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 Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing

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Bernardo
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Bernardo


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PostSubject: Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing   Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing I_icon_minitimeSun Jan 18, 2009 9:27 am

As promised, a review of the Honda 600cc Silver Wing.

This was actually written for a different forum a few months ago. Here is my updated review, originally written as part of a comparison with a bike. I can add that later if anyone is interested.

A year ago I officially became a born again biker (over ten years with no bike!) and bought myself a second hand 2003 Silver Wing to commute to work, and hopefully have a bit of fun doing so. To cut a long story short, the scoot completely surpassed all my expectations, and it either helped me, or maybe even launched me (not too sure which!) on my mid life crisis... Good as it is, the Silver Wing with a 600cc engine, and being a Honda, should surely be capable of a bit more performance and perhaps better handling that I missed from when I had a big touring bike years ago. So I set out to see, and my so my scoot became something of a project and a fun commute..

The Modifications I've had added include, leg deflectors a Givi monokey top box, heated grips, Laminar lip and ears, J Costa variator, power commander (with individualized mapping / tuning), and a Scorpion Exhaust. My final mod was a set of hyperpro front springs, which I've just had fitted, and they are superb, much improving the handling from a soft big tourer/scooter feel, to a more firmer, better handling sports tourer feel and still just as comfortable, though not as squidgy. But much much better through the twisties......

Power output has increased by about 20% at the rear wheel, and is now 45.4 bhp, and torque 66.9nm (49.3 ft/lbs). Fuel economy also improved by about 15%, average 49-50mpg (worst 43mpg, best 58.5mpg). Standing 0-60mph, difficult to measure but a little under 6 seconds based on my video. Top speed, at least an actual 105mph, (indicated 116-117) though I’ve not really bothered to go much above 90mph. Total cost about £1,200 with labour.

The Silver Wing is IMHO one of the most comfortable bikes / scooters that I have ridden… You can choose from several positions for your feet, and with all of them, the weather protection is second to none, (other than a car perhaps!) Also no aching wrists, shoulders, neck, or sore back with this one! Alas there can be a bit of Numb Bum syndrome on a standard seat over a long distance, but nothing that an aftermarket seat, or a bit of sculpting can’t fix. My preference is an Air-hawk seat, though I might one day also have a go at a bit of seat sculpting. Luggage capacity is superb, (55litres under the seat, enough for two full face helmets) and with a decent top box, total capacity is at least equal to a touring bike, (more if you add panniers and a tunnel bag). The scoot is very useable in all weather conditions that you would ride a bike in, except you stay warmer and dryer! Also with the “Tupperware” bodywork and enclosed engine space, and drive train the scoot is much easier and quicker to clean. As to reliability, we are talking good old “Honda” reliability and quality here, so no hassles there. This adds to the overall sense of solidness and durability that you get when riding the scoot. The scoot is quite heavy, but in a much more manageable way than a heavy bike thanks to its low centre of gravity. Also with the lower more natural seated position, it’s much easier to paddle the scoot around or whip your foot out quickly onto the ground if you happen to overbalance. However, at slow speed maneuvering the CVT and automatic clutch take some getting used to. Very low speed handling (walking pace) is more difficult than a bike. The modifications to the scooter however, notably the J Costa variator, do help as the clutch seems to engage a bit quicker in a more responsive manner.
It is surefooted enough on the road, but for the best handling IMHO a good choice of tyres is necessary as opposed to the stock Bridgestone Hoops which although hard wearing do not offer as good a grip as Michelin, and probably Pirelli and Metzeler, though I’ve yet to try the latter two on the scoot. The S’Wing engine is not mounted on the swinging arm as in a traditional scooter, but is frame mounted as in a bike. So the handling by scooter standards is good, but by no means in the same league as say a sports bike. However, with the heavy overall weight, low centre of gravity and laid back riding position, it is rather more reminiscent of a heavy touring bike. It is predictable and for its size, I’d say nimble, but in a way that is ideal for cutting through commuter traffic as opposed to back roads “scratching.” That said the handling is still good enough for scratching, and you can crank the S’Wing right over and push it some if the mood takes you. If you do want to hustle, then a smooth riding style is recommended as the suspension struggles a bit if you try for sudden vicious changes flicking through corners…. If ridden like this the scoot doesn’t like it that much and can wallow a little, though will still respond reasonably predictably. (The addition of hyperpro progressive springs has much improved handling, and the wallow is all but gone unless you ride like Barry Sheen and like to hang off whilst really pushing the scoot to its limits) As there isn’t any huge horsepower at the back wheel, there also isn’t much worry about the scoot stepping out a bit as you power out of the corner (unless the road conditions are wet or greasy!). But I do wish the wheels were a little bigger mind, which I think would make handling a little better perhaps, and much more comfortable going over bumps and potholes. A pothole can be quite uncomfortable, especially for a pillion if you have one riding with you. As to braking, this is good enough, especially with the ABS. I’ve only ever managed to experience the ABS cutting in once, and that was deliberately shortly after buying the S’Wing, to see what it was like… It was good, as is the overall braking. However I’ve always felt it could be a little better, for instance the 650 Burgie with twin discs seems better. I suppose this could be down to the fact that you really have to pull on the brake levers to get the same desired effect as the Burgie, or a bike. (braking is slighlty improved now with the progressive springs thanks to much less dive under heavy braking)
The performance of a stock S’Wing is good for a scooter, but could be, and I think should be much better. As I have discovered for myself, with just a few modifications, the performance can be well and truly enhanced, both fuel economy, bhp and torque. IMO if improved fuel economy is an issue, then just fitting a power commander and getting the scoot on the dyno and a custom map is well worth it. Notwithstanding this, it also makes the already smooth engine even smoother and more responsive. The performance mods do work very well, and acceleration seems improved across the entire range, but especially low down. Don’t get me wrong here, in stock form, the S’Wing is no slouch, with a similar acceleration to a sports saloon car…. Fine, but not so good when making a quick getaway from the lights, and the said family saloon is next to you, matching you for speed, and wants in your space, and you’re running out of road…. Especially bad if the driver fails to notice you! Now with the extra grunt this is no longer problem as the situation doesn’t arise. The S’Wing will always win out, unless the car you are up against is a little more exotic, say a 3 litre Porsche, or Lamborghini. OK maybe even a very powerful Mercedes or BMW… Thus with this extra acceleration, although not as good as a bike, it’s enough to achieve the same end, as you can on a bike. But above all, it feels really good….. OK, not wheelie potential, (for that you need to climb onto the back seat!) but the front end gets light, the back sinks down and you do get pushed back into the seat. With a free flowing exhaust the feeling is further “enhanced” but more through the sound and “feel good factor” than from the extra few horsepower… Maximum power is developed at 5,400 revs, so from low speed (under 30mph) this surge of acceleration lasts well, a good few seconds, but alas under sustained “open throttle” it begins to lose its edge when the CVT drive train starts catching up….. But, this has to be, it’s in the nature of a CVT to do this…… IMO it will never be able to match the power and gearing as well as a conventional bike with a gear box. Instead it works to a preset optimization, and it does it very well thanks to the J Costa variator, but it is still not in the same league as a similar size bike. We’re not talking of a flat spot here or the engine dying or anything drastic, just a gradual tailing off of power which from a standing start you would notice at about 75mph. This is not a big criticism of the scoot, but rather more an acknowledgement of its engine and transmission characteristics…. Don’t forget, the modified S’Wing will still accelerate hard(ish) up to a true 95-100mph, after which the final 5mph takes a bit longer. Furthermore it will cruise happily for extended periods at 90mph if you desire. I’m convinced that the laminar lip and ears do make a big positive difference to high speed stability. Thus at sustained high speed you are not left feeling a bit twitchy or stressed, and wanting to slow down! The S’Wing remains comfortable, with good handling feedback, providing you take things easy, and maneuver progressively, similar again to a touring bike rather than suddenly as you can with a sports bike. But what is good, is that the power and best acceleration is right where you want it for “normal” everyday riding, at speeds of 0 to 75mph, including commuting, and is especially good for overtaking cars on busy single carriageway roads….

So all in all the review is very positive... but there are a couple of bad points.... The wheels, they corrode really badly in winter, even to the extent the corrosion allowed soome of the air to escape via the rims... But hopefully nothing a powder coat can't fix... Also I found a wee oil seep rather than a leak (drove with it seeping for 6 months no bother and didn't need to top up the oil). This seep was due to a perished rubber real on the right hand side of the crank case, where some wires leave the crankcase, from the alternator I believe. Again, easy enough to fix.

The S’Wing, can truly turn its hand to most things, and is hugely enjoyable, IMHO providing as much fun as you can have on a bike. It is a clever jack of all trades, and for practicality it is arguably a master. Plus if you want a scoot that is easily enough souped up, with a variety of aftermarket perfromance mods, then the S'wing continues to impress. I have road tested some of the competition, notably the Yamaha 500 T-max, the Suzuki 650 Burgman, and the Gilera GP800. IMHO, the S'wing has the edge on the former two, (especially with the performance enhancements) and whilst it can never hope to match the Gilera's 75 odd horsepower, (so that's about 60-65 bhp at the back wheel) the 0-60mph is now only a few tenths of a second behind. The S'wing can easily keep up until about 100mph, after which the much more powerful Gilera will certainly pull away.

So that's it..... All in all, with and without modifications, the Silver Wing is one good, practical, reliable scoot, and a whole lot of fun! :D

Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing IMAGE_045

Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing P1000285
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Bernardo
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Bernardo


Number of posts : 259
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PostSubject: Re: Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing   Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 28, 2009 12:23 pm

If you want to compare the Silver Wing review above with that of a bike that does much the same sort of job as the S'wing, but in the bike world, then check out this thread for a review of the Yamaha XJ 900s Diversion. It will give you some good food for thought if you are ever tempted by the "Dark Side" and are considering whether or not to buy a bike or a Maxi Scoot.... For the best of both worlds, you could always buy both cheers

https://www.silverwing600.com/topic-for-other-scooters-yamaha-suzuki-etc-f13/comparison-review-yamaha-xj-900-diversion-bike-t258.htm#1395
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JeffR
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PostSubject: Re: Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing   Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 28, 2009 1:31 pm

Bernardo,

I like your reviews and I'm glad you have the same "fast Silver" Silver Wing. Sometimes I feel sorry for the others who don't the have "fast Silver" Silver Wing. Twisted Evil I keep saying I want to get the power commander but I think that I will wait until the economy gets better. I really enjoy the power of the J. Costa but just want the power commander for better gas mileage.

Are there any mods left for you to do??? Laughing
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Bernardo
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Bernardo


Number of posts : 259
Location : Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
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Registration date : 2008-12-25

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PostSubject: Re: Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing   Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 28, 2009 1:55 pm

No, I think that's it as far as the Mods for the S'wing! :D The fella that has done most of the mods for me said he could fit a turbo-charger, he has even got one in that would suit the S'wing, but the cost would be £1500...! It's not really viable, especially considering I only paid £2000 for the whole scoot! Besides my yamaha cost me just £1200.... and is far better than a turbocharger methinks! So for somewhat less than the price of a new S'wing, I have a decent bike and a scoot. My plan is to keep the S'wing as is for my workhorse, and eventually in a year or so replace the Yamaha Diversion.... I quite like the BMW R1200GS, but they are overpriced and to be honest its performance is about the same as the Diversion.... I think I will end up eventually with a Yamaha FJR 1300 tourer if I can ever justify needing 150bhp and I think something like 90 ft'lbs torque! They make a semi-auto version, which might be interesting? Will have to see! :D
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jc
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PostSubject: CVT belt for fjs600   Comprehensive Review, Honda FJS 600 ABS Silver Wing I_icon_minitimeFri Dec 22, 2023 8:15 am

Hi, Silverwing owners,hope you are ok,mentioning cheaper CVT belts,I bought a cheaper belt,£54,ebay,in England,when my mechanic fitted it,he warned don't go over 10,000 miles,well,i forgot,and at 10,700 miles,the belt snapped,wrapped itself around the rear hub,and stopped the bike,instantly,thank ### I sensed,milliseconds before,and i was near enough the hard shoulder,for the bike to fall into it,if I'd been in the fast lane,dead,probably(,and on the evening news,)so always buy Honda belts,from a Honda dealer,Fowler's of Bristol, UK,always have them,£70/80,be safe,be happy,have a lovely life
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