In 1954 Honda, shortly after the company was established, launched the 220cc, single-cylinder Juno K scooter. 1962 saw the advent of the 125cc, twin-cylinder Juno M80; both machines shared a Badalini-type hydraulic-mechanical transmission and Honda's desire to build in comfort, convenience and fun.
The early 1980s saw huge growth in the popularity of small capacity scooters in Japan. In 1984 Honda debuted the 250cc single-cylinder Freeway, a scooter designed for rider and passenger to enjoy ‘further and faster', and 1986 saw the Fusion join the market, adding a laid-back cruising style. The 250cc, single-cylinder Foresight launched in 1996 was labeled as a ‘Sports Scooter', and blended agile performance with a comfortable ride. A 125cc version was sold in Europe as the Pantheon.
Honda went on to help establish the market for larger capacity scooters by developing the 250cc-300cc class in the late ‘90s. The original Forza scooter, unveiled in 2000, delivered a sporty ride, combined brakes and plenty of storage room. It was well received in Europe, where owners found its multi-role capability great for getting to work or college, and also for leisure.
The Forza over the last 12 years has constantly evolved. In 2004 it gained Honda's S MATIC electronically controlled CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), a theft-deterring Smart key, highly efficient PGM-FI fuel injection for the engine and space for two full-face helmets under the seat. 2005 saw the addition of ABS brakes and in 2008, luxurious touches like an Audio Package and speakers plus upgraded S MATIC (with phased auto shift mode) and Combined ABS brakes were added.
Since the Forza's arrival, customer's needs for a medium capacity scooter have remained fairly consistent. As well as the more mature buyer, many younger riders also look to step up from a 125cc machine and Honda's research has shown that high on the priority list of all potential owners are safety, excellent build quality combined with value for money, durability, plus a decent-sized engine that will work on the highway as well as in the city. A fresh design and sense of style are also important.
In response to all of these needs Honda has developed the new NSS300 Forza, a machine that delivers in every area.
Mr. Kenichi Sueda, Large Project Leader NSS300 FORZA:
"Our mission is to constantly read the direction of the times and evolve our products accordingly and this new NSS300 Forza, a sit-in scooter that is as happy manoeuvring around urban streets as it is covering long distances on motorways, is being rolled out across the globe. As the person responsible for development, it is my hope that the NSS300 Forza, a machine that delivers on Honda's three major tenets of the ‘environment,' ‘safety' and ‘FUN' will lead the way going forward and provide as many of our customers as possible, in every corner of the world, with the opportunity to experience the joy of owning a Honda product that delivers performance and quality at an affordable price."
In the early stages of the new scooter's development, Honda's engineers debated thoroughly how, why and where people around the world used their scooters, not just at present, but also for the future. Every aspect and detail was examined and the result, the NSS300 Forza, is designed to fit seamlessly and usefully into people's daily lives, not only for commuting but also touring or sportier riding.
Physically big enough to accommodate two people in comfort, the NSS300 Forza's flowing bodywork also provides superb weather protection, and space for two full-face crash helmets under the seat. But its body is also not so large that getting through tight spaces becomes a problem, because while the NSS300 Forza needs to perform at highway speeds, neatly dealing with urban traffic is also important.
Strong and extremely durable, its lightweight steel underbone frame offers nimble steering in traffic and stability at speed. 35mm telescopic forks, twin rear shocks and double-sided aluminium swingarm provide a comfortable and reassuring ride, while powerful front and rear disc brakes are assisted by CBS or optional Combined ABS.
The NSS300 Forza is powered by a torque 279cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine that delivers excellent fuel economy with all-round usability and great cruising speed. Final drive is via belt and V-Matic automatic transmission. Crisp and responsive, it provides more than enough power for the highway, with instant acceleration around town.
The NSS300 Forza's chassis is designed to provide the all-round usability and comfort of a sit-in scooter, with some of the excitement and fun that a motorcycle delivers. It's also accessible - and satisfying - for anyone from a novice to a veteran rider with a riding position that easily accommodates a wide variety of rider heights.
An extremely strong and durable tubular steel underbone frame underpins the NSS300 Forza's chassis, and provides composed and confident handling in all conditions. Featuring Honda patented technology it's built in two parts (rigid & flex) that have been optimally harmonised using CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) analysis. The rigid part, which joins an upper tube that extends directly from the head pipe with a rear frame that extends straight forward at an angle, has a simple structure while the flex part, which provides suppleness, joins the end of the down tube to the rear frame.
Utilising a lower floating link on the engine mount the frame's rigidity balance has been further optimised, delivering great feel to the rider with reduced vibration. Doing without gusset-plate reinforcement it is also 10% lighter than the frame used on the previous model. Rake and trail are set at 27°/89mm, with a wheelbase of 1,546mm. Overall dimensions are 2,166(L) x 753(W) x 1,189mm(H); kerb weight is 192kg.
Cast aluminium wheels (14in x 3.0in front, 13in x 4.0in rear) plus 120/70-14 front and 140/70-13 rear tyres ensure sure-footed stability and grip. Braking is via a single front 256mm disc with twin-piston caliper and rear 240mm disc/single piston caliper. Honda's Combined Braking System (CBS), where the rear brake lever also operates the front brake (the front brake lever operates only the front brake) enhances peace of mind in a fast-stop situation, and Combined ABS is available as an option.
A low seat height of 716 mm makes the NSS300 Forza very easy to manage while a compact body width of 580mm and slim floorplate helps it through tight traffic. The seat itself is ergonomically shaped, helping comfort on the move and allowing feet to reach the ground easily. It opens (via a switch) and lifts to reveal a luggage compartment capable of taking two full-face helmets; rear footpegs fold out when needed for a passenger and a die-cast aluminium grab rail is built in to the rear of the bodywork.
Fitting a top box or other accessory is dealt with by the simple removal of part of the rear spoiler cover. Range from the 11.6L fuel tank is 35km, thanks to fuel consumption of 30.8 km/l (87mpg) (WMTC mode). Access is gained via a switch next to the seat switch.
Looking and feeling good while riding are a key part of scooter ownership for riders of all ages and outlook, and the NSS300 Forza's crisp, contemporary design lends it a bold presence. The fairing itself presents a lithe and sculpted form, but with a keen eye on function; wind and weather protection at speed is excellent, without sacrificing the around-town ability of a smaller capacity scooter. The front mask is framed by an extension giving a distinct presence and a ‘character' line flows front to rear, giving definition to the side view.
Dual fairing pockets store items where they're easy to get at; on the left side a large capacity box can be opened, closed and locked via a switch located beside the main key. It also features a 12V power socket and a maintenance panel allows easy access to plug in optional accessories.
The comprehensive dash includes speedometer, clock, dual trip-meters plus fuel and temperature gauges and oil level warning light. The hazard lights work without the ignition on and for extra convenience there's also a sidestand fitted as standard. Twin 35/35W bulbs and efficient multi-reflector optics provide excellent forward vision at night, and always-on 5W bulbs frame the NSS300 FORZA's ‘face'.
The NSS300 Forza will be available in three colours:
It also features Honda's HISS (Honda Ignition Security System), an extremely effective anti-theft set-up. If the ID chip embedded in the scooter's key and the ID in the ECU (Engine Control Unit) do not match, the engine will not start. With this electronic inter-lock system, the engine will only start when one of the keys with the correct ID chip is used. Also, even if attempts are made to hot-wire the engine, or substitute the ignition switch module, the engine will not start because it's the ECU that's in control.
The NSS300 FORZA's 279cc, liquid-cooled SOHC four-valve engine is based on that of the well-established SH300i, with power characteristics tuned to deliver excellent fuel economy plus an entertaining ride at low, mid and high rpm. It has a bore and stroke of 72mm x 68.5mm, and compression ratio of 10.5:1. A roller type rocker arm, plain journal crank bearings and sealed crankcases deliver long-term reliability; oil capacity is 1.7L.
A 5mm (Exhaust side) offset cylinder reduces internal friction and CAE has been used to improve cooling efficiency. Careful gas flow management took in the shape of the combustion chamber and matched the middle-section profile of both intake and exhaust ports for a more efficient burn - valve timing has been altered to suit and long-reach projection-type spark plugs also employed. An automatic centrifugal clutch works a V-Matic transmission (with ratios set for fast low speed reaction and smart acceleration) and belt final drive.
Using highly efficient PGM-FI fuel injection the engine is Euro 3 compliant and features a secondary air supply (AI) built-in to the oxygen sensor plus a dual-core catalyzer in the exhaust. It produces a power output of 17.9kW @ 8,250rpm, with 25.7Nm torque @ 6,000rpm.
The following genuine accessories will be available for the NSS300 Forza: