Riding Impression: 2010 Honda Elite

A scooter that is poking good fun!

2010 Honda Elite - Riding Impression

Funds are tight these days, with many folks pinching pennies however and wherever they can. Honda is banking that the current state of economic affairs will help sales of its new-for-2010 Elite. The budget-conscious Elite's smooth-running, 108cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected four-stroke Single puts this stylish scooter under the 150cc requirement for freeway legality but offers ample propulsion to tackle urban errand-running.

Equipped with optional accessory windscreen ($190) and 27-liter top box ($144), the 2010 Honda Elite is a versatile around-town runabout built for the masses.

To showcase the versatility, ease of use and fun offered by the Elite, American Honda cut loose the moto-press on a poker run through the greater Los Angeles area. We set out with street maps marked with five destinations and were tasked with drawing one playing card at each stop. We also were told that the writer who came up with the best hand, photos and published story describing the event would win a brand-new Elite. I took my name out of that hat for obvious reasons (we're journalists, right?), but if I were a bettin' man, I might have voted for a contest of speed; as it played out, I drew a weak hand.

Nevertheless, the Elite proved to be a competent player when it came to poking around unfamiliar parts of town with my head on a swivel. With no hand clutch to manage or gears to select, I found looking for street markings and photo ops along the way couldn't have been simpler. Even when the distraction of a female pedestrian in typical Santa Monica summer attire caused a car ahead of me to suddenly slow, the Elite's combined braking system, actuated via handlebar-mounted levers, withstood the test, the front dual-piston caliper/190mm disc and rear drum providing excellent power and feel.

If I were a single man, I might have been tempted to leverage the Elite's cute looks and put the comfortably roomy two-up accommodations to good use. Then again, I planned poorly and didn't stow a spare helmet in the spacious underseat storage compartment. The latched glovebox beneath the instrument cluster was a particularly handy place to stash my map, allowing me to quickly refer to it while stopped at traffic signals. Oops, missed my turn! No problem, thanks to my lightweight ride's ability to turn on a dime. Finding a suitable parking space came just as easily, saving me a few quarters along the route.

Available in either red or black, the $2999 Elite gets one (or two) off the sidewalk and into the street at a price that's hard to beat, particularly when you factor its claimed 100 mpg and the resulting pennies saved at the pump.