HONDA LAUNCHES NEW LIQUID COOLED 2016 METROPOLITAN
REVAMPED METROPOLITAN HEADLINES HONDA’S 2016 SCOOTER LINE
The Metropolitan has been majorly upgraded for 2016 with an all new motor, revised style and improved amenities. The new Met gains liquid cooling, an in-floor fuel tank, larger underseat storage and a small glovebox with 12V charging socket. This new Met is essentially Honda Japan’s new Giorno Clip model, which is replacing the discontinued regular Giorno in Asian markets. In Canada, Honda is also offering this new model but under the overseas Giorno name.
The 2016 Met utilizes Honda’s new AF74E liquid cooled motor. This new motor is similar to the GET2 design in the 2002-2009 Metropolitan, with a clever side mounted radiator and reversible alternator that doubles as the starting motor. Power from the new motor is similar with 0.1 less horsepower (now 4.4) but coming at a lower RPM (8000 vs 8250). The main appeal of the new motor is the improved efficiency, made possible with higher compression (12.0:1 instead of 10.1:1) and an idle stop system, although the idle stop system appears seems to be nixed from the North American market. In Japan this model is rated at a staggering 132 mpg in real world conditions (180 mpg in Japan’s wildly optimistic 30km/hr test), which is 13% better than the departing Metropolitan which was rated at 117 mpg. Honda USA is sticking with their 117 mpg claim, but it’s likely they haven’t had the chance to run the new model past the D.O.T. yet, either that the axed idle stop system contributed that much.
In terms of the style, it’s the same core machine but Honda reworked the side flanks with new horizontal streaks and freshened up the front of the legshield. Also new are the 8 spoke rims and instrumentation, which gains a digital trip odometer. There’s also new black shrouding under the floor, which conceals the relocated 1.2 gal fuel tank. The frame itself appears to be the same and the wheelbase is unchanged at 46.5”. There’s a good video walk around of the new style here.
In terms of amenities, the revised Met replaces the open legshield storage cubby with a smaller one under the ignition good for a bottle of water and then a more useful but small glovebox on the left side. This glovebox has a small 12V outlet perfect for charging a cell phone.
Colors for 2016 are Pearl Blue, Pearl White and Red. Pricing is not yet announced but is likely$50-$100 more than the 2015 Met. So our guess is $2099 USA / $2399 Canada.
YAMAHA READIES NEW ZUMA 125 FOR 2016
NEW 2016 ZUMA 125 WHILE REMAINING SCOOTERS CARRY OVER
Yamaha released the better part of their 2016 scooter line up this week for both the USA and Canada.
The USA announcement includes the return of all 2015 scooters except for the TMAX and the Zuma 125. So the Vino 50, Zuma 50, Zuma 50 FX and the SMAX are all back unchanged in design and price. As usual there are new color options, with the Vino 50 available in a particularly fantastic Rosewood Brown.
The absence of the TMAX is understandable since Yamaha surprised everyone with a really late 2015 TMAX announcement this spring, so most likely they’re going to hold off a bit on announcing the 2016 TMAX or maybe they’ll skip the year entirely if inventory is high, but we’ll see the TMAX back at some point as soon as inventory is low enough.
The really interesting news is the lack of the Zuma 125. By itself it would be a worrying sign but a look at Yamaha’s Canadian 2016 lineup (which typically mirrors the USA) provides some exciting insight. In Canada is similar except it includes a heavily updated BWs 125, which is the Canadian name for the Zuma 125. Most likely Yamaha USA has delayed announcing their 2016 Zuma 125 because it’s not quite ready for showrooms and they don’t want to tank sales of the outgoing version, but we should see an announcement in the next few weeks.
At first glance, the new BWs/Zuma 125 looks like an all new machine. The styling is hardly recognizable as a Z125, particularly in the rear where the exposed tube frame is gone. Likely Yamaha’s got a new sub-frame here. The front is also way different, with the classic bug eye lights being replaced by somewhat bulgy but more integrated dual headlights. Also new are the rims and the gauge setup.
Style aside, Yamaha gave this machine some nice functional upgrades. The front brake moves to a larger disc (245mm vs. 220mm) and with twin pistons in the caliper instead of one. There’s also a sweet disc brake in the rear now instead of a drum. The suspension details aren’t all announced but the front forks are larger diameter (31mm vs 27mm) and the rear suspension looks different.
Yamaha also bumped up space in the cockpit with a claim of more knee room, which is great because the outgoing model was a bit tight here for 6 footers. With that said, it still looks a bit tight in the photos. There’s also nice new folding passenger pegs, a 10% larger fuel tank and somehow Yamaha got almost 50% more space out of the underseat storage area (7.6 gallon vs. 5.2). It looks like this was achieved by extending the butt of the scooter and making it a bit deeper.
What’s not changed seems to be the engine, which has all the same specs. Even there the are some obvious external changes (i.e. exhaust cover, fan cover) so it’s possible Yamaha’s even tweaked this. Hopefully we get some more details and a USA announcement soon.
REVIEW: ULTIMATE SHIELD SCOOTER COVER
October 01, 2015 - Filed under: Accessory Reviews
HOW DOES A PREMIUM COVER COMPARE?
A cover for your scooter is important, particularly if you don’t have an indoors spot to park. Without one you’ll be dealing with a rusty scooter and fading paint - not great for resale value. I’ve tried quite a few covers over the past decade, but always of the ultra low cost variety because I’ve been a poor student and I wasn’t sure what spending more would achieve.
My most recent foray into the world of cheap covers was last fall when I bought a $9 cover from eBay. It claimed to be for a scooter, but when it arrived it was labelled as a bicycle cover. Hmm.... No surprise it didn’t fit my scooter. I had to slit the back to stretch it on since it wasn’t worth shipping back. Even then it would blow off on windy days because it lacked an elastic bottom or any straps. One such windy day was enough to poke my handlebars through the cover because the material was so thin, at which point I decided the cover was trash. I’ve used other cheap covers that weren’t quite this bad, but they’ve always been the sorta where you know the lifespan is going to be a year max.
Recently I’ve been using a higher end scooter cover from CarCovers.com. They sent me their Ultimate Shield Scooter Cover (USSC), which despite the superlative name is actually their second best option. The most striking difference from covers I’ve used in the past is the fabric, which is far thicker and doesn’t feel like it’s going to tear when you’re pulling it on. I expect it’ll last years instead of months and it has a 7 year warranty if it doesn’t. CarCovers calls the material fleece lined polypropylene, which is a fair description. Polypropylene provides a waterproof and breathable barrier, while the fleece lining adds some strength, ensures your scooter isn’t scratched and helps it slide on.
The other important feature of the USSC is a bottom strap and buckle, so there’s no chance it’ll blow off in the wind. This is also helped by the fit, which is the best I’ve had in a cover. Unlike a baggy cover, it doesn’t catch a lot of wind. The USSC only flaps minimally in the wind and definitely isn’t going anywhere. Apparently CarCovers has researched the size specs on every scooter out there, so you can simply type in your machine and it’ll set you up with the right size rather than guessing.
A couple other nice features on the USSC are nylon reinforced areas along the engine and exhaust, a clearly labelled front and back and an elastic bottom hem that squeezes around your machine well. There’s also covered vents along the handlebars to increase airflow so your wet machine can dry out faster.
My main criteria for a cover are fit, durability and security in the wind and the Ultimate Shield Scooter Cover scores high marks in all these areas. The main drawbacks are twofold: cost and bulk. The USSC lists for $165 but it seems to always be on sale at CarCovers.com for $89. Even at $89 it’s a decent outlay of cash (hey that’s 18 tanks of gas @ $5 tank), particularly if you’re used to paying in the single digits. In the long run though it’s money well spent as it preserves the condition of your scooter.
The other downside to the Ultimate Shield Scooter cover is bulk. If you want to bring this cover on the road you’ll need to free up some extra space in your backpack. With thicker material comes a larger packed size, so the USS cover packs to the size of a well fed house cat. It doesn’t weigh much, but the space requirements are double what a thin plastic cover needs. Also, the storage bag that’s included with the cover is twice as big as needed, which exaggerates the bulk as the cover doesn’t stay tightly rolled. Finding a smaller bag would be a good start if you want to take the cover on the road.
Overall, the Ultimate Shield Scooter Cover does all the important stuff very well. It’s durable, secure and fits great. Price sensitive buyers might want explore for cheaper options, and commuters that need to pack the cover along might want something smaller, but for 80% of scooterists that need a cover for at home this one does it very well. If you’re on the fence on the price or need a smaller cover, CarCovers offer the Deluxe Shield cover that foregoes the fleece and thus costs $12 less and presumably packs smaller.
Disclosure: This cover was provided by CarCovers.com under no obligation to review it.