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2010 Honda Elite 110’s have arrived

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First, I was intrigued by this closing bit in Ed’s e-mail Tuesday night:

I was in Beaumont today and went by the Honda shop and looked at the sh300 and elite 110. Nice scoots.

So, I thought that I might do a little investigating today at Cowboy Honda, knowing that the new Elite 110’s should be due in the showrooms in August but having been so busy with so little to do (really) I just simply overlooked the arrival, I guess.  But, wait a second, the SH300i’s are already here in America?!  Now, if Ed were right(?), he would have been the first to break the biggest scooter news ever.

This I have got to see!

I walked in and said to the staff,Where are the scooters?

I walked into Cowboy Honda and asked the staff,"Where are the scooters?"

As it turned out, the SH300i mentioned was just a typo (150i).  Not here, not yet anyway.  But there was a very nice-looking red Elite 110 on display with only 1.35 miles on the dial.  Cool! “So how long have y’all had the Elite?”, I asked one of the salespersons.  “Three weeks”, he responded.  Apparently none has left the showroom with a new owner yet.

What do you expect?  With price of regular gas comparatively low at about $2.39/gallon around town, the scooter business ain’t exactly booming, you might say.

Finally here, the Honda Elite 110!

Finally here, the new 2010 Honda Elite 110!

Sharp-looking little thing!

Sharp-looking little thing!

Very well laid-out analog instrumentation and warning lights.

Very well laid-out analog instrumentation panel and warning lights.

I walked around the Elite, camera drawn, just checking out the scooter and its details, from top to bottom, and this little black metal tab in front of the left (rear) brake lever caught my eyes.  I was looking at it when Rich Williams, a salesperson, informed me that it was indeed the parking brake lever.  How clever and useful?

Squeeze the brake, lift the small black lever to engage the parking brake.

Squeeze the brake, lift the small black lever to engage the parking brake.

Push down on the small lever and the parking brake is released.

Push down on the small black lever and the parking brake is released.

Under its roomy seat for two, and hidden within the waterfowl-shaped body is  perhaps one of the Elite’s biggest attractions–its humongous underseat storage space!  I eyeballed it to be about 12 whole gallons, at least,  enough for two full-faced helmets  and some knickknacks.  A trip to the grocery store on a light-weight scooter has never be more enjoyable.  Who needs that little hanging hook under the handle bar (which maxes out at a mere one pound) when you have space for two big bags of grocery and a six-pack of Negra Modelo.

Roomy seat for two

Roomy seat for two, and...

Voilà!  Elite functionality at its best, class-leading storage space with lighting.

Voilà! Elite functionality at its best--class-leading storage space with lighting.

The incredibly large storage space of the Elite 110.  I hear echoes...

The incredibly large storage space of the Elite 110. Do I hear echoes..?

Speaking of storage space, there is a convenient locking glove compartment built into the fender area.  Inside, you will find neat little cubbyholes for your gloves, cellphones, PDA’s, iPod’s, Mace, bottled water, sunglasses and such.  The compartment door is sealed from the elements with a gasket so your junk will stay nice and dry, too.

Safe locking storage compartment.

Safe locking glove compartment.

More storage possiblities.

More storage possiblities.

As demonstrated here by Mudd, a staff at Cowboy Honda, the Elite can accommodate large riders, too.  Mudd is approximately 6′ 2″ and a big fella (as you can see); but somehow he looks rather comfortable on the Elite, wouldn’t you say so?

Thanks for posing, Mudd!  Not bad!

Thanks for posing, Mudd! Not bad!

Somewhat limited on the floor space; but should be ample for those size-12s

Somewhat limited on floor space; but should be ample for those size-12's.

The Elite 110 comes with quality parts, too.  Most notable is the 190 x 3.5mm Nissin hydraulic disc brake with combined dual-piston caliper and cross-drilled rotor.

This ought to stop the Elite on a dime.  Just dont spill the milk.

This ought to "single-handedly" stop the Elite on a dime. Just don't spill your lunch.

The front, Cheng-Shin (Taiwan) 90/90-12 44J, inflated to 25-psi.

The front, Cheng-Shin (Taiwan) 90/90-12 44J, inflated to 25-psi.

The rear, Cheng-Shin 100/90-10 56J, also 25-psi.

The rear, Cheng-Shin 100/90-10 56J, also 25-psi.

Now, there’s one thing that I just got to mention.  With all the storage for additional load and extra passenger-carrying capability that is the major appeal of the new Elite 110, why didn’t they install an adjustable rear shock to make things more flexible and useful for the rider?  If cost-cutting was the main concern, how much more would an adjustable rear shock have added to the overall base MSRP of just $2,999 for the Elite?  $50 more?

An adjustable rear shock would be nice?

An adjustable rear shock would be nice?

As we have reported earlier in June about the Elite, one of the main reasons for Honda’s ability to keep the cost down is by making the new Elite in China.  Honda has begun a Sino-Japanese joint-venture called Wuyang -Honda Motors (Guangzhou) Co., Ltd. (五羊-本田(広州)摩托有限公司) in 1992 in Guangzhou, Southern China, making motorcycles and scooters mainly for the Chinese domestic market consumption, with only about 6% designated for export.  According to the company bio, Wuyang-Honda “exports to more than 60 countries over the world and is developing market in North America“.  So as you can see, this Chinese-made Honda Elite 110 is a quality product of Honda’s oversea business operations, 17 years in the making; not something that happened overnight.  After all, it’s a Honda.

For more photos of the Elite 110, please click to view this full-page slideshow.

Parting thoughts:

I was very impressed with the way the Elite 110 is put together.  The fit, finish, details, parts are all on a par with the SYM’s and the KYMCO’s.  At $2,999, it is hard to beat.  With that much load-carrying capacity and comparable performance,  it clearly outshines its bigger sibling, the SH150i, making it hard to justify paying $1,500 more for about 45 more cc’s (108 vs. 153), far less storage, larger wheels, and of course, Italian-styling.

That just leaves one thing:  a test-ride!  For that you would have to check back later.  Hopefully soon we will have a road report on the Elite.

If you have any questions about the new Honda Elite 110 or want to take it for a spin before buying, please feel free to contact Rich Williams, or any member of the friendly sales team at Cowboy Honda.

Cowboy Honda is located at:  1280 I-10 South, Beaumont, Texas 77707.  Phone: (409) 832-5971.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Eric permalink
    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 11:34 am

    I just looked at one of the Elites today, and I have to say that I disagree with this author’s assessment that fit and finish is on par with SYM and Kymco. The plastics used are of noticeably lighter weight, and have a flimsy feel. There is also noticeable movement of the panels against one another where ever two panels meet. This will translate to a). irritating squeaks and rattles, and b). eventual cracking. The seat covering also seems of lighter weight fabric, and the seat itself is obviously not as well padded and comfortable as what can be found on the less expensive SYM Fiddle II. Okay, so Honda has gone to China to save on labor costs, what’s new. However, it appears they cut corners with materials, as well. No, fit and finish is below that of SYM, and far below that of KYMCO.

    • Wednesday, March 24, 2010 5:25 pm

      OK, but before we start drawing far-gone conclusions, we must each do an initial test ride on the Elite, of course you over there, and I over here; then report back.
      Your other concerns with the plastic and vinyl, only time will tell, and unless you buy one or knows someone who owns one, and even that will require a long-term assessment.
      All of the mfrs. in Taiwan, Japan, and even Italy are cutting costs here and there so there’s no argument. The question is how much are you willing to spend on your scooter?
      BTW SYM Fiddle II, according to my sources, are mfr’d. in China as well (I’ve not yet been able to confirm that with my own eyes since our local SYM dealership shut down last year), and there’s nothing wrong with that–the difference is not an issue anymore in that price range.
      Just look at how nicely the Aprilia Scarabeo 200 is put together. Can anyone dismiss Chinese workmanship (under Italian supervision) anymore?

      _Lorenzo

      • Wednesday, December 22, 2010 3:51 pm

        Just a simple question. What is not made in China now-a-days? These scooters are over-priced Honda is now selling the Elite 110 for 2000$, the 150 is way over-priced. The Vespa is insanely priced. I’ve been looking around and doing research. I find the HD125 to be the best scoot around for the price. There is another scoot manufactured under different names the bello II or Velo II that runs around 1700$ that I was told is made by the SYM factory in China using SYM parts. Face it everything is made in China. If parts and assembly are not done by the Chinese it is going to cost 5k or more.

      • Thursday, December 23, 2010 7:05 pm

        You’re quite right in saying that “everything is (now) made in China”.
        But what does that really say about China and the Chinese people, really?
        Japan, Taiwan, and Korea all went through the same stage of growth…; and look at them now.

        _Lorenzo

  2. Russell permalink
    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 11:01 am

    I bought the Red 110 and really like the scooter! I have a Spree back in the 80’s during High School and this brings back some fun memories. I will NOT let my friends ride it as they always seemed to lay down the spree. They usually just want to do wheelies on them, but this ones gonna keep both feet on the ground.

    The only negative I could even think up or have thus discovered is the seat. It seems to hurt after 2 hours of riding. I suppose that’s true for many scooters or bikes period.

    You mention the light under the seat. There is none. However, I took an LED reading light used for books and tossed it in there for nights when I need extra light. Of course most folks have cell phones with Flashlight Apps, so there are other means to get light. That storage is HUGE… I lost my DeWalt cordless Drill in there just a day ago.

    Nice write up and photos. It is really a fun machine to ride. Light on the wallet as well (With gas prices hitting $4.00/gal here in Orlando 4/27/11)

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