2021 Honda ADV150 Review - First Ride

Ryan Adams
by Ryan Adams

If an Africa Twin and X-ADV had a baby

Adventure riding and adventure motorcycles are all the rage right now worldwide. While the idea of blending some of the off-road styling into scooters isn’t an entirely new idea, Honda has taken this approach to an entirely new level with the X-ADV, a 750cc Parallel Twin scooter with a dual-clutch transmission. Sadly, we won’t be seeing that model stateside any time soon thanks to US regulation of what constitutes a scooter versus a motorcycle (Honda says the X-ADV can’t be considered a scooter and without foot controls, it cannot be considered a motorcycle).

2021 Honda ADV150

Editor Score: 86.5%
Engine 18.0/20
Suspension/Handling 13.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 7.0/10
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.0/10
Appearance/Quality 8.5/10
Desirability 9.0/10
Value 8.5/10
Overall Score86.5/100

What we do have – available in dealers now – is the 2021 Honda ADV150. An adventure-styled PCX150 scooter that is more adventuresome in the looks department than in practice. At any rate, the ADV150 delivers fun around town performance with aggressive modern styling.


Well, why not? With the adventure market booming, it makes sense to throw some of that adventure styling onto an accessible worldwide model such as a 150cc scooter. The story of how the ADV150 came to fruition is a bit more interesting than simply why not, though. The concept came from an internal design competition among Honda’s global design offices. Ultimately, the Thai X-ADV themed concept won out and was put into production.

“I followed the image of X-ADV because I wanted to add tough and adventure elements,” says Kim, a manager at the Thai design studio. “In order to deliver a new lifestyle that will inspire the adventurous spirit of customers all over the world, we held a design competition in four countries, including Japan and Europe in addition to Thailand and Indonesia, and the Thai design proposal was adopted.”

The 2021 Honda ADV150 will do it in the dirt.

Although the ADV150 looks the part of its X-ADV and Africa Twin family members, the machine is little more than a restyled PCX150 – a scoot John B recently lauded as “too much fun.” Aside from styling, the ADV150 differs from the existing PCX with longer travel Showa suspension; just over five inches up front and 4.7 in the rear. A slightly larger single 240mm disc with ABS slows the front wheel while a drum brake without ABS works the rear. The ADV150 uses Honda’s smart fob system:

Honda’s Smart Key system, the scooter’s main knob is automatically activated as the owner approaches, and the engine can be started without inserting the key. (An on/off switch prevents a third party from using the scooter even when the owner is in the vicinity.) The system incorporates an “answer-back” switch that flashes the turn signals to help the owner locate the scooter, as well as an anti-theft mechanism whereby the handlebar remains locked when an attempt is made to start the scooter by force. The fuel lid and seat are unlocked via a rocker switch adjacent to the main knob.”

The two-position adjustable windscreen did a great job of keeping wind off of my chest without causing any wind-buffeting on my helmet at its highest point, and allowed cooling airflow in the lower position.

All LED lighting gives a premium look that accents the angular styling nicely, elevating the look of the ADV150 into modernity. This new Honda scooter is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dated market. Styling from most scooter manufacturers hasn’t been updated for some time. Its large LCD screen also provides plenty of information.

Adventure in practice

Honda says the ADV150 is, “A lightweight, compact scooter with adventure-ready features, a crossover model that embraces Honda’s ‘City Adventure’ concept and is positioned for both daily commuting and recreation.” And it’s not trying to be anything more. The styling, the extra suspension travel, the ADV moniker, they’ll do little more than the preceding PCX when the pavement runs out. That’s not to say it’s not a blast – like most scooters are – to rip around on.

The 149cc Single with its automatic V-matic belt-drive tranny has enough oomph around town and was capable of easily cruising at 55 mph during our ride. On flat ground 65 mph wasn’t out of reach and downhill, whilst fully tucked, the speedo flashed between 67 and 68. The LCD screen indicated an average of 79 mpg on my scoot, while other testers came in slightly above and below that number during our ride (which was spent at full throttle whenever possible). That number, considering the 2.1-gallon fuel tank, should allow for a 166(ish)-mile range.

Short wheelbases make for flickable machines.

As a scooter should be, the ADV150 is nimble enough to dice its way through traffic while also delivering a fun ride through the odd twisty bit of tarmac. I like the dirtbike-esque tapered handlebar which adds to the off-road disposition. The ADV150’s brakes won’t be setting the world on fire, but they do get the machine stopped, just keep in mind ABS is only on the front wheel.

Stay charged while on the go.

Storage is available at the dash on the left where you have a 12-volt charger as well as under the seat. Alas, the ADV scooter couldn’t fit my ADV helmet in the underseat storage. I suspect it will fit only the smallest full-face helmets, though most three-quarter and half-helmets shouldn’t be an issue.

As mature as we’ve shown ourselves to be here at MO, visions of adventurous grandeur played itself out in my head as we wrapped up our day’s ride. What kind of adventure are these things really capable of? Sure, they’re amply equipped for daily use in cities around the world, but if we’re careful, and keep the airtime minimal, how far could we venture? I’ll be back; I’ve got to call Troy. Stay tuned!

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2021 Honda ADV150

+ Highs

  • It has looks to inspire adventure
  • Will do 65 mph
  • Long overdue modern styling in the scooter segment

– Sighs

  • $600 more than the scooter it’s based on
  • Underseat storage won’t fit most full-face helmets
  • In reality, it’s not much more adventurous than the PCX

2021 Honda ADV150 Specifications

Engine Type149cc liquid-cooled 80° single-cylinder four-stroke
Valve TrainOHC; two valves
Bore x Stroke57.3 mm x 57.9 mm
Compression Ratio10.6:1
InductionFuel injection; 26 mm throttle body
IgnitionFull transistorized
ClutchAutomatic centrifugal dry type
Final DriveBelt
Front Suspension31mm Showa telescopic fork; 5.12 in. travel
Rear SuspensionTwin Showa shocks; 4.72 in. travel
Front BrakesSingle hydraulic caliper w/ 240 mm disc
Rear BrakesMechanical w/ single 130 mm drum
Front Tires110/80-14
Rear Tires130/70-13
Rake (Caster Angle)26°30′
Trail3.4 inches
Length76.8 inches
Width30.0 inches
Height45.4 inches
Seat Height31.3 inches
Ground Clearance6.5 inches
Wheelbase52.1 in.
Fuel Capacity2.1 gallons
Curb Weight294 pounds (claimed)
ColorMatte Black Metallic
Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams

Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at Motorcycle.com. An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.

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2 of 49 comments
  • Jon4uu Jon4uu on Aug 10, 2020

    Keyless ignition with security lock, ABS, Fuel injection, 2-12v outlets, adjustable windshield, full LCD gauges and auto locking gas port for 4299.00. WTF Honda, how about putting this stuff on your motorcycles. Honda wants 80 bucks just for a 12v socket on my Africa Twin-not including labor, which takes hours 'cause you need to disassemble half the bike! Meanwhile, they continue to sell 30 year old XL650s...

  • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on Aug 17, 2020

    I wish they had put this engine in the Grom. Or, better yet, make a second standard, mini motorcycle with this engine.