Honda refreshes the Metropolitan for 2013

In my opinion, the Honda Metropolitan has been the best looking small-frame scooter on the market for a very long time. It’s had the most authentic Italian style of any of the asian offerings. Let’s be honest. It’s adorable. However, it’s been its same adorable self for a very, very long time. Until very recently, Honda hasn’t invested any effort in bringing new scooter offerings to the American market. Thankfully though, Honda has not only added new models but it’s even refreshed the familiar Metropolitan for 2013.

The changes are comprehensive. New body panels all around, although the basic shape and charm remains the same. The biggest difference is the loss of the headlight in the leg shield. That’s now moved to the headset like most every other scooter on the market. While functionally, this is probably ideal, that chest piece was the most charming, most unique part of the previous Metro. New color options include contrasting colors in black, red and tan. They’re safe choices, like most things in the Honda lineup, but they’re good looking colors nonetheless.

Overall, the Metropolitan has preserved its charm. I think I’ll miss the hawaiian print option though. That was fun. The Metro remains a 50cc machine, which is actually kind of a shame. I think a 125cc or larger version of the Metropolitan could give the Buddy and the Vino a run for their customers’ money.

The most significant updates to the new Metropolitan are mechanical. Like most machines today, say good buy to the carburetor. The Metropolitan is now fully fuel-injected, which Honda says pushes it along at 117 mpg. The braking system has also been updated. While it’s still drums front and rear, at just 179 lbs that should be more than adequate. However, Honda has gone a step further. adding a linked braking system to the rear wheel that they’re calling the Combined Braking System. Applying the rear brake will also apply some amount of front brake, but not vice versa. You really should be using both brakes to stop, but I’m definitely not a fan of this kind of nanny system. It also seems incredibly overkill for for a machine as small as the Metropolitan.

Click through after the jump for Honda’s full press release.

[Official Release] Over the years, the Honda Metropolitan has achieved the status of classic scooter—and rightfully so. But for 2013, all-new styling along with a new 50cc fuel-injected four-stroke engine advance the standing of this little icon to keep it on the favorites list for years to come. Styling highlights include a new headlight and meter setup, different handlebar and a stylish new taillight assembly. There’s a locking, 22-liter under-seat storage area large enough to stow a helmet and also a new inner storage bin that can hold a 1-liter bottle, plus a larger convenience hook to secure a bag. With easy-to-operate features, affordable price and operating costs, plus loads of Honda quality and reliability, the new Metropolitan turns short hops into big fun.

New for 2013

  • A new 50cc OHC four-stroke engine provides ample power for around-town trips while also keeping the fun factor high.
  • Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) delivers excellent throttle response over a wide variety of riding conditions.
  • New inner storage bin can hold a 1-liter bottle, and a larger convenience hook allows the rider to conveniently secure a bag.
  • New styling highlights include a fresh headlight and meter setup, different handlebar and a stylish new taillight assembly.
  • The estimated fuel economy for the fuel-efficient Metropolitan is 117 MPG.
  • New colors include Pearl White, Pearl Black, Pearl Black/Red.

Honda Genuine Accessories

  • Rear Trunk
  • Rear Carrier
  • Rear Trunk Attachment Kit
  • Outdoor Cover


Model: NCH50
Engine Type: 49.4cc single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke: 37.8mm x 44.0mm
Compression ratio: 10.1:1
Valve Train: SOHC; two-valve
Induction: PGM-FI with automatic enrichment
Ignition: CD
Transmission: Automatic V-Matic belt drive
Suspension Front: Twin-downtube fork; 2.1 inches travel
Rear: Single shock; 2.3 inches travel
Brakes Front: Drum
Rear: Drum with CBS
Tires Front: 80/100-10
Rear: 80/100-10
Wheelbase: 46.5 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 26° 30’
Trail: 71mm (2.8 inches)
Seat Height: 28.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 1.2 gallons
Estimated Fuel Economy**: 117 MPG
Colors: Pearl White, Pearl Black, Pearl Black/Red
Curb Weight*: 179 pounds
*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride.

Source: Honda

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  • mckillio

    I can’t believe that it only gets 3 mpg better with the FI. It might have something to do with the large decrease in the compression ratio, 12:1 down to 10.1:1. I would think that having FI would allow a higher CR. The Elite gets 107mpg but is 108cc with 11:1 CR.

    So are the new tires narrower and taller, or vice versa? I’m also disappointed that it’s heavier, although only by 3lbs.

    Even still, I’d rather have this model than the old one.

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      While fuel injection does often garner better fuel economy, the primary motivator for OEMs to switch away from carburetors on these smaller bikes is actually tighter worldwide emissions standards. I’d wager that this motor is using a throttle body injection system which wouldn’t be much different than the carburetor in the end, other than the more precise fuel mixture mapping. I just can’t believe it’s got linked brakes. I’d wager it’s cheaper for Honda to simply use one set of brake control components, so they’re just putting CBC on everything.

    • mdeer

      The reason the compression ratio has been reduced is that the engine is now air cooled (you have to reduced the CR to prevent detonation). If they had stayed with a water cooled engine you would have seen the CR go up, and the mpg too. For me one of the selling points of the metro was it’s water cooled engine.

      I can understand that Honda doesn’t want to go out of their way to point out the step taken backwards by going with air cooled, but I do find it curious that many reviews seem to let this fact slip by also.

      • For an engine that small, water cooling seems like overkill. Everything else in the segment is air-cooled pretty much. Put a big enough fan and oil cooler on it and it ought to be just fine. Water cooling is really the most advantageous for extended, higher RPM running. The stop-and-go nature of 50cc city life doesn’t really need it. Given the addition of added complications like linked braking, making the machine more simple in another area is probably a good thing. One less thing to go wrong over time.

  • Marc

    I agree, keeping the Metropolitan at 50cc is a bit of a disappointment. If it were available with 125 or 150cc I’d break out my credit card today. As it is, I’m debating between the 2013 Metro, a Buddy 125, and a Vespa LX 150. It won’t be an easy decision, but no matter what I decide, I’ll be riding a cool scooter next year!

  • im disappointing it is no longer watercooled.

  • I hope not add to confusion, but to be a condiut of answers. I aquired My first 2013 “Metro”(for short) yesterday. So far, no issues w/ the small tires. they have excellent grip even on grassy inclines. I drove mine for the first time up a nice 5′ incline at least 35 degree angle w/ a lot of grass and it was rewarding to see both the power and traction of this little machine..I can only imagine that with paved road, I should be able to dart in and out of traffic w/ out issue. Please keep in mind: the programed fuel management may be the culprit for the power when needed to climb and excel. I don’t intend disrespect to the carb lovers, but i don’t want to clean another carb as long as i live..Too many oraphaces and injector devices to clear or replace. Low maintenance is nice for a change and that’s what I believe Honda was thinking about when they targeted a non hardcore scooter enthusiest to reach another stage of rider. Over all the information on this puppy is still very limited, however, I’ll be glad to keep you up to speed on the “goods and the bads” of this scooter. Feel free to ask. As for now: Peace out.

  • I bought a 2013 metropolitan and took it back to service on the next day, beacuse of a nasty noise of the back left sise. The dealer kept it all day and they called be back when they were closed, so i have not picked it up yet. Anyhow, they are explaining to me that since they have fuel injection, they are supposed to make that noise. This noise happens at 30 miles only and i do not beleive what they are telling me, because they all could have mentioned this to me before dropping it. Its there like a lemon law, that protect us the cosumer like when you buy a car? Are out there other owner with this problem? Please help!

    • At that speed, the noise could be related to the limiter system that’s keeping it from going faster. I would suggest getting a second opinion. Take it to a second dealer or independent scooter shop and see if they have a different perspective. I’m not sure about Lemon Laws regarding scooters and motorcycles, but if it otherwise runs and functions normally, I don’t think you’d have a case anyway. If you want to go faster than 30 mph, then you’re probably going to really want to get a larger scooter. Wish I could be a better help.

      • Thank you Nathaniel, the scooter goes fast, it does not slow down at all. Its just a bad noice that sounds like something its wrong, and I dont beleive the response the dealer gave me. Saying that the new fuel injections instead of carburator makes that noise and that its normal. I will be heading back today to pick it up and will request to ride another one to see it if does the same noisy. Any other owners out there that could confirm this for me, will be gladly appreciated.

        • I’ve had mine for about 5 months and have no idea about any noises that are emitted from the right side. Let me know how it goes.

    • Tom

      My 2013 Honda Metropolitan made the exact same noise. Through my own investigative work, I realized that the bad noise was coming from the kick starter. In short, it is nothing to worry about…the noise on mine went away completely…I think the kick starter is a little tight from the factory…after a couple weeks of riding the noise lessened and now is completely gone. Hope this helps.