It was a long time since we were not so curious to get on a vehicle like this X-ADV. And going up – for once we can’t really say going down – you discover a natural driving position, which allows ample freedom of movement . The handlebar is the protagonist of the scene, because it is he who makes the difference with all the competitors, and immediately places the new Honda proposal more among motorcycles than scooters.
The saddle is a bit high, and despite the flare at the tip, touching the ground is not a natural operation if you do not exceed one meter and seventy-five. On the other hand, the balance, even at less than pedestrian speeds, is truly impressive: the mass is felt very little, and despite the significant wheelbase the maneuvers are quite successful. Only the less experienced will feel a little uncomfortable in the U-turns, but it takes very little to melt and become familiar.
While waiting to subject the X-ADV to the examination of the metropolis in an in-depth test, we can tell you that in urban centers, at low speeds, the Honda crossover performs very well. The DCT is perfect – here we use Drive mode, which we found perfectly tuned for disengaged use – and the wide travel suspension is starting to prove its worth. Slowing humps, manholes, even deep holes, do not break up the X-ADV in the least : the response of the fork is perfect, that of the mono a little more rigid, but the choice of a sustained calibration pays dividends in extra-urban use, as we will discover after.
Braking is powerful but not very prompt . You would expect more bite at the first touch on the right lever, while the command responds with progressiveness and sweetness. Excellent in the city and for the less experienced, therefore, also because by increasing the force on the lever the power actually jumps out; and, above all, we do not remember competitors who do much better.
When the road opens we move on to Sport mode, because the invitation to play that the X-ADV has been giving us for several minutes is impossible to decline. The twin-cylinder of the NC family offers the best from low revs, and can be exploited well with all three mappings of the Sport mode. To tell the truth, the third level, the most aggressive one, turns out to be almost excessive in insisting with the ratios, but, thanks to a decidedly more captivating exhaust tone than the NC and Integra sisters , you end up enjoying accelerations and downshifts as on much more noble bikes.
And if you really want to go up in gear, the “paddle” on the left block is just waiting to come to your aid. The more time and generations of the DCT pass, the more warmly we would like to recommend it : there is no situation in which it does not constitute an improvement compared to a traditional unit on means of a tourist or sport-touring nature.
The chassis of the new Honda fits perfectly: more stable than agile – a predictable feature given the technical data sheet – it rewards sports driving by making you go fast, even more than we realize, with a very low psychological commitment. Precise, impeccable in keeping the trajectory, it is only a bit tiring in the changes of direction , the only juncture in which mass and wheelbase shine through. On the other hand, on our damaged asphalts the X-ADV runs straight ahead, without giving any sign of embarrassment even in front of holes, dips or humps cheerfully faced in the bend.
We also ventured into a stretch of light off-road, where the X-ADV performed excellently. Bumps that would have destroyed other scooters have been digested smoothly – the fork collects well, and cannot be touched underneath unless you expect steps out of context for such a vehicle. But what impresses most is the control that X-ADV can express, completely out of the reach of the competition. And we are sure that with the adoption of dedicated platforms the situation can only improve.
In transfers the X-ADV reveals the only, very slight defect that we were able to find: some slight vibrations that filter into the platform area at high revs. Not much, and easily negligible in a really positive overall picture, also because, on the other hand, the aerodynamic protection is excellent. With the plexi set to the highest position, touring averages are held, leaving only the shoulders out of the aerodynamic pressure, except of course for basketball stature.