn it to unlock and then start the bike. There is a position before that to unlock the button next to it to lift the seat.

Fit and finish is up to the standards one would expect from a brand like Honda, and other nice touches include a full LED headlight that proved to be surprisingly effective at night.

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The only let downs were the lack of illumination under the seat, the absence of a 12V or USB socket and the usual gripe with lack of space for my helmet.

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The engine is very smooth and there is no lack of acceleration to get away from the rest of traffic at the lights, it feels more nimble and eager to gain speed in the city than the other 300cc scooter I have tried, the Kawasaki J300. On the motorway, however, the Kawa maintained speed with more ease. The suspension is rather comfortable, but short travel means it still crashes over the bigger potholes and irregularities and a good turning radius and very low centre of gravity make it a doodle to move both in traffic and when stopped.

On the whole, I was surprised at how competent this scooter is. It is does what it says on the tin effectively, with absolutely no fuss and using very little fuel in the process (I averaged 78mpg on my usual commute). Being a Honda, I can assume that maintenance is low and reliability excellent, so I can hardly think of a better tool for getting round in the city.

I would not use a scooter to get anywhere that required riding at more than 80 km/h. Wind protection is poor and the sitting-on-the-toilet riding position gets very tiring fast with wind hitting the chest hard. The handlebars are too close to the body for my liking and the general position feels too cramped after 20 minutes on it. That said, if I had the money and I did not have to ride outside Barcelona I might consider one. The problem is that they are expensive to replace each time they get stolen…

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1,000-kilometre service in Nova Honda

Well, not exactly… after a weekend away running the bike in, it was more like 1,245km.

When I bought the bike I also got the Honda Plus card, which extends the warranty to four years and gives you the right to the use of a replacement bike while yours is being serviced, which is great for me as I need the bike daily to go to work. I booked the 1,000km service the same day I picked up the AT to make sure that the replacement bike would be available, and on Wednesday she went in for her first visit to the dealer’s workshop.

They took the AT in the moment I arrived and asked how everything was going. I told them about the problem with the 6th gear – occasionally it was difficult to change up into it and then it would jump into neutral – and they assured me they would look into it.

I filled in some paperwork and was given, as I feared, a replacement scooter… Well, at least it was not that bad, it was a brand new SH300 and even though I do not like scooters I have to admit that this one made a pretty convincing city runabout. I will go into my riding impressions more into detail in an upcoming post, for the moment suffice to say that it was more than adequate to take to work outside the city until I could pick up the AT the following day.

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In fact, the bike was ready on the same day, but since I did not finish work until 22:00 I could not pick it up until Thursday. The first service came at 143.64€ and included an oil and filter change and greasing and checking the chain. I had been hoping they would also clean the bike, but they did not… I am going to have to remove the mosquitoes from the weekend myself.

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The head mechanic told me that he tested the bike himself but having changed the oil he found nothing wrong with the 6th gear. He said that these issues tend to disappear with fresh oil and a bit on running in, and another owner on the local AT forum told me that that after 2,000km the gearbox on his bike had become noticeably smoother. I must say that the problem has not happened a single time since then.

All in all, I was quite satisfied with the quality of the service and the price, which was within the average of what I have read about in the forum. Since I was there, took the opportunity to order the tall screen as well. We will see how wind protection improves with it, and if it is not enough, I will fit a deflector on top of it, which was the definitive solution on the Super Ténéré.