Living with a 2002 Honda Silverwing

Daryll discovers that he didn't quite get the short straw with the Silverwing

July 2002

Whilst everyone in the office was sifting through the bike listings section in the mag to pick a long-termer for 2002, I quietly stuck my name down for a SilverWing. I had been after one since we took the three big scoots to France last year on a 'booze-crooze'

For the 100 mile commute to the office there isn't a better two wheeler on our fleet. It's smooth, comfortable, has excellent weather protection, and with a top speed of 118mph it's plenty fast enough to glide up and down the motorway. I arrive at the office totally unflustered and without the slightest hint of an ache or pain anywhere. There is one drawback with having a SilverWing as a long-termer and that is keeping hold of it! - In the five weeks or so we've had it I've managed to use it two or three times tops. Everyday it's the same old line 'Dwaff I need to go to...can I take the...I am the Publishing Director' - Evil twat! This could be a tough year for me and the Wing, I'm going have to start hiding the keys or better still just stop turning up at the office - that'll learn 'em.

October 2002

This was it, the big one. A chance to really find out just how versatile the SilverWing is compared to the other bikes on the fleet. The two-day jaunt to Cumbria started by me loading the Wing with all the crap needed for a stop in the middle of nowhere. Wash bag, spare boxers, clear visor, trainers, waterproof linings for jacket and trousers in case we hit the odd mid summer shower (as if, I though taking a peek out of the window), and a map all conveniently tucked under the SilverWing's seat. No bungees, no top box, no tank bag or rucksack, just open the boot and stuff it all in. Luvverly.

I set out with Bertie who was on his Mille. It was hot and sunny, which meant denim jeans and a light jacket were the order of the day for me, while poor old Bert had to suffer in full leathers. It's strange but if I were on a sports bike I'd have been leathered-up too, but because I was on a scoot I didn't feel the need for all that protection (and I'd have looked a right berk), even though we were riding the same roads, at the same speeds and taking the same risks.

It wasn't a massive journey, just 250 miles or so, but still long enough for the aches and pains associated with being in the saddle for more than a couple of hours to set in - that's assuming you weren't on a SilverWing... It was a breeze, not even a hint of a numb bum to complain about.

Unlike poor Bertie who I caught sight of in the mirror performing the usual sportsbike stretching exercises. You know the ones - legs dangling off the footrests trying to get the blood back to the feet, rolling the head around to relieve the aching neck, and finally hands off the bars one at a time to give the wrists a couple of seconds rest from the pressure - and when you're Bert's size that's a lot of pressure!

Life on board the Wing was bliss. But I had found that even for a Dwaff like me the standard screen was a tad low. Cruising around 100mph I had to dip behind it slightly to avoid being buffeted around so I recently fitted a much bigger 'touring' screen, available from Honda, which made a massive difference. Absolutely no buffeting and almost no wind noise. It's like sitting in a little pocket of still air, and with a hands-free ear piece in I could comfortably chat on the mobile on the move.

The only real hassle with the little Wing on this sort of journey is the fuel range. With the throttle open don't expect much more than 110 miles from a tank, which is a pain as it's comfortable enough for at least 250 between stops. Although, if you don't mind backing off a touch, say to 80 mph, the tank range can be extended to 140 miles, and an incredible 170 miles can be achieved if you fancy risking your neck in the slow lane doing about 60 mph, but hey, where's the fun in that? It's slow, dangerous, and it takes forever to get anywhere.

We turned off the motorway and headed across the moors taking in some decent twisty roads to meet the rest of the crew. Within half a mile I was throwing the Wing around as though I was on sports bike, occasionally I even had to back off to let Bert catch up! His excuse was he was tired and couldn't be bothered. 

We finally caught up with the others in a small town called Alston. It was still pretty warm, well for those in leathers it was. For me I just had to slip off my jacket and soak up the rays. This scooter touring lark is a doddle!

We set out the following morning in brilliant sunshine and headed for some decent locations. I had to work hard on the Wing to stay in touch with the Blade, ZX-9R, Mille, and BMW and sure the sports bikes were capable of much more if the riders really wanted to push, but for a reasonably brisk ride out the Wing held its own rather well.

Unfortunately an hour later Cumbria experienced one of the worst downpours since records began, and with hailstones like ball bearings even the mighty Wing couldn't offer enough protection from the furious elements. At one point we gave up and sheltered in a pine forest. Not the most sensible idea during a thunderstorm, particularly when the gap between thunder and lightening was a mere nanosecond. Still it seemed preferable to death by hailstones.

With rain stopping play the only thing we could do was to sit it out and head for home when it eased off. Sadly it didn't ease off at all which meant we all had to endure a miserable ride back. Thankfully my waterproofs did what they said on the packet and kept me dry, and thanks to having fitted a pair of Honda heated grips, my hands may still have drowned but they were at least warm on the horrendous journey home.

December 2002

The SilverWing is the ultimate 'hit the button and go' machine. Just pop on a lid, sling all your worldly possessions under the seat and head off to work, holiday or wherever, it's that easy. It's because of its ease of use that you tend to forget that even the mighty SilverWing occasionally requires some care and attention. It was whilst on the way back from our damp trip to Cumbria that I remembered the last service the Wing had was in fact the 500 mile one, just after the 'running-in' period. Because I use the trip counter to keep a check on the fuel range I never check the actual mileage, so it was no surprise to find that the Wing had gone way past the 4,000-mile intermediate service mark and was actually just nudging 6,000 miles. Ah. Time to book the old girl in for a service. I contacted Avonvale Honda in Northampton (01604 235333), who managed to fit the big scoot in pronto, before I had a chance to clock any more miles up.

The 4,000 mile service is a fairly basic affair which involves an oil and filter change, and a good once over making any necessary adjustments along the way. Not surprisingly the rear pads were very low - I tend to trail the rear brake quite a lot going into turns which helps to stop the Wing from bucking around too much. EBC supplied me with a set of their Kevlar pads for the rear and while we were at it we changed the fronts at the same time. And apart from Avonvale also giving the Wing a jet wash and polish - thanks chaps - that was that. Simple enough, but the difference it made was amazing - top servicing work Paul!

And in an effort to attract pillions, I've fitted a Givi (01327 706220) backrest. Doesn't do the looks of the bike much good (but then nor do I), but it certainly does the trick!