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2010 Honda SH150i Scooter Review

Thursday, July 2, 2009
Who said economical transportation cant be fun  It is when youre at the controls of the  4499 2010 Honda SH150i scooter.
Who said economical transportation can’t be fun? It is when you’re at the controls of the $4499 2010 Honda SH150i scooter.
With the cost of owning a car or motorcycle creeping upwards every year, affordable, reliable and economical transportation is becoming increasingly necessary. And for those looking for a machine to meet these prerequisites, one only needs to look at the 2010 Honda SH150i scooter.

Although the SH150i is new here in the States, folks over in Europe have been riding it for the last few years. In fact, in Italy, it’s currently the best-selling scooter not just in Honda’s line-up but in the country’s entire scooter segment.
Within the Honda scooter line, the SH150i is slotted in between the interstate cruising capabilities of the Honda Silver Wing and the inner city aptitude of the soon-to-be-released Honda Elite. It’s built for a person looking for a transportation option that can keep pace with other motorized traffic, whether in the sprawled expanse of the suburbs or the concrete jungle of the city.

Powering this mid-sized scoot is a fuel sipping 153cc single-cylinder 4-stroke engine. It benefits from many of Honda’s modern engine tuning techniques including an overhead camshaft, liquid-cooling and fuel-injection. It’s mated to an automatic transmission, which makes traveling to your destination literally as easy as twisting your wrist. Turn the key, grab either brake lever, prod the starter button and the engine zips right up with about as much noise as grandma’s sewing machine. No doubt about it, this Honda scoot is one quiet machine and it stays that way regardless – be it idling at a stop light or zipping around at full speed.

In terms of acceleration, whether you feed in the throttle gently or slam it open the SH150i accelerates the same. Initially power comes on softly, then right around 10 mph, you can feel it advance with a tad more authority, yet it always smooth and never feels intimidating.
A 153cc 4-Stroke single-cylinder engine propels the SH150i to right around 65 mph on flat ground.
A 153cc 4-Stroke single-cylinder engine propels the SH150i to right around 65 mph on flat ground.

While it won’t win any drag races against a driver with a lead foot, you might surprise the SUV commander next to you. In fact, unless they’re on their game, the little SH will usually getaway first. It isn’t until around 40 mph that your neighbor in the 4000 pound tank has gathered enough steam to pass.

On level road with this 180-pound pilot, the SH will accelerate to right around 65 mph in roughly 15 seconds without a hint of vibration. Add a steep downgrade and speed increases another 10 mph. This makes it versatile enough for use on the freeway. Even at maximum speed the rear view mirrors deliver a decent buzz-free picture of what’s happening behind you, plus the scooter tracks straight without a hint of instability. Uphill the SH manages to muster a minimum of 60 mph. And unlike other mid-sized scooters we’ve tested, it actually accelerates as you climb up. At speed wind buffeting effects are minimal, however, a $299.95 accessory windscreen is still available for purchase.

Since scooters fitted with an automatic transmission have negligible engine braking, it’s important to have effective brakes and we’re pleased to report that this is just another attribute of the SH. Up front it uses a single 220mm disc which gets clamped by a twin-piston caliper hydraulically actuated with the right hand lever. The rear wheel is controlled via a less reactive drum-style brake featuring Honda’s Combined Braking System (CBS) in which the rear brake is linked to the front.

What this means is that whenever the left-hand side brake lever is pressed the scooter automatically applies the front brake. Conversely, when the rider squeezes the right-hand brake lever it only initiates the front brake without any linking effect.

Grab the left brake lever (combined rear/front brake effect) by itself and stopping distance isn’t that impressive, but is superior to just using the rear brake on a typical motorcycle. One plus of the system is that even if you panic and tug the lever all the way to the bar (as long as the road is dry) you have almost no chance of locking up either wheel thereby allowing you to maintain forward control.

A 220mm disc is pinched by a twin-piston caliper which is hydraulically operated via a right-hand lever.
A 220mm disc is pinched by a twin-piston caliper which is hydraulically operated via a right-hand lever.
Squeeze the front brake lever however, and you’ll observe just how effective it is at slowing you even from top speed. Squeeze both levers together and stopping distances is reduced further thus becoming the preferred method for ensuring quick, safe stops.

Average sized riders will appreciate how much room there is while seated and even my 6-foot tall frame wasn’t cramped at the controls of the SH. Also the distance between the rider and the handlebars is short, which translates into a very relaxed riding position with your elbows resting to the side naturally.

There is also a sensible amount of leg room and some cleverly placed cargo hooks built into the firewall to allow storage of say a grocery bag, or whatever else you might be lugging around. Additional storage for a half-helmet is available underneath the seat accessed by turning the ignition key counter-clockwise. A $268.95 rear trunk Honda accessory adds even more storage capacity.

In spite of weighing over 300 lbs, this scooter it is very easy to lift up and down off its center stand. Due to the way in which a scooter’s powertrain is mounted in the chassis its weight is carried low, which helps make it feel balanced. The SH150i also changes direction predictably with very little rider effort. It also feels narrow allowing you to slice right through city traffic. In fact, through a crowded city street, you’d be hard pressed to find a vehicle that can get through traffic faster than this Honda scoot.

Typically scooter suspension errs on the soft side and the SH150i continues the trend. Both ends of the machine offer over 3-inches of travel and do an admirable job of reducing the effects of rolling over broken pavement or a series of raised pavement markers. Its soft wide seat also helps mitigate effects of a rough road.

Hondas V-Matic automatic transmission  makes traveling to your destination literally as easy as twisting your wrist.
One of the best features of the SH150i is the ability to comfortably ride two-up.
Overall fit and finish is on par with its $4499 price tag. All of its switches are placed logically and are simple to manipulate without taking your eyes off the road. We also appreciated its easy-to-read dash display which contains a swept analog-style speedometer (that optimistically reads up to 100 mph), a fuel and engine coolant temperature gauge, odometer, trip meter and digital clock. General warning lights for the turn signals and headlight high beam are laid above and it also features a nifty oil-change required light, so you’ll know when it’s time for service.

We’re really impressed with Honda’s new scooter and after spending some time at its controls our biggest question is why it took Honda so long to bring it here to the States. If you’re looking for an easy, affordable scooter that can truly keep up with the Jones, the SH150i is it.

Watch the Motorcycle USA take on the new Honda scooter in the Honda SH150i Review Video.
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2010 Honda SH150i Technical Specs
Engine: liquid-cooled 153cc 4-Stroke Single; 2-valve
Bore and Stroke: 58 x 57.8mm
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel-injection
Transmission: V-Matic automatic transmission
Frame: Steel
Front Suspension: 33mm hydraulic fork; 3.5 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Dual hydraulic shock absorbers with adjustable spring preload; 3.3 in. travel
Front Brakes: 276mm disc with CBS twin-piston caliper
Rear Brake: 130mm drum with CBS
Tires: 100/80-16 front, 120/80-16 rear
Curb Weight: 302 lbs.
Wheelbase: 53.4 in.
Seat Height: 30.9 in.
Fuel Capacity: 1.8 gal.
MSRP: $4499
Colors: Metallic Red; Metallic Black
Warranty: One-year, unlimited mileage

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Lucus -Rock Solid  January 31, 2011 10:10 PM
Was almost ready to import an SH300i to the USA from Lings in the UK but decided to buy an SH150i and save the import fees. The SH150i performs exceptionally well and I no longer yearn for the 300. I have about 5,000 miles on it now and it runs better than new. When ridden conservatively (50mph) I average 94mpg or about 170 miles per tank. When blasting WOT down the highway at nearly 70mph, I average about 75mpg.

There's a reason the SH150i is the #1 selling scooter in Italy: simply outstanding performance and reliability.
ROBEE -WHERE I CAN GOING TO BUY HONDA SH 3000  January 12, 2011 04:27 PM
please let me kknow where can I going to buy HONDA SH 150 or 300cc
Dan -Enough with the price complaints?  October 30, 2010 08:08 AM
For the SYM HD200 fans, and I like that bike as well but nobody complains about its price? The 500.00 more(if you pay MSRP)gets you fuel injection, comparable speeds and dealer support everywhere. I know owners in Ohio that have had to wait weeks on parts while I'm riding my SH150i. Its only 18cc more than the Honda, don't let the "200" fool you.
Sure you can get SYM's, KYMCOs etc a little cheaper but good luck when it breaks down.
Choosing between a scooter & a sport bike is like choosing between a Honda Civic & a Dodge Viper. Do you want ego & zero practicality outside of a race track or a dependable, practical commuter. Everyones wants are different.

Mario -where SH 150j in Florida?  October 12, 2010 02:29 PM
Little expensive but the best scooter I ever had. This is the fifth piece in the family, steel running with 25 .000 mile(40.000 kmt.)Looked till June near Miami I couldn't find. Dealers in Florida do not have it !!!! Why???
robert -zuma  September 9, 2010 06:23 PM
better go with the zuma 125cc,you can even go offroad and handles great,I would recommend the zuma of all the scooters out there.
Robert -Price High But Great Quailty  August 31, 2010 06:39 PM
I owned a Znen 150 chinese scooter that I paid around $1700 for new, it looks like the Sh150I scooter but please don't even compare the 2. The chinese scooter was the biggest waste of money, had it for about 3 months and sold it for $600, the front brakes got out of round fast and had that throbbing effect, stalled while riding (enging computer died). Choke went bad and had to warm up for 3 min's before ready to ride, dealer had to steal parts off new scooters to fix because it was hard for them to get parts. All the plastic and paint was terribe quality and fit.

Then I paid the high price for the SH150I and what a difference, I have had the Honda for 10 months so far and only changed the oil 1 time. If you bargain with the dealer you can get the Honda for around $3700.
Jack -Asking price too high!  June 3, 2010 05:18 AM
It just isn't worth the money, sure many will say its better value than the Vespa LX 150 but lets be honest, the Vespa has an all metal monocoque chasis which makes the Vespa as strong as a little TANK! This process costs money and thats why your Vespa LX will be ridden by your grandchildren 50 years from now and by then the SH will be in the recycling bin hopefully made back into sheet metal that will go into the Piaggio production line ready to produce yet another VESPAPAPAPAPAPAPAPA........ Want more power out of a Vespa LX 150?????? just get yourself a Malossi 180cc cylinder kit for $400 and watch that SH fade away behind you... "Arivedechi Mr Honda"
Jim K -Honda SH150i Scooter  April 24, 2010 12:43 PM
I bought my Sh150i last fall and took it too Florida over the Winter where I had a load of fun with it. If you want quality, dependability and a well-structured service network, breakout the greenbacks guys and treat yourself to a quality piece of equipment that will last you for years with the proper care.
Donny -so which one?  March 31, 2010 07:04 PM
I'm either going to buy the Aprillia Sport City 250 or the Honda sh150i this week. Which one is more reliable? For me that is the biggest decision maker. Thanks in advance to you all.
Brandon -200% Markup to Comparable Hondas in Asia  March 24, 2010 08:12 AM
I just moved back to the US from Indonesia, where they sell the Honda Supra (125cc), the Honda Vario (125cc) and the Honda Beat (110cc). Hondas are regarded as high quality bikes in Indonesia (Yahama is good, Suzuki is ok, and Kymcos have a terrible track record by the way! - they've stopped selling and new models are being liquidated at deep discounts). All three Hondas are excellent scooters with 15" or 16" wheels (and the Vario and Beat are automatic) and all sell for less than $1,600! I owned a Beat and used a Vario regularly. I'm looking for a good quality scooter in the US, but can't stomach paying almost $5k for a similar bike...this sucks.
Larry C. -Honda SH-150  January 1, 2010 11:05 PM
Of course KYMCO and SYM offer equal 150cc scoots for less money. But Honda has many of us over the proverbial barrell with respect to dealers! Do you have a KYMCO or SYM dealer handy?
Boxerr80 -Honda SH150i  October 18, 2009 04:37 PM
Quality was never cheap. I paid A$6,800 for mine. I have owned 4 scooters and this is by far the best (including a 125 Vespa)I have owned. Sure they could have built a Air cooled carbrated cheapie but they have water cooled fuel injected with beautiful detail.
The vespa would cruse do 90 Kph in perfect condutions the Honda will do 120 Kmp and easily cruse at 110 Kph it can by taken on the freeway and enjoy the trip.I think the 150 Honda has to be compared to a good 200 cc scooters to get the same performance.
The Vespa retirned 27 Kilometres per Litre the Honda 33 KML
But after 12 months every day when I ride I Honda it makes me feel great.
If you can justify the money you will not regret the purchase of the Honda. Iy want basic transport buy a cheapie.

lou -Great bike  September 27, 2009 06:44 PM
I have 700 miles on mine and I love it. Great ride, 95 mpg, incredible construction, good power. The price? I can afford it!
Km272 -overpriced  September 24, 2009 05:23 AM
I purchased one and it is a great scoot! Very satisfied! Yes , price is higher than the Vespa but with some negotiation I got mine for about the same price. I had to walk out of two dealers show rooms. I was not going to pay MSRP. I have a honda dealership just 3 miles down the road so I was willing to pay more for something branded Honda ,reliable and with convient service . I ened up with the best price from my local dealer. If I had a Vespa place close by I would have considered that .
Chuck -Cost what?  September 10, 2009 10:51 AM
Why do you want something so small and so expensive? Shop around!!!!
Scott -Go Chinese  August 25, 2009 09:56 PM
I got a FlyScooters "Cadenza", basically a Znen 150 - same specs, looks almost identical, and came with a windshield and trunk ($299.95 and $268.95 from Honda).

The design is a great one, with the 16" tires making for a very smooth ride. We just don't have to pay 5 grand for it.
ACWang -overpriced scooter  August 21, 2009 12:34 PM
$4500 for a 150 CC??? For $4000, you can buy a kawasaki ninja250 -> more power, looks cooler, and cheaper.
Roger -SH300i is a better fit for the US market  August 5, 2009 03:50 PM
Honda would be wise to bring the SH300i to the US market. The SH300i is more suited to our wide open spaces and thirst for horsepower. The SH300i would sell very well at around a $6.5k price point.
balduke -honda sh300  July 25, 2009 12:28 AM
Anyone kknow if and when the SH 300 will be in the states?
Ken -3 for the price of 1  July 21, 2009 06:58 AM
Znen 150 Cruiser, air-cooled, 16" Wheels, acceptable Chinese quality (unlike most junk out of Shanghai), GY6
Approx. $1500 will get you one.

Buy 3 for the same price as the Honda and have major parts dept.

BillyB -Honda Sh150I  July 20, 2009 05:41 PM
Great comments above. Yes, 4500 USD seems steep, but the USD ain't worth what it once was. Given the quality, reliability, durability and longevity of Hondas and the great dealership network, 4500 is probably money well spent if one actually rides frequently and has to park in congested cities. If the price is intolerable, consider a SYM HD200; but then, you don't get the dealership network of Honda.
Italianoman -Silly Americans!  July 13, 2009 09:54 PM
You Americans are so silly and naive! Don't you see Honda is playing a trick on you? This is not the same scooter sold in Europe, it is a cost reduced version targeted soley for ignorant Americans. Save your greenback and wait for Honda to sell the Euro version to the USA next year.
Jack -Honda  July 13, 2009 02:06 PM
Come on guys!! When are you guys going to realize that you have to extra for Honda engineering and performance. Stop being such tightwads, break out the plastic, and buy the darn thing.
Steve -Fun Fun Fun  July 12, 2009 09:12 AM
I hope this gets things going for motorcycling like Honda did in the 60's with the Honda 50!
Allworld -Too much, not enough  July 8, 2009 06:09 PM
The price is way to much for not enough scooter. I would look at the SYM, Kymco, Hyosung, Linhai or CFMoto and get way more scooter for much less cash. Honda is letting thier competitors fill the void they created for themselves, and have fallen behind.
Westminister -Pricing and Value, not Price vs. Value  July 8, 2009 08:08 AM
Great little scooter, maybe, didn't hear a mention to MPG, or top speed. But for $4500 that is ridiculous. For up to $1000 less one could purchase a Kawasaki Z250, and thats a motorcycle capable of FWY speeds and close to 70 MPG not to mention twice the fuel capacity.
TXscoot -Honda SH150i  July 7, 2009 11:12 PM
Got a look at one the other day and was shocked to see such a nice (pricey) scooter without a side stand. Also didn't like the under seat gas cap. The rest of the bike was very nicely done. I just bought a new '09 SYM HD 125 for $2300 less and feel better about it since my visit to the Honda Dealer.
Dhahran -Dim-witted writers?  July 7, 2009 10:06 PM
Did you just preface this article with comments regarding the cost of operating 2 and 4 wheeled transportation and then write the whole fricken thing and NOT ONCE reference MPG? Where's your head, dude?
Tobias -Honda missed the market.  July 7, 2009 07:43 PM
People would have paid this when the gas prices where high. The local Honda dealer has not adopted any out yet they sit there month after month collecting dust,
Dilligaf -World-wide pricing  July 7, 2009 05:33 PM
Honda is pricing this scooter to the US market - not to it's production costs. Many manufacturers (including Honda) offer similar bikes in Asia for about $1500 USD. One example is the Yamaha Nouvo Elegance - 135cc and very similar specs. The same markup is on the accessories. The windshild and trunk options listed for $300 go for $50 in the rest of the world.
Nathaniel Dahl -Honda is no longer a market trend-setter in the USA...  July 7, 2009 08:27 AM
The reason why it took Honda this long to add the SH150i to their USA lineup is because they had to be shown the size of the market for this class of vehicle. The success of SYM, Genuine, and Kymco scooters in the USA over the past few years has done Honda's market research for them. This is sad, because they used to be a pioneer in both vehicle innovation and market development. That spirit seems to be on the wane at Honda. Of course, they still make excellent bikes, but they're not leading the way like they used to 30 years ago. That mantle has passed to the Taiwanese and Korean brands, at least when it comes to scooters. Wish you could buy a Honda Super Cub? Sorry, availble in Japan but not offered here in the USA, supposedly because Honda doesn't think there's a big enough market - but you can get a SYM Symba, and they're selling like hotcakes. Poor Mr. Soichiro Honda must be turning over in his grave.
Dave -Get real Honda  July 6, 2009 05:21 PM
For $500 more I bought a Suzuki Bergman 400 which is a Caddy compared to the Honda. Main reason they took the Reflex and Helix off market. Could not compete against Suzuki.
Malvolio -honda vs vespa  July 6, 2009 01:41 PM
I got a 2008 vespa s 150 at the end of last winter (3 grand after haunting craigslist for eight months), and I gotta say I'd love that extra push to sixty-five, seventy. But not for that price tag. Honda's breaking system sounds much better, too. And service would be easier. Big wheels got their advantages, too, but maybe not as fun to drive.
tjm73 -Two words....  July 6, 2009 11:03 AM
.....over priced. Three more words to ponder...not a motorcycle.
Samxrl -Your kiddin me right?  July 4, 2009 10:31 AM
Markus and Desmolicious hit the nail on the head with their statements! All the Japanese manufacturers raised their prices ridiculously!! Can you say Craigslist? As for this scooter, Kymco's Super 8 is way cooler than this overpriced Honda and priced close enough that the buyer could actually come close to offsetting the purchase price with the money they save in fuel costs. IMOP paying more than $3000.00 for a small scooter is silly since you can get a great motorcycle off the used market for that price! If you just have to have a new scoot then go for the Yamaha Zuma125. (way more style and attitude without the pitfalls of the Chinese scooters)
Markus -Get ready  July 2, 2009 06:26 PM
What you're seeing is just one more wave of the coming inflation. Suzuki started it with steep price increases this year, over 10% across the line. Honda's first 2010 entry was the DN-01, a 700cc for $15,500. And now this 150 for $4500. If you are planning on buying a new bike, you better do it now while there are still 2009 models available.
JTinTX -Not really that expensive!!  July 2, 2009 05:51 PM
My store has already sold 3 and we've only had them a month!! And I at least get 2 calls a week on weather or not we still have them in stock!!
crasher -re: redrider  July 2, 2009 04:22 PM
they should have 12" wheels. they're frickin scooters.
Steven -SH150i  July 2, 2009 03:20 PM
As a avid step through rider, I must say the prices seems high. But when I saw one in person I was very impressed with the quality. This is a beautiful bike without a doubt and look foward to buying one second hand so I can save a bunch of money.
Scootin007 -Reply to Josu68  July 2, 2009 02:48 PM
I think your confused about which scooter this is. 1.5k USD?!? There is no way this scooter sells for that cheap. Vacation in Thailand? all I gotta say is look out for Chris Hansen man....
MEL -NO WAY  July 2, 2009 12:29 PM
UH? $4,499??? For a 150 cc scooter?? Got to be a joke. Another 200 and you get the Aprilia Sportcity 250 with rear disc brake and a 250 cc fuel injected as well. http://www.apriliausa.com/en-US/Model/21124/SPORTCITY+250/Overview.aspx
RedRider -Crasher - More than the Vespa???  July 2, 2009 11:34 AM
The cheapo Vespa is $100 less, but it really does not compare. The deluxe Vespa is $5199 – not less that the SH150i. Both Vespas are nice scooters, but have 12 inch wheels and not near as reliable as a Honda! Just my 2 cents. I have ridden both, and I can tell you that this “Italian made” Honda scooter is really nice and handles awesome!
Mr Motorcycle -SH150i  July 2, 2009 11:21 AM
Okay, so we pay $3 bucks for a bottle of water, $8 bucks for a beer at a ballgame or supercross and even sometimes $10 bucks for a drink... Come on people, mountain bikes are selling for $5,000 - $9,000, that makes this scooter look pretty enticing to me. I bet it gets 60 to 80 mpg too. I want one!
crasher -more than a vespa?  July 2, 2009 11:03 AM
sheesh, you can get a vespa 150 cheaper than this, with a way better resale value and a monocoque chassis.
Desmolicious -Nice, but goofy price  July 2, 2009 10:57 AM
Really nice scooter, but really, $4500 for a 150cc? It's even more than a Vespa 150! C'mon guys, how can you say this thing is affordable with a straight face? The Kymco Super 8 150 is $2300! The Kymco People 150 is $2700! And these are great scooters! Ah well, I guess it makes sense from Honda's perspective, seeing they are asking $15,000 for their 650cc scooter - the DN01
Mr. Very Perceptive Guy III Sr. -$$$  July 2, 2009 10:36 AM
I'm sure economical transportation is fun, but how does that relate to a $5000 scooter? What makes it so expensive? I can get two Tata Nanos for the price of that scooter. Thanks Honda.
Josu68 -Ripoff 2...  July 2, 2009 04:51 AM
Ok, I have to take some back...the Airblade (and Click for that matter) are powered by a 110cc or 125cc engines...and well, look much cooler.
Josu68 -Ripoff  July 2, 2009 04:46 AM
Wow...that price is waaayy too much to be able to sell well in the states. I went to vacation in Thailand, and if Im not completely mistaken, that same scooter there is the Airblade. It costs the equivalent of about 1.5k in USD...and it has identical running gear. Nice scooter though (I had one rented for 2 bucks a day for 11 days)