As a smaller yet capable maxi-scooter, the Forza competes with only a few other modern scooters in blending touring comforts with miserly fuel mileage.
Fast yet miserly
A bit heavy
HONDA FORZA (NSS300)
The Forza – meaning strength and forcefulness in Italian – made its debut for 2014 as Honda’s first maxi scooter introduced to North America in over a decade. It lasted 3 years on the market (2014 – 2016) before being omitted from Honda’s 2017 lineup in the USA and Canada.
While both the scooter and nameplate are new, this models lineage does have a history in North America. From 2001 to 2007, the first generation of the Forza (NSS250) was sold in the USA and Canada under the Reflex name. After sitting out the second and third generations, North America is again being offered Honda’s NSS model, but this time around Honda is sticking with the Asian name and the model code has evolved to NSS300 due to the extra 30cc. Despite the shared lineage, this new Forza has little in common with the Reflex of old. The third generation Forza is an entirely new and superior machine from the frame to the high tech motor.
The heart of the Forza is a 279cc 4-stroke, liquid cooled single cylinder engine. This motor boasts fuel injection and a 4-valve design, both of which were absent on the Reflex. Another nice technological touch is the addition of roller rocker arms, which reduce drag and wear on the valve/camshaft system. The result of these refinements and the extra 30cc is a nearly 30% horsepower increase from 19 HP to 24.5 HP. Torque is also nicely topped up from 15.2 ft-lbs up to 19 ft-lbs.
While the Reflex topped out between 70-80mph, the Forza can exceed the 90mph (145km/hr) top speed of the third generation NSS250 and maxes out close to 95 mph in favourable conditions. Accordingly, this machine is entirely at home even on the highway. Windy days or the extra drag of a passenger won’t prevent the Forza from flowing with traffic or even passing at will.
Even with the increased power output, Honda has also found a way to squeeze out more fuel mileage with their new motor. Honda is claiming 68 mpg (USA) (or 3.2 L / 100km in Canada) for the Forza, which equates a 2 mpg improvement over the Reflex. Currently this motor is quite new and hasn’t found it’s way into many other Honda products, but it is also being used in Honda’s European market SH300i and we’ll likely see it being added to Honda’s other 250 models as updates are made.
Design and Amenities
After nearly three decades of designing maxi-scooters, Honda’s knows how to pack a scooter full of valuable storage, comfort and convenience touches. In terms of storage, the Forza boasts sufficient room for dual full face helmets under the seat plus a pair of smaller storage compartments up front. The front left nook is lockable and contains a 12V accessory socket, making it a handy spot to charge a phone. The right cubby is for quicker access to your non-valuables.
Driver comfort is centered around a long and low seat, which measures just 28.2” from the asphalt. The seat has a large integrated backrest for the driver, while also moving the passenger seat up high enough that it’s not a great spot for long distance touring. This driver centered machine offers impressive wind protection with its broad front fascia and integrated windscreen.
Instrumentation in the Forza is comprehensive, with four analog gauges surrounding a central LCD screen. In addition to fuel, velocity and engine RPM, this array also displays time, temperature and multiple trip odometers.
As a smaller yet capable maxi-scooter, the Forza competes with only a few other modern scooters in blending touring comforts with miserly fuel mileage. The most direct competition to the Forza is Kymco’s Downtown 300i, which targets the same growing niche. These two machines perhaps represent the future of maxi-scooters, as the comforts of bigger machines trickle down into more fuel efficient yet still capable scooters. Comparatively, the Downtown 300i is the more powerful machine (29 hp vs. 24.5 hp) but that is also reflected in the fuel mileage (~55mpg vs. 68mpg) so you’ll have to choose your trade off.
Both machines share an impressive list of technological palmarès including fuel injection and 4-valves. The Forza takes the technology a step further with ABS (standard in Canada, optional in the USA). The American market non-ABS Forza sells for $5599 or $6099 with ABS, while the Canadian Forza lists for $6399.
Besides the Downtown 300i, Piaggio’s BV300, Suzuki’s Burgman 200 and Aprilia’s Sport City Cube 250/300 also compete in this space. While similar in displacement and price, the BV300 and Sport City Cube are less touring oriented designs and don’t have the same maxi-scooter silhouette. The closest other scooters that do embody the maxi-scooter idea are Yamaha’s Majesty 400 and Suzuki’s Burgman 400.