Honda's new X-ADV scooter is in a class of one. No other scooter currently available claims to be just at home on the chaotic streets of Rome as on gravel tracks leading to hidden beaches.
It's an intriguing mix of two completely different styles of bike, but Honda have managed to produce a scooter that's incredibly fun for more experienced riders and easy to ride.
Rather than build a scooter from the ground up, the X-ADV is based on Honda's Integra, using the same 745cc parallel twin engine also found in the NC series. As a result the X-ADV produces 53bhp and uses Honda's Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) system. There are two modes; Drive and Sport. Drive offers smooth predictable, power while Sport mode sharpens the throttle response and holds gears longer before changing up. On top of these two modes you can also select gears manually using two buttons on the left handlebar. You can do this with the bike in automatic or manual mode, although in manual mode I found myself constantly hitting the rev limiter due to the X-ADV's short rev range. It felt much more natural to keep the bike in automatic mode and prod the gear change buttons whenever I felt necessary.
The engine doesn't blow you away, but it offers brisk acceleration, even though the X-ADV weighs 238kg - 6kg more than the Africa Twin.
Despite the weight the scooter handles well with neutral, balanced handling characteristics making light work of fast cornering. In fact, the X-ADV was incredibly easy to ride through the tight and twisty mountain roads of Sardinia. Just sit back, get comfy and the X-ADV will go where you want it to - at no point do you have to wrestle it or put all your weight through a footboard to get it to turn. The tall stance of the X-ADV also meant there were no ground clearance issues, so you can really hustle through the corners.
But what about when you take it off-road? We only got a small taste of the X-ADV's off-road credentials, but it didn't feel out of place. As well as using the front brake calipers and handguards from the Africa Twin, the X-ADV also borrows the wide handlebars from it adventure cousin, and they provide plenty of leverage and are positioned nicely when you stand up on the accessory off-road pegs, which are situated behind the footboards.
The X-ADV is still a scooter, but thanks to the higher stance and Honda's DCT system it offers a dynamic and fun ride that other maxi-scooters can only dream of. It's engaging to ride and will handle light off-road work should you fancy it. The biggest stumbling block for me is the price. At £9,599 it's firmly in the territory of 'proper' adventure bikes such as the BMW F800GS and Suzuki V-Strom, although in reality Honda's X-ADV is a very different proposition to any adventure bike.
Engine: 745cc liquid-cooled 8V parallel twin
Power: 53bhp @ 6250rpm
Torque: 50ftlb @ 4750rpm
Fuel capacity: 13.1 litres
Frame: Steel diamond
Seat height: 820mm
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