Motorcycles

Honda develops a more fuel-efficient scooter

Honda develops a more fuel-eff...
To be produced in Italy, the new models feature a new internal combustion engine architecture which offers quite remarkable fuel economy
To be produced in Italy, the new models feature a new internal combustion engine architecture which offers quite remarkable fuel economy
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the new SH125i's 47.4 km/liter equates to an imperial 133.9 miles per gallon or 111.5 miles per gallon in the United States, while the SH150i's 43.8 km/liter is 123.7 mpg (UK) or 103.0 mpg (US).
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the new SH125i's 47.4 km/liter equates to an imperial 133.9 miles per gallon or 111.5 miles per gallon in the United States, while the SH150i's 43.8 km/liter is 123.7 mpg (UK) or 103.0 mpg (US).
Details of the new scooters are thin at this stage, but the new SH-series scooters will be lighter than previous models with a new frame, a flat floor, 16-inch wheels, and ABS (anti-lock braking makes a huge difference for inexperienced riders on wet roads).
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Details of the new scooters are thin at this stage, but the new SH-series scooters will be lighter than previous models with a new frame, a flat floor, 16-inch wheels, and ABS (anti-lock braking makes a huge difference for inexperienced riders on wet roads).
The under seat storage area on the new SH models has been increased to accept a full-face helmet
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The under seat storage area on the new SH models has been increased to accept a full-face helmet
To be produced in Italy, the new models feature a new internal combustion engine architecture which offers quite remarkable fuel economy
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To be produced in Italy, the new models feature a new internal combustion engine architecture which offers quite remarkable fuel economy
View gallery - 4 images

Rapid economic development around the world in recent years has seen the bicycle increase its lead as the most prolific form of transport, with the motorcycle quickly catching the automobile for second place. Interestingly, only one country (China) has so far seen the wisdom of the electric two-wheeler, with more than 25 million electric two-wheelers produced in 2011.

Honda still dominates motorcycle sales in the remainder of the globe, and appears to be concentrating on continuing to develop the internal combustion engine as the primary motive force for its scooters and commuter machinery.

Today the Japanese giant has announced new SH125i and SH150i scooter models to go on sale in Europe later this year. To be produced in Italy, the new models feature a new internal combustion engine architecture dubbed eSP (enhanced Smart Power), which uses a stop-start micro hybrid system and a range of low friction technologies to offer quite remarkable fuel economy: 47.4km/litre for the 125cc and 43.8km/litre for 150cc (based on the Worldwide harmonized Motorcycle emission Test Cycle).

If you need that translated into a more familiar measure, the new SH125i's 47.4 km/liter equates to an imperial 133.9 miles per gallon or 111.5 miles per gallon in the United States, while the SH150i's 43.8 km/liter is 123.7 mpg (UK) or 103.0 mpg (US).

Details of the new SH-series scooters are thin at this stage, but they will be lighter than previous models with a new frame, a flat floor, 16-inch wheels, and ABS (anti-lock braking makes a huge difference for inexperienced riders on wet roads).

The under seat storage area on the new SH models has been increased to accept a full-face helmet
The under seat storage area on the new SH models has been increased to accept a full-face helmet

One other significant first is that the under seat storage area on the new SH models has been increased to accept a full-face helmet - a major drawback with most scooters currently in the marketplace is that the underseat storage area has been designed to accept only open-face helmets.

Though the internal combustion engine of the Honda SH models will never be as cheap to run as an electric scooter, the rest of the world is yet to vote with its wallet for two-wheeled electric power and Honda is likely to continue to develop the internal combustion engine for the massive Asian scooter market for the forseeable future.

In particular, Honda is now finally beginning to get some traction in the Indian market where its former partner, Hero, sells more than five million scooters a year.

View gallery - 4 images
13 comments
HaPPI
Make a trike like it, and I'll buy one. I'm done with two wheelers. Seriously, one bout with gravel can ruin your life - or end it.
Denis Klanac
HaPPI That is what protective clothing is for, but most people forgo the safety in favour of comfort and then they complain when they need dozens of skin grafts to fix the damage after a good fall. I'm one of the guilty ones thankfully I haven't lost any skin but broken bones are uncomfortable too.
Roffen
Two wheels are generally more dangerous than four, so one should take precautions like wearing protective clothing, and of course a helmet. The body is quite fragile compared to iron... (Or gravel..) Our neighbours son recently found himself in the middle of a small wheat field when he had been looking the wrong way for a moment. Luckily there were only a few bruises, but his mother said he sat quietly in the sofa for several hours, contemplating what had gone wrong..
The article states this a "new" technology, but it seems to be the same used in the Honda PCX 125 which has been on the market at least a couple of years now. The PCX also boost a low-friction engine, and a consumption at the same low level. Honda states the PCX should be able to use just 0.2 L pr 10 km. It even has a start/stop system.
windykites
These two comments look like good reasons not to ride motorcycles. I wonder how the cost compares with electric bikes.
bergamot69
Honda already have (or had, if its not still in production) a small motorbike called the C90 which was capable of nearly as good fuel economy as these new scooters- and that has been (or was) in production for decades, and was the transport of choice in South East Asia, where it was not uncommon to see an entire family riding one, or otherwise weighed down with pig carcasses on the way to market. Incredibly tough, capable and reliable machines if never remotely stylish.
Old J Hawthorne
Safety notwithstanding, we need vehicles we can stop at the store and pick up stuff with, carry more than 1 person, and use when it's pouring down rain or snowing. Every time I pencil out the costs, it just doesn't make (economic) sense to buy a motorcycle/scooter/moped. Besides, I don't want to have to suit up like I'm going to the moon just to go to work.
anthodyd
I will second Happi in looking for a trike, preferably a "tadpole" (2-wheels in front) design. There should be ample demand for a stable platformed urban transport; many of us just need steady transport. There is some advantage because 3-wheeler drivers are exempt from requiring a motorcycle driver's licence, making the transition easier for those opting out of their ever more-expensive cars.
Tim Collins
Never as cheap as electric?! Show me your maths on that statement.
William H Lanteigne
Considering the higher initial costs of electric v gasoline/petrol ICE: someone did a study a couple years ago, and as I recall, the break-even point was at about 8 years- at which point you've got a well-worn 8-year old ICE scooter to trade in, vs an electric that probably needs a fresh battery pack.
I'm not seeing the savings even yet, because with the increase of fuel this year has come an increase in electric utility rates.
Gerry Lavell
I used to get 145mpg from my 89cc Honda C90 (Australian spec') as regularly as clockwork. This was commuting 16.5 miles each way to work going across the city. Being a little more gentle on the throttle gave me 150mpg. For some reason when I converted to 12V the economy dropped to 135mpg. It dropped further touring the UK with six full panniers. A replacement engine (UK spec' - the 89cc sump plug fell out) got 110mpg over a 300 mile hilly loop two-up with full luggage.
My point is that twenty five years later the same fuel economy (yes, bigger engine but is it increased functionality?) is being touted as an advance. Diesel hybrids offer serious extra economy (eCycle via Gizmag - I think - some time back, for instance).