Other developing countries are eager to take to two wheels to mobilise their nations, but South African's have been very slow on the uptake. With the new e-Storm, an economical commuter which is priced at a whopping R8999, Honda SA is hoping to change all that.
Honda South Africa's new commuter motorcycle links modern mechanicals and a smooth, all-purpose ride to the company's reliable reputation for a basement-bargain-price of R8999.
The all-new Honda e-Storm is specifically aimed at meeting the diverse and demanding needs of young commuters. But don't expect shoddy design or a slack approach to safety and quality because of its impressive price tag.
Honda positions the e-Storm as an entry-point to the brand, and targets economy-minded commuters and first-time buyers. This model will obviously also appeal to fleet managers for cost-effective delivery motorcycles and other commercial options.
The newcomer is available in two distinct colour schemes, with a tri-colour design combining red, white and graphite, while an all-black scheme is also available.
The new e-Storm is powered by an air-cooled 125 cc four-stroke engine which delivers 7,3 kW at 7 500 r/min. It features a convenient push-button electric starter with pedal back-up, and is coupled to a five-speed manual gearbox with an illuminated gear indicator.
Stopping power to the front wheel is courtesy of hydraulic, dual-piston disc brakes that are coupled to a rear drum, while the wheels are lightweight 18-inch alloy rims. According to Honda these reduce unsprung mass and contribute to the e-Storm's easy handling characteristics.
Honda also commented that with a dry mass of approximately 124 kg, the Honda e-Storm is lightweight and easily manoeuvrable, while ensuring an attractive power-to-weight ratio that translates into peppy performance.
Fuel-efficiency is at the top of commuter's minds. According to Honda the efficient 124,1 cc powerplant will transport you a very impressive 684 km before you have to fill its 14-litre tank again.
For its size and price the styling on the e-Storm is attractive and draws its inspiration from Honda's bigger motorcycles. The primary visual elements include clean, flowing lines that run from the sculpted front fairing, over the contoured fuel tank to the angular, aggressive tailpiece.
"Honda is already the undisputed leader in the small-displacement motorcycle category, enjoying a market share of 69% this year," says John Laurence, Divisional Manager of Marketing at Honda SA.
"Three of the top-selling models in the sector are Hondas, underscoring the brand's progress against both established and new, cheaper entrants.
"The e-Storm offers an unrivalled combination of modern looks which have been combined with build quality, reliability, performance and fuel economy, backed-up by the full support of Honda's dealer network.
"It will further cement Honda's undisputed leadership in this sector, while attracting a new group of customers to the Honda nameplate."
The new Honda e-Storm is available from accredited Honda motorcycle dealers countrywide at a recommended retail price of R8999. The price includes a one-year/20 000 km warranty.