700 miles by scooter

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HONDA’s new Silver Wing is as happy touring two-up as it is dealing with the brake, swerve, squirt of urban riding in Europe’s busiest cities.

The engine is new. It’s a four-stroke parallel twin with dual primary balancers for minimum vibration, with an automatic transmission.

Just twist the throttle and the Wing surges smoothly forward. But when nailed from the lights, the take-up of the fuel-injected engine is rapid and seamless. It’s only when you’re attempting very slow-speed, feet-up manoeuvres that require gentle throttle control that there’s a disconcerting hesitation as the auto clutch releases.

Our ride back from Northern Spain took in Paris. Trying to exit the barely regulated chaos that is the French capital from dead centre to Peripherique at rush hour is the ultimate urban test.

The Wing is fat. It also has a wheelbase that’s longer than a BMW R1150GS and comes complete with a weight of 204kg (448lb). So it’s hardly surprising the Honda can’t keep up with smaller, more traditional scooters when filtering through heavy traffic.

But the Wing has a great steering lock, good balance and the linked single front and rear disc brakes are good and sharp.

Other everyday commuter tasks like the kerb mount and helmet swallow are completed with ease.

The Wing’s legshields will also keep the slickest of city slicker’s shoes and trousers dry in a shower.

Honda describe it as a Gran Tourismo scooter. It will cruise at an indicated 100mph without complaint. The screen is set low for maximum visibility, and at 70mph the rider is well protected from wind blast. Above that speed the buffeting starts.

But when travelling solo you can adopt a bizarre reclining posture that lowers your head below the top of the screen.

With your feet high and pushed forward on the hard, unpainted, plastic floorboards, you’ve got to stick your backside on the very front of the huge, comfortable seat and lie back. It’s surprisingly comfy though.

The 41mm front forks work well with the adjustable twin rear shocks to offer a decent ride.

The power of the engine encourages you to go faster. But when you do, the handling characteristics change from mild-mannered.

Rounding a sweeping corner at 70, I hit a gentle dip in the road. The suspension compresses and the bike goes into a scary weave. Which is slightly worrying as the Wing is aimed at car drivers – in other words, novices on bikes.

The list price is £5895.

Check New Bikes Direct (see the link at the top of the page) for great deals on all kinds of scooters.

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff