By: Annette Carrion
They say you meet the nicest people on a Honda, and if you ride the Honda Metropolitan they may be referring to you. Everything about the Metro screams sweet, charming, inoffensive. (Don’t be upset; you’re just that type.)
For 2013, Honda gave the Metro a facelift. The front end has been updated with the headlight now perched on the handlebar instead of sticking out of the front of the bike. The dash is new, too, as are the turn signals and mirrors. The seat was changed to make room for a bigger, 22-liter storage compartment. That’s big enough to hold a three-quarter helmet or a bag of groceries—food for your well dispositioned puppy, perhaps. The convenience hook next to the ignition has been enlarged and reinforced, adding another spot for whatever other items you may pick up while running errands.
The Metro’s underpinnings are the same as before, so power comes from a 49cc fourstroke single. It’s fuel-injected so you can fire it right up and take off without waiting for it to warm up. With an automatic transmission you won’t have to worry about shifting gears, either. Just twist and go! Top speed is about 35 mph, so the Metro is clearly only for around town, but it serves that purpose perfectly. This no-stress scooter is the ideal twowheeled machine for urban cruising, running quick errands, or getting around campus for college students. The initial purchase price is commendably low—at $1999, a few bucks less than the 2009 model went for—and with a claimed 100-plus miles per gallon, it’s affordable to own, too.
The suspension is simple and the 10-inch wheels aren’t great for rolling over rough city pavement, but the seat is plenty cushy and helps take the edge off bumps. Honda’s Combined Braking is a helpful feature; when you pull the rear brake lever it also applies some braking force to the front brake to help get you slowed down faster.
For the vertically challenged, a seat height of 28.3 in. will give you the confidence needed to ride right away. The Metropolitan is tiny, with a wheelbase of less than four feet and a claimed curb weight of just 179 pounds. That makes this scooter easy for anyone to manage, and it handles like the zippy little lightweight it is. At 5-foot-2 there aren’t many machines that I can handle with total confidence, but the Metropolitan was a breeze and I could flat-foot it at stops. The Metro has a centerstand but no sidestand, but the bike is so light that it’s really easy to lift into position.
Riding along the coast here in Southern California on a normal sunny day, the Metropolitan got quite a few approving looks. It’s got retro-inspired styling that gives it a fun twist, and you can’t go wrong with the pearl black paint. It’s also available in black and red, or pearl white. This scooter can be classified as budget, but it doesn't look or feel that way. The Metro has always been a nice scooter; with the improvements for 2013, it’s just a little bit nicer.
Originally published in the October 2012 issue of Motorcyclist.