I’m in the camp of riders who think the new Honda SCL500 Scrambler is a cool-looking bike perfect for running errands or carving canyon roads. Our camp understands that the modern-day scrambler is no longer what J.D. Power defines as “commonly known as dirt bikes, scrambler motorcycles feature unique specifications geared towards off-road events and sports.” Dual-sport motorcycles have taken over that category. The modern-day scrambler is a cruiser with styling nods to the scramblers of old.
The other camp feels the new Honda SCL500 Scrambler is butt ugly and an abomination. They say Honda didn’t go far enough, styling wise, to honor the legacy of Honda scramblers. Based on my extensive research (speaking to friends), I’d have to say that this camp is a bigger group than the one I belong to.
LATE OUT OF THE GATE
Not paying attention to its detractors, I couldn’t wait for the SCL500 to show up. When it did, in the beginning of August, the bike showed up as a 2023 model. An all-new model released at the end of the summer should be a 2024. Honda had already released 2024 models like the Shadow Aero, ADV 160, Grom, Shadow Phantom and CB300R. So why not the SCL500? Released as a 2023 model, the SCL500 is a non-current motorcycle.
The normal advantage of buying a non-current motorcycle (meaning a year or two old) is saving money on insurance and hopefully, a sweet discount on the suggested retail price. Not in this case. Honda’s $6799 suggested retail price was as if you were buying it on January 1, 2023, not September 1st. Plus the dealer was adding on a hefty 34% ($2,292) additional markup for this non current.
The worst thing about this bike is the new owner takes a major hit on resale value. Cars and motorcycles don’t have birthdays like we do. They are a year old starting at their model year. Ask any loan officer.
If you buy an SLC500 and decide the bike is not for you and want to sell it, the Kelly Blue Book has its value today at $7,450 or $1641 less than you got it for (before taxes, documentation fees, recycle fees and registration). If you want to trade it in, you get $5140 (or 60% of what you paid). And you better hope the bike has been sitting in the garage since you bought it because those numbers drop as miles go up.
NO THANKS HONDA
It will be interesting to see when Honda releases the 2024 version of this bike. I’d suggest waiting until they do if you are interested. That way you can either find a 2023 for a discount at a dealership or you can pay a new-bike price when it is actually new.