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Honda Elite 110 Scooter Review

The Honda Elite 110 scooter is a perfect machine to demonstrate two points I'd like to make: there needs to be a licensing class between "moped" and "motorcycle", and high quality products can come out of mainland China.

Honda Elite 80 to Honda Elite 110Like the Honda Elite 80 before it, the new Honda Elite 110 is in a not-very-common-in-the-USA class of engine size. Most scooter manufacturers go from 50cc to 125cc with nothing in between. In other countries, 100cc sizes are much more common. There are those who claim that the Elite 80 came about to match the power of the 50cc 2-stroke scooters back in the day. The Elite 80 is a 4-stroke, as is the new Elite 110. If there were a class of vehicle "above" a moped, but "below" a motorcycle that had the parking advantages of a moped and maybe still required an endorsement of some kind (like a motorcycle), we would see increased use of "scooters" as urban transportation. That's it. I promise not to dive into the topic of a Minnesota "scooter" license here, but the Honda Elite 110 is a great example of what should fill that area between mopeds and motorcycles in Minnesota's vehicle licensing.

My second point with this Elite is that it clearly demonstrates that very good quality products can come out of mainland China. The Honda Elite 110 is manufactured in Honda's plant in Guanzou China. In fact, Elites have historically been made outside of Japan. Until the mid 1990s, all Honda Elites were manufactured by Kymco of Taiwan. The US market has been deluged for years with very low quality scooters out of mainland China. Today's intelligent scooter buyer looks askance (with good reason) at mainland China scooters. The Honda Elite 110 is one example of a fine machine coming out of China. This certainly doesn't mean that all scooters now being made in China are of excellent quality. It just means that it can be done.

The Honda Elite 110 is powered by a 108cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, single overhead cam motor. A CVT (Continually Variable Transmission) transfers power to the rear wheel. Honda Elite 110 Scooter Front and Rear WheelsThe front suspension is a conventional hydraulic fork while the rear is a swingarm with a single shock. The front tire is a 90/90 12 inch and the rear is a 100/90 10 inch. A single disc brake up front is actuated by a dual piston caliper and a 130mm drum brake slows things down in the rear. The brakes are linked. The starboard lever operates the front brake only (standard for most scooters), but the port lever operates BOTH the rear and front brakes together. Wheel base is 50.2 inches, seat height is a shade over 29 inches and "wet" weight (including fuel) is 254 pounds. The Elite 110 holds 1.6 gallons of fuel. The Honda Elite 110 has a MSRP of $2,999, but every dealer I spoke with had this discounted by at least $200 and in one case $500. 

Standard procedure during our reviews is to do some GPS testing. Most of the time, scooter and motorcycle speedometers read optimistic, frequently by at least 10%. That is to say that when the speedometer indicates 40 MPH the actual speed is something like 36 MPH. Our GPS tests of the Honda Elite 110 found it to be more accurate than the norm. I would say more like 3% - 5% optimistic. The odometer was spot on. The top speed I got out of the Elite was an actual 52 MPH. Keep in mind that I'm about 220 pounds. My wife Beverly also spent some time on the Elite and she did not have the GPS attached, but I suspect she coaxed an additional mile or two per hour out of it. During 80 miles of mixed riding (different riders, different roads and conditions) fuel economy was 91 miles per gallon. I consider that to be excellent. Honda advertises up to 107 MPG which I suppose would be possible under ideal conditions with a light rider and sticking to a 30 MPH top speed.

The best word I can think of to sum up riding the Honda Elite 110 is "smooth". ToHonda Elite 110 Scooter Dash fire it up, turn the key to the on position, wait for the fuel pump to charge (a dash light goes out when ready), hold the port brake lever and press the starter button on the starboard side controls. You're running. You're also idling smoothly. Fuel injection rocks. No more Honda-cold-blooded fiddling with a choke lever and feathering the throttle at stops for the first several miles of riding. Just twist the starboard grip and you're rolling. Acceleration is decent and (here's that word again) smooth right up to the top speed. No flat spots. Braking is (you guessed it) smooth and the Honda linked system works just fine. The ride is fairly soft and (getting bored yet?) smooth. Even though it was HOT outside while riding for this review, the liquid cooling kept the engine in it's happy place and running very (yawn) smoothly.

Honda Elite 110 Scooter Fuel Door Passenger PegsIn comparison with some other scooters, I found the ride on the Elite 110 to be overly soft. On the plus side, it absorbed some rough road features that other scooters would pass right through to the rider. On the minus side, handling was not as precise as I like. The ergonomics of the Elite are interesting. With a 12 inch front tire, getting the seat height down to 29 inches means that leg room suffers. Not much of a concern for me with a 30 inch inseam, but the longer-legged amongst us might not be comfortable on this scooter. The seat is LARGE and soft, maybe just a touch too soft. It was easy to accommodate two riders. Under the seat is MASSIVE storage space. There is also a nice rear rack standard on the Elite as well as a small glove box. The petrol fill is located on the floorboard under a door. The dash is easy to read in any light and includes a speedometer biased to miles. There's a temperature gauge and fuel gauge flanking the speedometer. Above are turn signalHonda Elite 110 Scooter Anti-Theft indicators, a high beam indicator and engine light. All the controls were easy to operate.

The Elite is equipped with an anti-theft devise integrated into the main switch. There is a metal "door" that engages to help prevent a thief "punching out" the ignition switch. The seat is opened from this switch by putting it between the "off" and "on" position and pushing in. There is also a front end lock engaged by turning anticlockwise.

Honda Elite 110 Scooter Storage  

Beverly Harrington Honda Elite 110 ScooterMy wife Bev also road the scooter and had this to say:

The look is clean. Fantastic paint. Comfortable seat and more-than-enough room for two. Underneath the long seat? Tons of storage space! With an additional piece of luggage on the back, you could carry a large amount for a day of running errands, going to work, or just romping around. The mirrors are wide and easily adjustable. The grips are a perfect size and perfectly positioned. The dash is neat and legible. The turn signal switch took some getting use to; when turning the signals off I found I had just pushed the switch to the "other" signal instead of off. No worries, the turning signal warning sound is loud enough to keep a person from forgetting they are on.

I had never ridden a fuel injected scooter and the start-up was interesting: wait for a light to turn off and THEN press the starter button. No throttle tweaking required.

David and I were both riding "review" scooters the day I rode the Honda Elite. I was riding a 50cc and David was on the Elite. We swapped and I hopped on the Elite. David was leading (on the 50cc) and I had to quickly adjust my start-out speed to stay behind. Once we were rolling, I saw more of the benefits of fuel injection - smooth acceleration and running. The handling was very nice. I felt completely in control. The braking was excellent - even in quick stops I felt very much in control and was able to bring the scooter to a stop with no drama.

Honda Elite 110 Scooter 3 Views

The Honda Elite 110 scooter has excellent fit and finish (typical for a Honda) and is a wonderfully utilitarian machine for urban riding. It may not be as much fun to ride as oh, say, a Genuine Buddy, but it has more storage space, a liquid-cooled engine and larger ergonomics. Now if we could just get that "scooter" classification for bike rack parking in Minnesota...

David Harrington


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