Scoot for all seasons
While we had it, it’s key was the most fought over
The name is a reference to the Big Daddy of all the Hondas, the flagship of the fleet, the 1800cc GoldWing. The nose looks a little like Big Daddy’s, too. Honda has been keen to “extend the franchise” and market a smaller version called, reasonably enough, the Silver Wing.
Honda did it the first time with a fully faired and luggage-equipped version of the CX500, a bike that was already underpowered before it was loaded up with all the touring gear. The result was kind of cute, but should have been called the Leadwing. It must have taken a bit of courage (or simple ignorance of past mistakes) to resurrect the name. Fortunately, the original 600 scooter and now this smaller version come a lot closer to living up to the legend.
Powered by a liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC parallel twin engine that drives through a V-Matic automatic belt drive transmission, the Wing offers linear delivery of power and enjoyable engine response. There’s plenty of power, even on the freeway. The aerodynamic styling encloses spacious accommodation for rider and pillion with good wind protection and a broad, comfortable dual seat. Flipping out the pillion footpegs does make the Silver Wing a little wider, something you’d do well to keep in mind in tight traffic.
The Silver Wing has been designed with a low centre of gravity, making it easy to control. Its suspension copes pretty well with the worst that Australian roads can throw at it. Our Silver Wing was equipped with Combined-ABS braking, which I highly recommend both for convenience and safety.
Thanks to 55 litres of under-seat storage it can easily carry enough for a weekend away for two. Mine had a very neat top box with an aerodynamic bubble reminiscent of a classic sports car. Unfortunately the box wasn’t tall enough to hold a full face helmet, but it did accommodate my Italian Momo open face – the stylish choice for scootering anyway. Full-face helmets will fit under the seat.
The scooter is ecologically pretty sound, too, with a HECS3 oxygen-sensing catalytic converter system that meets the EURO-3 standard. All in all this is a terrific proposition as a two-up travelling scooter that is at home on the freeway as on twisty back roads.
A couple of people did give the Silver Wing a run in the country but I had a lot of lugging stuff around to do and that was no problem at all.
When I had to park the Silver Wing I was grateful for the handbrake, which meant I didn’t have to worry about the lay of the land. It was also easy to just sling my helmet into the topbox or, if that was full, under the seat.
I could slip it in just about anywhere between parked cars – quite legally. I could also sneak through stationary traffic – not quite legally, I guess, but let’s face it, the ability to do that is one reason why people buy bikes and scooters in the first place.
Now who’s taken the key this time?
Model: Honda Silver Wing 400
Price: $10,990 (plus on-road charges)
Warranty: Two years, unlimited distance
Power: 26.4kW @ 8000rpm
Torque: 37Nm @ 6500rpm
Engine: Liquid-cooled parallel twin, four stroke, four valves per cylinder DOHC, fuel injection and digital ignition
Bore x stroke: 64 x 62mm
Transmission: V-matic automatic
Suspension: Front, 41mm telescopic fork. Rear, twin shocks, preload adjustable.
Dimensions: Seat height 740mm, weight 250kg (kerb), fuel capacity 16 litres, wheelbase 1600mm
Tyres: Front, 120/80 14. Rear, 150/70 13
Brakes: Front, single 276 mm disc with three-piston caliper. Rear, single 240mm disc with two-piston caliper. Combined braking, ABS
Colours: Silver, black
Verdict: It’s got the lot