MCN Fleet: First Impressions Count with the Honda X-ADV

Published: 26 May 2017

First impressions count and after my first hectic week of riding the Honda X-ADV I’ve grown rather fond of the quirky, slightly odd looking machine. I say machine because I still haven’t worked out if it’s a bike or scooter. Everyone who looks at it seems to be of the same opinion.

It’s definitely a crowd puller and whenever I park I get drawn into conversation. Part of my riding week included a visit to Snetterton and every time I walked by the parked up bike there was a crowd around it. There's a lot of intrigue that surrounds this all-new machine and no one seems able work out what it is. This is definitely something I’m going to explore further this year.

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I’ve previously ridden a Honda NC700X with a DCT gearbox, something the X-ADV shares. I’d forgotten how simple and easy DCT is to operate. A click to Drive or Sport mode, twist of the throttle and the bike pulls away. What’s great about the DCT is that you have the option to click to manual, then, with paddles on the handlebar manually change gear.

Rather than a conventional key the X-ADV has keyless ignition, a combination of key fob and dash on the dial. Not only does it start the bike it also gives access to the underseat storage compartment and nattily hidden fuel cap. I’m having to be very meticulous about where I stash the key fob, I’m notoriously clumsy and worried I’ll leave my pocket unzipped and lose it. It does make fuelling up easy, just a click of button on the dash opens the fuel cap and there’s no need to fumble about with keys.

There’s some great touches. I love the clear, informative digital dash, vast underseat storage and adjustable screen. I find I'm rather distracted when out for a ride and fiddle with all the buttons and gizmos. This weekend will be spent reading the instruction manual I’m going to learn all the functions and not just keep guessing.

My only criticism so far is it feels a little tall and cumbersome at slower speeds. At 5’10” I can usually sit with feet firmly planted on the ground. With the wide, scooterlike seat, I'm now more on tip toe, disconcerting at first but I'm more used to it already.

With 600 miles done I’ve just spent the morning at the Honda Workshop while Darren, the mechanic, performed the first service. To get to the mileage has given me an excuse to ride everywhere and in just a week I’ve learned so much about the bike. I do feel there’s still so much to learn and it’s going to be a fab year of exploring, quite an adventure.

This time next week I’ll be in Killarney, enjoying Bikefest Ireland, a festival of all things bike in a fantastically beautiful bit of the world. I can't wait!

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