Honda struck gold when they released the X-ADV in 2017. Half scooter, half adventure bike, it may not have captured the imagination of riders in the UK, but for the rest of the world, especially Europe, where scooter culture a much bigger part of everyday life, they’ve flown out of showrooms.
Not only did they sell nearly 44,000 of them up to the end of 2021, but it was also Honda’s best-selling bike of that year, too. So, it makes sense that they’d produce a smaller, more affordable version: the ADV350.
The new twist-and-go makes perfect sense for commuters who want a bit more poke and flexibility than a 125. Not only will the ADV350 ping to motorway speeds as quick as you’d naturally accelerate on a motorcycle and do over 95mph, it has genuine big-bike handling, braking power and road presence.
It’s smooth, simple to ride, comfortable and with superb fuel economy and lots of storage, it’s practical, too. Best of all it’s cheaper than its premium brand rivals, despite its superb build quality and generous equipment level.
What really separates the ADV350 from your average scooter is the way it’s screwed together and how it holds the road. This is no flimsy, built down to a price runabout.
It’s solid, well finished (it comes in red, silver and black) and doesn’t crash, bang and fold itself in half when you show it a small bump. Granted the ride can be firm over rough roads – the payoff for being able to handle the dirt, but thanks to its lightweight tubular steel frame and proper forks, the Honda is stable, confident in corners and its Metzelers have lots of wet and dry grip.
Honda’s Rome-based R&D department have been unapologetically bold with the adventure styling, too. It’s a physically large and substantial machine, but at the same time light, agile and manageable to ride.
Powered by the same 29bhp, 330cc single-cylinder engine you’ll find in Honda’s maxi scooter-style Forza 350 and pizza delivery-shaped SH350i, the ADV350 is smooth, quiet and friendly.
Spritely performance has more in common with a big cube maxi-scooter than an oversized 125 and it’s smoother at low speed than its bigger 750cc parallel twin cylinder sister, simply because it has a proper ‘elastic band’ scooter CVT gearbox, rather than the X-ADV’s jerky DCT.
Although it’s a new model, you can use Honda’s X-ADV and 300/350cc scooter range as a gauge to any reliability issues… and there aren’t any. Fit and finish are excellent, too.
Standard goodies include 37mm Showa upside down forks and twin piggyback shocks with dual rate springs, a Nissin front brake caliper, a four-way adjustable screen, hand guards, wide adventure style handlebars, LED lights, keyless ignition, two USB chargers, ABS and two-stage (including 'off') torque control.