By: taichiplanet (offline) Saturday, 24 July 2010 @ 09:38 AM ICT (Read 13005 times)
My criteria for a run-around bike was fuel injection, 16”+ wheels, electric start, under seat storage for full face helmet, price between Baht 40k-50k. Mag/Alloy wheels would be a plus as would an engine of 125cc or greater.
The new Suzuki Hayate Fi fitted my criteria perfectly except no one could confirm a realistic delivery date. I bought the Wave 110i AT even though the under seat storage is small. I’ve always liked the simplicity of the Cub/Wave design, the fact that its basic design has been around for 50+ years is a testament. Honda obviously felt that ‘When you’re on to a good thing, stick to it!’, and over the years have modernized it but kept the basics the same, such as the frame and 17” wire wheels. With the 110i AT they’ve still kept the spirit of the original Cub plus modern extras such as electric start, fuel injection and the new CV-Matic auto gearbox. It even has a handbrake, I’m not sure how useful that is. The rear brake is operated by a foot pedal on the right side, just like a bigger bike, which is a plus for an old brain like mine. The sticker on the fuel tank says 91, and the handbook says it can run on Ben91, Gas91(E10) or Gas95 (E10, E20), which is the reason I wanted fuel injection. It has front disc brakes (single pot caliper) and a rear drum brake. The side stand has a safety switch which cuts the engine when put down, and therefore the engine cannot also be started with the side stand down.
Honda announced the CV-matic gearbox for the Cub style bikes in September 2009. The design means that it is smaller, so can be fitted easier without major layout changes and uses a conventional chain as final drive. As the design claims to be more efficient in cooling in protecting the drive belt some have made the leap that it has less friction and heat and therefore should be more efficient (less power loss) than the older type auto. I cannot confirm if the CV-Matic is more efficient, but Honda have never claimed that, only that the redesign meant they could cool it better and therefore make it more compact.
My next choice was colour; Pearl White/Bronze, 2 tone Metallic Blue or Metallic Red/Bronze. Having owned an old racing car in the Alan Mann Racing colours I couldn’t go past the Red/Bronze! I picked up the bike the next day, drove it 35 kms and took it back to the dealer to change the oil just in case there was some contaminants from manufacturing. Initially I was disappointed with the performance; it would have been nice to have an extra horsepower or two. I was able to test back-to-back with a Yamaha Nuovo (115cc carb). The AT hit 80km/h in fairly reasonable time but it really struggled after that, while the Nuovo would drop into an overdrive gear and power on past 100km/h (top speed a rather shaky 115 km/h). Maybe there is a rev limiter coming it play on the AT, but it didn’t feel like it. The ride of the AT is better than the Nuovo, you can be a little more aggressive with speed humps on the AT. The Nuovo ride is a little more harsh, you almost have to stop for moderate humps. The AT exhaust is fairly quiet and there is a nice little supercharger sounding whine from the gearbox. Due to the Cub styling it doesn’t have running boards or a wide fairing as the Hayate and Nuovo have, so a little less protection for your legs from rain.
I feel Honda missed the point with what the market was for the AT. I think the AT is a town bike, if you want a tough working bike for up-country then you’d buy the ordinary 110i or 125i. With the AT Honda had the chance to make a very modern version of the Cub but they seemed to get bogged down with archaic design features. The AT still has a kick start, which contrary to everything else about the bike design is crude, ugly and cheap looking. It looks like they’ve gone to a building site and picked up a bit of reo (steel used to re-enforce concrete), bent it to shape and stuck it on the bike. Rather than plating or painting it silver they’ve painted it black to make it really stick out! That was a good enough reason for me to take it off but from a function point of view it was also digging in to my ankle bone when I rode the bike. I also wonder if in keeping the kick start this has maybe restricted the compression ratio to a lowly 9.0:1. Even the Scoopy runs 9.5:1, while the PCX 125 is 11.0:1. Maybe they were concerned about fuel quality or consumption, but it does affect the AT’s performance. The speedo indicates 160 km/h; the only way it will reach that speed is if you got a long run up and drove off a very high cliff! I’ve been unable to hit 100 km/h.
Other annoying design aspects:
the posts under the seat are too thick so the hole in the tang of some helmets won’t fit, I’ve bolted on a couple of cast alloy kitchen hooks in the seat storage box
Fuel gauge reads too low. I took it back to the dealer and confirming with several Honda mechanics (at the dealership and on the phone) was told that is the way it was designed. It is a 3.7 litre tank and shows dead empty when 2.7 litres is used, a 10% error would be perfect but 30% is just bad designing! What’s the point of having the gauge, they would have been better off giving owners a torch or a stick to get a more accurate reading.
Separate seat lock, the Wave 125i has an ignition operated seat lock so why not the AT!
Foot pegs are slightly too long (probably to accommodate 2 or 3 pairs of feet on them!), so interfere with getting at side stand and catches the bottom of my jeans.
Tool kit has one open ended spanner, a reversible screwdriver and a plug socket. Surely a pair of pliers is more useful than a plug spanner or would that knock ½ km/h off the top speed! I doubt most people riding this bike would know what to do when it breaks down except (like I do) find the nearest street mechanic or motocy taxi driver to get it going. I was talking to a motorcy taxi rider yesterday and he mentioned his Wave 110i didn’t come with a tool kit because it is the basic model. Maybe it is my thinking that is flawed! Anyway, along with the kick start the toolkit is relegated to the cupboard.
No mag/alloy wheel option
I know I am being a little pedantic and most are personnel preferences, but to me it does reflect the thinking behind the bike. Again, what market was this bike designed for?
After my little rant at the dealer yesterday about design form and function, and half jokingly asking for my money back because the fuel sender was designed badly, the sales woman came up to me. She said that in three months I could trade the AT for the new Hayate Fi. Putting the money consideration aside I had no hesitation to say I was happy to keep the AT. Around town and the 10 kms or so I drive down Sukhumvit, it is fine. You can beat most people off the lights, if they aren’t trying too hard. Driven sensibly it returns good fuel consumption (something I’ll never be able to verify). The ride and handling is nice. While the under seat space cannot fit a helmet, I can squeeze the bike cover and a thick vinyl side-saddlebag into it. But it could have easily been that little bit better.
I am resisting very hard not to mod the bike too much. I’ve ordered some mag wheels from Daiichi Alloy, but as I can only get 1.40” wide I am very limited to the rubber I can put on, and I can then go tubeless. I’ll eventually ditch the center stand. Maybe make the exhaust breath a little easier without increasing noise too much, but not sure if this will gain more power or not. Maybe in a couple of years throw in a higher compression piston! The good thing with the CV-matic box is that it is chain driven, so you could change the rear sprocket easily to suit your driving conditions better. Overall it is a great little bike, even without modification (I just can’t help myself).
Cost was Baht 44,000 plus B1,000 for tax/rego/insurance. So you are paying about B6,000 to have the auto gearbox. I also took the theft insurance; 2 years cost B2,500 and if stolen you get 75% of the buying price back in the first year and 50% in the second year. Warranty is 3 years/30,000 kms but the fuel injection has 5 years. Of course the real reason anyone buys a new bike in Thailand is so they can get 2 free helmets and a wind jacket! I was told 3 months for the white plates, but now with the new laws coming into effect allowing only to have a red plate for 1 month or 3,000 kms, i'll have to go back to the dealer and put a rocket up them!
Basic specs (they could be wrong!):
Honda Wave 110iAT 712 x 1963 x 1077mm, WB 1252mm, 106kgs, Comp 9.0:1, Baht 44k
Honda Wave 125i 706 x 1881 x 1082mm, WB 1239mm, 104kgs, Comp 9.3:1, Baht 48k
Suzuki Hayate Fi 670 x 1935 x 1070mm, WB 1285mm, 116kgs, Comp 9.8:1, Baht 52k
Yamaha Nuovo Elegance 678 x 1950 x 1057mm, WB 1290mm, 111kgs, Comp 10.8:1, Baht 55k
(Note: the 125i is not auto, the Nuovo is not Fi)
Although there are many different cultures, races and religions in the world, there are only 3 types of people; those that squeeze every last drop out of a toothpaste tube, those that don’t and those that think they do.