Scooters are for getting milk on and… going off-road? Really?
Photography by Joseph McKimmy
As a Cycle News reader, you probably already know that we’re pretty much in love with adventure riding and the bikes that allow us to fulfill that love. Evidently, many of you are as well.
Adventure bikes account for the single largest growing sector in the motorcycle industry right now. There’s an ADV bike to suit pretty much everybody, whether you’re just starting out or a complete bad ass like Quinn Cody.
Honda’s been at the forefront of the ADV movement in recent years with the wildly successful Africa Twin, and for a couple of years you’ve been able to buy the 750cc X-ADV scooter (which sadly isn’t imported into the U.S.). However, Honda chose to grace us with an ADV (ish) bike no one saw coming in the ADV150.
It’s a semi off-road scooter that uses a liquid-cooled 149cc four-stroke single, wedged into a rugged looking chassis and body and laced with blocky 50/50 road/dirt tires. Confused? Yeah, I was too.
Try as I might, I simply couldn’t come up for a good reason why the ADV150 should exist, that was until I rode it. It’s a heavy-duty take on the humble Honda scooter, a machine that’s powered people around the world for generations and seemingly never undergone big changes. Honda scooters are about as damn near indestructible as a little bike can be. My best mate back in Australia had a little 100cc Honda Lead scooter, and he ripped the absolute nuts off the thing from the second it fired up in the morning until he shut it off at night. One oil change per year, about 6000 miles, and full gas the whole way. That little Honda never gave him any grief and reinforced the feeling that Honda motors were safe as houses.
The ADV150 gets a 149cc liquid-cooled, 80° single-cylinder four-stroke motor matched to a single-speed gearbox, you know, the usual scooter hardware. Fuel injection, ABS, Showa suspension up front, which gives out 5.1 inches of ground clearance, and a twin-shocker back-end that has 4.7 inches, the ADV150 rolls on Taiwanese (but made in Indonesia) Federal semi-off-road tires, giving that boxy, muscly look that’s so different from most other scoots on the market.
The bodywork is like the Honda PCX150 (which the ADV150 is largely based off) that went to the gym with a picture of the Africa Twin on the wall. Tough and rugged looking, the ADV150 should be comfortable enough for just about anyone of any height to be able to get on and ride. The screen is adjustable by two positions and 71mm, and there’s ample storage space under the seat of 27 liters, enough for a full-face helmet, plus a handy little two-liter compartment that houses a 12-volt charging port for your various devices.
To get fired up, just keep the perimeter key in your pocket as there’s no old-school ignition. Once underway, you get a sense that the ADV150 is a little more than the sum of its parts.
You’ll cruise along happily at 60 mph, and it’ll get there fast enough that you won’t piss off the cars behind. The throttle response is nice and smooth, and brake performance won’t have you out-braking your sportbike buddies but is more than adequate to the task.
We didn’t get the chance to do a fuel consumption test on this one, but you can rest assured, you’ll probably get some ridiculous 100+mpg range, just like the PCX’s claimed 122 mpg.
It’s a fun little ride, which gets even better when you take it off-road. It’s surprisingly good when the pavement disappears, mainly thanks the Taiwanese tires underneath you, and you can easily navigate through a few backroad shortcuts to save you some time. Just don’t go lobbing it off any jumps.
Scooters, in my book, are the answer to many of our inner-city congestion problems. Europe has been on this train for years, with hordes of scooters taking over the city streets of Paris, Barcelona and Rome. I’m not sure scooter fever will ever catch on here, but the ADV150 would be a good place to start.
The ADV150 is now the most expensive scooter in Honda’s American lineup at $4299, but that cash will buy you a ride that, if it’s half as tough as Simon’s Honda Lead, will last you a very long time. CN
2021 Honda ADV150 Specifications
||Liquid-cooled 80° 4-stroke single
|Bore x stroke:
||57.3 x 57.9mm
||1-speed, automatic centrifugal dry-type clutch
||31mm Showa fork, non-adjustable
||Twin shock, non-adjustable
||Single 240mm disc, 1-piston caliper, ABS
||Single 130mm disc, drum, ABS
|Weight (curb, claimed):