2022 Honda Navi Review – First Ride

John Burns
by John Burns
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From India with love, via Mexico

Jeez, people, have we really gotten this crusty? After I posted a pic of the new Honda Navi on my Facebook a couple days ago (cause that’s how crusty I am) at its SoCal coming-out party, my old pals pounced. “A face, body, and everything only a mother could love”, “another Honda styled by tupperware.” “Ugly. Looks like I picked a good time to retire,” said one recently retired Editor in Chief. “My Trail 90 looks really good today,” said another.

2022 Honda Navi

Is it a scooter or a minimoto? Yes. Whatever it is, the Navi feels like it can get you there with absolute minimal cashetary outlay.

Editor Score: 81%


+ Highs

  • $1,807
  • 50-mph top end is almost respectable
  • Fits full-size adults

– Sighs

  • Drum brakes might work out ok?
  • No helmet hooks
  • It’s no Grom, but it beats a Ruckus

Fine, I’ll quote Led Zeppelin: “Does anybody remember laughter?” Most of the critics probably pounced before they saw the bottom line: $1,807. Have we all forgotten our childhoods, and aren’t you all the same old boomer bast, er, fellas, who regressed immediately to 13 years old when Honda brought out the new Monkey a couple years ago?

2022 honda navi review first ride

No big, really, since most of my FB friends are decidedly not the target audience for the Navi, which Honda is aiming mostly at impecunious youth. Your $36 payment on a new Navi could be cheaper than taking the bus, says Honda. Good point.

Eighteen-hundred bones is less than half the price of a new Monkey, and only a bit more than half of a $3,399 Grom. How they did that, I don’t really know. For one thing, the Navi’s been for sale in other markets since 2016, including India and Mexico. In fact, word on the internet is it was designed by Honda’s Indian arm, and American Honda tells us its Navis are manufactured in Mexico. But it’s only now that American Honda made the decision to import it to the US.

You have to guess that, with the plethora of cheap electric and small ICE scooters and things flooding the market lately, the bottom line beckoned. You also don’t need any container ships to get things to the US from Mexico. Heck, at 110 mpg, it’d be profitable, though possibly legally perilous, to hire the immigrant caravan to ride them across the border.


The Monkey/Grom purists seem upset that the Navi’s actually a scooter in mini-moto clothes, with a swingarm-mounted engine and constantly variable trans instead of a real motor/gearbox and chain drive. That means we can’t leave Honda’s scooters out of the conversation either: The 49 cc, $2,799 Ruckus is also going to set you back $992 more than the Navi, and suddenly the PCX of my dreams is also looking wildly extravagant at $3,799.

2022 honda navi review first ride, That tiny exhaust poofter is crying out for about a 1 5 inch hole saw
That tiny exhaust poofter is crying out for about a 1.5-inch hole saw.

Well, the PCX is actually worth it, because it’ll go 70 mph in stock form. The Monkey can do 55 on a good day, but the Navi’s 50-ish mph top end will blow the doors off the Ruckus, thanks to its 109 cc single-cylinder powerplant – and it’d probably give a stock Grom a run for its money, if there are any stock Groms: While your Monkeys/Groms are busy shifting all those gears, you’ve got the full-auto Navi pinned and putting the power down. With this kind of speed on hand, you’re not afraid to venture out of your own cul de sac.

2021 Honda PCX Review

The happy speed seems to be right around 45 mph, which the Navi achieves pretty quickly, and 50 or so will come around shortly, depending on wind velocity and altitude. A quicker-throw throttle would be a nice addition, since it’s pretty much either closed or WOT 99% of the time.

What’s the Catch?

You can’t get ABS brakes. But you really don’t require them, since the drums the Navi uses front and rear are nigh-on impossible to lock up – in the dry, anyway. Having said that, the right-hand front and right-foot rear slow the 236-pound scoot pretty dang effectively anyway. On any kind of small vessel like this in traffic, the key is always to anticipate when accel and decel will be required as far in advance as possible. In fact, tiny vehicles like this teach you acute, meerkat-like traffic awareness. Some larger mammal could still turn left in front of you, but somehow it feels less likely since their brainstem has probably already identified you as a potential food source, which beats not registering you at all.

2022 honda navi review first ride, You ll never have to bleed these brakes which actually stop the lightweight Navi okayishly
You’ll never have to bleed these brakes, which actually stop the lightweight Navi okayishly.

Really, apart from the brakes, the Navi’s not half bad. It might look tiny in the photos, but it’s spacious enough for a full-size adult, maybe two. Our luxurious 50.6-in. wheelbase is 5.6 in. longer than the Monkey’s, and the Navi provides passenger footpegs which the Monkey does not.

At 30.1 inches, the seat’s a few inches higher than most cruisers, and gives ample legroom for even tall people. The seat itself is reasonably comfortable, and so is the entire ergonomic triangle. For offroad pounding, the handlebar could be a bit wider, but that’s not really what we’re here for.

2022 honda navi review first ride

Sudden inputs into the grips can send the Navi rapidly off course, thanks to the tiny 12- and 10-inch tires, but if you don’t make any sudden moves, neither does the Navi. It remains nice and stable at top whack, right around 50 mph according to the cartoonish speedometer.

2022 honda navi review first ride, What more do you need That s genuine faux carbon fiber JB photo
What more do you need? That’s genuine faux carbon fiber. (JB photo)

Suspension is not cutting edge, but the inverted fork (26.8 mm tubes) does cushion the ride with 3.5 inches travel, and the trick single-sided swingarm/engine monoshock out back gives 2.76 inches of wheel travel. That’s ¾-in more than the new H-D Sportster S. It’s good form to stand on the pegs when you see big bumps coming.

Not a toy

Overall, then, though the Navi might look like some kind of a toy at first glance, it actually makes as much sense as most small-bore scooters or “minimotos” or whatever you wish to call them. Which is to say, it makes all kinds of sense for around-town sashaying and errand running, allowing you to happily frolic through your daily tasks and appointments while leaving your bigger motorcycle or gas-guzzling car in the garage.

2022 honda navi review first ride, JB iPhone photo
JB iPhone photo

Then the Navi plays its trump card: Its scooter architecture means there’s a sweet little lockable cubby where the engine ought to be. It’ll easily swallow a rolled-up jacket, a couple bags of Del Taco, and it looks like a 6-pack of cans should fit easily enough.

2022 honda navi review first ride, Mmmmm Gummy bears
Mmmmm Gummy bears…

Bottom line

After working my fingers to the bone these 30-some years, I personally feel like I’ve earned the luxurious comfort and prestige that comes with Honda PCX ownership. But if my wealth was less immense and if I didn’t need the blazing 70-mph performance of the PCX, the Navi’s not a bad little scoot, not by a long shot.

2022 honda navi review first ride

You can look at its 18mm carburetor and worry about maintenance, or you can think of it as a door opening – an opportunity to learn all about the miracles of tuning internal combustion engines, if you haven’t already. All I know about drum brakes is I’m pretty sure nobody’s ever touched the ones on back of my ‘95 Ranger truck, and it still stops fine. Though there is a weird squeal lately?

The Navi’s 109 cc single should be robust enough, since Wiki tells us it’s descended from the Honda Activa, whose Indian roots go back to 1999. The entry includes this snippet: “During the month of September 2013, 141,996 Honda Activa scooters were sold, nearly equal to Honda’s entire annual sales in North America.”

Aftermarket suppliers like Vance & Hines et al are already stepping up with parts to eke even more performance out of the Navi, just like they did with the Grom, Monkey, Z125 and others before it…

2022 honda navi review first ride, The Steady Garage guys were on hand with their custom Navi which they admit they spent more than 1807 customizing JB photo
The Steady Garage guys were on hand with their custom Navi, which they admit they spent more than $1807 customizing. (JB photo)
2022 honda navi review first ride, MNNTHBX is on board JB photo
MNNTHBX is on board. (JB photo)

Cheap skates

Monkeys and Groms and Trail 125s are all well and good, but at the end of the day we motorcyclists are chiselers, let’s face it, and three or four $K can get you a pretty swell grown-up used motorcycle if you keep your ear to the wind. For $1,807, though, it’ll be very curious indeed to see what becomes of the Navi. From where I sat yesterday, cruising all over town on it, it deserves to do well. It feels like a perfectly nice little scooter/minimoto Soichiro wouldn’t be at all embarrassed to have his wing displayed upon. And at this price, it feels like a great stocking stuffer, just in time for the Holidays.

2022 Honda Navi Specifications

Engine Type109.2cc fan-cooled four-stroke 80º single cylinder w/ eSP friction-reducing technology
Valve TrainOHC; two-valve
Bore x Stroke55.0 mm x 55.6 mm
Compression Ratio9.5:1
InductionCarburetor w/ 16 mm bore
IgnitionFull transistorized
StarterElectric (w/ kickstart backup)
DrivelineBelt final drive
TransmissionV-Matic CVT
ClutchAutomatic centrifugal dry
Front Suspension26.8 mm telescopic inverted fork; 3.9 inches travel
Rear SuspensionSingle shock mounted on left side; 2.8 inches travel
Front BrakeSingle mechanical 130 mm drum, w/ parking brake
Rear BrakeSingle mechanical 130 mm drum
Front Tire90/90-12
Rear Tire90/100-10
Rake (castor angle)27.5º
Trail3.2 inches
Length71.1 inches
Width29.1 inches
Height41.1 inches
Seat Height30.1 inches
Ground Clearance6.1 inches
Wheelbase50.6 inches
Fuel Capacity0.9 gallons
Curb Weight236 lbs. (claimed)
ColorsRed; Grasshopper Green; Nut Brown; Ranger Green

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John Burns
John Burns

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2 of 20 comments
  • James Smith James Smith on Dec 15, 2021

    That front drum lever though..... it looks designed to spear road kill.

  • Jon Jon on Oct 29, 2022

    The biggest problem with the Navi, is the bobastically ridiculous markups from dipshit dealers. I saw written forms to prospective buyers with $800+ assembly fees. More like $4000 instead of the suggested $1800+. I was disgusted with Honda USA for letting the dealers blow these prices way out of proportion. Decided I was done with Honda motorcycles. And I have been buying and riding motorcycles for over 60 years. Owned about 30 different motorcycles and scooters.