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Review of the 1985 model Honda CH 250 Spacy/Elite Review of the 1985 Honda CH 250 Spacy/Elite
Loving ´Scoobs´

1985 Honda CH 250 Spacy/Elite photo
Picture credits - honda elite 250 repaint. Click to submit more pictures.

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I have had my 1985 CH250 Elite -- affectionately called ´Scoobs´ -- since 1992. But it was only recently that I discovered how much I love her. Why¿ Let me count the ways.
Review of the CH 250 Spacy/Elite submitted on 2008-05-05.

Let´s get one thing straight. I love ´Scoobs,´ but she´s no dream girl. I always thought the front end looked like a snowmobile; the Skidoo style CVT transmission only adds to that vibe. Looks notwithstanding -- I actually have moments that I love the CH250 aesthetic, depending on how much I´m missing the 80s -- this is a very competent and reliable machine that is much better than the sum of its parts. After a long hiatus from the Elite (like 4 years), I started riding it in earnest about three weeks ago. Since then, it has replaced my Suzuki 650 as my eco-commuter of choice.

Having ridden most of the modern maxi scooters, with my favorites being the Yamaha Majesty 400 and the Suzuki Burgman 650, I have to say that the CH250 is actually more comfortable in terms of its seat-to-floorboard relationship. While the others have much better seats, way more power, and feel much more substantial (sorry ´Scoobs,´ but it´s true), I feel that I am pushed too far forward on the newer models. ´Scoobs,´ on the other hand, is like sitting on a 60 mph chair. Perhaps not the most comfortable chair, especially for rides longer than an hour or so, but a nice, zippy seat for zipping around town.

With my Slipstream windshield and a pair of light riding gloves, I am well protected from the elements, adding more to the ´just sittin´ at home´ feel. Very comfortable with no need to kick out my feet on the slanted part of the board, which is almost the requisite position of the newer maxis (at least if you´re over 5´11´). I think the key to this great seating position lies in the ultra-low floorboard, which, while close to the ground, still gives plenty of clearance should I decide to drag a knee in the corners (well, not that low, but you get the picture).

The real beauty of the CH250 is its incredible off the line performance. I am always the quickest one away from the light (albeit in a street race that no one else is aware of entering). The bike is also very good at passing and maneuvering in traffic, just as long as I watch conditions and where I am going. Ever hear of point-and-shoot¿ This is more like ´think-and-shoot;´ imagine the direction you want to go, and the ten-inch wheels seem to take you there in an instant. As soon as one gets used to this responsiveness, as well learning how to hold the bike upright into a wind that seems determined to knock you down on the CH´s expensive plastic side covers, this becomes a great bike for commuting, back-road work, and some short city-to-city hops (like the 40-mile one I made a couple of weeks ago).

It´s also very nice to not have to shift. I feel like I´m cheating, but I pay more attention to the road and enjoy myself more in the process. Besides, who said riding a motorcycle -- and this is a motorcycle -- has to be cumbersome¿

As to reliability, I have had this thing for 16 years and the only thing I have had to do, outside of change the oil (which I should do much more often), is get a new battery every two or three years. Without fail, ´Scoobs´ springs to life every spring at the first or second punch of the starter. This year, after ´Scoobs´ had been sitting in my garage for about four years, basically acting as a storage shelf, I dug her out of her humiliating state and into the light of day. Doing nothing more than giving her a new battery, she came to life within three blips of the starter. Her brakes still work, and her springy little suspension, which was never that great anyway, absorbs enough of the bumps to make it tolerable. As to the bigger bumps, heck, I just steer around them. I´m getting about 60 mpg with her now, which I am sure will improve when I change the air cleaner and learn to use a little less pull on the throttle.

There´s also a little matter of ´Scoobs´ personality, which gets probably as many laughs as it does compliments, but at least she gets noticed. Indeed, ´Scoobs´ has inspired quite a few conversations, and, now that I´m older, I don´t even mind that some people think I´m riding a moped. Besides, they usually change their mind when they see that I´m halfway down the road as they´re just beginning to pull from the light -- all while staying well under the speed limit (I just reach the limit faster than most). Now, if they want to race, I´m toast, but that´s not why I´m riding anyway.

So, yes, I´m not at all ashamed to say that I love ´Scoobs.´ While I´m most likely going to get a maxi this year, I think I´ll keep ´Scooby,´ unless economic circumstances force me to sell her. For the amount I could get for her, I´m better off keeping her; never know when a friend might want to come along for a nice little scooter ride. As long as we agree to stay on the by-ways instead of the highways, ´Scoobs´ should be able to keep up just fine.


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