A big adventure:
‘Try getting on the Honda X-ADV like a step-thru and you’ll fall flat on your face’ REPORT 1 1606 MILES Is it a bike? Is it a scooter? Alison starts her quest to better understand Honda’s crazy new X-ADV
Life with the X-ADV
It’s been a hectic first month with my new wheels. In that time I’ve covered more than 1500 miles, commuted to work, visited relatives and friends, plus fitted in a trip to Bikefest Ireland. Everywhere I go I’m asked the same question: what is it? So, it only feels right that I give you a formal introduction: ladies and gentlemen, meet the Honda X-ADV.
I can safely say it has the most unusual and quirky look of any bike I’ve ridden. I call it a bike, but I’m not really sure how to accurately describe it; Honda have definitely invented a whole new genre with this bike-cum-scooter.
But where a scooter is easy to get on and off – you literally just step-thru – if you try the same on the X-ADV you’ll find yourself falling flat on your face. Unlike a normal scoot the engine isn’t mounted at the back, so there is a fair bit of bulk to hop over.
The combination of wide running boards and scooter-like seat means I’ve found myself on tip-toe when stationary, which is novel for me as at 5ft 10in I can usually get both feet flat on the floor on any bike I ride.
What no key?
The keyless ignition, a combination of key fob and buttons on the dash, not only starts the bike but it also gives access to the under-seat storage and fuel cap. I’m meticulous about where I stash the key fob, being clumsy I worry I’ll leave my pocket unzipped and lose it. Fuel stops are easy, just a click of button on the dash opens the fuel cap with no need to fumble with keys.
On the move the tall riding position and wide bars – 33 inches wide from tip to tip – make you feel like you have a real presence on the road. The manually adjustable screen has five positions and I’ve taken a few attempts to find the one that suits me best.
The X-ADV comes with Honda’s DCT gearbox, which is something I’m familiar with as I previously ran an NC700X, but I’d forgotten how simple and easy the semi-auto gearbox is to operate. Click on Drive or Sport mode, twist the throttle and the Honda pulls away. There’s also an option to use the box in manual mode, with paddles to change up and down.
Read the manual…
The bike has some great touches. I love the clear, informative digital dash while the under-seat storage includes a charging socket. But it’s not a machine where you can just get on and go without reading the manual – for example there’s a mysterious lever by your right knee. A quick check in the bumf reveals it is a handbrake for when you park on a slope.
My only criticism so far is how tall and lumpy it feels at low speed. Without a clutch it’s easy to feel that you’re in the wrong gear when manoeuvring but I’ve found if I trail the back brake it helps keep things stable.
First big adventure
A 1000-mile round-trip to Bikefest Ireland, which included every kind of road imaginable, was a great introduction. With a range of around 200 miles, fuel stops were infrequent and with the comfortable riding position I never felt achy. I must say, even though I’m still not sure what the bike is I’m having a great time finding out. So far, the X-ADV has proved to be an adventure, one that I sure hope continues for the next few months. ■ Maxi scoots hit France, p36