The Honda Reflex Scooter – Can’t Live Without It

I cannot live without my Honda Reflex NSS250 (http://powersports.honda.com/scooters). This lightweight scooter can carry an adult, belongings, and even a second adult at comfortable highway speeds and get 60 miles to the gallon. This trouble-free motorbike does not require special attention or excessive maintenance. Honda wraps all of this fun in a sleek 375-pound package. The price of $5500.00 for the base model makes this scooter more expensive than many 250 cc motorbikes.

Honda has sold millions of scooters over the past fifty years. Honda has sold over 50 million copies of their Super Cub model. The Super Cub is a design from the fifties that remains in production today. It should be no surprise that Honda knows how to design and build a high quality scooter.

Owners may disagree about which feature draws them to the Reflex. Some appreciate the lightweight of this plastic clad scooter. Most bikes capable of highway speeds weigh much more. The smallest Harley Davidson, the Sportster, weighs nearly 500 pounds. A heavy bike may feel stable on the highway, but maneuvering that bike in a parking lot is often difficult for smaller riders. Many people are not able to lift their own bike if they drop it.

Some scooterists own more than one motorbike. Their classic scooter may be a vintage Vespa or Lambretta. They may own a modern classic style scooter like a Bajaj or a Stella. Their other bike may be a larger motorcycle. They use the scooter for short commutes or for fun. The larger bike is for longer trips. Most Reflex owners use their scooter for long and short trips. The author regularly takes his Honda on highway rides that take over an hour round trip, and has ridden comfortably over 200 miles in one day. Unmodified Honda Reflex scooters have completed both the Four Corners Tour (www.usa4corners.org) and the Iron Butt Rally (www.ironbuttrally.com). These ultra long distance rallies require reliable, highway capable rides.

Honda designed the Reflex to be aerodynamic. The cladding directs the wind in a way that stabilizes the bike at high speeds. This bike feels more stable at 70 miles per hour than some bikes feel at 40. Crosswinds that buffet bikes with larger wheels do not appear to affect the Reflex with its 12 and 13-inch wheels as strongly. The clean, aerodynamic styling looks very European, almost like a sport bike.

The riding position of scooters is usually upright. The Reflex allows its rider to recline slightly. The riding position and comfortable saddle allows the rider to enjoy long highway treks. The adjustable suspension allows the bike to accommodate both rider weight and preference. The low seat height gives the Reflex a low center of gravity.

The small wheels of a scooter are both an advantage and a disadvantage. Potholes that might not affect a large motorbike might damage a scooter. Smaller tires allow scooters a smaller turning radius than large motorcycles. Like many scooters, the Reflex is very nimble around curves.

Another factor that is a convenience for distance riding is the combination of the high gas mileage, around 60 mpg, and the large 3.2-gallon gas tank allow the rider to travel 180 miles between stops.

People buy Honda products expecting reliability. The Reflex will not disappoint. In 11,000 miles, my Reflex has had oil changes every 3000 to 4000 miles, a new set of tires, a new battery, and a new set of brake pads. Are all motor bikes that dependable?

The only disadvantage of the Honda Reflex is its price of $5,500.00 for the base model. Compare this to Honda’s 250 cc motorcycle, the Rebel’s, price of $3,100. Yamaha’s 250 cc Morphos scooter costs about $300.00 less than the Reflex. Conversely, the new Vespa GTS 250 retails for around $6200.00. Used, low mileage, Honda Reflexes is available for much less. Do not be afraid of buying a used Reflex. These reliable bikes will last a long time with normal maintenance.

Most modern scooters have some built-in luggage space. The Reflex has a trunk under its seat that will hold a full helmet and anything that will fit inside the helmet, and a glove compartment that is big enough to carry sunglasses, a cell phone, a pda and a wallet. The cast aluminum wing is a handy anchor for a cargo net. Riders may easily lash large boxes to the back their Reflex when necessary.

The Honda Reflex Owners Group is on Yahoo. Members are expert on maintenance and upgrades. One owner, Bruce Koehler, designed the most effective upgrade. Koehlerizing a Reflex involves removing roller weights from the variator, a part of the automatic transmission. The lighter variator allows the engine to rev faster at lower speeds. The faster revving engine provides much faster acceleration. Most Owners Group members make this modification themselves with no expense. The author paid the award winning mechanics of Xtreme Moto Design of Wakefield, Ma. (http://www.xtrememotodesign.net) a very small sum to Koehlerize my Reflex. The procedure took them about an hour.

The bottom line is that the Honda Reflex will not disappoint its rider. The quality, appearance, comfort, convenience, and economy of the Reflex will last longer than the sting of paying for it.

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