The maxi-scooter market has been expanding for over a decade now with more and more 500 cc-plus models joining the battle in the never-ending fight for customers. Honda’s flagship business-class maxi— the aptly-named Silver Wing— continues the fight into the current year with a machine largely unchanged since the original rolled in ’02. The twin-cylinder mill falls just short of the 600 cc mark and puts out nearly 30 ponies, so this ain’t your average little European-style scoot by any means. In fact, the factory considers it less a scooter and more a mid-size tour/commute motorcycle and more or less markets it as such. Whether this is rightly so or not, I wanted to see for myself.

Continue reading for my review of the Honda Silver Wing.

  • 2013 Honda Silver Wing ABS
  • Year:
    2013
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 4-valve DOHC parallel-twin
  • Displacement:
    582 cubic inches
  • Top Speed:
    105 mph
  • Price:
    9270
  • Price:

Design

2013 Honda Silver Wing ABS
- image 699432

Let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room right off the bat. I don’t care what the engineers, marketing people or president of the company has to say over at Honda; if it has a step-through chassis and swingmount drivetrain, it’s a scooter. End. Of. Discussion. Now that we’ve established what the Silver Wing isn’t, let’s take a look at what it is within the context of the maxi-scooter genre.

Up front we have a sort of blunt, sport-touring entry that quickly flares out to incorporate the mirrors and turn signals into little winglets that in turn breaks the wind off the rider’s hands and forearms. The bubble of protection extends down to the legs with integral legguards that allow you to tuck all the way in, and a tall windshield that steers air up and overhead.

Small storage compartments in the inner fairing provide one-touch accessible dry storage on one side of the control column and lockable dry storage on the other. From there the upper lines drop down to a half-hearted step-through with beveled upper edges that obliterate all between-feet cargo carrying possibilities. Luckily, the two-up seat flips up to expose a 14.5-gallon storage compartment that will hold a full-face helmet with room for a few other possibles.

Short backrests serve to keep both rider and passenger aboard, and a generous “Jesus handle” around the pillion gives the passenger something on which to clutch. Molded-in light housings keep the ass end neat and clean with nothing to clutter up the look. So, in the end we wind up with a full-bodied ride that is just modern enough to look like a smart business commuter, but not so radical as to look futuristic/ridiculous.

One benefit inherent with writing about established models is that they have a lot of ride-time so folks know what they like and don’t like about them over the long haul. The Silver Wing is very popular as a commuter ride, and with, shall we say, seasoned riders looking for an alternative to their Gold Wings or other full-size rides.

Chassis

2013 Honda Silver Wing ABS Exterior
- image 504802
Handling is better than you might expect from a scooter...

What the front suspension lacks in tune-ability it makes up for in size and strength with a set of 41 mm stems. That’s right, these fork tubes are larger than many “proper” motorcycles of comparable displacement, and they buttress the front end well against potholes and other interesting urban terrain features. Twin, coil-over rear shocks spring the swing-mount drivetrain with a five-position spring preload to deal with variable passenger/cargo weight. Suspension travel pushes into the plush zone with 4.2 inches of travel at the axle up front and 4.5 inches in back, another reason for its apparent popularity. As “big bike” as the suspension is, the hoops are still planted firmly in scooterville with a 120/80-14 up front and 150/70-13 in back, though the 63-inch wheelbase is definitely into full-size ride country.

Handling is better than you might expect from a scooter, and while newer/timid riders will probably never notice, more aggressive riders will feel a bit of frame flex when tackling the corners. In short; it ain’t a sportbike, don’t try to ride it like one.

Honda gets fancy with a pair of brake augmentations designed to increase safety and stability under a variety of adverse conditions. First up is the integral Combined-Brake System that uses a portion of the pressure generated at the rear-brake lever to pressurize one of the three pistons in the front-brake caliper. This gives the rider a somewhat balanced brake effort that helps to reduce the chances of overdoing it at either end. In case that ain’t enough, you got ABS riding shotgun to moderate brake pressure in case a tire tries to break loose anyway. So there you have it; comfort and safety for the masses.

Drivetrain

2013 Honda Silver Wing ABS High Resolution Exterior
- image 504778

“But comfort and safety aren’t enough to explain the popularity,” you say? Well, the engine completes the trifecta with an estimated top speed of around 105 MPH for more get-up-and-go than can legally be used almost anywhere. This scooter fears no interstate work, so riders can feel confident about hitting the superslab and/or zipping up the HOV lane if necessary as part of their daily commute.

This scooter fears no interstate work, so riders can feel confident about hitting the superslab and/or zipping up the HOV lane...

A nearly-square 72 mm bore and 71.5 mm stroke gives this parallel-twin engine an overall displacement of 582 cc with a respectable 50 ponies and 40 pounds of grunt. Dual over-head cams time the four-valve heads, but at 10.2-to-1, the compression ratio will have you at the mid-grade pump to prevent the pingage.

Liquid cooling dampens mechanical noise emissions from the cases and teams up with the electronic fuel-injection system to meet CARB and EPA emission standards. An automatic enrichener helps with cold starts, but beyond that Honda keeps it simple by leaving the traction control and rider modes on the shelf. Naturally, a Continuously-Variable Transmission provides twist-and-go operation with no need to pull a clutch or manually shift. Ever. All good stuff for inexperienced/over-experienced riders.

Pricing

2013 Honda Silver Wing ABS High Resolution Exterior
- image 504795

The Silver Wing ABS hasn’t seen any changes in the U.S. market whatsoever since 2013, and that includes the price. Still hovering below the 10K mark at $9,270, the Silver Wing holds its place as the Red Rider’s premium luxury scooter. Oh, and it comes in any color you want... as long as you want black.

Competitors

2013 Honda Silver Wing ABS
- image 697977
2016 - 2017 Suzuki Burgman
- image 667423

The big-scooter field is fairly flush nowadays, but I wanted to look at one of Honda’s close neighbors to see what the homegrown competition looks like, and the Suzuki Burgman 650 “Executive” quickly filled the bill. Here we have a big-bike build similar to the Silver Wing, and equally liable to appeal to the same sort of buyer. As a matter of taste, I actually prefer the Executive, the ’Wing is just a little too Honda-ey if ya know what I mean. That is of course, a personal taste, and one I may be in the minority with.

Both sport large windshields and full leg protection for what should be a fairly protected ride, but neither have more than a half-step-through and the Burgman has even fewer ’tween-feet storage possibilities than the ’Wing. Moving aft we come to large, two-up seats with ample butt-retention devices (’cause you can’t call ’em backrests) that contain both rider and passenger in a confidence-inspiring cradle. Neither builder misses a trick when it comes to integrating the turn signals, mirrors and taillights with the fairings to keep them as unobtrusive as possible.

Both rides (thankfully) come with disc brakes front and rear as well as ABS protection, but while Honda only springs for a single disc up front, Suzuki goes all out with dual front discs and a lot more stopping power. The Burgman also comes with stock heated seats and grips, which are a definite bonus for riders who like to push it into the “R” months. Suspension is fairly even across the board, but we get to some differences when we consider the drivetrains.

The Burgman runs a 638 cc mill that cranks out 54 ponies and 45 pounds of grunt, just a skosh bigger/more than the 582 cc plant pushing the ’Wing, but the real news is in the transmission. Sure, twist-and-forget is convenient and all, but for those times when you want to control the timing of the shifts, only the Burgman offers a solution with its electronic/manual shifter.

Pricing is within reason with Honda coming out the clear winner with its $9,270 sticker, quite a bit under the $10,999 tag on the Burgman, but the heated components alone would gobble most of that difference up should you try to make the two equal in that regard.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, "Honestly, for a little more money one could score the C650 GT from Beemer and have a really motorcycle-ish non-scooter. Sure it costs more, but if you are looking to downsize for reasons other than budget, it’s hard to go wrong with German engineering. That said, there’s nothing actually wrong with the Silver Wing, it just isn’t quite as top shelf as some of the other maxi-scooters out there.”

She Said

"I can’t really fault anything about the Silver Wing, and everyone I asked who has ever had one speaks fondly of it. These big business-class scooters are a way to get on two wheels without going the whole motorcycle route — excellent for commuters, errand runners, or just twist-and-go transportation. I’m a bit disappointed that Honda hasn’t introduced a new Silver Wing in the American market since 2013."

Specifications

ENGINE:
Engine Type: 582cc liquid-cooled four-stroke parallel-twin
Bore And Stroke: 72mm x 71.5mm
Induction: Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) with automatic enrichment circuit, four-hole injectors
Ignition: Computer-controlled fully transistorized with electronic advance
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
DRIVE TRAIN:
Transmission: Automatic V-Matic belt drive
CHASSIS / SUSPENSION / BRAKES:
Front Suspension: 41mm fork; 4.2 inches travel
Rear Suspension: Swingarm with dual shocks with five-position spring-preload adjustability; 4.5 inches travel
Front Brake: Single 276mm disc with CBS three-piston caliper
Rear Brake: Single 240mm disc with CBS twin-piston caliper
Front Tire: 120/80-14
Rear Tire: 150/70-13
DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 63.0 inches
Seat Height: 29.7 inches
Curb Weight: 541 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gallons, including 0.9-gallon reserve
Miles Per Gallon: 46 MPG
DETAILS:
Model Id: FSC600A
Emissions: Meets current California Air Resources Board (CARB) and EPA standards.
Warranty: One Year,Transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.
Available Colors: Black
Price: $9,270

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended.

Image Source: powersports.honda.com, suzukicycles.com

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