All Tests – Life in the fields … Élysees – Used HONDA

Life in the fields … Élysees

All Tests - Life in the fields ... Élysees - Used HONDA

In order to compete with the Suzuki Burgman 400 and Yamaha Majesty 400, Honda is launching its own mid-size scooter: the Silver Wing 400, a maxiscooter which is above all "comfortable and luxurious". First contact.

After unveiling it at the Mondial du deux-Roues in Paris in September (read), Honda invited journalists to come and discover the all-new Silver Wing 400… at the foot of the Acropolis, in Athens.

The ancient city is indeed one of the most congested European capitals, but also offers superb winding roads along the coast. An interesting cocktail to assess the urban and road skills of this new maxiscoot…

Junsei Hibiya, engineer in "noise and vibration"within Honda’s Research and Development department, is also and above all the" Large Project Leader "of the Silver Wing 400. Specifying to Moto-Net that his scooter is above all else"comfortable and luxurious rather than sporty", the Japanese confirm that the Silver Wing 400 does not seek to compete with the champion of French maxiscooters: the Yamaha T-Max 500 (read). On the other hand, these direct competitors are indeed the Suzuki Burgman 400 and Yamaha Majesty 400…

Silver Wing 600 Junior

Economy of scale requires, the world number one offers a 400 cc in all points comparable to its Silver Wing 600.

The design is so scrupulously preserved that only a careful eye will be able to differentiate the two brothers: the color of the rims and the grab handles go from a sparkling silver to a more sober black. Another difference but which should quickly disappear: although the 400 is equipped with the combined braking system CBS, it does not yet have ABS.

In addition, Honda has redesigned the center stand for ease of use and the two storage compartments are now waterproof and mounted on spring hinges..

On the other hand, we find the same very complete dashboard, on which even appears a tachometer … whose usefulness remains to be proven! The storage compartments located on either side of the handlebars are deep and the left one is locked. This arrangement therefore obliges the user to only block the steering once his objects are stored, because otherwise the hatch becomes inaccessible when the handlebars are blocked – on the left! Note that the 400 also benefits from the Honda immobilizer system "HISS".

The trunk located under the saddle will easily take care of more bulky items, since it is possible to accommodate two full-face helmets. Like the 600, the 400 also has a handbrake which activates the rear brake and ensures the stability of the scooter on an incline. Be careful, however, not to forget to release it when leaving, otherwise you will unfairly curse the engine. !

More powerful ? Yes, but…

The big change therefore concerns the engine: the twin sees its displacement go down from 582 to 398 cc by the reduction of the bore and the stroke. This modification thus made, the scooter loses 12 horses but still exceeds by 4 hp the 34 authorized for new drivers … Too bad for the French market !

From the top of its 38 hp, the Silver Wing 400 can nevertheless claim to be "more powerful than the competition", Honda brags, insofar as his"competitor Y"develops 34 and its"competitor S"32.

In addition, the 400 borrowing the same frame, the same suspensions, the same brakes and the same fairings as the 600, it inevitably shows a slight overweight (228 kg dry and 246.4 kg all full). So that in the end, the power / weight ratios of the three competitors remain comparable (around 0.17 hp per kg according to the data provided by the three manufacturers).

Comfortable position

The driving position of the new Honda Silver Wing 400 is very pleasant: the relatively low seat height will reassure small riders while large ones will easily fit behind the imposing original screen. Only perhaps the backsplash would have benefited from being slightly higher, in order to even better wedge the lumbars.

On the other hand, we appreciate the clever cutout of the floor which makes it possible to tighten the calves and, at the same time, to put your feet on the ground more easily and serenely..

If the heavy weight of the Silver Wing 400 is felt during operations when stopped, once the engine has started everything is forgotten: this engine is not only efficient but also particularly discreet..

Unlike Yamaha and Suzuki who have opted for a single cylinder, Honda has kept the twin architecture of the 600. The Silver Wing therefore offers a more flattering sound and does not vibrate as much..

Easy driving

From the first turns of the wheels, the scooter gives you confidence: beginners will find the steering light and agile, making the machine particularly easy to manage at low speed or during sharper acceleration, in order to find themselves first at the traffic lights !

Once the light has passed green, it is better to avoid inadvertently driving over a pothole or making a passage too lean on a speed bump … Because if the front axle does not flinch and maintains its course, the suspension back is too dry. And if by misfortune you find yourself in a relaxed position, your back a little too arched on the backrest, beware of blows in the lower back! Fortunately, in this little game, we only get caught once…

When the pace picks up, the Silver Wing retains its good grip. The engine is nervous enough to leave the traffic far behind, without scaring novices. On the rolling parts, the new 400 shows a slight weakness around 90 km / h but still allows to leave the bulk of the traffic in its mirrors..

Touring still limited

The three air vents which adjoin the optics allow part of the wind to rush just behind the screen, which avoids the unpleasant draft that usually sticks the driver’s bust to his handlebars. A good point when you have to cover long distances at a sustained pace, since the Silver Wing hangs on the 150 km / h odometer without worry..

The handling of the Silver Wing 400 is healthy, but a biker risks quickly finding his limits: able to wind calmly, the front axle becomes blurry in the large curves negotiated in a frank manner. A little more rigidity would allow the Silver Wing 400 to really assert its use "touring", the definition of which varies greatly between users !

As a duo – or for those who have a "strong bones"! – the performance of the Silver Wing remains satisfactory, but the brave 400 will tape less sedans than it did with the Smarts in the city center. The acceleration remains straightforward but the pickups at medium speed are not overwhelming.

Tested over only a few hundred meters, the passenger seat is pleasant: the Silver Wing offers large handles and allows you to wedge properly against the backrest. As for the footrests, at first glance a little too inclined towards the rear, they offer comfortable and secure support..

Only missing the ABS

On the braking side, the Silver Wing is an example of practicality: with the combined system, the left lever – which usually operates only the rear brake on scooters – quickly becomes the only one used. In fact, it first actuates the rear brake and then, in a very short time, the central piston of the front brake..

The Silver Wing 400 also retains a straight trim which can be reassuring for those who are not used to seeing their forks dive with each braking. In the end, we even surprise ourselves to use the right lever only in case of severe braking. In fact, only the ABS is missing … which already equips the 600. A gap which should be filled shortly since the policy of the world number one in this area could not be clearer: "all Honda will be equipped with ABS in 2010 !"

Priced at € 5,990, this new Silver Wing 400 is therefore not lacking in advantages: easy, comfortable, responsive and well equipped, it will offer its owner good performance in urban and suburban areas. As for escapades in the countryside, it may however lack a little rigidity and recovery. He should therefore be more at ease on the Champs-Élysees than on small country roads. !

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