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2016 Honda SH300i ABS: One more we won’t be getting

October 16, 2015
2016 Honda SH300i

Honda’s SH300i is one of Europe’s best-selling scooters. Too bad we in the U.S. can’t have it… (Honda photo)

I’m still bit disoriented… EICMA opens in Milan in about a month. But Honda’s Euro-market 2016 SH300i has already gone on sale.

Remember the SH150i? Back in — wow — 2010 Honda introduced its European best-selling scooter to the U.S. market. (If you don’t remember, you can read my review right here.)

At the time, Honda said it was going to get serious about the U.S. scooter market, and back up the SH’s introduction with serious marketing resources. While pricey, the Italian-made SH was still competitive with the Vespa LX 150.

None of the promised marketing actually happened, and at the end of MY 2010 so many SH150is remained in dealer inventories that 2011 models were not imported. Nor were 2012s. And so on…

I heard from three people who bought SH150is based on the aforementioned review (aw, shucks), and even today I would tell you if you can find one used, or even new, buy it.

Had the SH150i found success in the U.S. market other variants would surely have followed. The SH300i would’ve seemed a natural in a market where bigger (as in more cubic centimeters) is almost always assumed to be better.

Unfortunately, in the U.S. of A., Honda’s interest in 2-wheelers seems to begin with sportbikes and end with Gold Wings. Why the idea that Millenials who can’t afford Civics could probably find the money for a good scooter hasn’t taken hold in Torrance, I’ll never know.

The 2016 version features a slightly longer wheelbase and more upright riding position than the 2015 model. Two-channel ABS is standard, as are a full compliment of LEDs and keyless starting.

Scooters in the 300 and larger market segments are popular in Italy, for all the reasons you’d expect — sky-high gasoline prices, expensive registration fees and taxes on cars, and difficult parking in cities platted by ancient Romans.

A scooter like the SH300i would be a very credible replacement for a car. It’s fast enough to ride on any road, has room for two and boasts nearly unlimited potential cargo capacity with various cases and bungee cords.

Americans would probably go for the SH300i. If they knew about it. And if Honda decided to sell it to them.

The details

MSRP: €5,140 (Italy)
Built in: Italy
Construction: Tubular steel frame with attached body panels
Wet weight:  373 lbs (169 kg)
Length: 83.9 in (2131 mm)
Width: 28.6 in (728 mm)
Wheelbase: 56.6 in (1438 mm)
Seat height: 31.7 in (805 mm)
Front susp: Telescopic fork
Rear susp: Rear swingarm with twin telescopic dampers
Front brake: 10.07 in (256 mm) single hydraulic disc with 2-channel ABS
Rear brake: 10.07 in (256 mm) single hydraulic disc with 2-channel ABS
Front tire: 110/70-16
Rear tire: 130/70-16
Engine: 279cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke SOHC 4-valve w/EFI and electronic ignition
Transmission:  CVT with centrifugal dry clutch
Power/torque: 25.2 hp (18.8 kW) @ 7500 rpm/16.4 lb-ft (25.5 Nm) @ 5000 rpm
  1. gburbank permalink
    October 17, 2015 5:58 am

    Yep, I’d buy one. Especially if it retained it’s honda durability. Sadly, like the scomadi 300, Italjet Dragster 180, Peugeot Jetforce Kompressor 125, and many other fantastic european models, we can only read about this one. It looks like a direct competitor for other large-wheeled scoots like the BV350 and aprilia scarabeo

  2. October 17, 2015 10:16 am

    Honda has always left American scooterists out in the cold, so what else is new? I am looking at the Yamaha S Max for next year or maybe a Honda PCX150.

    It would be nice to have lots of choices like overseas, but it’s not going to happen I don’t think.

    Most of the “younger generation” are not even leaving the house, so I don’t look for them to get out in the wind and the rain on a scooter. Heaven forbid! They will call Uber instead.

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