Meet the 2022 Honda Navi, Big Red’s latest addition to the bustling miniMOTO family that blurs the line between scooter and motorcycle. In fact, that’s essentially what the Navi is. It offers the ease and powertrain of a twist-n-go scooter, dressed in motorcycle-inspired trappings. Honda is casting a wide net with the Navi, hoping that its unintimidating riding experience and affordable $1807 MSRP will attract new riders to the fold.Honda’s miniMOTO lineup includes the Grom, Monkey, Super Cub C125, and Trail 125. All have done their fair share of putting butts in seats—with the Grom selling over 750,000 units globally since its introduction, with the Navi aiming to bring in those uninitiated to the motorcycle world stateside. While the Navi is fresh to the United States, it already has an established presence in numerous foreign markets.
We took the California coastal community of Costa Mesa, buzzing around its city streets to see what the Navi is all about.
Yes, the 2022 Honda Navi is a street-legal motorcycle. If you’re researching the Navi, chances are you’re new to the motorcycle world or exploring it for someone that might be. That said, it is a full-blown street bike and requires riders to have an M-Class license endorsement, registration, and insurance. Sure, that means you’ll have to jump through a few more hoops before riding one legally, but DMV riding tests don’t stand a chance against the Navi, given how incredibly accommodating it is to ride.
The 109cc single-cylinder engine is incredibly friendly and can reach speeds of 55 mph. Honda borrowed the Navi’s powerplant from its hugely successful Activa scooter. Its rear-mounted engine has the kind of power that will propel you at city speeds with ease. The Navi accelerates off the line nicely and wouldn’t dare overwhelm a rider, providing enough gumption to bop around town in total control for riders new and old. Instead of fuel injection, it utilizes a 16mm carburetor to keep the MSRP down, and the throttle response is docile.
No shifting, no problem—the CVT transmission takes care of it for you. The concept of a clutch and gearchanges can be intimidating for new riders, and that’s one problem that the 2022 Honda Navi crosses off your list. A fully automatic CVT transmission eliminates the need to fiddle with a clutch or shift lever. All you need to do is start the Navi up, release the parking brake, twist the grip, and let ’er rip!
Modest maintenance and excellent fuel economy keep things budget-friendly. Oil, filter, fuel, and tires are the types of standard consumables that we run through with our vehicles. Luckily, the Navi aims to please with 2500-mile oil-change intervals. That is quite a lot of scampering around the city, and even more impressive is the 10,000-mile air-filter service interval. The wee Navi is something of a fuel sipper, claiming to achieve roughly 100-110 miles over its 0.9-gallon fuel tank. Thanks to the carburetion, there’s a petcock with a fuel reserve position! That’s about as retro as vinyl! With fuel prices what they are right now, that’s not much of a dent in anyone’s wallet.
A lockable 15-liter storage compartment and a centerstand add utility to the mix. Most scooters have underseat storage and luggage options. Honda didn’t forget about the young guy or gal on the go, so the Navi has a small storage compartment that can carry tons of small items. It won’t fit your helmet, but a jacket, water bottle, books, a day or two of groceries—you get the idea—are all in the cards. Its centerstand is helpful when doing basic maintenance chores.
Handling is light, playful, and easy to control. The 2022 Honda Navi tips the scales at a paltry 236 pounds with a full tank of gas. With most of its weight carried at the rear and just a few inches off the ground, it has an incredibly lower center of gravity. Thanks to those attributes, this little machine turns with almost no effort and remains stable unless you’re doing some top-speed runs. The non-adjustable suspension copes with most of the rough stuff, except hard-edge potholes at higher speeds, which you can feel.
A low seat height and a motorcycle-inspired riding position set the Navi apart from a scooter. Functionally, the Navi has much in common with the Activa scooter. However, we straddle and sit atop the Navi instead of stepping through the way we would on a scooter—think Activa, Super Cub C125 (though not a scooter), or Vespa. The 30.1-inch bench seat height accommodates even the smallest of riders, while the upright handlebar offers a comfy reach, and mid-mounted foot controls don’t create too much knee-bend. For reference, I’m 5-foot 10-inches tall.
Drum brakes are adequate. Drum brakes were nearly extinct on motorcycles, and entirely on cars, by the time I was born, but they’re still found on scooters. Why? They’re cheap. Dirt cheap. For the speeds we’re achieving, they’re more than adequate. Most of the braking power is found in the rear brake pedal, seeing as that’s where the Navi carries its weight. Both brakes lack outright bite, but when used together, you’ll stop in a hurry.
The styling takes a modern approach, and Honda hopes might spur the same kind of custom culture associated with the Grom and Ruckus. To get you started, there are graphics kits from Icon and TrueTimber.
For $1807, the 2022 Honda Navi provides mobility on a budget. Take a look at your city, and chances are you’ll have a raft of transportation options on the table. Rideshare apps, e-scooters, and much more are all available within a few taps on a smartphone but could end up costing more than Navi’s MSRP in the long run. Heck, most e-bikes far exceed the MSRP we’re working with on the Navi, and you won’t have to wait hours to refill the proverbial tank. Those looking for a cheap way to commute locally can turn to something like the Navi with confidence, as it handles well, is ridiculously user-friendly, and, above all, doesn’t break the bank.
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week’s episode features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the beautiful new Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST that is loosely based around the original FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s. Hailing from The Golden State, these cult-status performance machines became known as West Coast style, with sportier suspension, increased horsepower, and niceties including creature comforts such as a tidy fairing and sporty luggage.
In past episodes you might have heard us mention my best friend, Daniel Schoenewald, and in the second segment I chat with him about some of the really special machines in his 170 or so—and growing—motorcycle collection. He’s always said to me that he doesn’t consider himself the owner, merely the curator of the motorcycles for the next generation.
Yet Daniel is not just a collector, but I can attest a really skilled rider. His bikes are not trailer queens, they’re ridden, and they’re ridden pretty hard. Actually, we have had many, many memorable rides on pretty much all of the machines in the collection at one time or another.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!