PETER'S HONDA SILVERWING 400
Peter told us about his Yamaha TDM850, well after having that for some time he decided it was time for a change and went looking for a new ride. He likes cruisers and was thinking along those lines, but then decided on a scooter instead; a maxi-scooter, like the Suzuki Burgman or Honda Majesty. As he told us (see Feedback August 2012) he found it hard to find any maxi-scoots in the bike shops – especially ones that were available for test-ride. I thought that was surprising, but then thought of the shops in my local area and they are actually much the same. Peter said he found plenty of smaller models, but hardly any of the larger ones. Eventually though, he found a 2nd-hand (very new) Honda Silverwing 400, which he test-rode and was very impressed with. And he ended up buying that. Here he tells us about his first ride on his new machine. It tells us a lot about the scooter, so is more a story of the scooter than the actual ride. Recently I traded the Yamaha TDM for a scooter. I might add it was a big decision to make. I wanted to get either a 600cc Suzuki or the Yamaha 400cc or maybe even the Suzuki 400cc, as the 400 jobs get such good write-ups. I found a Honda Silverwing 600cc, but the dealership were being tricky. Then all of a sudden I got hold of a 400cc 2009 model Honda Silverwing, and boy what a scooter! Yesterday I went out for a decent ride up to the north of Brisbane and back around past the dams, Wivenhoe and Summerset, which looked a real picture full of water and a lovely clear day. I set off from home and it took me quite a while to settle into riding a scooter. Yes I have ridden one before but no real distance. I had to adjust the Air-Hawk a couple of times; I think I got it right in the end. The Air-Hawk I had to put extra elastic on as the Honda's seat is so deep but that was no problem. Now I rode on and on and slowly got the hang on riding a scooter after a while, which then made me more at ease whilst riding. I went up Mt Glorious, one of the top rides for bikers in Brisbane for the twisties. I took it steady but that scooter loved the twisties! I have never had a bike other than the ST Honda that handled the twists so well. Plus the light weight of the scooter made things easier all round. I kept on going and had been in the saddle for quite a while till I stopped for some lunch and a break as my backside was starting to feel things by then and my back plus shoulders. I had pain killing injections during the week which I get now and then for pain relief on my spine etc so all that helped. I think if I remember right the speedo was reading around 125km when I stopped, which for me was very good. I topped up on fuel using the 98 octane Caltex as the dealer had said the scoot will really purr with that. Now I hardly had used any fuel and my computer read-out was an average of 25.4 km to a litre on that part of the trip involving steep hills and twisties besides normal riding on main roads. After a break I took off and decided to go up and over Mt Mee; another lot of twisties and there is me not a fan of these roads as a rule but up and over I went. My next stop was for a rest at Summerset Dam. I took these pictures of the Honda Scoot with the dam behind it on my phone; I forgot my camera (again!). By this time I was just enjoying the scooter more and more so anyone who is thinking of a change due to ill health etc like me do not hesitate – these scooters are great once you get used to them. I covered 420kms yesterday; a long way for me who usually likes more around the 200 or 300 mark. Funnily my fuel average dropped to 24.2 kms to a litre on the way home, maybe because a wind had come up. I do feel that using the high octane is okay but basically it made not a lot of difference to my fuel usage as I get the same reading from the 95 Octane Premium fuel. There was that slight bit of extra zip in the scoot, but not much more really to write home about. Now as for the get up and go, that Honda has it and only a 400cc scooter at that but boy it could get up and go when needed. Hills, yes they do slow the speed down some, but otherwise that Honda was right on the boil all day which made me feel so happy as I had been dubious of buying it but no longer. I had changed the oil and filter the day before plus the spark plugs, not that it needed it, I just did so. The oil is easy enough to change but the spark plugs are a bit fiddly. Yes this 400cc has a twin cylinder where as most other models all come with a single cylinder, which must help with its life span surely. The scooter is easy to handle and at lights one can stand up with no fear of falling over. It has a centre-stand besides the normal side-stand which is of great help. The comfort is good, not fantastic but very good. It takes a while to get used to the built in back rest for the front rider position but once used to it, it is helpful. The scooter is cheap to run and can keep up with normal driving conditions with some more to play with. The dash is easy to read other than the clock which is a bit small, but then it is only a clock for the time. It has a fuel gauge and a temperature gauge; the only bit I can't find is the water-cooling sight slot. They say it is in the front fairing and I have found the top-up tank, which is in the right hand little glove box, but just where the water level can be read is beyond me yet. This is a nuisance and on reading the manual to change the water etc is one big job so come scooters do cost a bit more for servicing as all the fairings have to be undone to get to things like the water. I left the suspension just on its normal position and it rode well so I am leaving it there, but it is easy to adjust the rear shocks, as they are looking right at you at the rear end. So Elwyn, one might say I am converted to scooter riding. Now I do miss the extra get up and go that my last bikes had and so on but, well, the fuel usage and comfort make up for a lot plus the scooter is so much easier to handle around the place and for parking. Oh it has a hand brake which came in handy on a hill when I was changing the battery in my MP3 player. I can recommend the Hondas. Mind you they have been superseded now by a 700cc scooter which looks more like a small motorbike. The dealership told me they have used the DNO1 engine in the new model with a few changes, they look smart but then so is the price tag. Yesterday was a test for me and my scooter to get to know each other and I must say I arrived home with a smile on my face, plus not that much out of pocket c/o fuel bills. Sounds like a great ride for Peter to get used to his new machine. And I reckon that’s a good way to do it – go for a good long ride and you have plenty of time to get to know the new bike. A month or so later, Peter wrote in with an up-date to how he and the Silverwing were getting on. I had to go down to a scooter for health reasons, although the more I ride that scooter I wonder why. No, I am not changing bikes again but the scoot has a fuel tank in the step through area; in fact many do in the big scooters. A Vespa or something are still the old fashioned way and are step-through along with a lot of the others. But I went for the bigger ones and they are scarce in the second-hand market and what I saw was all the same. To put my leg through, to which I thought I could do, is near impossible other than tipping the scooter over towards me as my hips will not allow too much bending now. I now miss the bike as I still mostly have to cock my leg over the scooter’s seat to get on-board, just like a bike and I can do it easier than trying to lift and push through the small area provided on the Honda due to the fuel tank. A cruiser for instance is lower down so getting one’s leg over the saddle is quite easy in comparison. Thanks Peter. Yes, I have noticed the hump in the floor, on many of the larger scooters especially. As you say, that can make them not really a “step-through” – more a “step-over”, I suppose! I haven’t had much trouble getting on the scooters I've ridden, but I have found that you need to shuffle your leg across to get in position, rather than the simple step-through movement that we might expect in the traditional scooter. Anyway I hope you continue to enjoy the new scooter; it sounds a good thing – even if it isn’t as easy to get on as might be expected.
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