2023 Honda SCL500 Review [A Dozen Scrambler Fast Facts]




Motorcycle riding has this magical ability to transport me from my day-to-day whirlwind full of the pressures of modern life to a time that almost stands still. No matter what has been going on in my day, as soon as the faceshield clicks down or the goggle strap settles on my helmet, everything else fades away. This is the beauty of two wheels and a twist of the throttle. Pretty much any bike has this effect on me, and the new 2023 Honda SCL500 adds that extra element of time shifting, as it evokes an era when life truly was slower and simpler.

2023 Honda SCL500 Review: Price

  1. While the styling of the 2023 Honda SCL500 references the Honda twin-cylinder scramblers of the 1960s and early ’70s, it’s not meant for offroad riding. The SCL500 borrows the engine and frame from Honda’s Rebel 500 cruiser, then adds neo-scrambler cues such as a down-/up-swept exhaust, 19-/17-inch aluminum wheels with street-focused ADV tires, tank pads, and fork gaiters. While you can certainly take the SCL on a well-groomed dirt road without undercarriage protection or knobby tires, off-road riding is best avoided. That’s okay; you weren’t really going to do that anyway—you just want it to look the part (it does) while delivering a hugely satisfying ride on pavement.
  1. Ergonomics are all-day friendly. The SCL350’s upright riding position, the mid-position footpegs, and well-positioned handlebars keep your body relaxed as you cruise, er, scramble your way down the backroads. The comfy bench seat means you’re not locked into one position, and there’s room to invite a friend onboard behind you. Also, the seating position allows an excellent grip on the tank.

2023 Honda SCL500 Review: MSRP

  1. The 2023 Honda SCL500 is novice-friendly, yet still appealing to seasoned riders looking for a more casual ride. The compact mid-size bike’s neo-retro look is non-intimidating and reassuring, inviting you to throw a leg over the seat in your dealer’s showroom. With a 31-inch seat height, it’s not low-slung like the Rebel, but is 1.6 inches lower than the Honda CRF300LS lowered dual-sport bike. A free-spirited scrambler personality requires some extra ground clearance, so the SCL has nearly six inches of wheel travel at both ends. The dual shocks are spring-preload adjustable because that bench seat is a buddy/passenger magnet.
  1. The SCL500’s non-adjustable suspension is nicely tuned and never felt unsettled. The suspension is firm enough for hard braking into tight turns in the canyons, yet it’s not harsh around town. While the ride is not plush, most of the bite of the well-worn urban/suburban landscape is decently reduced as the ribbed seat contributes to a comfortable ride.

2023 Honda SCL500 Review: For Sale

  1. Smooth and torquey, the familiar minutely oversquare DOHC 471cc parallel-twin engine requires no managing. Pulling away from a stop is stress-free, as the forgiving engine has no hitches in the power delivery. The clutch has an assist function that lightens the pull—always good around town. Shifting through the six-speed transmission is sure, predictable, and without false neutrals. You’ll easily get 150 miles between fill-ups of
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