MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: Honda Silver Wing, the Touring Scooter

Los Angeles to Vegas on a maxi scooter

Story and photos by Sarah Schilke

My friends thought I was crazy when I told them I was going to ride a scooter to Las Vegas to attend my first scooter rally. “That will take forever!” and “You wont be able to take any stuff with you!” and “Youll get blown all over the road!” they said. Honda proves them all wrong with the Silver Wing rightfully touting it as a touring machine that just happens to be a scooter.

Sarah rides the Honda Silver Wing, a scooter that performs as well as a long-distance tourer for an around town scoot. With a 600cc class automatic engine and $8,499 price tag, it#39;s the ultimate deal for anyone searching for a scooter that can do it all.

When I first picked up the Silver Wing, I took it on a glorious sunny jaunt through the oceanside scenery of Palos Verdes, California. I was immediately impressed with how light and nimble the Silver Wing felt through the rolling twisties. At a standstill the scoot looks big; and thinking about the 582cc parallel-twin automatic engine hidden in the bodywork, one might expect the 540-pound machine to handle heavily, especially in low-speed technical sections or around town. The Silver Wing turns out to be a fantastic all-around ride, accelerating aggressively off stoplights, yet still sailing nimbly through the curves. Thanks to Hondas V-Matic continuously variable transmission (CVT), the automatic shifting is so smooth you never feel the scooter transitioning between gears. Just twist the throttle and glide smoothly up to the speed limit.

At 5 feet 5 inches, Sarah had no problem solidly planting both feet when stopping.
Since she rides toward the rear of the seat, at stops she just scootched forward a bit to put both feet firmly on the ground.

Although the sun was out in full force in the city, the coast was socked in with cloudy mist not exactly optimum weather for riding in mesh summer gear. The Honda folks had easily rigged up the Silver Wing with an electric vest jack which came in handy later. For this short jaunt I didnt need it because the wind tunnel designed windshield and the large front fairing provided ample coverage to keep me warm.

Once I got home I faced the task of packing five days worth of Vegas luggage for travel on a scooter. This was no simple task for someone who loves to travel with as many shoes as possible, but again, the Silver Wing was up to the challenge. With ample under-seat storage (55 liters!), a generous passenger seat and some extra storage spaces in the dash, I was able to pack more than I could have carried on had I flown to Vegas. I was even able to take extra luxuries like four pairs of shoes, my electric vest (just in case), a bottle of wine, a hair dryer, my laptop, water and snacks for the road.

A feature that a passenger will appreciate is the adjustable backrest that can be moved to one of five different positions over a 2-inch range.

The Silver Wing boasts an extraordinary amount of storage, great for going grocery shopping or heading out on a long trip. You can fit two helmets (or the equivalent volume of stuff) under the seat in a lockable compartment. The seat opens to the front and is held open by a hydraulic damper for easy loading.
There are two storage units on the dash. Sarah fit a camera and her purse into the side on the left that locks.
The passenger seat is big and there are plenty of places to anchor bungee cords to secure even a large duffle bag. The rear swingarm features dual hydraulic shocks with a five-position spring preload adjustability (up to 4.5 inches travel) so you can carry or stow seriously heavy loads without disrupting the suspension balance.

I will admit, even I had some doubts about riding a scooter all the way to Vegas. I mean 300 miles is nothing to sneeze at if you cant go the speed limit and are uncomfortable or wind-blown the whole way. But as I set out in perfect weather conditions and hit the freeway, I knew it was going to be a very comfortable ride. The Silver Wing was plush and with an indicated top speed of 120, the scooter handled freeway speeds with ease. I often found myself accelerating so quickly (and smoothly thanks to the V-Matic automatic transmission) that Id be riding over the speed limit. No matter, the Silver Wings combined braking system, which distributes braking force between the front and rear wheels, smoothes out even the most abrupt braking situations when you find yourself going just a bit too fast. I did get a rush when I passed a corvette on my scooter. Honda offers an ABS option that adds $500 to the price.

Sarah was able to ride in many positions on her 300-mile ride, from the “metropolitan” stance in this photo with knees bent at a 90-degree angle. to…
…this position, the “chopper” stance with legs forward a bit.
She could even stretch out her legs all the way. The ability to change leg positions and scoot around in the large saddle made for an extremely comfortable ride.
Much of the time Sarah rode like this, one leg bent, one leg straight out. It was most comfortable for her.

The ride back home wasnt quite so glamorous. With 60 mile-an-hour desert winds and a near-freezing wind chill, I was worried about the things my friends warned me about before I took the trip. I plugged in my electric vest, threw on my rain suit for wind protection and hit the road. Sixty mile-per-hour winds are a little freaky even if youre in a car, so it wasnt the most pleasant ride home. However, the Silver Wing felt solid and required little extra handling to keep it from blowing around in my lane. I stopped about every 100 miles to warm up and calm my nerves although the Silver Wing didnt demand refueling until well over 150 miles.

This is the new color for 2009, candy dark red. Sarah tested a 2008 model in metallic gray

Finally past the worst of the dramatic desert conditions, I stretched out, twisted the throttle and eased into more scootin bliss. Once I arrived home I dumped my luggage and did a quick run to the grocery store. The Silver Wing more than proved itself as a comfortable, reliable long-haul touring machine. Then it did a quick change as the perfect around-town shopping alternative to a car. It can scoot and it can tour; talk about a perfect combination.

Specs at a Glance: 2009 Honda Silver Wing
Engine Type: 582cc liquid-cooled four-stroke parallel-twin
Seat Height: 29.7 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gallons, including 0.9-gallon reserve
Weight: 540 pounds; 551 pounds w/ABS
New color for 09: Candy Dark Red
MSRP: Starts at $8,499 (ABS option adds $500)

WRN Recommendation:
The Honda Silver Wing is a sleek and fun all-in-one scooter. Riders will enjoy its convenient comfort for anything from a quick scoot around town to a long highway adventure. In addition to plenty of storage, 150-plus miles between fill-ups, and do-it-all versatility, the $8,499 price tag is a fair price. We recommend this for beginning motorcyclists ready to trade up to a bigger ride, but who dont want to deal with shifting. Even veteran motorcyclists can appreciate the ease of handling and ample storage. As for scooter enthusiasts, those looking for a solid touring scooter will love the Silver Wing.

About the Author
Sarah Schilke is an avid street and dirt motorcyclist who is newly pursuing her interest in scooters. She runs her own marketing consulting agency,, is a lifetime AMA member and is the first woman to be elected to the Board of Directors of the Motorcycle Industry Council.

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35 thoughts on MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: Honda Silver Wing, the Touring Scooter

  1. Thanks for a great article. I really enjoyed it. I have A 2009 Silver Wing and I love it. I have had bigger bikes in the past that I really liked, but I have to say I love the automatic transmission on the scooter. You just can’t beat this bike for all around riding.

  2. I just inherited my fathers 2002 Silver Wing and I love it! I am a disabled Gulf War Veteran and it is smooth enough to ride everyday without discomfort. I haven’t been on a long ride yet, but that is in the works!

  3. I have ridden since 1990, but in 2005 had two major back surgeries and as a result have a total lower back of titanium. My husband bought me a 2008 Silver Wing and I love it. Since my surgeries I don’t have the leg strength I used to have so he installed a Tow-Pac Trike kit to it. I am back on the road in comfort and security! I love this Silver Wing and wonder now why it took me so long to begin riding again!

  4. I’ve owned a Winger for 2.5 years now. I wanted to start riding and said I was going to have a bike before my 50th birthday, and, well I did and love “Rosie.” She’s red. My husband rides a BMW and all our friends ride different bikes. I can ride with ease all day. I’m not a small girl so I have no problems with my legs reaching the ground — that’s nice. It’s has a very comfortable seat and the storage is nice too. I had to get use to the wind, but once I did I have no problem She scoots right down the highways and interstates. We prefer the back roads. I have some people tell me they are jealous — no shifting, more leg room and the storage room. I’m thinking about trying some other bikes, but not going to give up “Rosie.”

  5. Hey, I have a 600 and I like it so much. I like this news here and what I saw that women ride the Silver Wing.

  6. I love reading these. Here is my two cents. I live in northern Alberta Canada — about sevem months of riding. I’ve had the Burgmans, Majesty and a 2007 Honda Silver Wing. I’ve traded all these in some order, and have come back to a 2009 Silver Wing and a Yamaha Tmax (which i still can’t figure out why I got that one, maybe it was the sharp yellow). I just keep coming back and riding my Silver Wing. I love the sound of it the best, and the handling. I think the only thing I find I don’t like is the headlight. Wow, that Majesty had a headlight.I ride with a friend who has a Majesty, a couple with a 650 Burgman, and others who have Wings, sportbikes, them all. We do Sunday rides that take us on a 300 to 400 km trip when we get out. The Honda does that all day long and keeps up with the group, in most cases. I think for me it’s the fit and finish of the Honda. If it had the 15-inch wheels like the Tmax, what a ride the Honda would be.

  7. I was reading the different comments on the Silver Wing and I can't wait to add mine. I
    m buying my first Honda Silver Wing, which I'm looking forward to so much. The very first time I ever saw one I had to have one.

  8. Great article Sarah, which accurately reflects the Silver Wing's attributes. I have ridden motorcycles for many years, but ended up trading my Fireblade in for the 2009 Silver Wing. The Blade was an awesome bike, but because I'm a 'Silversurfer' I suffered with sore back, knees and wrists etc. even after a short trip out. I also commute to work daily on the SW and enjoy long rides out at the weekends.

    I love the Wing to bits and am having to read these reviews because snow and ice has decsended on my neighborhood and unable to venture out in fear of trashing it. The dealer fitted my scoot with heated handlebar grips and a Givi top case, which means I now have toasted paws and can carry loads more gear. In addition I have fitted a Garmin Sat Nav and don't get lost anymore. The Silver Wing is one of the most fun and versatile bikes I have ever owned and the MG Sports car is now sadly gathering dust.

    Thanks for all the positive reviews from other SilverWing owners. May you all enjoy many happy safe scootering miles.

  9. I got my motorcycle license just two years ago and was not the best student in the class (a little nervous and not to aggressive). But lately I have been tooling around on a small scooter and have been craving more power, that would be the Silver Wing. I feel totally confident now and know that I am ready to move up and could handle it. Being a “young” 59 and jealous of all the ladies who are riding, I know that if I test drive one I'll be hooked. Thank you for the terrific article. Sturgis next week, hopefully I can get a demo ride.

  10. Thank you for your informative, well-written article on the Honda Silver Wing. I have been strongly considering the purchase of the Piaggio MP3 500, but your article has swayed me towards the Silver Wing for two main reasons:

    The Silver Wing offers several feet/leg positions. On the Piaggio, I felt hindered by having only one leg position, and could not stretch my legs out at all. This would be terrible on a tour.

    Storage space. apparently, the Silver Wing outguns the MP3 500 completely in this domain. Those two points are very important to me, because I plan to take very long tours. But I also want to carry my backpacking tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and other camping items. Is this in some way possible on a Silver Wing? My gear is basically ultra-light (or close to that) and small, but it does add-up. Again, excellent article.

  11. Thanks for the informative article! A question: have you talked to any particularly tall people who have tried and also loved the Silver Wing? I just had my first scooter experience on a Yamaha Cygnus (125cc model that as far as I can tell is sold mainly in Europe) while on vacation. Being 6 feet 5 inches with a 35-nch inseam, it's safe to say that more leg room will be essential to any other bike that I ride; in this case I had to ride from the passenger seat.

  12. I liked your article as I also own a 2007 Silver Wing scooter. I have owned motorcycles since 1956 starting with a 1937 BMW and have had almost all types and sizes of touring bikes but none has impressed me more than the scooter, a great looking well designed simple concept that covers all the bases from around town commutes to 2-up highway trips. I wish only that it had a bit more weight capacity as with two riders and a bit of gear we are over the 375 pound rating.

  13. Loved your article as I am hoping to be able to take my 2004 Silver Wing on extended trips. I love my Silver Wing! My husband bought it for me sight unseen and unfortunately at 5 feet 3 inches with short legs I could not sit on the seat and put my feet flat on the ground. My solution was to get a Tow-Pac trike conversion kit and I absolutely love it! I am able to keep up with my fellow Gold Wing Riders and the ride is comfortable. At 59 and never having ridden a motorcycle. I wanted automatic transmission and the Silver Wing is perfect. It is very smooth transitioning gears. Looking forward to taking some trips now!

    1. Be sure to visit our sister sites,, and Send in a reader review and/or readers' story on your scooter conversion.

  14. Very well written, and accurate review. I enjoyed it. I used to own one, and although I love it very much, one thing that scared me the most is the cross wind. I daily go from/to work (45 miles one way) and the Silver Wing cannot handle the brutal 35mph cross wind. One time I nearly got sailed down to the shoulder of the freeway.

    After one year of suffering the “wind sailing” effect, I lost confidence. I sold it and went back to cruiser. I admittedly missed the smooth ride, and the comfort but my daily commuting needs a heavier bike. Other than that, Silver Wing is the best scooter that Honda ever made.

  15. I like your article on the Silver Wing. My friend has a 2008 Wing and converted it to a trike, Tow Pac conversion. She really likes it. I have a 2002 Honda Reflex. I bought it new and I really like it. Our club goes on some long rides and I am never uncomfortable. I get 70 miles to a gallon. I have never had any problems with the Reflex. I am sorry that Honda has stopped making them. I feel this is a mistake.

  16. Hi I enjoy your article very much.
    Just purchased the 2009 Honda Silver Wing. Will be picking the scooter up next Sat. and can't wait.

  17. I have a 2007 Silver Wing and love it. I have been riding motorcycles for 35 years and the scoot is the most confortable ride I have ever had. The furthest trip I've taken on it is 400 miles. It is so confortable that I can ride all day with ease.

  18. Thanks for featuring an article on the Silverwing. I ride a Suzuki Burgman 400cc maxi-scooter and I also enjoy touring on my scoot. My longest trip was a 3000 mile, 10 day trip from NC to WI and back. These scooters are up to the challenge of touring and are also great for around town commutes and day rides. At 62 miles per gallon, my Burgman is also very fuel efficient and inexpensive to operate. I couldn't be more pleased with my two wheeler.

  19. I grew up riding motorcycles but had not been on two wheels in more than 20 years, so coming back I opted for a Silver Wing scooter and the fun never ends! I commute six miles to work in traffic during the week then on weekends tour the North Georgia mountains.

    Really love the response, comfortable riding leg positions, storage (get two weeks of groceries with cargo bag on back seat). No gears to deal with. Just twist and go.

  20. Good article, I actually rode a Kymco 250cc scooter from Orlando, Florida, to Columbus, Indiana, with a broken ankle in a cast. I usually ride a Harley Ultra Glide, but couldn't due to the cast. I needed to be at the Motor Maid Convention and the rules are you have to ride. I rode all the way over 1m000 miles up and back. It did extremely well and would not hesitate to do it again if needed. I still love my Harleys though!

  21. I purchased my Silver Wing last July. It was my first two wheeler and my first choice. I love my Silver Wing. Although I can ride a motorcycle, I love the fact that I don't have to shift. I learned to ride at 52 and with my Silver Wing I know I will be able ride for many years to come.

    I just did my first “long” ride with a group of guys on big touring bikes. I kept up without any effort and had a great day. Thanks for the great review.

  22. Excellent review. I just bought a new red '09 Silver Wing. It has taken some adjustments from my past two Honda Helix that I owned but now I just love it. It has all the power I will ever need. With the Helix the wind and trucks used to really make me hold on but with the Silver Wing it handles great. I like having the bigger tires and great storage.

  23. Though I'm not a woman, I am a double amputee who loves the Silver Wing's fully automatic hand controls. I've just purchased my seventh Wing and have logged more than 125,000 miles since 2002. My first cross country trip was in 2004 covering 7,500 miles and three corners of the USA. I can obviously see why woman would like this bike, but it's also great for those of us with disabilities.

  24. I bought a 2008 Silver Wing last month. I have six years riding experience, most of it on a 1997 Honda Shadow Spirit (1100cc). I love the Silver Wing. Glad to see the above review. Someone once did a study on maxi-scooter riders and found the average riding experience was 12 years. So there is obviously a great appeal to more experienced riders. I forget where I saw that, but anyway, I highly recommend the Silver Wing!

  25. Last weekend my husband and I rode from our home to Van Wert, Ohio, on the Lincoln Highway. 220 miles one way. I ride a 400cc Suzuki Burgman and I love it. We rode home on State Route 30, which is 65 miles an hour most of the way. No problem! I thought about getting a bigger bike but at 65 miles a gallon it is hard to give up.

  26. Great article both about the scooter and the adventure. Sarah should also get two thumbs up for a great review. Honda certainly has its eyes on the future with this two wheel machine. For a Harley rider, this still seems like a cool scoot that is road worthy for those who are clutch challenged.

  27. Liked your review. Can you do more reviews on other maxi-scooters? It's nice to have a womens opinion on scooter riding. What rally did she go to in Vegas?

    1. Visit our sister site, for more scooter reviews. We will also do more scooter reviews from a female point of view on WRN. It was the High Rollers Rally.

  28. My husband and I just purchased a 2008 Honda Silver Wing and love it! It is fun, it is comfortable, smooth, quick and gets great gas mileage – 60 mpg when riding solo. Did I say comfortable? Super comfortable is more like it. Give it a go.
    We give it two thumbs way up!

  29. Great review, Sarah. How was it comfortwise on such a long trip? I see the various riding positions you went through. Just curious.

    1. Sarah mentions the comfort factor in the captions underneath the seating positions and earlier citing it was plush.

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