The 2021 Honda X-ADV is quite a specimen.
An adventure motorcycle that looks and rides like a scooter but has a six-speed Dual Clutch Transmission that can be fully automatic or manually shiftable.
The Honda X-ADV has been popular since its 2017 introduction, but it required a few adjustments to get from there to where it’s at today—here are some of the most common problems with the Honda X-ADV.
Table of Contents
1. Motorcycle Stalls—Gets Stuck In Gear (Solved via Recall)
The most widespread complaint we’ve encountered is complex, with several symptoms leading up to the X-ADV rider’s discovery of the culprit. The Polymer Positive Temperature Coefficient unit in the ECU would shut off an issue that eventually led to a recall.
To assist with troubleshooting purposes, we figure we’d explain the symptoms of a failing PPTC by sharing a few real-life Honda X-ADV-rider testimonials:
- One rider we heard from discovered the issue out of the blue while riding up a mountain road. His engine warning light came on at the top of the mountain, prompting an inspection while riding, resulting in the revelation that the X-ADV was stuck in second gear. The rider hit the kill switch and dismounted, letting the bike cool while he tried to get cell service. Eventually, once the bike sat for long enough to cool down, he shifted the bike into neutral. The rider headed back down the mountain to realize that his bike was now stuck in first gear. He limped his motorcycle back to his hotel first and called it a day.
- Another X-ADV rider reached out to share her similar experience. Unlike the ambitious mountain rider above, her issue struck after just half an hour of some inner-city-scooting. Her downshifting got increasingly sluggish until the bike finally got stuck in gear. She waited over two hours for the bike to cool down and then rock back and forth to get it into neutral. The scoot fired up and started running fine, but it was the same story as soon as it got hot. The Honda dealership dubbed it a shift-motor problem, replacing the component at no cost. Unfortunately, that wasn’t it, and the X-ADV continued to get stuck in gear when it got hot.
- Another frustrated X-ADV owner vented about this same experience. For them, the problem happened in slow-moving traffic after long periods of idling and when they off-road up mountains on a hot day. He was told the problem was an oil sensor malfunction, but, as the frustrated rider pointed out, the oil sensor light would’ve indicated an issue if that’s the case.
And so it went around the world for about a year, with countless stories in the same vein as the three testimonies we shared above.
The theories came and went until more and more X-ADV riders and Honda mechanics believed the most common problem with the Honda X-ADV was its ECU. An ECU issue wouldn’t trip the oil temp or coolant temp lights, but it would trip the engine light instead.
Finally, Honda headquarters got involved and cracked the case.
Honda discovered the issue was widespread among X-ADVs manufactured between 1/26/2017 and 10/4/2018. Investigating these specific year models further led Honda to uncover the culprit; they prompted owners of bikes that fit the bill to contact their local dealership for upgrades.
So what was the culprit causing the Honda X-ADV stalls and getting stuck in gear?
- The problem was the PPTC (Polymer Positive Temperature Coefficient) module. The PPTC is an internal, resettable fuse located in the Honda X-ADV’s ECU. When the bike is ridden at low speeds, the PPTC on affected year models can trip from overheating and send the scooter into a “limp mode.”
- When the PPTC trips, the automatic clutch can’t change gears, and the bike loses power to the back wheel, resulting in a stall-out.
Or, as the official Honda Recall notice puts it:
“When the motorcycle is continuously ridden at low speed, the heat generated affects the PPTC (polymer positive temperature coefficient) device of the ECU and the motor cycle may enter into fail safe mode.
This makes it impossible to shift gear and the driving force may be lost and it will not be possible to continue riding.”https://www.visordown.com/news/general/honda-x-adv-recalled-over-power-loss-issue
Honda provided dealerships with ungraded PPTC modules that were more heat-resistant and less likely to trip outside emergency circumstances.
If you’re the owner of a Honda X-ADV manufactured between January 2017 and October 2018, and you’ve been experiencing symptoms of stalling due to your bike being stuck in gear when it gets hot, contact your local Honda dealership and get your free upgrade asap.
2. Hard to Mount and Dismount
I’m not sure whether this qualifies as a common problem or a common complaint; we’ve heard it mentioned enough times to feel inclined to include it on the list.
Many Honda X-ADV riders complain the bike is difficult to mount.
The X-ADV’s design was based on the Honda Integra, but while the Integra had a seat height of 790mm, the early X-ADV came stocked with a seat that sat 820mm up from the frame. And that’s not to mention the increase in ground clearance from the Integra’s 135mm to the X-ADV’s 162mm.
Stepping through the scooter-styled X-ADV isn’t an option, as although it looks like a scooter, its engine is mounted under the seat like what it is, a motorcycle engine.
- Since Honda’s design mounts the X-ADV’s motor and is cowling like a motorcycle, you have to climb it by throwing your leg over the saddle.
- Mounting an X-ADV like a motorcycle is tricky; its frame, and height, are modeled after a scooter and stand even taller than one.
- This oversight generates quite a buzz among the X-ADV base market, which includes a lot of scooter riders who approach the X-ADV for its dual-sport/off-road capabilities.
The X-ADV is an alternative to the bigger, more intimidating adventure bikes like the Africa Twin. Some riders feel like the cycle doesn’t answer the call of the customer base it aims to because of the height of the seat and the motorcycle mounting technique required.
The X-ADV weighs significantly more than a standard scooter, with a wet weight of 524 pounds, at the hands of its 750cc motorcycle motor. That said, Honda’s brilliant engineering an ergonomic X-ADV frame design, so the rider doesn’t feel that weight. The bike’s got easy, lightweight handling on and off the road.
Still, the fact that it handles easily like a scooter only serves to remind some more critical riders of its intended function and just how out of place the mounting method required is on an adventure bike in a scooter-style package.
This is a matter of taste. I’ve mounted an X-ADV before, and while it is taller than you’d expect, for me, it wasn’t a break-it moment.
3. Off-Road Capabilities Are Lacking
The Honda X-ADV’s 750cc motor, dual-sport treaded tires, suspension, and ground clearance certainly make it more off-road ready than your standard scooter.
That said, there are a lot of X-ADV riders out there who felt like their off-road capabilities were lacking. The major complaint is that the bike’s not designed to stand up during off-road rides.
- The running boards on which the rider puts their feet are narrow and too far forward for a rider of average height to stand up on while off-road riding through water, mud, or over bumps, divots, holes, and during any bumpy off-road rides.
- Not to mention you can’t stand up and get control over the weight of the bike’s front, as is necessary during more technical off-road riding.
- Honda is quick to respond to customer feedback, though; as a solution to the problem, Honda offers OEM after-market foot pegs intended for off-road riding.
These bolt-on foot pegs create a more mind-controlled experience, ideal for off-road riding.
If you are a frustrated owner of a Honda X-ADV who wants to tackle more technical off-road rides on your scooter-style adventure bike, look into the Honda OEM after-market foot pegs and get back out there.
4. Overall Performance Is Sluggish
The Honda X-ADV puts out 54 bhp from its 750cc motorcycle motor.
Still, another common issue we’ve heard riders of the Honda X-ADV complain about is that the scooter bike’s performance is more sluggish than it should be.
- Some riders say that the X-ADV is plenty powerful, but the riding position halters the aerodynamic potential of the bike’s engine.
- Other riders say that the engine’s horsepower increases once the X-ADV has adequately been broken in.
- I’ve heard a few X-ADV owners say that once broken in, the bike’s throttle response gets a little brisker, but they feel like the motor is capable of more than they’re getting.
- Still, the scooter-style dual-sport bike tops out at 110mph—more than enough speed for a bike of this frame and position if you ask me.
It gets a whopping 70 mpg, averaging about 200 miles to the tank. These figures imply the motor isn’t overworking.
That some riders want more power is a matter of taste. Honda built this scooter-style bike to perform efficiently and reliably, not to be a speed-racer.
For riders who want to go faster than 110 mph, we suggest a sports bike, not a scooter-style adventure bike.
General Pros and Cons for the Honda X-ADV
Here are some pros and cons of the Honda X-ADV:
The following are selling points of the X-ADV:
- It may look like a scooter, but the Honda X-ADV packs a Honda-engineered 750cc motorcycle engine mounted under the seat.
- The Honda X-ADV can be ridden on the streets and off the road.
- The dual-clutch six-speed transmission allows riders to operate their X-ADV manually or lets the ECU handle shifting automatically.
- The most recent X-ADV rolls off the Honda factory floor stock with a redesigned fairing. Not only is it sleeker, but it includes a tricked-out TFT screen modeled after the one on the legendary Honda adventure bike, the African Twin. Like the screen on its big brother, the X-ADV’s TFT screen displays various vehicle and trip information.
- The Honda X-ADVs updated TFT screen includes Honda’s efficient Smartphone Voice Control. This feature allows X-ADV riders to link their compatible smartphones and listen to music, GPS directions, and even make and receive cell phone calls all hands-free while riding.
Here are common problems of the X-ADV:
- Motorcycle Stalls—Gets Stuck in Gear (Solved via Recall)
- Hard To Mount and Dismount
- Off-road Capabilities Are Lacking
- Overall Performance Is Sluggish
What Do the Reviews Say?
It’s not an off-roader, not by a long stretch, but it is a cool-looking super-scoot that is fun to ride and also practical (for mainly solo riders). The big sticking point is the price tag, however if you are into maxi-scooters but don’t want a ‘traditional’ scooter look the X-ADV is your only option to be different.
What Is the Resale Value on a Honda X-ADV
ⓘ The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.