When Honda introduces the world’s first adventure scooter on August 30th, what they’re tentatively calling the X-ADV, it’ll be an affirmation that the best adventure vehicle is the one you’ve got—even if it happens to be a scooter. Especially if it happens to be a scooter.
Honda’s X-ADV will be a scooter with a longer suspension, dual-sport tires, a digital screen, and the same comfy step-through design as, say, a well-ridden Vespa PX200. Some say it looks like a “beefed-up Honda Integra (no, not the car).” Others say it will feature a 745cc parallel-twin engine, one shared with other adventured-minded bikes like the not-for-America NC750X. More Doom-Bringer than Scooty-Puff Jr, then. Why not tramp over a fire trail on the way to Shake Shack? Why not navigate your average city’s cobblestones and manhole covers in rugged comfort?
Last year, Honda teased something they called the City Adventure Concept: a knife-edged, scowl-eyed scoot-scoot on knobby tires that looked like it could combine the tantalizing lure of riding to Africa on your way past your nearest Starbucks and the practicality of stashing a helmet under your seat. (In 2013, Yamaha teased an even more aggressive-looking adventure scooter in Thailand, complete with brown digital camouflage, which never went into production.)
Australian Drew Milne would agree with the idea behind Honda’s adventure scooter. In 2011, Milne left his native home of Adelaide, South Australia, on a bright red Vespa PX200 scooter. Atop its 198cc, 12-horsepower engine, he rode across the unforgiving Australian Outback, stopped at the iconic Ayers Rock in the middle of the continent, and then kept going north. He headed across the ocean and rode through the rain in South Asia, before crossing into India, then the Middle East. In Iran, the rear wheel nuts broke. In Italy, he rode through a mountain pass in the Italian Alps in the dead of winter.
When Milne got to London, he parked the Vespa right next to Trafalgar Square, stood on top of his little machine, and celebrated. The journey took two years and 10,000 miles. Naturally, he plans to write a book about it.
You don’t have to take this one 10,000 miles across the world.
But you could.