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

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - ali­son.sil­cox@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

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

Honda have cer­tainly cre­ated one of 2017’s strangest crea­tures

It’s tempt­ing to see if the X-ADV can tackle rocky as­cents as well as the tar­mac

SCREEN IT Manual screen has five po­si­tions DASH IT Date, air tem­per­a­ture, mode and much more

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