The big, plush Honda Silver Wing scooter is your best bet if you plan to do a lot of freeway or long-distance riding, reviews say. It's more expensive than some similarly sized large scooters, but critics say its exceptional quality and advanced features (including optional antilock brakes) make the Honda Silver Wing worth the extra money.
Testers say the Silver Wing cruises easily at 90 mph, thanks to its 582 cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled two-cylinder engine and excellent continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The driver and passenger both ride in comfort, although the Honda Silver Wing's big underseat storage bin -- one tester fit two full-face helmets, two riding jackets, two pairs of gloves and a pack of gum -- still won't be roomy enough room to hold two riders' gear on a long-distance trip.
"If two adults intend to ride, it's doubtful they'd be able to take much more than their toothbrushes," says Andrew Meeson, who tests the Silver Wing for the Toronto Star by taking the scooter on a three-day road trip. He winds up carrying most of his luggage on his friend's Harley-Davidson.
Meeson also nearly winds up in a ditch when a high wind gust slams into his Silver Wing's big body panels. "The rogue gust couldn't go around all that plastic," he says. The heavier Harley-Davidson motorcycle, lacking any scooter-like fairing, "sailed right through." However, Meeson agrees with other reviewers that the Honda Silver Wing's bodywork is very effective in keeping normal winds from bothering the rider.
Some critics particularly like the Honda Silver Wing because it looks more like a big motorcycle than a scooter. But while some find it nimble in city traffic, others feel this scooter is too big and find it difficult to park. The weighty Honda Silver Wing would be difficult for a small rider to heft off of its center stand, one critic notes, and it guzzles more gas than smaller scooters (46 mpg in one test).
One of the Honda Silver Wing's competitors, the three-wheeled Piaggio MP3 500 (MSRP: $8,900) can hit 89 mph and deliver an estimated 55 to 57 mpg, but some buyers may not like its uncommon styling. The less powerful Vespa GTS 250 (MSRP: $6,000) gets up to 70 mpg, but testers say it's not powerful enough to handle long freeway trips.
We found lengthy, expert road tests of the Honda Silver Wing scooter at the Los Angeles Times, TheScooterReview.com and Wheels.ca, an automotive site sponsored by the Toronto Star. About.com's motorcycle-enthusiast tester is surprised to find himself enamored with the Silver Wing. Wired magazine's review is short but well-balanced. MotorcycleNews.com, a British site, tests the Honda Silver Wing and rates its various attributes (engine, equipment, etc).
Wheels.ca's Andrew Meeson tests the Honda Silver Wing scooter against a Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider motorcycle on a three-day road trip. He finds it comfortable and confident, but the Silver Wing comes up short on cargo space. A heavy wind gust nearly lands the Silver Wing in a ditch during the test.
Review: A Windy Intro to 2008 Honda Silver Wing Scooter, Andrew Meeson, Aug. 7, 2008
2. Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times motorcycle columnist Susan Carpenter recommends the Honda Silver Wing as an all-around scooter, agile enough in city traffic and confident at high speeds. She calls the cargo space "roomy" and reports 46 mpg overall fuel economy. Carpenter also recommends the Silver Wing's optional antilock brakes.
Review: Scooting Around the Gas Crunch, Susan Carpenter, May 21, 2008
TheScooterReview.com's Ketzal Sterling loves the Honda Silver Wing's engine/transmission combo and says it's a very comfortable cruiser. However, he says its heavy weight hurts fuel economy and can make the Silver Wing hard to get off its center stand.
Review: Honda Silver Wing, Ketzal Sterling, Mar. 20, 2008
About.com's guide to SUVs Jason Fogelson calls the Honda Silver Wing "one of the coolest scooters on the planet," and he finds very little to criticize while testing it with his wife as a passenger. Unlike some other reviewers, Fogelson says the Silver Wing has plenty of cargo space and it's agile in city traffic. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: A Full Review of Honda's Silver Wing Power Scooter, Jason Fogelson
5. Wired Magazine
The Honda Silver Wing earns six points (out of 10) in this short review. Wired's Nancy Miller agrees with other reviewers that the Honda Silver Wing is comfortable at high speeds, but she says it lacks cargo space and is too big for city use.
Review: Test: Freeway-Legal Scooters, Nancy Miller, Oct. 23, 2007
Editors at this U.K.-based website rate the Honda Silver Wing scooter in several categories (the U.S. model number is different, but the specs are the same). The Silver Wing gets its best scores for its equipment and "cavernous" storage space, but its high price tag hurts its score in the value category.
Review: Honda FSJ600 Silver Wing, Editors of MotorcycleNews.com