Launched at EICMA 2021, we got our first look at the all-new “brand new” scooter coming out of Japan as the envelopes were pulled. Promising the usual style, class and reliability of a scooter, but with the added flair of style and off-road capability, we had the chance to review the Honda ADV350.
While this is definitely a “new” scooter in that there is no previous generation in the ADV350 family, it absolutely has siblings it borrows some ideas from. Namely being the culmination of the Forza 300/350, X-ADV (which itself has sold 44,000 units since 2017) and ADV150 (for the Asian market) – naturally you can see where the ADV350 derives its name.
Touted as an all-terrain capable scooter, the ADV350 is a chance for local city dwellers to benefit from a meatier suspension, a stiffer frame and the promise of exploring beyond urban sprawl. .
Honda ADV350 Pricing and Availability
Available from dealers now, the adventure-scooter-lite is priced at £5,599 and decked out in a choice of ‘Spangle Silver Metallic’, ‘Mat Carnelian Red Metallic’ and ‘Mat Carbonium Gray Metallic’ (as you can see it in the pictures).
That price goes up if you include the heated grip kit (£220), a smart top case (£610) and other stuff (covers and backrests etc). In my mind none of the accessories are vital and you get a complete scooter for your money. Although you have standard knuckle guards, I appreciate a heated grip…so I’d go for that in a heartbeat. Personal preference.
Against its rivals it is reasonably priced – the Yamaha XMAX 300 costs £5,850, Suzuki Burgman £6,799. Even when pitted against its ‘local rivals’, the much larger X-ADV costs £10,949, and Forza 350 a little cheaper at £5,469.
Moving on to the engine, the ADV350 is powered by a liquid-cooled 330cc eSP+ single cylinder that you’ll also find in the Forza 350 and SH350i.
Power outputs are A2-compliant and user-friendly 29 hp @ 7500 rpm and 31.5 Nm / 23.2 lb-ft of torque. Torque delivery is smooth and instantaneous, with build power perfectly suited for getting around town. If you’re looking for a commuter who’ll spend time on freeways and such, it’ll be happy to sit smoothly at 70 mph for long stretches.
In fact, smooth is the perfect way to describe this motor—with its counterbalanced balance shaft, vibration is at a minimum when you fully depress the throttle and ask the belt-driven final drive all the questions.
A dedicated HSTC (1-2-off) button controls traction to the rear wheel, and power is sent to a CVT drive as opposed to the (heavier) DCT option as seen on the X-ADV. The CVT does the work here, allowing you to reach a top speed of around 90+ mph, if you need that pace.
Take that off-road power and you’ll find it capable of carving out lighter off-road trails – though, in all honesty, it was more fun getting to the back roads than riding on them. I’ll get to off-road capabilities in a moment.
Suspension and brakes
Due to its adventure namesake, the ADV350 has some impressive tools for off-road climbing—most noticeably the Showa suspension.
Stopping power is provided by Nissin calipers on a single 256mm disc up front and a 240mm disc in the rear, with 2-channel ABS that would kick in for chatter on sand and loose surfaces. The bite was light, but the brakes were still fresh and broken in—and toward the end of the test period, they worked well.
Up front sits an impressive 37mm USD moto-style Showa fork with 125mm of travel. Compared to the Forza 350, it’s a noticeable improvement, with the Forza sporting spiky little 33mm forks with 100mm of travel (I say spiky, it’ll do the bit of city riding with aplomb).
Moving rearward you have a Showa twin shock setup, triple rate springs with remote reservoir and 130mm of travel.
It’s all tied to a tubular steel frame with an aluminum swingarm, and the overall weight is around 186kg, all kept low on the scooter – which has 145mm of ground clearance.
Road feel is impressive for a scooter, stiff but somewhat firm response over standard road bumps in some environments – but still predictably in its defence. Mid-corner it’s dialed in, and despite my apparent denial, you can definitely take it off-road if there’s a local road you fancy trying.
Which brings us to…
It’ll do things off-road as well as a scooter ever could, and as Toad discovered on the X-ADV last year, it’s a surprisingly similar turning-hand experience to riding off-road scooter.
With a nice low grunt, moto suspension, wide bars and even block pattern tread on tubeless Metzeler Karoo Street hoops, you’re in a good place to hit some light trails.
Although personally, I can’t help but think you’re still on a scooter in foreign territory, mostly because of that riding position on a bumpy trail. If you were to drop it, 186kg is on the heavier side – but again, the weight is low. You can’t really stand up when you’re off-road because your feet would slip on the boards.
There’s a little lane near my house that’s a sandy rat race that the ADV350 eats up, so in a way you could say the extra gear unlocks all the roads. The delivery drivers would certainly do well!
For me it’s about understanding the limitations here – you’re not going to buy it as your only workaround machine for weekend rides – it’s still primarily an inter-city and city commuter with style more adventure.
Scooter Features and Style
That brings me nicely to the features of the scooter. As a road scooter it performs very well.
With LED lights all around, visibility and road presence ensure you are seen and able to see. Sitting in the 795mm seat – even for a taller rider like me it was comfortable – and it’s narrow in the middle so you can easily reach the ground. Turning hard my knees hit the bars, but that’s nothing a bit of a dangling leg won’t fix (besides, I’m tall).
The screen adjusts to four positions totaling 133mm of adjustment – in the up position it blocks the majority of gusts well, and when you stoop down for cover you’ll see a nice, easy to read LCD screen – which you can connect your phone if you would like to.
You’ll also see a neatly laid out electrical switchgear with all the rider buttons on the left side and a keyless ignition dial in the center. On the keyless system, it’s simple and proves just how perfect keyless ignition can be when done right.
But the best, for me, is the storage. 48 liters of underseat storage is enough for two lids, or plenty of cargo with a divider plate to separate two slots. On the left side of the front cover, you’ll find a 2.5-liter “secret” storage space with a USB-C socket for charging a device.
In terms of fuel economy and range, the 11.7-liter tank is frugal and good for around 200+ miles, with an indicated 66 MPG displayed. Officially, Honda says 211 miles, which might be pretty realistic if you ride normally. When you park, you have the choice between a kickstand and a center stand.
You’ll have plenty of room for a passenger with grab handles and a nice flat seat for them to grab onto. Bonus suspension travel is factored in here as well, giving you a bit more travel when riding two. No, I’m not commenting on your passenger’s weight.
like don’t like
To sum it up, I really like the build quality and styling of the ADV350 – mainly because of the adventure additions which introduce some light dodging capability, it’s incredibly fun to ride on B-roads, and the huge storage space is always handy.
At times the suspension felt a bit too firm for a scooter that will likely spend most of its time on the roads. Some may say it’s a little too heavy for an off-road scooter, and the UK market may not fully appreciate it for what it can do.
Scooter riders looking for a machine that will do the commute, provide a bit of B-road fun and provide trail riding will be extremely pleased with what the Honda ADV350 has to offer.
Boasting motorcycle suspension, a proven 330cc engine and sleek charm, this scooter truly impresses as a do-it-all machine.
Although there is a fork on the proverbial road, the winding B-road or the circuitous path, I would always choose the winding road. The AD350 won’t be the best tool for a weekend of detour hunting, and while that’s not quite the end goal, it does make “adventure bias” a bit of a USP. marketing over a functional adventure scooter.
In my mind, Honda allowed the X-ADV to pioneer a new motorcycle segment by merging two distinctly different areas of riding—adventure bikes and scooters. With the big brother achieving incredible sales figures in Europe, the ADV350 inevitably had to be introduced to provide an option for those who want the ease of riding a 125cc, but with the greater capacity and trickery that a midweight brings. light.
It resists the first impressions I had when finishing my first outing. Ultimately, it’s great fun, while still retaining the sensibility of a commuter scooter – and with that bit of flair of the adventure segment.
Thanks again to Honda, go to their website for more specifications and offers.