The SH150i was a solid practical scooter, but its position as the most expensive scooter in its class made it a tough sell.
Large wheel stability
HONDA SH 150I
With the short lived 2010 SH150i, Honda ended their 22 year absence from the mid-sized scooter market (the Elite 110 was announced a few months later). Not since the 1987 Elite 150 had Honda offered a scooter between 80cc and 250cc.
Unfortunately, the SH150i lasted just one model year in Canada and USA with Honda’s newer and lower priced PCX 125 / 150 taking over as Honda’s mid-sized scooter offering in 2011.
Providing propulsion for the SH150i was a modern 153cc engine putting out a respectable 15.5 horsepower. The SH150’s motor was both fuel injected and liquid cooled, so it made quite good power for its size. Accordingly, top speed for the SH150 is a quite useful 65-70mph. Fuel mileage is also quite good thanks to the fuel injection. 70-80mpg is a reasonable expectation in mixed use.
Design and Amenities
The SH150i was a ‘commuter’ scooter, which meant it has large 16” wheels that give it a non-traditional look. This design is quite popular in Europe, but less so in North America where only a few large wheeled scooters are offered. These large wheels mean increased stability at high speeds and smoother performance over uneven terrain like potholes. On the downside, the large rear wheel intrudes into the under seat area, reducing the amount of storage that would otherwise be abundant.
The under seat storage area is still of moderate size and the inclusion of a medium sized glovebox makes the SH150i fairly well suited for most storage needs. Honda did also sell a rear case that will swallow any helmet. This case was optional in the USA for an couple hundred extra, while it was included as a standard feature in Canada.
The SH150 also has a huge 276mm front disc brake which utilizes an impressive 3 piston caliper. This means the brakes are up the task of countering the 65-70mph top speeds.
The instruments on the SH150i are quite nicely laid out and very informative. A large speedometer occupies the center of the gauges, while coolant and fuel gauges possess the upper corners. It’s nice to see a proper temperature gauge instead of just a warning light. There is also a clock, trip odometer, odometer and several warning lights for the usual things.
Around 2010, the SH150i was the best selling scooter in Europe but sales in North America were slow – likely due in part to a lofty MSRP of $4499. This price put it $500 more expensive that Kawasaki’s Ninja 250 motorcycle and $1500 more expensive than Yamaha’s competing Zuma/BWS 125. It was even more expensive than Vespa’s 150cc scooters. The main reason why the SH150i was expensive was because it was built in Italy where labor costs are high. The SH150i was a solid practical scooter, but its position as the most expensive scooter in its class made it a tough sell.
The scooter market was also in a funk during 2010 thanks to the recession, so it took Honda a few years to sell through their run of SH150’s. Besides the price, the SH150i had quite a few strong points. The SH150i offers excellent handling/stability, remarkable quality and reliability and an impressive 15.5hp that gives it great acceleration for a 150cc. It appeals to the practical scooterist who wants the stability of big wheels.
In general, North American’s seem to prefer small to mid sized wheels on their scooters. The SH150 appealed to some folks for practical reasons but there doesn’t seem to be too many scooter enthusiasts excited about 16” wheeled scooters.
The main competitors to the SH150i were Kymco’s People / People S lines, SYM HD200 and Aprilia’s Scarabeo series. Kymco’s and SYMs offerings were quite a bit more affordable, while Aprilia’s Scarabeo models have a long reputation of being solid large wheeled scooters.
In a CanadaMotoGuide.com comparison test with the Kymco People S 125 and SYM HD200, the SH150i took first place due to its excellent observed fuel economy, low emissions, refinement, acceleration, ‘dream-like’ suspension and overall fit and finish. Overall, the SH150 was indeed an excellent mid sized large wheeled scooter, but that market segment is a pretty small in North America…hence the short run. Owners of this scooter tend to glow about it and history is likely going to be kind to the SH150, as it will be one of those rare but very well designed scooters that’s still purring 20 years from now.