Beating cross-town traffic with the big-wheeled Honda Vision 110.
Complaints that two-wheels aren’t as economical as four are typically the result of lazy comparisons between budget four-wheelers and high-performance motorcycles. It’s a flawed system that neglects a wide range of budget, commuter-oriented two-wheelers on the market.
One such commuter-oriented machine that’s at the top of the fuel efficiency game is the new Honda Vision 110. It’s designed to use a minimal amount of fuel while getting you around town quickly and efficiently on a budget. In fact, the Vision 110 is surely an ideal starting point for drivers looking to make the switch to two wheels. It offers exceptional value for money and you’re able to ride it after a day’s Compulsory Basic Training (CBT).
We got our hands on the new Honda Vision 110 scooter to put it through its paces and see how well it handles the daily commute.
My first impressions of this bike were undoubtedly positive. Sure, it’s not the most attractive scooter on the market, but it’s light, nimble and packed with everything you’d need to crack on with a daily commute in comfort. Like many of its ‘twist and go’ counterparts, the Honda Vision 100 is simple and fuss-free, just jump on, turn the key, squeeze the brakes, thumb the electric starter and you’re good to go. Don’t expect to hear much from the engine, because the wraparound leg shields and rear-mounted engine help to muffle the exhaust note, so just give the throttle a gentle twist to get moving.
Building on the success of the outgoing Honda Vision, the 2017 model is more compact, with narrow mirrors mounted on a streamlined body, with a lower seat height and ample legroom too, helping to encourage a relaxed riding position. I’m 6ft 1” and could get my feet flat on the floor with room to spare, and my relatively long pins and size 11 feet had no trouble tucking away behind its fairing. The seat has been redesigned to improve comfort – and opens to reveal 18 litres of under-seat storage, using a combination switch under the handlebars. There’s plenty of room to keep a pair of waterproofs and a full-face lid with room to spare. Passenger comfort has been considered too, with the rear footrests placed further forward and the grab rail redesigned from the previous model, providing a reassuring, confidence-inspiring hold.
On the road
The headline figure for the commuter-ready Vision 100 is its claimed fuel economy of 140mpg. Ok, so achieving this figure does demand restraint with the throttle, which isn’t always easy when you only have 108cc of air-cooled engine sitting beneath you. But, tearing around town and putting the little Vision through its paces, I still managed to achieve in excess of 120mpg. Its little 5.2 litre tank does mean you’ll need to refuel after about 150 miles, but rest assured, filling-up is unlikely to ever break the bank.
The Vision 110 is powered by a brand-new, 108cc fuel-injected, air-cooled eSP type engine, which has been engineered to meet current Euro 4 requirements. Top speed is around 55mph, and it feels stable at those speeds despite its skinny 16-inch rear and 14-inch front wheels – but most importantly the Vision pulls away quickly from a standstill, giving you the jump on most traffic at the lights. It’s light and nimble in corners, and its slim line profile allows it to easily weave through traffic with the lightest of touches. It also features an ‘Idling Stop’, which automatically stops the engine running after three seconds at idle, and re-starts instantly when you twist the throttle to go. I initially found the engine cutting out a little disconcerting, but you soon get used to it – and if you don’t, you can flick a switch on the handlebar and turn it off.
Braking-wise, the Vision 110 is equipped with a Combined Braking System (CBS). In short, that means that the right-hand lever operates the front and rear brakes in unison, and changes the front-to-rear braking balance according to how much you squeeze the lever. It’s a great system that’ll allow you to pull to a stop, with no hassle and little finesse.
Its lightweight tubular, underbone chassis helps to improve handling, while offering decent feedback – and its 35mm telescopic front forks and dual-damper unit swing-arm provide ample suspension. Ok, it’s by no means plush and stepping out beyond the city limits or tackling cobbled streets will push it to its limit – but it’s important to remember that this is a simple scooter created on a budget. Just jump on, turn the key, and ride.
Should I buy one?
In short – yes. If you’re in the market for a cheap, lightweight two-wheeled commuter, to help you beat the traffic, you could do a lot worse than the Honda Vision 110. And because it’s built by Honda, you can rest assured that it’s solid and reliable, will hold its value well, and is supported by an abundance of dealers right across the UK.
Here’s a scooter that’s neither expensive to buy or run on a long-term basis. Sure, its 108cc engine isn’t going to be breaking any land speed records, but it’s ideal for transporting you from one side of town to the other – and for its price, it’s hard to understand why so many people commute by car, train or bus. No car comes close to its fuel economy, you can sweep through backed-up traffic and parking is usually free. What’s stopping you?
Images: Gary Chapman
O2W RATING: 8 stars
ENGINE: 108cc air-cooled 4-stroke OHC single
SEAT HEIGHT: 770mm
FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 5.2 litres