2019 Honda Forza Review: Personal Car-Lite



Honda’s Forza 300 scooter is a great way to step away from car ownership without stepping down to public transport 

SINGAPORE
Upgrading to a car is a common reason local riders move away from two-wheels – you’ll see the same refrain in classified ads, riders selling their bikes to afford the downpayment. Real-life example – our own CarBuyer design staffer Faiz recently went from a scooter to a small family car. 


In this age of conscious consumption though, going away from a car to a scooter makes a lot of sense. To most people that’s a definite downgrade, but if you choose the right ride, it’s more of a side-grade. 

The Honda Forza 300 is certainly on the ‘right’ side of things.

It’s a mid-size, sub-400cc  urban scooter, meaning it’s bigger and more well-equipped, and more presentable than small ziparounds such as its smaller brother the Honda PCX 150 or the legion of ubiquitous kapcais, but also not as expensive nor heavy as a maxi-scoot, such as a Suzuki Burgman 650. 

On the ‘more presentable’ side of things, the Forza’s build quality and design display what you’d expect from a Honda on the fat side of the S$10,000-S$20,000 bracket. The metallic blue and white paintwork is deep, and flawless with a thick clear coat, the LED headlights add a very modern touch, while all the visible mechanical bits display an equally high level of fit and finish.

The instrument panel has a digital middle section and is very easy to read, while all of the switchgear solid to the touch and engages positively. In other words, it’s obviously not the sort of bike where most of what you paid went to the glue that holds the badge in place. 

The previous Forza looked simpler, like an engorged version of its PCX equivalent back then, but there’s a bigger gulf now that Honda has opted to inject some sportiness into the Forza.

The design and frame are all new, the rake has increased, as has the seat height, and that’s interesting because these are moves that typically inject a little more sportiness to a bike, perhaps a little injection of excitement thanks to the success of the X-ADV crossover scooter. 

As a result an average-sized rider won’t fully flat-foot when mounted on the Forza, a rarity for a scooter. It’s different, but it’s not exactly motard territory just yet, and the relative light weight of the bike means it’s still easy to handle and park. 

Here’s where some major niceties come into play: Like modern cars and some luxury bikes, the Forza has keyless access, which is uber-useful for anyone who’s put their gloves on while leaving their keys in their pockets (ask us how we know). With the key nearby you can engage the rotary switch that takes the place of the conventional ignition, to unlock the steering or the seat, put the bike into start mode, and so on. 

On the side is a very deep – though with a narrow aperture – glovebox compartment that can swallow a small waterbottle and has a useful charging port and smartphone storage slot. Unlocking the seat reveals a large storage space that comes with its own movable partition, and Honda claims it can fit two full face helmets. My own enduro style helmet couldn’t fit, but it’s big and bulky, so there’s little reason to doubt Honda’s claim. 

Firing up the Forza produces a startling lack of vibration and noise one would usually expect from a 300cc-ish, single-cylinder engine, it’s smooth enough that you could mistake it for a multi-cylinder unit, at least at low revs. 

With not that much mass to haul around and a decent 25hp, the Forza’s a zippy way to break through the drudgery of the Singaporean commute, and its modest dimensions means easy lane-splitting. 

At higher speeds the bike is less adept in general, although it will hold highway speeds at ease and the automatic windshield is a super-neat party trick that expensive luxury touring bikes lack. 

The power delivery is linear and pleasing, the quiet burr of the engine reinforcing the fact that this is a particularly efficient and friendly way to get around. 

It also corners very well, that new dimension of claimed sportiness isn’t just hyped up marketing, as it displays a liveliness one usually doesn’t expect in scooters. While it’s not as unrelentingly stable as a maxi-scoot, it’s easier to throw into sharp turns and a U-turns are a doddle.

If you do overdo things, Honda’s basic traction control system (Honda Selectable Torque Control, aka HSTC, which can be turned off) is onboard, although we imagine it would be hard to overwhelm with just 25hp but it’s always good to have it than not. 

Overall it displays enough vim and quality to be a solid choice for riders who want more than just a mile-crushing machine, which isn’t to say it’s not good at that either: The worst mileage we achieved on this was 3.2L/100km, paired with a 11.5-litre fuel tank, that gives a very impressive 350km per top-up. 


If you don’t need to cart a family around, then the Honda Forza’s efficiency, easy-to-ride nature and business-like appearance might make you reconsider upgrading to a car, and side-grading to a good scooter instead. 

Honda Forza 300

Engine

279cc, 4V, single-cylinder 

Power

24.8hp at 7000rpm

Torque

27.2Nm at 5750rpm

Gearbox

CVT 

0-100km/h

Not stated

Top Speed

Not stated 

Wet Weight

182kg 

Seat Height 

780mm 

Agent

Boon Siew Honda  

Price (OTR)

S$17,450 OTR*

Availability

Now

*OTR = On-The-Road, inclusive six-month Road Tax, COE, without insurance 



about the author

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Derryn Wong
Has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. Is particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats.