Last week, Honda Thailand announced the Thai launch for the Honda Integra, a super scooter aimed at catering to the market demand. It is a machine, the Honda spokesperson said, for the changing world of two-wheelers, a thing for the increasingly practicality-conscious and Eco-friendly crowd. What exactly is it? It is an upgraded version of the failed DN-01? Does it mark a new segment among crossovers? Or is it just a machine for those who want adequate power, but are scared of buying supersport motorcycle? We decided to find out for ourselves.
The name Integra has been derived from the fact that Honda wanted to integrate the practicality of a scooter with the powerful character of a motorcycle in this machine. It has a high-capacity, 670cc engine that produces 52 PS of peak power and 62Nm of peak torque. One might be deluded into thinking that this is the same engine that powered the Honda DN-01, but failed to impress the worldwide market. However, it is not so. The engine powering the Honda Integra is a completely new unit in the in-line twin configuration as against the V-twin used in the Honda DN-01. The engine uses a 270-degree crank and an uneven firing order. However, it is free from the vibrations that would otherwise come from this configuration thanks to the use of a balance shaft.
What is also interesting about the Honda Integra is that its engine has been mated to the second generation of dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT), which was first seen on the Honda VFR1200F. The first thing one notices as one get astride the Honda Integra is its forward-feet sitting posture. A motorcyclist may take a little while to get used to this especially in corners where you naturally tend to shift body weight using your toes on the foot pegs. The seat is wide and soft and makes for great riding comfort. A huge windscreen has been provided for excellent protection from wind blast.
Riding the Honda Integra is an easy task, reminiscent of the Honda VFR1200F. In fact it is even easier because now there is less weight and bulk to carry around. Press the starter button, put the scooter in the 'D' mode using the switch on the right-hand side, twist the throttle and get going. The Honda Integra's 670cc engine pulls very well from low revs. However, it becomes much livelier in the mid-range, at about 4,000rpm, and has enough power to attain a three-digit speed quickly. The gears shift seamlessly at about 4,000rpm in the 'D' mode. However, put the scooter in the 'S' mode and the engine starts revving happily until almost 7,000rpm before shifting up. Even the downshift are quick and start occurring with the slightest drop in speed.
The braking duty has been entrusted to Honda's C-ABS (combined anti-lock braking system) that ensures safe and quick braking, whatever the road surface. The Honda Integra uses a suspension system that tends towards a softer set-up. Of course, with the main purpose of the scooter being comfortable everyday riding, there is not much concentration of the sporty feedback from the chassis. In corners, the Honda Integra doesn't feel as planted as a motorcycle would. However, its straight-line stability at high speed (around 150km/h) is commendable. That happily adds up to the fact that the Honda Integra can be well used for touring. Good speed, a hassle-free, comfortable ride and some storage under the seat: it has the essential attributes of a tourer.
The overall impression that we formed about the Honda Integra is a little mixed up, though. Its engine has a good grunt, the DCT is extremely convenient the seat is comfortable and high-speed cruising is delightful. However, at the end of the day, it is a scooter and not an out and out performance machine. Although the Honda DCT has the option of changing the gears manually with buttons, the lack of clutch takes away the true rider-motorcycle connection from it.
If you're looking for a maxi-scooter the Honda Integra, with its 487,000 THB price ticket is a worthy alternative for the Yamaha T-Max, which costs 465,000 THB.