True to its roots, Honda's Forza is one of the best-handling scooters around, appealing to both novice and veteran riders.
Honda designers infused the 279cc Forza with some motorcycle styling, especially in terms of body. No matter how you look at it, this thing is big.
Actually, the Forza
not only looks big it's pretty heavy, too. At 194kg (428lbs), most people will have a tough time moving it around. Fortunately, parking is made easier by a pair of stands. If you ask me, the Forza would become an ideal scooter after a good 30kg diet.
Accessible and comfortable
Access is fairly easy thanks to decent seat height and a superb floorboard design. The user-friendly instrument panel and controls (particularly the horn and turn signals) only make the operation more convenient.
The 2014 Honda Forza offers a good riding position whether you're navigating through downtown traffic or hitting the open road. The seat is comfortable, although I would have liked the backrest to be adjustable rearward to alter my stance from time to time (a flat seat would probably serve me better). Protection against the elements is adequate, and the passenger benefits from a comfortable perch with nicely positioned footrests.
The engineers at Honda made the most of the 4-stroke, single-cylinder engine. Power delivery is linear, and acceleration is smooth. The Forza is easy to start and potent when need be. Of course, it's not a world-class sprinter, but you'll never be wishing for more power, trust me. The transmission is a good match for this quiet, liquid-cooled engine.
The 2014 Honda Forza loves to spend time on the road. It fares relatively well within urban confines, but you must be careful at idle and quickly put your feet on the ground to maintain control. When given the opportunity to stretch its legs, this big Japanese scooter displays surprising cornering ability. Just lean over slightly and turn your knee to throw the Forza around the bend like a sport bike. There's great fun to be had and much confidence to gain from it. On- and off-ramps further emphasize the Forza's nimble and predictable handling.
The suspension settings work to ensure comfort and stability, even around town. The brakes are solid and powerful courtesy of a 256mm disc with dual-piston calliper up front and a 240mm disc with single-piston calliper in the rear. ABS is super-effective, but the lack of feedback opens the door to guesswork.
The Honda Forza has no trouble whatsoever cruising in the 100-110km/hr range, and offers plenty of power for passing slower vehicles. I found it particularly stable when facing crosswinds; on the other hand, the short, non-adjustable windshield creates serious head buffeting. It's an issue that needs to be addressed.
|The 2014 Honda Forza loves to spend time on the road. It fares relatively well within urban confines. (Photo: Amyot Bachand)
I disagree with Honda's claim that you can store two full-face helmets under the seat: No matter how I tried, I couldn't pull it off. A rear top case would be necessary. Still, that under-seat storage area proved quite spacious and convenient, easily swallowing my camera, rain gear, coat, iPad, and some errand-items.
The two additional compartments up front come in handy, as well: The left one is deeper and can be unlocked using a switch on the instrument panel.
All in all, what impressed me the most about the 2014 Honda Forza are the superb handling characteristics backed by a sweet engine-transmission combo, and quality brakes. The available storage is a definite asset in everyday riding. It just needs to shed a few dozen kilos.
|That under-seat storage area proved quite spacious and convenient, easily swallowing my camera, rain gear, coat, iPad, and some errand-items. (Photo: Amyot Bachand)
- Non-adjustable backrest
- Short windshield