Rear Seats on Forza Si
Next, we tested Honda's big Forza Si scooter. I decided to leave the driving to Risa and enjoy the ride from the passenger seat. Both of her feet seemed to be firmly planted on the pavement when I climbed on back, and she said she had no trouble at all supporting the bike while I took up my position on the rear seat.
My first impression was that the Forza's rear seat offered a good, comfortable riding position and well-located foot steps. In fact, the positioning of the rear steps was particularly good. The size and shape of the rear seat was also good in all directions, and seemed to hold me firmly and securely in place. This positioning made it easy for me to keep my feet facing forward. And, of course, I never felt uneasy while cornering. From a rider's point of view, the impression was that of holding the bike with my lower body. Even the integrated grab rails provided a comfortable, easy grip that enhanced riding enjoyment by allowing me to just put my hands down next to the seat and wrap my fingers around their curved edges. It was clear that careful and deliberate consideration had also been given to the shape and positioning of the rear grab rails, as I felt was the case on the PCX.
Reevaluation performed this way enables me to more clearly understand things that I have taken for granted until now. First and foremost, I'm able to develop my own sense of security, which leads to a more relaxed feeling while travelling and enables me to better enjoy the scenery in comfort.
"My impression is that a big scooter's rear seat is more spacious and comfortable. However, what makes this comfort possible is the employment of technology directed at optimizing the riding positions of both the rider and passenger." While riding on the comfortable passenger seat and thinking up comments like this for my story, I completely forgot to change riding positions with Risa.
From her seat at the controls, Risa chimed in, "Of course, this scooter is more stable than I thought it would be. However, more so than that, it hardly feels as if anyone is riding behind me." This ability to ride naturally is also an important two-up performance feature. There must be a lot of demand for sophisticated, high-quality bikes that not only feature excellent designs, but also have ideally positioned seats and grab rails, and the Forza Si brilliantly satisfies these demanding requirements.
On this test day, we crossed a section of expressway that was exposed to a strong crosswind, yet both rider and passenger remained relaxed and comfortable. This was really remarkable. It meant that the Forza Si is not only good at short-distance hops, but also long-distance tours.
I've had similar experiences a number of times riding on the rear seats of big scooters other than Honda's. And while their spacious passenger seats appeared at first to be comfortable, when seated, I soon noticed that the positioning of the steps relative to the seat left a lot to be desired, and resulted in my body weight being carried entirely on my bottom, which soon made the ride uncomfortable. And while the seating area was pretty spacious, it made me feel as if I were sitting precariously on a tall stool, and I simply couldn't relax.
What's more, the bodywork that had been expanded to make room for a larger-capacity underseat carrying space rubbed against my lower legs when my feet were resting on the steps. Also, while riding, vibration and road surface bumps were transmitted directly to my legs, causing quite a bit of discomfort. If I rested my feet on the steps with toes splayed outward to avoid contact with the scooter's body panels, then I wasn't able to rest my feet firmly on the steps.
Whenever that scooter would start from a green light, showing off its excellent acceleration, I'd have to tighten up my abdominal muscles just to sit upright. And when the brakes were applied, I'd have to brace myself against the sudden deceleration. These were not especially great memories of riding that scooter. At the time, I knew that there were big differences in both experience and impressions between rider and passenger. Calling up those experiences again from memory enabled me to reassess how hard Honda has worked to improve rear seat riding conditions.
Last, we tested the Gold Wing, Honda's premier luxury touring bike. I've always thought that this bike's rear seat is the best in the business.Next