The SH300i has become a European legend. We find out what all the fuss is about.
SH300i comes with a steady list of credentials, the most significant
being it’s one of the top selling models in the home of scooters;
Italy. Month after month, the SH300i continues to be one of the best
selling two wheelers in Italy, and if it’s not in the top position,
it’s only because of its slightly smaller brother, the SH150. As
further testament to Honda’s dedication to the traditional European
home of scootering, the Honda SH300 is actually designed and built in
But enough on the Honda’s credentials, and more on my time with the
SH300. Jason at Freedom Motorcycles in Brookvale phoned me and asked
“Al, have you ridden the SH300?” No I replied, because at that point a
demo SH300 hadn’t crossed my path. No more excuses, as Jason insisted I
get over to Brookvale, pick up his demo SH and “ride it like I owned
it” for a couple of days. How could I refuse the invitation…?
On approach I was actually beaming with anticipation, as here was a
scooter that was being touted as one of the world’s best. Performance
wise, the SH300 has been hailed as one of the quickest scooters around;
so give me those keys and let’s get to it.
Starting the premium quality, fuel injected Honda is a normal scooter
affair, it’s quiet, immediate, and as soon as you twist the throttle
the power comes on smoothly with a sweet surge. And surge it does,
very quickly to the 80km/h mark, and continues all the way to illegal
freeway speeds. The SH300 engine doesn’t do it in a ferocious, raw or
uncontrolled manner; rather, a consistent thrust that feels truly
smooth and linear. If you want to accelerate at any speed, as Arnie
would say “You can do it”
large wheels give you a motorcycle-like dynamic, while maintaining all
the convenience of a scooter. To me, larger wheels give you a smoother
ride quality, and can also give you the feeling that you’re not going
as quick as you actually are. And this is certainly the case with the
mighty Honda, as bumps, corners and anything else you might wish to
throw at it, just flow under the wheels unnoticed.
Honda’s extensive ergonomic experience really shines in the
comfortable, yet conventional, upright seating position. Top notch
comfort is all you will get for both you and your passenger. Some of
the other nice features you’ll find include a fully comprehensive dash
layout, as well as a nice flip open glove compartment with 12 volt
power outlet. And everything has that nice Honda ‘quality’ feel to it
that we have come to expect.
Storage under the seat tends to be limited due to the larger wheels,
but you do get the large top box as standard, which also serves as a
pillion back rest. The flat floor and bag hook help with the additional
shopping, ensuring the SH300 will easily cater for the majority of
situations. With the top box though, make sure you are comprehensively
instructed in opening and closing it, before leaving the dealership.
The suspension around town and along faster arterial roads was perfect
for this style of scooter. I found the multi adjustable, twin rear
shocks and compliant, conventional front fork, more than sufficient in
providing me with a safe, smooth ride. The superb braking is performed
by the twin disc combined system that Honda uses across its scooter
range, and whilst weight is certainly not a friend of this big selling
model, the brakes did a supreme job of pulling up the SH time after
The domain of the SH300i is on the road. You can go on about
specifications, credentials and sales results but the Honda more than
excels across the
board. I can’t imagine a situation the Honda will do poorly in, or a
scenario that will upset it- it reminds me of those students at school
that didn’t try very hard but still got the results. You want to cruise
above 100km/h? It’s not an issue. You want to accelerate quickly from
the get-go? The big Honda does that too. And you want to carve up some
back roads? That’s when the 16 inch wheels and EFI power combine to
tear up the blacktop.
Unlike many of its competitors, the Honda SH300 is a true 300cc
scooter, which works to its advantage. We did some performance testing
against Vespa’s flagship GTS 300, the results we’ve saved for another
day, but for now I can tell you from 0-80 km/h it’s pretty even. Over
80km/h is where the extra capacity of the Honda helps and it’s at these
speeds the SH300 edges forward. Not by much but it is noticeable.
So I am going to say right here and now, that the SH300i is as good a
scooter as you could ever want. You would buy one, keep it and be happy
from the moment you ride it out of the shop. If there are any negatives
it’s that it does its job with that Honda precision that the brand is
renowned for, meaning it can be a little devoid of character at times.
The SH300i is technically ‘correct’. It is safe, smooth, 100% reliable, well built, inoffensive and beautifully functional.
The only other thing that stands out is there is heaps of plastic
covering the Honda, and the styling can come across a little bland or
uninspired. In some respects, this goes against the trend of other
Italian born machines- making it a Toyota in a sea of Alfas and Fiat’s.
But given the prolific success of this model in the modern scooter’s
symbolic European home, Honda must be doing something right.
So there you have it, if you’re practical in nature and like your
purchases to do what it says on the label, then by all means the Honda
must be in your sights. At $8990 it is at the top of the pops when it
comes to price, but you will get a damn fine scooter that will satisfy
your every scooter need for a long time to come.