A wonderful scoot for the masses!
When I bought the bike, I became the third owner.
I believe the first owner had used it as a racing bike of some sort (although the top speed on the bike is about 50 mph). It had a lot of scratches on it, a screw missing out of the muffler, and some cracks and chips in the plastic paneling on the bottom of the bike.
The second owner had it for a total of 3 months, and put about 200 miles on the bike when he sold it to me. Since then, I have had to replace the carb (my fault when cleaning the old one, as I had damaged the float).
I have a 2000 model Honda Elite 80, that I bought locally from a guy who owns a limo business for $750. I have enjoyed the scooter a lot, and have done a lot of repair work on it since it was badly taken care of by the first owner. Doing maintenance on the bike is very easy, and most items on the bike are very accessible. I have a Honda Repair manual, which has been very useful in doing these things.
The bike rides and handles very well. It's small size and light weight make it very maneuverable, and it's easy to fit into small, tight spots. Being that it uses a CDI, no shifting is needed, which makes it extremely easy to ride (just twist and go!).
Starting the bike is a breeze, as it has an automatic clutch (trust me... this IS a godsend!). To start it, you insert the key, squeeze the brake handle, and push the electronic start button. That's it! After a few seconds of warming up, you are ready to go.
My top speed has been 51 mph (slight downhill decline). On most straight roads, I cruise around 47 mph. This, is with me weighing 195 lbs.
Honda has made its Elites for the past 22 years all in the same style. I suppose back in the 80's, they looked rather futuristic. Now days, I think they tend to have a bit too much of a boxy look to them. Combined with the cheapo plastic panelling on the bike, it isn't the most stylish in the looks department. However, the plastic panelling makes keeping it clean a lot easier. Just be careful when removing panelling and what not, as it is susceptible to cracking and breaking. The fit and finish on the bike is good though.
The buttons are quite accessible when driving, and thoughtfully laid out. The speedometer is big and bright, and is adequately lit at night. As an added plus, you have a fully functional fuel gauge, which takes the guess work out of how much gas you have left.
The seat, which is large, is fairly comfortable, and you should be able to ride for awhile without much discomfort. However, I have found after about an hour, your butt can get a bit sore, so a break will be needed.
The Honda Elite 80 holds 1 gallon of gas. This will last close to 90 miles before having to refill. In essence, you are getting somewhere between 85-90mpg! You can use Unleaded gas without Ethanol in it (most gas stations are fine.. just look for any that say they have Ethanol in them, and avoid those).
The scooter has a dry weight of 172 lbs. It can hold a max capacity of around 335 lbs. The more you weigh, the less top speed this bike is capable of. With my weight at 195, I can still achieve a good top speed; however, I have read that some people that weigh over 250, will be lucky to hit 40mph.
Honda has geared this scooter for safety, with a lot of reflectors, and a good sized rear brake light. The signals are easy to see. The horn has a nice loud beep (sounds similar to the Road Runner on the Bugs Bunny cartoons).
The only complaint I have in this area is that the headlight is weak. It has a high/low beam, however, at night, the beam is way too dim, and can make riding a rather heart-racing event. That said, I would recommend only riding on well lit streets at night.
Space and Storage:
The Elite has 2 storage areas, one being under the seat, and the other being the front trunk on the bike. Both spots are very small, and are good for holding paperwork, and maybe a tire gauge, as well as a couple of screw drivers. This is kind of a weak area on the Elite, as many scoots have a whole lot more in the storage department (some being capable of holding full sized helmets, along with a couple bags of groceries!). You can add a storage trunk to the luggage rack as an optional expense, but I feel that Honda should have included something like this with the bike to begin with.
This bike has proven Honda reliability, and is relatively easy to maintain. Being that it is belt driven, it doesn't require the constant lubing you would need for a larger motorcycle. Most parts are accessible, but you will need metric tools, and a good set of Allen Wrenches for a lot of the jobs. As long as you do the simple maintenance the manual calls for, this bike in theory could last you darn near forever!
Price and Summary:
All in all, an excellent bike that should last you a long time with regular oil changes, and minor maintenance. Plus, if you buy used, you can get one for very cheap (typically $700-$1500). Even new, I have seen them for under or around $2000.
I would highly recommend this scooter; being very affordable, great reliability, superb gas mileage, makes this a top pick!
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd January, 2008