Honda Forza 750 (2021 - on) Review
- Best bits of a bike and scooter in one package
- High quality with plenty of cunning features
- Neat stashing space for your egg and cress on white
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Honda’s Forza 750 is pitched as a ‘megascooter’ to rival the likes of Yamaha’s TMAX, yet is something different to the usual giant rev-and-go. Think of it more as a bike, complete with rumbling twin-cylinder engine, proper chassis parts and capable dynamic, but with the practicality and ease-of-use of a super-sized step-thru’.
It's a motorcycle with space to securely stash your full-face helmet. One that offers proper weather protection without being the size of a bloated tourer, is a doddle to ride, changes gear for you, has voice-controlled phone connectivity, and even a glovebox for your packed lunch. Or gloves. Yet one that still sounds, feels and performs pretty much like a regular bike.
Honda tried this master-of-all-trades angle before with the discontinued Integra, which was based on the NC700/750 platform and suffered by not being enough like a bike but also not enough like a scooter. It was all a bit nowt nor summat. The Forza 750 nails the concept.
It has the genuine functionality of a scooter – breezy to ride, storage, weather protection, efficiency – delivered by a mid-size motorbike that still has the noise, handling and most of the feel we expect. And the performance too: with less than 60bhp the 750 doesn’t leave scorched trails behind, but the easy-access drive means it’s as swift point-to-point in normal riding as pretty much anything else.
If you’re tempted by a true twist-and-go scooter then Yamaha’s TMAX is better at being scootery, though is also more expensive and less inspiring. There are faster, sharper and more engaging ‘real’ bikes, but none that are also as simple to use, practical, efficient on the commute or soothing on a motorway as the Forza. It’s a bit of a curious concept to get your head round, but once you do it’s really easy to see the Honda’s unique appeal.
⏱️ "Don't dismiss this as a scooter, it's actually a very, very good motorcycle." Spend #60secondswith the Honda Forza 750 and@MikeA_Bikes or read more about the bike here: https://t.co/Cmu6giDq7E pic.twitter.com/va8K1jNOdu— Motor Cycle News (@MCNnews) March 8, 2021
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Forza is derived from the updated 2021-on version of the X-ADV, the pleasing off-the-wall adventure-scoot that looks like the lovechild of a Super Cub and a Land Rover. Changes for the Forza include different suspension with less travel, a reduced ride height, cast wheels rather than spoked, larger front discs and pure road tyres. There’s fresh bodywork too, based on the styling of Honda’s smaller Forza scooters.
And it really works. That upside-down Showa SFF-BP front end is similar to as used on the CB1000R super-naked, and with a 17-inch front wheel, four-piston radial brake calipers and pukka Pirelli tyres the Forza’s handling is decidedly un-scooter. It stops and turns accurately and keenly, provides plenty of feel, and has a ride that’s miles away from springy commuter preconceptions. Yes, it’s rather like a bike. The Forza is no scalpel but it’s way sportier and has greater outright handling than something like a TMAX, and ushering it smartly down a B-road is entertaining. The diddy-looking 15-inch rear wheel has no ill effects on the handling.
The 750 does require getting used to, though. Handlebars are quite narrow, and while at a pleasingly bike-like height the seating position is decidedly scooter. It takes a while to get used to hurling the Honda around and leaning over; it’s quite a few miles before you stop trying to slide your feet further back than they can go while attacking corners. Comfort is good, though. There are plenty of foot placement options on the boards, the broad seat is supportive (proper pillion seat and handles, too) and the large screen is very effective. Sheltered knees as well.
The radial-mount front brake calipers don’t have particularly strong initial bite, but there’s more than enough power. On an engaging B-road it’s easy to find yourself confidently braking hard enough for the emergency stop warning system to activate the hazard lights. The rear brake is controlled by your left hand, like on a pushbike, and is useful mid-corner and it treacherous conditions.
EngineNext up: Reliability
As with the X-ADV, the Forza uses the 745cc parallel twin from the NC model range. Essentially half a Jazz car engine, it’s a low-revving unit with a relaxed delivery – it was designed for economy and soothing thrumming, rather than giddy excitement.
However, while 58bhp is hardly going to put your head in a spin it’s delivered before 7000rpm. With grunt spread across the rev range and peak torque arriving at just 4750rpm, the Forza makes up for absent zip with flexibility and effortless pace. It’s easy to find your expected 60mph is actually well beyond 80.
It’s not lacking in bike-like personality either. Honda use slightly different timing for each cylinder to generate feel and character, and the engine’s 270˚ firing interval means it has the feel and – importantly – the exhaust sound of a 90˚ V-twin. The deep, edgy note from the stubby upswept pipe means folk think they’re listening to a Ducati approaching, only for the Forza to slide into view.
It’s efficient. The 750 easily returns 70mpg in normal brisk use, meaning over 200 miles from the 13.2-litre tank (accessed through a neat, keyless, pop-up filler cap in front of the seat).
Honda use their six-speed DCT (dual clutch transmission) on the Forza. It’s not like the thrashy variable drive of a scooter, but a proper gearbox managed by the bike – so there’s a connection between your hand and the rear wheel.
Different modes alter how keenly the DCT changes up and down the gears, as well as giving different power, engine braking and traction control settings. In Rain or Standard mode the bike slides quickly to sixth for efficiency and smoothness, but in Sport mode on a winding B-road it hangs onto gears and changes down ratios exactly as you would yourself, with blipped downshifts. It’s like a posh two-way quickshifter.
Alternatively, you can select manual and flick about the ratios using well-placed buttons on the left switchgear. These can also be used to override the system in auto, should you be overwhelmed by a desire to suddenly click down three ratios.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
I don’t want to churn out the usual Honda build quality cliché but the thing with the Forza is that, well… it’s a Honda. There’s nothing amiss with the 750’s quality of presentation, from the aluminium swingarm to the feel of the controls and finish of the bodywork.
The only noticeable thing is that when you access the undereat storage the hinged-open seat looks a little wonky viewed from behind. It’s because it only has a hydraulic strut on one side and is hardly a deal-breaker.
As with the NC700/750 models, the engine should be tediously reliable. It’s understressed and should run pretty much forever with just routine servicing. DCT shouldn’t cause issues either – Honda had been using it on bikes for over a decade when the Forza was introduced, and it’d been around almost twenty years in the car world. It’s proven technology.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Forza is £9999 on the road (2021 price). This looks steep, as it puts the Honda in the same ballpark as ‘proper’ all-round bikes like the Yamaha Tracer 9, Suzuki V-Strom 1050 and Triumph Tiger 850 Sport. However, while such machines have greater performance, they’re a different proposition without the Forza’s day-to-day functionality or convenient features.
Compared with pure max-scoots, the Honda is only a few hundred quid more expensive than Suzuki’s discontinued Burgman 650 used to cost, but a far, far superior device. The Honda is also £2000 cheaper than Yamaha’s established TMAX.
The Yamaha is a better pure scooter and has a few features that the Honda doesn’t (electric screen, heated grips, cruise), but two-grand is a big chunk extra – and Forza is a better all-round bike.
Used prices for the previous Integra suggest the Forza will have strong residual values.
Beneath the seat (released with a button on the ’bars) there’s a 21-litre space that readily swallows a helmet. It’s got an interior light and is also where you find the USB charging port and toolkit.
There’s also a decent-sized compartment in the fairing. Ignition is keyless, the fob also locking/unlocking the fuel filler and seat plus the accessory top-box, and the indicators cancel themselves (and come on as hazards in panic-brake situations). The Forza also has a centrestand (it’s chain final drive, not belt, so this is handy for lubing) and brilliant mirrors.
There are three riding modes, linked to the traction control and giving differing power delivery and levels of engine braking. And, of course, the super-smart DCT gearbox too.
It’s a pity that heated grips aren’t standard, though the 750 tries to make it up with an easy-to-read colour TFT dash that has phone connectivity and the Honda Smartphone Voice Control system.
Yes, voice. Download an app to your Android phone, connect an intercom, and you can answer and make phone calls, control turn-by-turn navigation on the dash and select music all by speaking. The system will even read out messages you receive via SMS, Facebook or WhatsApp, and you can talk the replies.
|Engine type||SOHC 8v parallel twin|
|Frame type||Steel tube perimeter|
|Fuel capacity||13.2 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm telescopic fork, no adjustment|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock, adjustable preload|
|Front brake||2 x 310mm discs with four-piston calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||240mm disc, two-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||120/70 R17|
|Rear tyre size||160/60 R15|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||70 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||-|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||58 bhp|
|Max torque||51 ft-lb|
|Top speed||110 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||203 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2021: Launched as a new model, based on the X-ADV ‘crossover adventure bike’. Marketed as a super-scoot linked to Honda’s popular small-capacity Forza models.
There’s only one Forza 750; however, the X-ADV uses the same platform but with longer-travel suspension, adjustable screen, spoke wheels, semi-knobbly tyres and chunkier adventure-ish styling. It’s £10,849 (2021 price).
Owners' reviews for the HONDA NSS750 FORZA (2021 - on)
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