Honda SH300i


The 2016 edition of the best selling over 125cc scooter in Europe, the Honda SH300i, proved a great daily commuter capable of smartly challenging the rigors of the traffic of any large Italian city, Napoli included. This 2016 edition is the latest evolution of the largest of the SH scooters family. The SH scooters are extremely user friendly thanks to their easy, step thru accessibility across a flat floorboard, to very good comfort and to a strong and well balanced chassis.

In addition, the 300i version offers one of the most brilliant engines in the 300cc class and a super CVT transmission complete with centrifugal clutch, in unit with the engine and its casting acts as the right arm of the rear suspension swingarm, as on the largest majority of scooters.

The engine features a moderately oversquare bore (72mm) to stroke (68.5) ratio, a forged crankshaft turning on plain bearings at all ends, and that smart SOHC distribution that Honda calls Uni-Cam and that actuates four valves set at a correctly narrow included angle via direct, inverted cup cam followers on inlet side and rocker arms on the exhaust one. The unit breathes thru a 34mm throttle body and features a 10.5:1 compression ratio to generates 25Hp at 7500 RPM with 18.8 ft.lbs. peak torque at 5000 RPM. The unit is largely revised to comply with Euro 4 regulations and this caused the loss of about 2 HP, but now the torque curve is flatter and more generous.

The Honda technicians have been able to achieve a rather consistent torsional and flexional rigidity despite of the very simple, “lower cradle only” frame design requested by the step-thru scooter layout. Suspensions units are rather conventional, with a 35mm telefork at the front and a pair of shock absorbers at the rear.

Compared to the previous edition of 2012, the new 2016 sports a 15 millimeter longer wheelbase, to 1,440 millimeters/56.7 inches, and a 20 millimeter taller seat height, to 805 millimeters/31.7 inches, and this contributed to produce a very substantial under-seat cargo compartment, adequate to store a full face helmet. In addition my test SH300i also had a nicely shaped and rather generous top case.

One of the reasons behind the European success of the Honda SH scooters family is in that they roll on 16 inch wheels, and that makes the ride on the streets downtown most European cities much safer and much more comfortable, given either the bad conditions of the macadam there or the ancient cobblestones pavements. Two 256 millimeter disc brakes, one at the front and one at the rear, grant consistent braking power and safety, in combination with the ABS system. Honda SH300i announces an average curb weight, at 169 kilograms/372.5 pounds. Weight distribution bias, empty, is 38.5/61.5 front to rear, but with the rider aboard things improve given the fairly advanced riding position.

In real life the chassis of the Honda SH 300i proved more neutral than that of most scooters, and definitely less understeering than most. The feeling is solid even at speed and even with that huge windshield that I expected to affect stability past 100 km/h. Not so. The engine was very willing to challenge the massive frontal area and related Cd and easily pushed the SH 300i all the way to the 130 km/h mark. In town SH 300i proved very capable, agile and blessed by strong off line acceleration that kept me ahead of the major traffic wave.

I used the Honda scooter to travel the 35+35 km that separate my home from the Milan fairground where EICMA is held. At the time, the early mornings were cold and foggy and sure I appreciated the very large windscreen and the clear plastic handguards, riding at a steady 115+ km/h down the freeway that goes around Milan and served me perfectly to get to EICMA quickly and safely.

The SH300i is also conceived in view of the most practical man-machine interface. Like many cars today, all it takes to step aboard, unlock it and take off is to have its electronic key in the pocket. That will be enough to make the ring around the main switch on the right hand side of the steering glow in bright indigo blue and set it ready for action.

Thanks to this, one can unlock the anti-theft steering lock, the under seat cargo compartment, the fuel tank and, of course, switch the ignition on. There is only one “mechanical” key in the fob and it is the one that unlocks the top case. Price in Italy is 5,190 €-bucks and that includes both windscreen and top case.

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