I tested the Elite by criss-crossing over 50 miles of gridlock infested Los Angeles streets, and have a few thoughts on whether or not this 108cc scooter might work for you.
The Goods: Sometimes, Less is More
But something’s gotta give somewhere, and the Elite’s top speed is a little over 50 mph (versus the SH150i’s 65 mph.) Due to its sub-150cc status, the Elite isn’t freeway legal (at least in California), and while 50 mph is plenty fast for surface streets, the Elite immediately gets nixed if interstates happen to be a part of your riding routine.
Also notable are its small tires, which measure 10 inches at the rear and 12 inches up front—a significant drop from the SH150i’s 16-inchers… but more on that later. The Elite is equipped with a rear-to-front linked braking system and a parking brake, and available accessories include a top case which allows 27 extra liters of storage ($143.95), and a tall windshield ($189.95.) Also included is a transferrable one year, unlimited mileage warranty.
The Ride: City Street Manners
Lane-splitting this little ride allows for fearless (but potentially risky) maneuvers that couldn’t otherwise be performed on a larger scooter or motorcycle. Acceleration isn’t most impressive right off the line, but it quickly spools up as momentum is increased. More impressive than the Elite’s “Go” is its “Stop”: the linked brakes feel strong, and their abilities make it tempting to go faster than you ought to in traffic. Likewise, the ten and twelve inch wheels add an element of darty maneuverability, though at higher speeds it takes a steady hand to keep the Elite along the intended trajectory. The chassis doesn’t feel quite as insulated as the SH150i’s, and road irregularities are transmitted more jarringly through the wheels and suspension.
More a nimble traffic jouster than a high-speed cruising machine, the Elite is well suited to the surface streets it’s relegated to due to its engine displacement.
The Bottom Line: A Zip and a Smile
After 50 miles of city riding, I returned the Elite with a grin on my face and a fuel gauge that only dipped down a couple of clicks. The Elite earns 3.5 out of 5 stars (which ties it with the SH150i), mainly since its advantages are counterbalanced by a few disadvantages. But budget-minded buyers who don’t need a freeway commuter will find that the $2,999 Elite is exactly what we seek in the scooter genre: sensible, efficient, and reliable two-wheeled transportation that can get us from point A to B with a zip and a smile.