HONDA X-ADV (2021 - on) Review

Highlights

  • 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

Power: 58 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.3 in / 820 mm)
Weight: High (520 lbs / 236 kg)

Prices

New £10,849
Used £8,200

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

The 2021 model replaces the 2017 Honda X-ADV, which was lightly upgraded again a year later. Honda announced the updates to the model in late 2020 alongside the NC750X. 

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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...

The seat shape has been updated for 2021

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.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Honda X-ADV parallel-twin engine

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.

Riding the 2021 Honda X-ADV

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

The Honda X-ADV gets high praise from owners

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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:

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Honda X-ADV TFT dash

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.

Specs

Engine size 745cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, SOHC parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 13.2 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 236kg
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 -
New price £10,849
Used price £8,200
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 58 bhp
Max torque 50.9 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2017Honda 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.

Other versions

No other versions available.

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: Slow burning love affair with the Honda X-ADV

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

Read the latest report

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