HONDA X-ADV (2021 - on) Review
- Surprisingly agile and sure-footed in the bends
- New chassis helps trim 1kg off kerb weight
- Alternative option to conventional maxi scooter
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Although undoubtedly a Marmite bike, there is something strangely appealing about the Honda X-ADV. It’s not an off-roader, not by a long stretch, but it is a cool-looking super-scoot that is fun to ride and also practical (for mainly solo riders).
The big sticking point is the price tag, however if you are into maxi-scooters but don’t want a 'traditional' scooter look the X-ADV is your only option to be different. If we are being picky an IMU would have been nice, and a better connectivity system, but really that’s about it aside from maybe heated grips and cruise control.
If you like the idea of an SUV scooter, the X-ADV won’t disappoint. Believe it or not, 32,000 have been sold to date and in 2019 it was Honda’s second best-selling bike – so it certainly appeals to a lot of riders.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Under the 2021 Honda X-ADV’s bodywork lurks an all-new chassis that helps trim 1kg off the bike’s wet weight while also increasing (marginally) the underseat storage. The geometry is unchanged and so is the X-ADV’s wheelbase, so it handles like the old bike and the 3kg total saving over the outgoing version is negligible.
On the road the X-ADV is surprisingly agile and sure-footed in bends (helped by its fat tyres) and its radial brakes deliver more than enough bite. Off-road? Well, don’t let its looks deceive you, that’s not really its speciality...
With a seat height of 820mm it isn’t too much of a stretch to the floor but the 2021 model’s new seat is slimmer to help reduce this a bit. The screen is adjustable in its height and offers a reasonable amount of shelter and you get brush guards as standard to keep your hands protected.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Although the Honda’s parallel twin remains the same 745cc capacity as before, changes to the valve timing sees it gain 4bhp as well as Euro5-compliance while the DCT’s gearbox’s first three ratios are lower and the final three taller. So in theory that’s more poke when you need it and better economy once you are up to speed.
Not a radical change, you spot the extra acceleration in ‘Sport’ mode or using the manual gearchange option but it is when overtaking at 50-60mph that it is most noticeable. When the DCT ‘kicks down’ to get an extra zap of speed in response to a wide throttle opening, third gear is sprightlier than before, giving far better acceleration than fourth and making overtakes much faster as a result.
Is it at the sacrifice of economy? Honda claim the X-ADV can record 78mpg and squeeze 227 miles from its 13.2-litre tank and during MCN’s test ride on a mixture of roads we saw an average of 68mpg, so that bodes well.
If you stick to ‘Sport’ however, the economy drops as it holds the revs higher for longer than ‘Standard’ mode. A new ride-by-wire throttle brings with it four set power modes - Rain, Standard, Gravel and Sport – with an extra User mode that is customisable.
The modes are linked to the HSTC (Honda’s traction control system), which has also been refined and now has three levels of intervention, and the DCT gearbox. Although not quite as good at predicting the gear you require as the latest Africa Twin’s DCT, which has an IMU helping it make its decisions and takes into account lean angle, the X-ADV’s system is now pretty fluid and doesn’t cause any annoyance.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The DCT engine is very solid and Honda have lavished a reasonable attention to detail on the level of finish and fit on the X-ADV. You would expect this on a bike that costs over £10k and is backed up by MCN owners' reviews on the previous generation bike - where it's awarded a mixture of four and five stars for reliability.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
At nearly £11,000 the Honda X-ADV represents quite an outlay for a bike that is so leftfield, especially when you compare it to prices for a ‘traditional’ motorcycle. However in the big scooter world it isn’t actually that badly priced.
Yamaha’s TMAX 560, which is the best-selling premium maxi-scooter, is £11,999, Honda’s own Forza 750 is £9,999 and the Kymco AK550 is £8899. It is a shame the X-ADV lacks a few features but while it is undeniably expensive, it’s not horrific in the grand scheme of things (2021 prices included).
Watch MCN's Yamaha TMAX 560 video review here:
A brand-new 5-inch TFT display comes with connectivity as standard and includes Honda’s Voice Control System, which links the rider to their phone – although there are also separate bar-mounted buttons.
Annoyingly you need to download the Honda RoadSync app to get the system to operate and it only works on Android and not iOS, which is ridiculous as other Honda models use Apple CarPlay! The good news, however, is that finally Honda have built not only a dash that is relatively clear to read – they have also developed a set of switchgear that isn’t a myriad of jumbled buttons!
A keyless ignition is standard, as is a USB-C slot under the seat in the 22-litre storage area, and you get ABS, traction control (HSTC), four set power modes plus one user-defined one, engine braking control, the DCT gearbox, DRLs, a bit of adjustability in the suspension and even a lockable glove box.
What’s missing? Cruise control would be nice and there is no IMU so the electronics aren’t angle-sensitive but that’s about it. Five-level heated grips are a £285 extra, which would have been nice as standard.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 8v, SOHC parallel twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||13.2 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm inverted forks, adjustable rebound damping and spring preload|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock, adjustable spring preload|
|Front brake||2 x 296mm discs with four-piston calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||240mm single disc with one-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||160/60 x 15|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||-|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||58 bhp|
|Max torque||50.9 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
- 2017 – Honda launch the X-ADV, a bike billed as the SUV of the scooter world. It is a surprise hit and sells 7500 in Europe in its first year!
- 2018 - A small update sees the DCT X-ADV gain ‘G-mode’ for off-road use, 2-level HSTC is added to both models, an A2-restrition kit is available and the motor gains a few rpm at its top end.
No other versions available.
MCN Long term test reports
MCN Fleet: Slow burning love affair with the Honda X-ADV
It’s an age since I first set eyes on the Honda X-ADV. Like all good love affairs I remember the exact moment in time, the MCN Show in London last year is etched on my mind for eternity. A three-month wait for delivery, means my first ride’s a mixture of nerves and excitement. Excitement turns to di…
Owners' reviews for the HONDA X-ADV (2021 - on)
No owners have yet reviewed the HONDA X-ADV (2021 - on).