Honda CHF50 Review
Small is beautiful. Green is good. And Honda’s latest little cutie-pie scooter scores big on both counts
Photography by CARLOS ALZAMORA
Where the hell is what they call the “communication meter” I ask you. It’s a multifunctional digital display that greets the rider with “Hello!” when you turn on the ignition switch, and “Bye-bye!” when you turn it off. It also provides speed, fuel level, oil change, time and mileage. It can also be set to tell the rider personal information such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Just what every guy needs! Sadly the Australian models miss out, having instead a basic but practical set-up.
The brakes on the Scoopy are yet another version of Honda’s Combined Brake System, this time called a “combi-brake system”. This allows the rear brake lever, on the left ‘bar, to operate the front and rear brakes simultaneously. The brakes work okay, but emergency stops at 60km/h take the Scoopy a bit too long to pull up with the brakes starting to fade under constant hard pressure. Nothing too drastic but more initial bite would solve the situation. And they are pretty good overall when you consider that it’s a twin drumand- cable set-up.
Handling on the Crea is awesome. The tiny 90/90-10inch profile tyres stick like a proverbial to the blanket – rain, hail or shine. The steering lock is great apart from a lack of space in the knee area (you either keep your knees together and swivel them out of the way, or ride with legs akimbo) and the geometry set-up of the bike makes it feel quite like a motorcycle in its road manner. For such a short wheelbase scooter chassis, it tracks so well over bumps you would be forgiven for thinking you were riding anything else but a scooter. The ’bars are relatively narrow and close to the rider’s knees especially in tight turning situations. Best sit back in the seat when you turn sharply otherwise you could end up with a bar locked against your leg. Under-seat storage is a huge 22-litre cavern that will easily fit a full-face helmet plus gloves and light wets.
Under the seat you’ll also find a stand lock switch that prevents the Scoopy from being wheeled away. The ignition lock doubles as the steering lock and seat release and also has a cover that requires a special key to open it. This is all well and good to prevent honest thieves but at 74kg the Scoopy is no heavyweight, literally. Get a chain lock of some sort. There is a handy shopping bag hook on the steering column though room between the headstock and seat body is quite restricted. The petrol filler is located on the floor of the Scoopy and saves the hassle of getting under the seat as is usually the case with scooters.
The engine is a light and compact 50cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke motor. It is heralded as being one of the most quiet and economically friendly motors in production in the world. Good work Honda. It’s got plenty of poke to get you off the lights quickly and gets to the 60km/h mark impressively for such a little beast. On hills with my 80kg on board it would struggle. Best off keeping an escape route in mind and go for the footpath if that big truck behind you is closing rapidly.
Thank heavens, then, for the potent horn that will have drivers swerving for cover as they realise you are in their blind spot.The Crea can be forgiven for these limitations when you remember it is only a 50cc engine and it suits its round town purpose perfectly well. Two-up riding is possible, and a challenge given the solo seat, but is best kept to areas where traffic won’t exceed 50km/h and there isn’t the need to get off the line too quickly. Perfect for the city.
As published in TW SCOOTER MAGAZINE - 27/10/2003
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