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HONDA ADV150 Urban Explorer Shows New Possibilities for Scooter


*The photo in the article are from HONDA press release.

From urban to keep extraordinary

In recent Tokyo Motor Show 2019, a variety of new models have been announced by Japanese manufacturers, and there was one model that I wanted to focus on personally. That was the HONDA ADV150, which officially announced in the Japanese market. By the way, the release day is February 14, 2020, it is Valentines Day.

The development concept is “Beyond the Boundaries My Advanced Urban Explorer”. According to the HONDA press release, “in addition to the comfort, convenience, and mobility that make a scooter attractive, the manufacturer aims to create a light two-wheeled scooter with a unique, powerful exterior with the excellent riding performance that can be enjoyed from commuting to work and going to school as well as hobbies and extraordinary”.

Particularly, I paid attention to the riding ability. In other words, the ADV150 is designed to ride on off-road. The base is the “PCX150” equipped with the latest global engine “eSP” (enhanced Smart Power), which exhibits the maximum output 15ps from the liquid-cooled 4-stroke OHC 149cc such as the skeleton of a high rigidity double-cradle frame, unlike other scooters. In addition to having a reputation for good riding, the ADV150 is a model designed specifically for the undercarriage that intended to be used in a wide range of scenes from slight dirt to touring on the highway.

The model which challenged the boundaries as a scooter

Common scooters are so-called city commuters, which are designed for commuting to work and going to school. The advantages of a scooter’s inherent ease of use, such as good foot grounding, ease of getting on and off, and being able to ride easily with automatic and making small turns, are also true to the fact that there are parts sacrificing its riding performance and ability.

For instance, when shorten the stroke of the suspension to improve the foot grounding, the gap absorption will decrease, and since you will not be able to knee grip like riding position, the maneuverability over a group of people is subtle, and the small-diameter wheel, which contrasts with the off-road motorcycle, has an impact on its riding ability. In addition, the automatic engine has a time lag when you want instantaneous power, and there are some various disadvantages when considering off-road riding.

That is the reason why we haven’t seen a full-fledged “adventure scooter” until now. You might hear that there’s the “X-ADV”, and it has a 750cc engine displacement and is a DCT with a transmission even in an automatic, and it is almost a normal motorcycle with a chain drive. At that point, the “ADV150” is a model that has taken the design elements of its older brother “X-ADV”, and challenged the limits as a scooter.

Undercarriage with strong visibility in dirt riding

However, I think the new point is that it shows the “seriousness” of just calling itself an adventure style while covering the disadvantages of being a scooter.

This is due to the adopted wide pipe handlebar higher than the PCX, in the output characteristics of a low-medium-speed approach to make it easier to get traction by the dart, in the setting of a drive system such as a weight roller or a centrifugal clutch, in addition to the increase in the amount of strokes in front and rear (increase of front 30mm / rear 20mm compared to the PCX) and the minimum ground clearance associated with it. In addition, the semi-block tires used for both on-road and off-road adopt 110 and 130 sizes, which are one size wide than the PCX in both front and rear to improve the grounding contact and the ride comfort. In addition, the front wheel size is kept 14 inches to keep the riding performance, and the rear suspension is reduced to only 13 inches at the rear, and it is strengthened accordingly, and there are many ways to go “beyond daily life”, such as gaining stroke with twin shocks equipped with a 3-stage spring and a separate reservoir tank.

In fact, I had the opportunity to ride the Indonesian version of the HONDA ADV150. When giving a good impression on another opportunity, you can ride normally while standing at a forest road level with a bit of relief. Certainly, it is difficult to ride a high-level dirt road like a real off-road motorcycle, but the freedom to be able to easily turn while taking advantage of the lightweight and good footing was very pleasant.

The developer who was involved in the development of the Africa Twin

The design also incorporates urban sophistication in its adventure colors, with a 2-stage windscreen that can be adjusted by hand to a front mask similar to the new African Twin, and a multi-function meter mounted in a high position. It should be that, in fact, I had an opportunity to talk to Mr. Fujii at Tokyo Motor Show, the developer, who was also involved in the development of the Africa Twin before. That reason makes sense. According to him, in the main target ASEAN countries, there are many unpaved roads and other road conditions, and the high riding performance in the dirt is directly linked to practical use. And in developed countries such as Japan and Europe and the United States, it was a desire to spread to the area of fans such as leisure. Indeed, that is why it was the creation of “seriousness”.

Of course, since it is a scooter, the space under the seat with a 27 liters fuel capacity is secured, and the latest equipment is also enhanced such as adopting a smart key system and an “emergency stop signal” that automatically flashes hazards at high braking speeds.

From the ordinary to extraordinary time, an adventure model invites people to travel from urban to adventure, but the “ADV150” might be a model that will make the threshold much lower. Even if it is not an expensive super machine full of electronic control, ordinary people can still wear their usual clothes and feel like they’re in a suit and have a little adventure. The ADV250 seems to show us a new world.

[Related News]
HONDA ADV150 will be Released on February 14 (Japanese)

See HONDA Moto Index Page
See Accessories for HONDA ADV150
See Accessories for HONDA X-ADV
See Accessories for PCX150

Kentaro (Kenny) Sagawa

Kentaro (Kenny) Sagawa

Author profile

Motorcycle Journalist
 Kenny become freelance journalist at the age of 32 after working at several IT and marketing companys. Working as a magazine editor, he is currently working as one of the most famous motorcycle journalist in Japan and activly working to diffuse "safety riding" through magazines and web media.
・Chief editor of "Webike Moto News".
・Principal of "Riding Academy Tokyo".
・Representative of "Moto Maniacs Co., Ltd."
・Traffic psychologist of "The Japan Association of Traffic Psychology".
・MFJ (Motorcycle Federation of Japan) certified instructor.

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