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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm making a shortlist of bikes for my wife to try- she's got a long 33+" inseam and I think could handle the Burgman - but she's turned off by the imposing size. I like the Morphous, and the low slung nature makes her feel more grounded- but it's still long to her and imposing- the reflex I saw the other day is just a bit smaller than the burg- but I noticed curb weight is 50 or more lbs lighter...

Anyone own a Reflex and have anything good or bad to say? I'm concerned about servicing it myself vs. the burgman and availability of parts for a bike no longer made...

Really wish the smaller cc burgmans were available here in the states.
 

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I know two Reflex owners in my area. One is a friend with a 2001 Reflex and the other is a member of our local scooter club. He has a later model, but I'm not sure of the year (it's either a 2002 or 2004 to the best of my recollection). They seem to be very solid scooters. I considered purchasing one for myself before finally deciding on the Burgman. Seat height feels about the same as the 400. It's not a lightweight scooter, but you can definately feel that it's lighter. Easier to manuever because of that. Build quality seems very good as well.

I'm not sure of parts availability, but they only things that they have needed to do so far are fluid and tire changes. The oil filter is just a screen, so that makes it even easier.

You should check out the Relex forum over on Yahoo Groups. It's very active, with a lot of member support.
 

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My first bike back in 2003 was a yellow (miss that color!) Reflex. I was very happy with it, and it certainly was a great first bike to learn on. The only caveat I would point out is that, in my experience and opinion, it is not well suited to extended high speed highway travel, especially in hilly areas. I remember topping out at 60 mph with the throttle pinned on some hills, and getting knocked around a bit by wind blast from large vehicles. But if you don't anticipate doing that much of that sort of riding, I say go for it!
 

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There are three bikes I would suggest for you wife to consider.
1. The 2006 and earlier Burgman 400. It was designed to compete with the Honda Reflex and matches closer to the Honda Reflex in size. It also has more power than the 250cc Reflex and yet gives virtually the same gas mileage.
2. The Honda Helix or CN250. They are virtually unchanged since when they first came out. Honda dropped them in the USA for a few years...then brought them back because of the demand. There's almost a cult following, like with the original VW Beetles. You either love them or hate them. The seating position is low and very comfortable. Definitely a confidence builder.
3. CF Moto Freedom or Fashion (Helix clone). It looks like CF Moto has quit producing this model, but you can still find them. Parts should still be available and you have the added advantage of being able to go to a Honda dealer and get parts. I've never owned one, but I've read the reliability on them was actually decent, unlike most mainland Chinese clones. One place is selling them for $1800, new.

The Honda Helix was considered the barcalounger of two-wheeled vehicles. It isn't the best handling bike on the road, or most economical. But it was well loved by those who owned it. It would make a good starter bike for your wife. Who knows, she might decide that isn't a starter bike, but a keeper.

Chris
 

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My wife and I bought a brand new 2005 Reflex, that model was a beautiful red almost exactly same color as my 2003 1800 Goldwing. The Reflex has been bullit proof, fun to rider, and very good gas mileage. I have not had the reflex back in the shop for any repairs, just normal service. The seat height is listed at 28.3" high and would seem to fit your wife fine. The first 5 yrs. of ownership I put more miles on the Goldwing but each year that number seams to be meeting in the middle. I am at this time riding more on the reflex due to me making a game out of tracking my MPG of each of my vechiles and comparing them against my F150 Crew Cab Pickup. The cost savings is remarkable once you put it in writing. This is just my little rant and won't cost you a thing.
 

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A current model Honda not mentioned upthread is the Honda PCX150. It has a 153cc engine which boasts some real high MPG while still claiming that it can run on the highway.

Finally, a US Japanese importer addressing this missing market, which was basically abandoned to the Chinese. Unfortunately for women and short people, it's slightly higher in the seat, but the OP's wife should not have a problem with that. It is substantially lighter than the AN400A-L2.

Something about Americans, I guess: they think more/bigger is better. I have that affliction myself, with a substantial AN650 envy at times. ;)

And the real surprise, for it being a Honda: it's substantially lighter in cost! PCX150 lists for $3500, compared to AN400A's $7600! That said, these are clearly not interchangeable machines. An AN400 is capable of long-distance touring and sustained high-speed Interstate highway travel. I doubt the PCX150 could do that. But for an urban commuter, this looks hard to beat.

It seems to me that Honda Reflex tends to hold a higher resale value than the Burgman 400. People are still asking $3000 and more for them, even after all these years. $3000 for an AN400K3-K6 is a bit much. So maybe the PCX150 will hold more value over the years as well.

Disclaimer: I have no hands-on experience with either of these Hondas. I have test ridden the Helix before, but I didn't think I'd like the small wheels on longer trips, which is why I went with the Burgman.
 

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I've not owned one, but did test-drive a few and did some research. It's a decent scoot. The engine and drivetrain are understressed by the transmission, so expect them to last. The top speed is a bit low for serious roads.


One weak point of the design is the muffler. It's designed to add backpressure to the system with the baffles design it sports. Most if not all aftermarket mufflers skip the baffling, leading to less power. OEM mufflers seemed hard to find and expensive.


Good luck with your search. If the Reflex doesn't work out, Kimco makes some decent scoots for the inseam-challenged. Perhaps a Grand Vista ? Same cc's, smaller platform.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for the posts.

We've looked at the Honda PCX 150 - it's very sporty but a bit cramped knee wise. Feels like a minibike rather than a scooter. I agree- this bike fills a missing niche- and I like it a lot - but the ergonomics I don't think hit the sweet spot for her or I. The SH150 is kinda meh feels too light- but the one I saw had been down- so perhaps it was a bit too rickety...really wish the USA would get the larger SH300.

Still haven't sat on a reflex- but does sound a bit lazy engine wise and Diana is somehow put off from bikes with fairings. :roll: Thinks they feel big. We got into all of this because she liked the Aprilia Scarabeo 200 and 500, along with the BV250-350. While we have the luxury of the most popular Vespa/Aprilia dealer in the USA being only miles away- they seem only interested in selling vespas and really kinda talk down on the BV/Aprilias. Looking at forums, repair and parts wise I guess I can see why- not very service friendly bikes.

Which NOW has us looking at perhaps the SYM HD200 a sort of BV 250 clone if you will... but I'm concerned of their frequent valve adjustments- recommended every 1000miles!? A guy on youtube checked every 1000 and at 4300 had to adjust them? Sounds like a design flaw. These aren't cheap bikes either- a used one with low mileage fetches easily 2K in LA.

When I was recently in Paris- I saw a fair number of Yamaha X-Max. Nice looking midsize bike. I'm guessing it's pretty expensive- but that'd be my kind of lightweight burgman 400 alternative.

Sigh what to do...
 

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If she likes the BV350, give it serious consideration -- especially if you have good local dealer support.
They're thought well of by their owners on the Modern Vespa forums.
 

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Has anyone yet mentioned the Kymco Downtown 300i? If you can get to a Kymco dealer, do. They've got the midrange scooter market covered, unlike any of the Japanese brands.

Again, I have no firsthand Kymco experience, but I have read a lot of good things about them.

http://www.kymcousa.com/on_road.html
 

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I have two vertically challenged friends and both have and sought out Helix's. They are good machines and I ride with them on interstate highways. They top out in the low 70's, but do very well up to that point as they are significantly lighter than the Burgy 400 is.

One of these Helix owners is actually buying another for his wife. The mod's market and parts availability on this bike is probably higher than any other Maxi out there as they kind of started the Maxi craze and were produced for so long of a time. The CFMoto Fashion that Daboo mentioned can still be bought new and uses the same parts and I believe produced by the same factory that built them for Honda, at least i have been told this.

In any event the bike sits much lower than a Burgy 400 which is already on the low side for maxi's.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks again everyone for the opinions! I'm happy to say yesterday we bought my wife her flying tomato... a 2007 Red Helix with under 800 original miles! It's been garaged, battery tendered- and driven mostly by the owner to get a haircut.

Aside from a dented muffler- (dropped) cosmetically it's in just about as new condition as you can find a Helix. I unbolted the seat and died at the sparkling new engine- and tested the flexibility of the rubber hoses-no issues- it clearly really was garaged as even the tires look new w/ no visible signs of wear or heat damage.

It does sputter a bit when you're off the throttle- I'm guessing from sitting. Seller said the gas is new - but I'll run it, add some stabil and seafoam which all the helix fiends seem to swear by, change the oil, probably flush the coolant... think I should flush the brake or is that being excessive? Regardless- my dad's a genious when it comes to carbureted things- so I'm confident we can sort out any niggling issues.

The ride by comparision to the Burgman is so grin inducing it's funny. I feel like this bike just shouldn't exist- long wheelbase that WEIGHS nothing, flickable- drove it home on the 405 for over 40 miles at 65-73MPH with not a care in the world- left it on the 2nd softest spring setting and I felt like I was flying on a magic carpet. (probably tighten that sucker up) It feels like a circus bike's handling and yet the softest seat (that somehow actually works) with a Crown Victoria sort of suspension feel. Oh and the horn will scare the $ out of you! :shock:

I tried to keep my thoughts to myself when testing as this is for my wife- I wanted her to feel like this is what works for her... she rode it, then I (then we talked in private) then she drove it again and decided this is the one so we closed the deal.

Admittedly, we never drove a Reflex or the bigger wheeled Kymco/SYM (some time ago I did drive a 250BV w/ 16" wheels- nice- but like all those bikes- BV/Piaggio dumps a model after 3 years of not selling and then- good luck finding parts- and even the dealerships hate servicing them)

I really liked the reviews that compared the two Honda's- both good bikes... but the Helix sounded like it won out seating wise- and She liked the classic styling better- and unlike the Morphous which I still love design wise- this bike's long history, available parts, dead simple access to the engine, apparent demand even today by it's fans, and just plain fun and comfy for us longer legged folk- seemed like a great bike to begin with... although- I enjoyed driving it so much I don't know I'd ever have the heart to part with it should she want something else! :lol:

It's in much better shape than my '08 Burgman- and why not? I wanted her to pull up in some cute retro scoot that fit her- and thanks to all of you- we found something that does just that. (Thanks again Chris for turning me on to SearchTempest!!! That's 2 bikes found n counting.)

Once I get a good picture- and figure out that whole hosting/linking message board thing- I'll share a pic. Just imagine a new looking Helix- which is funny as I didn't realize a mid 80's scoot was unchanged and built still in 2007 so it really is like driving a classic that really isn't that old after all.

Thanks again guys- we'll keep you posted on her developing skills (my wife that is) and the bike and how it holds up- but something tells me I'll put equal miles on the Helix as the Burgman this year if I get the opportunity to!
 

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Congratulations.
The first time you do a valve adjustment you'll love the Helix. You don't have to dismantle the fairing to get to most parts and you don't have to remove the intake manifold to reach the valves.
You don't even need to remove the valve cover. They adjust by a quadrant on the outside of the engine.
Pay extra and get good quality rear tires, because they can go through them pretty quick. Might as well get tires that will last a while.
Outside of the rear tire, the Helix is about my favorite scooter.

Claude
 
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