Honda’s Africa Twin is one of the best reasonably-priced ADV motorcycles on sale today. But off-roading on 2 wheels isn’t only limited to motorcycles. With the right gear, scooters, even vintage Vespas, can hit the dirt, too. And the new-to-the-US Honda ADV150 claims to channel some of the Africa Twin’s off-pavement spirit. But does it really?
2021 Honda ADV150 specs and features
Powertrain-wise, the 2021 Honda ADV150 is very different from the Africa Twin. The motorcycle has a 1084cc two-cylinder engine, rated at 102 hp and 77 lb-ft. And while a DCT is available, the Africa Twin comes standard with a 6-speed manual.
In contrast, the Honda ADV150 has a 149cc single-cylinder engine, RideApart reports, rated at 14 hp and 10 lb-ft internationally. And instead of a DCT or a manual, it has a belt-driven automatic, Motorcyclist reports. It’s not unlike a CVT, Rider explains.
While the Africa Twin has front and rear disc brakes, the ADV150 only has a front disc, Cycle World reports. However, while the manual motorcycle weighs 501 pounds, CW reports, the scooter only weighs 294 pounds. Also, the ADV150’s engine features a kind of start-stop system. When it idles for more than 3 seconds, it automatically turns off to conserve fuel. An AC generator starts it back up when you twist the throttle.
Unlike the Africa Twin, the Honda ADV150 only has ABS on its front brake, and it can’t be turned off or adjusted. But the scooter does have several other useful features. On the off-road front, it has 6.5” of ground clearance, and its Showa suspension has roughly 5” of travel.
The pavement-relevant features list is admittedly a bit longer. The ADV150 comes with both a center-stand and a side-stand to facilitate parking. There’s also weather-proof under-seat storage, as well as a weather-proof front compartment with a 12V USB outlet. Plus, the scooter offers a manually-adjustable 2-position windshield, LED lights, and keyless ignition. And the digital display contains the speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, odometer, trip meter, temperature gauge, gas mileage, and warning lights.
Can the Honda ADV150 actually go off-road?
As the ground clearance and suspension travel signify, the Honda ADV150 isn’t exactly a dual-sport or an ADV, Ultimate Motorcycling reports. Instead, it’s designed primarily as an urban commuter. That’s why the under-seat storage space can hold a full-face helmet.
In that regard, there’s a lot to like about the ADV150. Yes, acceleration isn’t up to the Africa Twin’s level of performance. But it’s more than enough to keep up with stop-and-go traffic, CW reports. And with the automatic transmission, you just twist the throttle and go. The windshield does an excellent job of deflecting wind, and there’s enough room on the floorboards to stretch out a bit. Or even stand up.
Standing up is especially useful for off-roading. No, the Honda ADV150 won’t scramble over rocks or take on Baja. But it can tackle the occasional gravel road. The large tires do provide a fair bit of traction on dirt and sand, CW reports. However, while the non-adjustable suspension is fairly well-dampened, you’ll still feel larger bumps through the seat, Motorcyclist reports. And the digital display can be hard to read.
Pricing, availability, and the competition
As of this writing, the 2021 Honda ADV150 should be hitting dealers. The scooter starts at $4299, which is $300 more than the Monkey and $550 more than the Super Cub. However, because it is a scooter and not a moped, you’ll still need a specific license to ride it.
For about $400 more, you can get a Royal Enfield Himalayan. Not only is it a motorcycle, with a 411cc single-cylinder engine, but it’s an adventure bike. This means it has skid plates, crash bars, as well as roughly 2” more suspension travel and 3” more ground clearance. But it’s also heavier, taller, and has a 6-speed manual. That last part is especially problematic for newer riders, who may not have manual experience.
There are a few automatic motorcycles and scooters available, such as the Kuberg Ranger and Cake’s electric lineup. But they’re all significantly more expensive. Even the entry-level Cake Oska costs $2200 more than the Honda ADV150.
However, there’s also the Honda C125 Hunter Cub. It uses the same 125cc single-cylinder engine as the Grom, Monkey, and Super Cub. And though it has a 4-speed manual, it comes with a centrifugal clutch. Meaning you don’t have to operate a hand-clutch to ride it. Unfortunately, as of this writing, the Hunter Cub has not been confirmed for US release, RideAparts reports, though it is being sold outside of Japan.
Overall, the Honda ADV150 isn’t really the Africa Twin in scooter form—at least not in terms of ultimate ability. But it can venture further off the pavement than many owners will likely go.
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