It’s not the best maxi choice for two up riding or for owners who enjoy spirited interstate romps, but it’s a capable touring machine for riders with reasonable expectations.
ABS (optional) and rear disc brake
Light for a 250cc (375 lbs)
Less comfortable than the Helix
HONDA REFLEX (NSS 250)
The Reflex was introduced for 2001 and was sold by Honda until 2007 in the USA and Canada. It was designed to replace Honda’s long running and landmark scooter, the Helix. As things would turn out, Helix fans worldwide clamored for the return of that popular scooter, so Honda USA ended up selling them both side by side until 2007.
The Reflex remained basically unchanged over its seven year run. Honda did improve the alternator for 2004 to provide more power to run accessories.
Internationally the NSS 250 was usually sold as the Forza and Jazz 250, although they have sold a few generations/versions so be careful when buying parts. The Jazz name is particularly tricky as Honda has also sold a car under this name and other scooters (CHF50 in Canada)
The Reflex initially sold in two versions; regular (NSS250) and ABS (NSS250A). The Reflex was the first scooter sold in North America to offer ABS, so it was a big deal back in 2001.
For 2004, Honda added a ‘Sport’ version of the Reflex, dubbed the NSS250S. The Reflex Sport was also available with ABS (code: NSS250SA) so in total there were four different versions of the Reflex. The Sport added black rims, a shorter windscreen, passenger backrest and a few chrome bits (grab rail, handlebars, side stand and bar ends).
California versions differed slightly from the regular Reflex as extra emissions controls were added.
The Reflex offered a respectable top speed of 75-80mph, which was quite fast for a 250cc scooter and made the Reflex well suited for even highway travel. Unlike bigger maxi scooters, the Reflex retains most of the excellent fuel consumption you find in small to mid sized scooters, so you’ll typically achieve around 65mpg in mixed driving.
The Reflex motor is a nice reliable liquid cooled design. It’s not a technological leader (ie. no fuel injection or 4-valves) but it’s a rugged engine that is low stressed for a long engine life. The power output (19hp) is much lower than a 250cc dirt bike, but it’s also going to last much longer because of this.
On the downside, the Reflex has a fairly pronounced acceleration dead spot from 25-40mph. This is caused by the CVT upshifting a bit too ambitiously, so the remedy is simply to swap in lighter weights or remove half of the weights from the variator. The latter approach is called the K-mod and can easily fix this dead spot. The Reflex variator actually uses three heavier weights (31g each) on long ramps and three lighter weights (21g) on short ramps, so the three lighter ones are the ones you want to remove. You can also swap in a Big Ruckus variator which is a bit different design (all the ramps are the same length). This variator plus 15-17g weights gives you a nice power profile although any removal of weight in the variator can have a small but adverse affect to your top speed.
The Big Ruckus (PS250) sold by Honda from 2005-2006 also shared this motor with the Reflex, so if you are looking for engine parts you can also use Big Ruckus bits.
Design and Amenities
The Reflex is designed for the open road, so riders enjoy a nice package of convenience features. The underseat storage area is cavernous with room for two helmets and even has a light. There’s also a nicely sized glovebox that includes drink holders in the door and a smaller cubby hole nearby.
The 2001 Honda Reflex holds the distinction of being the first scooter to ever offer ABS brakes. These brakes were optional every year for the Reflex and they improved upon the already solid performance of the standard front and rear disc brakes. The parking brake is cleverly done on the Reflex, with a neat and satisfying little pull handle to engage it.
The Reflex gauges provide a nice assortment of pertinent information. There are four analog gauges for your speed, tachometer, coolant temperature and fuel. There’s also a small LCD screen that provides the time, odometer and trip odometer. It’s not quite the video game display you’ll find on the Aprilia Atlantic 500, but it’s more than adequate.
The suspension on the Reflex isn’t outstanding, but it does a reasonable job. The rear suspension uses dual shocks and the preload is adjustable (7 positions) so most riders will be able to find a nice setting. The front forks are pretty standard fare, but they work well enough for the non-discerning rider.
The Reflex works very well as a smaller maxi-scooter. It has the power and brakes to handle life on the highway and the storage capacity to make longer trips feasible. Compared to bigger (400-650cc) maxi’s, the Reflex will save you quite a bit on the gas bill. It’s not the best maxi choice for two up riding or for owners who enjoy spirited interstate romps, but it’s a capable touring machine for riders with reasonable expectations.
During its run, the main competitors to the Reflex were Yamaha’s Morphous (2006 – 2008) and Kymco’s Grandvista 250 (2005 – 2011). Kymco has since replaced the Grandvista with their newer Downtown scooter that comes in 200 and 300cc sizes. Kymco has always offered a strong collection of 250cc scoters, so the Xciting 250, Yager/Frost 200 and Bet & Win 250 are also worth having a look at in this class. Piaggio also sells a range of BV scooters from 200cc to 500cc, with some of the smaller models (200 – 350cc) competing well with the Reflex.
Of the above mentioned competitors, only the Xciting 250 also offered ABS. The Yamaha is most touring oriented of the bunch with its mind boggling collection of storage spaces, while the Grandvista 250 and Bet & Win 250 are tops for value. The Reflex finds its place as one of the highest performers in the group. It’s one of the fastest 250 (top speed) in the group and it offers solid braking and decent handling so it’s a fun scooter in the curves. It’s also light for its size, which makes it more enjoyable. Like any Honda, the Reflex is very well engineered and long lasting.