Review of the Honda Elite 110
Scooters as urban
transport. If you've visited this site before, you know that I can (and do)
go on and on and on about this topic. When it's just you and a few items to haul
around, scooters are a FANTASTIC alternative to a car. The Honda Elite 110 looks
to me to have been designed for urban transport. With liquid cooling and fuel
injection it should run well for a long time in a variety of conditions. It has
SUBSTANTIAL storage and is easy to operate. Like the Honda Elite 80 before it,
the Honda Elite 110 is in a not-very-common-in-the-USA class of engine size.
Most scooter manufacturers go from 50cc to 125cc with nothing in between. In
other countries, 100cc sizes are much more common. There are those who claim
that the Elite 80 came about to match the power of the 50cc 2-stroke scooters
back in the day. The Elite 80 is a 4-stroke, as is the new Elite 110.
This Honda Elite
clearly demonstrates that very good quality products can come out of
mainland China. The Honda Elite 110 is manufactured in Honda's plant in Guanzou
China. In fact, Elites have historically been made outside of Japan. Until the
mid 1990s, all Honda Elites were manufactured by Kymco of Taiwan. The US market
has been deluged for years with very low quality scooters out of mainland China.
Today's intelligent scooter buyer looks askance (with good reason) at
mainland China scooters. The Honda Elite 110 is one example of a fine machine
coming out of China. This certainly doesn't mean that all scooters now being
made in China are of excellent quality. It just means that it can be
Speedometer Reading/Speed/Fuel Economy
during our reviews is to do some GPS testing. Most of the time, scooter
speedometers read optimistic, frequently by at least 10%. That is to say that
when the speedometer indicates 40 MPH the actual speed is something like 36 MPH.
Our GPS tests of the Honda Elite 110 found it to be more accurate than the norm.
I would say more like 3% - 5% optimistic. The odometer was spot on. The top
speed I got out of the Elite was an actual 52 MPH. Keep in mind that I'm about
220 pounds. My wife Beverly also spent some time on the Elite and she did not
have the GPS attached, but I suspect she coaxed an additional mile or two per
hour out of it. During 80 miles of mixed riding (different riders, different
roads and conditions) fuel economy was 91 miles per gallon. I consider that
to be excellent. Honda advertises up to 107 MPG which I suppose would be
possible under ideal conditions with a light rider and sticking to a 30
MPH top speed.
Sometimes it can be a
challenge to select comparison scooters for these reviews. In this case, I knew
I would need to select (slightly) higher displacement scooters because
there just isn't anything else in the 100cc class from major manufacturers in
this market. I knew I wouldn't have another liquid-cooled AND fuel-injected
comparison machine for the same reason. As such I selected machines that are
very different in design, but probably compete for the same potential buyers as
the Honda Elite 110. The Yamaha Zuma 125 is much "sportier" in appearance, but
it IS fuel injected. The Genuine Buddy 125 is not liquid-cooled or fuel-injected
(it's 170cc big brother is a fuelie) but it is (arguably) the most
popular 125cc scooter in the market.
The Honda Elite 110
is powered by a 108cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, single overhead cam motor. A
CVT (Continually Variable Transmission) transfers power to the rear
wheel. The front suspension is a conventional hydraulic fork while the rear is a
swingarm with a single shock. The front tire is a 90/90 12 inch and the rear is
a 100/90 10 inch. A single disc brake up front is actuated by a dual piston
caliper and a 130mm drum brake slows things down in the rear. The brakes are
linked. The starboard lever operates the front brake only (standard for most
scooters), but the port lever operates BOTH the rear and front brakes
together. Wheel base is 50.2 inches, seat height is a shade over 29 inches and
"wet" weight (including fuel) is 254 pounds. The Elite 110 holds 1.6
gallons of fuel. The Honda Elite 110 has a MSRP of $2,999, but every dealer I
spoke with had this discounted by at least $200 and in one case $500.
Under the seat is
MASSIVE storage space. There is also a nice rear rack standard on the Elite as
well as a small glove box. The petrol fill is located on the floorboard under a
door. The dash is easy to read in any light and includes a speedometer biased to
miles. There's a temperature gauge and fuel gauge flanking the speedometer.
Above are turn signal indicators, a high beam indicator and engine light. All
the controls were easy to operate.
The Elite is equipped
with an anti-theft devise integrated into the main switch. There is a metal
"door" that engages to help prevent a thief "punching out" the ignition switch.
The seat is opened from this switch by putting it between the "off" and "on"
position and pushing in. There is also a front end lock engaged by turning
The best word I can
think of to sum up riding the Honda Elite 110 is "smooth". To fire it up, turn
the key to the on position, wait for the fuel pump to charge (a dash light
goes out when ready), hold the port brake lever and press the starter button
on the starboard side controls. You're running. You're also idling smoothly.
Fuel injection rocks. No more Honda-cold-blooded fiddling with a choke lever and
feathering the throttle at stops for the first several miles of riding. Just
twist the starboard grip and you're rolling. Acceleration is decent and (here's
that word again) smooth right up to the top speed. No flat spots. Braking is
(you guessed it) smooth and the Honda linked system works just fine. The
ride is fairly soft and (getting bored yet?) smooth. Even though it was
HOT outside while riding for this review, the liquid cooling kept the engine in
it's happy place and running very (yawn) smoothly.
In comparison with
some other scooters, I found the ride on the Elite 110 to be overly soft. On the
plus side, it absorbed some rough road features that other scooters would pass
right through to the rider. On the minus side, handling was not as precise as I
like. The ergonomics of the Elite are interesting. With a 12 inch front tire,
getting the seat height down to 29 inches means that leg room suffers. Not much
of a concern for me with a 30 inch inseam, but the longer-legged amongst us
might not be comfortable on this scooter. The seat is LARGE and soft, maybe just
a touch too soft. It was easy to accommodate two riders.
My wife Bev also road the scooter and had this to say:
The look is clean. Fantastic paint.
Comfortable seat and more-than-enough room for two. Underneath the long seat?
Tons of storage space! With an additional piece of luggage on the back, you
could carry a large amount for a day of running errands, going to work, or just
romping around. The mirrors are wide and easily adjustable. The grips are a
perfect size and perfectly positioned. The dash is neat and legible. The turn
signal switch took some getting use to; when turning the signals off I found I
had just pushed the switch to the "other" signal instead of off. No worries, the
turning signal warning sound is loud enough to keep a person from forgetting
they are on.
I had never ridden a fuel injected
scooter and the start-up was interesting: wait for a light to turn off and THEN
press the starter button. No throttle tweaking required.
David and I were
both riding "review" scooters the day I rode the Honda Elite. I was riding a
50cc and David was on the Elite. We swapped and I hopped on the Elite. David was
leading (on the 50cc) and I had to quickly adjust my start-out speed to stay
behind. Once we were rolling, I saw more of the benefits of fuel injection -
smooth acceleration and running. The handling was very nice. I felt completely
in control. The braking was excellent - even in quick stops I felt very much in
control and was able to bring the scooter to a stop with no drama.
Fit and Finish
The Honda Elite 110
scooter has excellent fit and finish, no surprise from a Honda. I'll mention
again that this scooter is made in mainland China and shows that high quality
products CAN be achieved there. The seams in the body panels were consistent and
the fasteners utilized (often a serious deficiency in Chinese scooters)
appeared to be good quality. The switches and controls might be just a touch
below the best out of Taiwan right now, but it's a close call. Honda takes their
reputation for quality and longevity seriously and I would expect the Elite 110
to hold up well over time.
At $2,999, less expensive scooters
such as the Genuine Buddy 125, Kymco People 150 and others would probably take
some buyers away from the Honda Elite 110. That being said, a lot of buyers
don't have easy access to a Genuine or Kymco dealer but DO have a local Honda
dealership. A good local shop is an important factor in your scooter ownership
experience and should not be taken lightly. There is no question in my mind that
the Buddy 125 is more fun to ride and most people will find it more visually
appealing than the Elite, but the Honda is a solid machine with superior
features. With MSRP being discounted on this machine, it's tough to think of a
better scooter for urban transport.