2015 Honda Forza

Editor Score: 77.0%
Engine 14.0/20
Suspension/Handling 11.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 10.0/10
Brakes 7.0/10
Instruments/Controls4.0/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.0/10
Appearance/Quality 8.0/10
Desirability 7.0/10
Value 7.0/10
Overall Score77/100

A little bit of everything. That’s the way Honda wants you to think about its Forza scooter. For those not needing the heft and power of the Silver Wing, but still want to scoot about with a little more gusto than the PCX150, the $5,599 Forza is Honda’s answer. Equipped with a 279cc liquid-cooled Single and plenty of storage space, the Forza is the ideal commuter. For a select few, it could even serve as a person’s only motorized vehicle. Let’s dig deeper into what makes it tick.

The first thing you notice when hopping aboard the Forza is the need to lift your leg over the center tunnel. A true step-through scooter design this is not, however it’s low 28.2-inch seat height is accessible by almost anyone. You sit long and low in the Forza, almost in cruiser-like fashion. The footwells extend and swoop towards the front tire, giving the rider the option to sit upright or kick their legs up like a recliner.

The picture doesn’t do it justice, but the extra legroom provided by the upswept footwell is a godsend. Note the parking brake lever at the top of the footwell, a handy feature when parked on a hill.

The picture doesn’t do it justice, but the extra legroom provided by the upswept footwell is a godsend. Note the parking brake lever at the top of the footwell, a handy feature when parked on a hill.

There’s a tradeoff for this relaxed seating position however – the ubiquitous grocery bag hook doesn’t exist on the Forza. Instead, you get two cubby holes just below the bars, the left one is huge, lockable and also features a convenient 12-volt power outlet for charging a device. Meanwhile, the right one is just the right size for holding a wallet and a set of keys.

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Pull the rear brake lever (that’s the left one, by the way), thumb the starter, and the fuel-injected Single comes right to life. She purrs quietly, with hardly a vibration noticeable from either the hands or the eyes. The Forza is built with typical Honda quality.

The view from the captain’s chair. Instruments include an analog speedo, tach, temperature and fuel gauge. Keep in mind the Forza only has a fuel gauge and not a secondary low fuel light. Digital gauges include two trip meters, odometer, average and instant fuel mileage.

The view from the captain’s chair. Instruments include an analog speedo, tach, temperature and fuel gauge. Keep in mind the Forza only has a fuel gauge and not a secondary low fuel light. Digital gauges include two trip meters, odometer, average and instant fuel mileage.

Once on the go, the Forza will dust most cars off the line. However, fast or powerful are not words used to accurately describe the Forza. At 422 lbs, ready-to-ride, she’s a heavy girl, and that 279cc Single works hard to keep it moving. The CVT does a good job keeping the engine in its sweet spot, but really, the throttle is to the stop more often than it’s not. Power is metered well, however, with a really direct feel between the throttle hand and the rear tire.

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The Forza feels at home cruising around town. While its stance may appear wide, it doesn’t feel as such behind the bars. Filtering through traffic is easy, and the top edge of the small flyscreen doesn’t obstruct the view of the road ahead. The 35mm fork up front provides 3.7 inches of travel, while the twin shocks in the rear give 3.8 inches of motion. Damping is suited to the demands of a commuter, meaning it does an admirable job, say, riding over an uneven manhole cover. Sharp, high-frequency jolts, however, are not the suspension’s forte – it bottoms quickly and transfers the jolt to its rider.

A competent companion for running errands in the city, the Forza exudes typical Honda quality.

A competent companion for running errands in the city, the Forza exudes typical Honda quality.

Should your day’s tasks require a hop on the freeway, the Forza is capable, though you’ll need to plan your moves carefully, as the Honda isn’t eager to accelerate after about 40 mph. Just the other day, I found myself in a slightly uphill drag race on a freeway onramp, challenging a Toyota Corolla. Despite pulling the throttle cables as far as it would go, I came out the loser in that battle. That said, on flat ground the Forza will eventually muster up 80 mph, its engine spinning 1000 rpm shy of its 9000 rpm redline. At these speeds, the Forza is a slightly different animal.

At 80 mph, bumps and road irregularities can overwhelm the meager suspension, as it again bottoms quickly and jolts the rider. Here too, the 120/70-14 front, 140/70-13 rear tires are seemingly drawn like a magnet to joints and grooves in the road, following them unless given a firm tug at the bars. Strangely, the Forza is prone to getting pushed around in its lane when faced with a crosswind. Lastly, the Forza comes equipped with linked brakes, which apply a bit too much front pressure when only using the rear. Still, what impressed most was, despite the engine being stressed to such high rpm, I couldn’t feel a vibe from the bars or floorboard.

Underseat storage is rather generous for its displacement class. If it weren’t for the oddly shaped vent on the helmet, the seat would be able to close. A second helmet can fit at the other end, assuming it’s not a full-face.

Underseat storage is rather generous for its displacement class. If it weren’t for the oddly shaped vent on the helmet, the seat would be able to close. A second helmet can fit at the other end, assuming it’s not a full-face.

Also impressive is the fuel mileage. When commuting around Southern California on the Forza, an aggressive rider is constantly WFO. Despite this, I’ve returned a best mpg figure of 62.0 (and worst of 59.3 mpg) from the 3.0-gallon tank. That’s short of Honda’s claim of 68 mpg, but my 80-mile commute twice a week includes sustained inclines – ones I never noticed before on more powerful machines!

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And we can’t end a scooter review without talking under-seat storage. The Honda’s is quite cavernous, able to hold two helmets, though only one can be a full face, and it mustn’t have oddly-shaped vents or spoilers. In between the lids, there’s further space for other odds and ends.

The Honda Forza is right at home scooting around the town.

The Honda Forza is right at home scooting around the town.

When all is said and done, the Honda Forza is a competent city runabout. With a favorable seating position, lots of storage, good gas mileage and typical Honda quality, the Forza is a contender for someone shopping in this market. Were it mine, I’d want a slightly taller screen and a little more power. Then again, with competition in the form of the Kymco Downtown 300i, SYM Citycom 300i, Piaggio BV350 and Vespa GTS 300, the marketplace is stacked. Hmm, shootout, anyone?

+ Highs

  • Comfy seating position
  • Respectable fuel mileage
  • Great for slicing through the city
– Sighs

  • Poorly balanced linked brakes
  • A little more power would be nice
  • Tires follow grooves in the road

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  • http://voidstar.com/ jbond

    Better or worse than the Burger 400? I’d guess generally worse except possibly for gas mileage but overall, very similar.

    • SteveSweetz

      Probably, but the Honda is smaller overall and this is pertinent:

      Burgman 400: $8000
      Forza 300: $5600

      • TroySiahaan

        Yep, Steve’s on the right track.

  • cbolling

    How about legroom? I have a 34″ inseam. Is the Burgman 400 better for legroom?

    • disqus_xeiqQoGUsg

      Sym Citycom has the highest seat in the class.

  • Craig Hoffman

    It would be a laugh riot to stick a KTM 690 motor into one of these. Doing so would solve the power issue and create all sorts of interesting problems. Then again, I am a sick man…

    Back to reality, this is a nice looking machine, the front end is reminiscent of the CBR1000. The opposing article on the stealth matte black Sym leads me to prefer that machine though, not the least of which for it’s bigger wheels and higher seat. When on a scooter with limited power, I want a good sightline that the higher seat provides and the bigger wheels are going to handle pavement irregularities better.

  • Mark Vizcarra

    This will be a hidden cult classic. If you guys dont know there is a crazy scooter scene in Japan and elsewhere that makes the hayabusa look tame

  • Al

    Unfortunately this scooter is around 20 HP compared to the Kymco Downtown 300 which is around 29 HP and the Beverly 350 at 33 HP. Burgman 400 is about 33 HP too.

    • http://netzero.com/ Tru2form

      The engine specs are showing 24.5 hp. It’s really not all that unfortunate.

    • http://netzero.com/ Tru2form

      The engine specs are showing 24.5 hp. It’s really not all that unfortunate.

    • http://netzero.com/ Tru2form

      The engine specs are showing 24.5 hp. It’s really not all that unfortunate.

  • Joe

    Had my Forza for almost a year now and its been a real gem. I sold my 2009 Piaggio BV 500 to get this and the difference is like night and day. The Piaggio felt top heavy and unbalanced, Not so on the honda even though its a wider bike. Also the Forza has better brakes,and runs much smoother. You cant go wrong with this bike. Also its a bargain compared to other scooters this size.