As Homer Simpson so eloquently put (while driving); ‘I was impressed, and I am not easily impressed…wow a blue car!’
On face value this is hilarious. Thinking deeper it plays to Homers simple nature as well as poor perception of the world around him. Are we really meant to believe that Homer really is impressed by a blue car? Is it even possible to be impressed by a car that is one colour instead of another? Well probably not however this is how I found myself in my local Honda dealer.
Thinking back my conversation could be summed up as ‘wow a grey scooter with blue on it, this is amazing’. Let me explain. It was the hue of the grey. It was how it caught the light. How the grey complimented the blue as well defining the lines of the scooter. Somehow that grey paint was communicating the overall quality of the scooter. Finished perfectly and immaculately presented; I was in awe.
I had to remind myself that this was the scooter at its best. Brand new, polished, residing under carefully placed spot lights and having never seen a road it would never look so good again. One day of my ownership and I can assure you that it would be scratched and covered in road grime. Either way I was impressed and knew the colour would come roaring back after a wash and parking it in the sunlight. The £4000 mark is a lot for a 125cc Scooter but at this price you are buying a premium product.
The 2017 Honda Forza 125 was the scooter that was captivating my attention. I have never seen anything quite like it. Perceptions of scooters can be and often are described similarly as household appliances. Cheap consumable products that any prang can be shrugged over as ‘well it is only a scooter’. Reinforced by reviews exclaiming ‘well for a scooter it is…’. Scooters in this context are underdogs and rarely given a second thought before being replaced. So when you are presented with a Scooter that has ABS, stop/start technology, liquid cooling, keyless ignition, claimed 130mpg, LED lights and 8000 miles service intervals and a £4000 price tag you start to pay more attention.
The Honda Forza having 8000 mile service intervals and the technology that it has sends a clear message that this scooter is designed to last and designed to be used. My previous BMW motorcycle had service intervals of 6000 miles. BMW are known for making motorcycles designed to be used all year, to be kept for long periods and to cover hundreds of thousands of miles. Honda are known for high quality reliable machines. I see no reason why the Forza cannot be relied upon for similar duties.
Currently searching for second hand scooters you understandably start to get nervous if scooters have mileage into the high teens. I remember someone explaining to me that they knew someone who has a Vespa 250 with 45,000 miles on it and counting. This was explained as unprecedented and a real achievement. I am sure scooters for many years have been capable of high mileage but do not appear to ever get there. I suppose this is because of their intended use. Normally short distances often. A few thousand miles a year and you are unlikely to keep it well into the 100,000 mile range. But no longer now with a premium scooter you can set your sights further afield. Maybe even replace the car?
Scooters however do have a habit of slowing you down. You can only go so fast. For a lot of people that is their attraction. For the most part you can travel or tour with any vehicle but you have to decided what you are willing to comprise on or how uncomfortable you are willing to be. Though an extreme example it should be noted that in 1932 Robert Fulton Jr travelled across the world on a 544cc Douglas twin motorcycle. Making four horsepower you can imagine that his progress was not interstellar however the motorcycle was the best choice for him. With a car being too expensive and a bicycle being ‘too hard work’ he set off and completed this journey. With the Forza making three times the power of that British twin you would be flying!
Sadly scooters are resolutely in the commuter market. But the Forza can offer so much more. By its specs alone and its lovely lovely grey paint it is destined for greater things. Not only because it is capable to do so but if you treat it like any other 125 it would be wasted. Loading it up, filling the ample space under the seat and going off exploring is not off the cards. With a network of B-roads that connect cities to towns and towns to villages being mostly 40 and 50 mph or maximum 60 mph roads you are never not going to be able to keep up with the traffic. Mostly the UK is caught behind a caravan anyway and it likely you will be going even slower than the posted speed limit. With ease of use, a long tank range and fourteen horsepower the Forza starts to make other machines with +500cc engines look excessive and cumbersome.
It is good then that you, like me, are easily impressed by a colour because it can mean that you discover something truly impressive when you look a little deeper.