Honda: SH150i to U.S. for 2010

It’s not the 300i, but it’s still one of the most popular and in-demand scooters in Europe: Honda has announced their SH150i will be available in the U.S. for 2010. Maybe too little too late to really capitalize on whatever’s left of the scooter boom but still great news for medium-displacement big-wheel fans. (Scooped once again by Guzmán at the ‘Scoop.)

17 thoughts on “Honda: SH150i to U.S. for 2010”

  1. ‘4500.00 base MSRP’? I know they really have something there, and I’m sure they’ll sell some. But I think, once again, American Honda has dropped the ball on the scooter market. They went from ignoring scooters and selling them as near loss leaders to get people branded to being aggressively overpriced like Vespa. I predict it’s a ploy by the hillbillies that run American Honda to make sure they’ll have proof that scooters are a losing idea for the next time a ‘boom’ comes around. The Japanese should be ashamed of their American subsidiary by practicing with such an unbalanced plan with such lack of long term vision. Very un-Showa. Very un-Soichiro.

  2. Or you can spend about $1000 less and get an SYM HD200 which stomps it in every category.

    Oh, American Honda….will you never learn?

  3. Different strokes, for me the honda is rated to carry a 400 lb load and the Sym is rated at 245 lb. Not important to Phil but then he does not have my adult figure.

    Mike in Flossmoor

    (Warning Troll I am on spring break and have the time)
    Why did Sym develop the 200 hd EVO to compete with the honda in Italy. This is not to diss the Sym a great company but I remember that the Chevrolet Chevette specked out quite close to the BMW 2002. :-)

  4. It’s a nice looking scoot, and Honda quality goes without saying, but am I the only person who looked at it, and at first blush thought: “what a nice Aprilia Scarabeo?”

    It doesn’t seem to be particularly distictive looking. It doesn’t have to be as ‘out there’ as the (discontinued?) Yamaha Morpheous (which I rather liked), but it does seem to look a little generic.

    Honda should consider being a little more aggressive in it’s styling. I think people crave style more than the ‘bean counters’ realise, and when someone is daring enough to break the mold, they can profit. 2StrokeBuzz recently featured those cool scoots on the Pink Tentacle website, especially those based on the Honda Forza & Yamaha Maxam platforms. I wonder if there aren’t a lot of folks out there that secretly wouldn’t love a scoot that wasn’t another ‘me too’ style.

  5. Mike, I wouldn’t trust weight ratings any more than HP numbers, dry weight specs or seat heights stated in any literature. Of the stuff that makes it through translation and the marketing department, I’d only tentatively trust the stated tire size in stated factory specifications. To say that the SYM HD couldn’t handle my fully dressed girth but a Vespa Primavera can is ridiculous in the most clear sense of the word. As for trolling, I don’t think Beeb would even allow the scent of such shenanigans. It’d be like asking for Karaoke at a neighborhood bar or something. The odd part about the pricing isn’t that it does or does not outcomplete in terms of attributes, but that it doesn’t directly compete in terms of price as well as carry the Honda name. That’s the Honda success. They made Acura to cash in on lux branding by charging a premium for an Accord with leather seats and some plastic gold trim. How much more is a CBR600 than an R6? How much more is an 848 than a CBR600? I’m just sayin’, don’t give me a CBR600 at an 848 price.

  6. boatingbob, I don’t think it’s that great looking either, it’s not even as distinctive as a scarabeo (and I’m not a fan of the looks of the scarabeo), I’d say it looks more like an even more boring Piaggio Liberty or Kymco People or a Malaguti Ciak. But there’s apparently some intangible magic there, because it consistently a top seller in Europe. I bet the price is more competitive there, but as I understand it, it’s just really well-engineered and a joy to ride.

    Is it worth $1000 more than a comparable SYM? If the ride is tangibly better, then I’d say it is. The quality’s probably better, and the importer/distributor is arguably better, or at least more likely to be around in 10 years, so maybe it comes down to which dealer you feel more comfortable with. I’d rather support a good scooter dealer, but there are some Honda dealers who are super scooter-friendly.

  7. I think everybody is missing the point when they say the Honda looks like xxx the Honda sh started the big wheel scooter look with the first sh coming out in 1984. Now to say that the copies are cheaper or have superior capabilities is cool. But to diss Honda because they started the big wheel movement and are the best selling scoot in Italy, by calling them an uninspired overpriced copy is not cool.

    Mike in Flossmoor

    (Trolls bring hits)
    I am the big guy on the Silverwing or the zuma;-)

  8. Mike, I wasn’t aware they’d been around that long, are you sure about that? The oldest reference I can find is the 2001 SH125, though it wouldn’t surprise me. The Liberty dates back to the 90s I think, but certainly not the 80s.

    Of course the whole idea of a big-wheeled scooter is based on the Cub/Passport, which I imagine was originally designed as a hybrid of the Vespa and the Mobylette… And I never meant to imply that the SH was a knockoff of those scooters, I just meant to say it had more in common, style-wise, to those than the Scarabeo. However old it is, it’s new to our market and has to compete against what’s out there now. It has a good reputation with scooter people. I’d say it’ll be a hard sell at that price, but then again, people will pay $1800 extra for the Vespa name and “Italian quality”, why not $1000 for Honda and japanese quality?

  9. I looked up the SH150i MSRP in italy and, strangely, it’s just about the same, so it’s not like it’s a huge bargain over there.

    Here are italian sales figures for last July. (Note that it includes scooters AND motorcycles, scooters outsell bikes there.) The 150i was actually outselling the 300i, so apparently they’re both popular there. The TMax, a rather expensive bike, is outselling both of them. Apparently Italians are loaded with cash, and they still don’t buy Vespas, but Ryan will be happy to see the BV250 scraping the top 5

  10. Thinking back to the feedback I’ve gotten from folks living in Italy, I think people there are far more likely to use their scooter as transportation rather than for fun rides or as a hobby. For those reasons, I think that they value scooter reliability and dealer support above everything else.

    It’s similar to what people in the electronics business refer to as the “Get the Sony” phenomena. When an average consumer is faced with a bunch of similar options in electronics, they will often just “Get the Sony” because they believe the Sony is the most reliable and best-supported product. Same deal with the Honda scooter. Italian scooter consumers have a *lot* of options, way more than we have, so what do they do? They “Get the Sony/Honda.”

    Here’s another aspect of that same phenomena. I guarantee you that I would have an easier time talking my spouse into paying $5000 for Honda SH150i than $4200 for a SYM HD200. All things being equal, my wife would say, Get the Honda (for the above reasons plus) because it will have the best resale value.

    As for the price, I don’t know if I believe Brooke’s “Single Bullet Theory” above. More likely, I think Honda is pricing it about where it’s priced in Italy, i.e. not giving the USA market the deferential pricing treatment we’ve been used to in the past. POCPhil has certainly got a point about the HD200 offering an apparently greater value for the dollar ratio, but…

    It’s going to be really interesting to see how this shakes out. I predict, when the economy rebounds and gas prices shoot back up, say mid-2010, SH150i scooters will fly out of Honda dealerships.

  11. So, John’s probably right. That said, I bet American Honda will run out a la the Vino 125 supply from Yamaha a few years ago. They’ll probably have some allotment of 1 or 2 per dealer and that’s it. (I can’t resist the opportunity to slight American Honda for not bringing in their orginal Giorno or Julio, or any Lead models since the mid 80’s.)

  12. Ok in 1984 it was a 50cc and looked like a cross between a passport and a scooter. It was known as a City Express sh50. The 125 was introduced in 2001 as far as I know, with the 300 last year I think. The big “16” wheel bike with an automatic transmission and buy report the flat floorboards became a very good seller and the style was “developed buy all the scooter manufactures” Think Mustang and “pony cars” I am hot to find a 30 hp scooter that weighs less than 400 lb so I can stop riding the Goldwing. So I am paying attention to the unobtainium scoots that fill that design spec. They are the SH300 and the Kymco Downtown. The CH150 and the SYM 200 HD both are rated at i HP less than the Helix 244 cc scooter.

    Interesting both Honda and Sym sell up spec scoots in Europe with rear Disc brake and at least for honda ABS. Finding the price of the honda bikes is easy with google but I cannot find a price for Sym it would be interesting to see the deference in that market.

    Mike in Flossmoor

  13. Honda should consider being a little more aggressive in it’s styling

    Honda discontinued the Helix and Reflex because they didn’t sell. Same deal with the Morphous. The Honda people always used to say Americans only like scooters that resemble vintage Vespas, hence the look of the Metropolitan, but that seems to have changed since last summer.

    I think people there are far more likely to use their scooter as transportation rather than for fun rides or as a hobby

    Bingo. Owning a car in Europe is very expensive, and most large European cities don’t have a lot of space for parking, or in the case of Rome, even maneuvering. And in the latter case, the streets are covered with paving stones instead of asphalt, so the 16″ wheel provides a less-jarring ride.

    Oh, price in Italy is €3,245, which according to today’s exchange rate makes the price $4,412 U.S. So we’re getting as good a deal as anyone.

    It’s going to be people who buy scooters for practical reasons that makes the scooter market in the U.S. viable, not those looking for a hobby or a lifestyle. Those folks are going to have different ideas about how they want a scooter to work. And look.

    Honda has a stellar reputation for quality and reliability, so they should have no trouble selling as many SH150i’s as they can bring over, IF their dealers get behind and sell it. And if the economy doesn’t tank completely…

  14. I’d probably like the Honda 150, but I have to agree the SYM HD200 is probably where I’d spend my money if I were in the market for something to replace (or augment) my Buddy. You know, while I’m waiting for the return of the Blur with a bigger engine.

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