STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2015 - PART ONE
MID-SIZED SCOOTERS ARE TAKING OVER IN 2015
With the new year almost here, it’s time to round up the news on new and departing scooters in North America for 2015. Before we delve into this, please take a second to vote in the poll for your favourite new scooter (If you’re not familiar with this models, read on!). As always, the full details on each manufacturers lineup is found on the respective manufacturers pages, and here we’ll just run down the new and departing models.
New 2015 Scooters:
Genuine Buddy Riot
Kymco Super 8 X 50 / 150
Kymco Super 8 R 50 / 150
News on 2015 models has been a slow trickle this fall, with full 2015 lineups still not announced from Genuine and the Piaggio group. Oftentimes these makers blend one model year into the next with little fanfare except for new models. Thus we’re assuming all the usual scooters will be back in 2015 except for models that have clearly been replaced, such as the Vespa LX and S.
All told, there are seven substantially new models launching in North America for the 2015 model year, which come in a total of 12 versions as many are offered in both 50cc and 150cc sizes. Interestingly, all of the new machines are either mid-sized (150-155cc) or they come in a mid-sized version. It’s a stark turn around in the mid sized segment compared to 4 years ago when mid-sized machines were less popular.
The first 2015 scooter was announced way back in February, which was Vespa’s new Primavera (above right). The Primavera is Vespa’s new small frame model and thus replaces the LX. Alongside the new Primavera is the new Vespa Sprint (above left), which is the same core model but with edgier styling that will replace the Vespa S. These scooters are available in both 50cc and 155cc sizes, with the latter featuring standard ABS.
The Japanese makers were also eying the mid-sized segment, with Honda producing a heavily overhauled PCX150 (above left) that gets new styling, a little more power and new amenities. The PCX looks like it’ll have stiff competition from Yamaha, who launched the new SMAX 155 (above right) in North America this fall. The SMAX is a physically larger scooter that looks like a great modern design featuring a high tech motor and long list of amenities.
The other new models for 2015 are from Genuine and Kymco. Genuine is launching a new limited edition of the ever popular Buddy named the Buddy Riot (below right), which features an upgraded suspension and a mean looking gunmetal and black color scheme. Kymco’s new models for 2015 haven’t been officially announced, but we’re expecting to hear new X and R versions of a new generation of the Super 8 announced soon. The X version has styling with an off-road slant, while the R version is a street style (below left) This new Super 8 aims to bring sporty transportation to a lower end of the cost spectrum by basing the new Super 8 off Kymco’s lower cost Agility model.
Kymco Compagno 50 (USA Only)
Kymco Like 50 (USA Only)
Kymco Movie 150 (USA Only)
Kymco Super 8 50 / 150 (USA Only)
Kymco Xciting 500 (USA Only)
Yamaha Majesty (USA Only)
The discontinued models for 2015 are disproportionately from Kymco USA\, who have opted to refine their formerly huge range of offerings from 13 models to 11 models. Even with the trim, Kymco USA is still fielding the largest lineup of any scooter maker. Kymco’s lineup adjustments for 2015 appear aimed at targeting the lower cost end of the spectrum. Their more expensive small and mid sized machines have been dropped, and the new Super 8 X / R models appear to be based on their entry level design so the MSRP should be lower. Kymco has also discontinued the Xciting 500 for 2015, but this move likely reflects the popularity of the newer MyRoad 700i. Kymco Canada has yet to announce their 2015 line.
The other departing models for 2015 are older designs. The Vespa LX and S have been around since 2006 and 2009 respectively, but have now been replaced by the new Primavera and Sprint models respectively. Yamaha’s Majesty (left) hasn’t been replaced, but it is an old model dating back to 2005 in the USA. This model is cut in the USA but continuing on in Canada.
Overall the number of new scooters outnumbers the departing list by 1, and thus the number of scooters on the market increases from 53 models to 54 for 2015, assuming the Piaggio group doesn’t have any surprises in store. The slight increase in new models like reflects the overall health of the scooter market quite well. The scooter market plummeted in half during the 2008 recession and it’s recovery has been very slow with only 5-10% annual increases. When the scooter sales for 2014 are announced around February we’ll issue part 2 of this annual report to discuss the results.
OP-ED: THE FUTURE COULD BE ELECTRIC
Over the last five years there’s been a lot happening in the world of electric powered transportation. Companies like Zero and Brammo are making pretty nice electric motorcycles and upstart automaker Tesla is selling electric cars as fast as they can build them.
However things have been tepid in the scooter market, with only token interest from the big players.
In this opinionated piece, I’ll take a look at the pros and cons of electric powered scooters, what electric scooters are being offered today, where eBikes have gone wrong and what it would take to create a compelling electric scooter.
The Potential For Electric
Before we get into this, we ought to know why there’s even a push to go electric. What are the advantages besides tree-hugger cred? The main draws are instant power, low fuel costs, reduced maintenance and low emissions. Scooters don’t use much fuel, but running on electricity is way cheaper than gas which means $1 fill ups. Secondly, maintenance on an electric vehicle is virtually nil. There’s no oil changes or coolant. You wouldn’t be replacing drivebelts or rollers because electric motors don’t need a transmission. There’s also the perk of reduced emissions, since the only emissions are from when we make the electricity in the first place, which is way cleaner than running on gas even if the power is coming from coal.
KYMCO USA CLEANS HOUSE FOR 2015
MOVIE AND XCITING MODELS DROPPED, NEW X AND R VERSIONS OF THE SUPER 8
Kymco USA recently updated their website to reflect what appears to be their 2015 scooter lineup. The result is a dramatic trimming of models from 13 to 7, but we expect that count will soon rise as new “X” and “R” versions of the Super 8 are planned for 2015 per Kymco’s official Facebook.
For the time being, the Super 8 50 & 150, Movie 150 and Xciting 500 have all been moved to the “non-current models” section of Kymco’s USA website, along with the 50cc versions of the Compagno and Like scooters. The larger Compagno 110 and Like 200 will return for 2015. The discontinuation of the Xciting 500 isn’t a big surprise considering it’s an aging model and Kymco has the newer MyRoad 700, but the cancelling of the Movie is unexpected.
As mentioned, Kymco has new “X” and “R” versions of their Super 8 planned (X is above), which they showed last month at the AIMExpo. These appear to be a substantially different model than the outgoing Super 8. At first glance, this model appears to not be a Super 8 at all, but rather a naked camo version of their Agility model now being sold under the Super 8 name. Similarly, the new Super 8 R is a sportier version of the Agility with different decals and tires. Both 50 and 150 sizes of these new scooters use the 2 piece buddy seat currently seen on the Agility 50. Perhaps the aim here is to move the Super 8 to the lower cost end of the lineup. The regular Agility 50 is offered for $1699, so we expect the new Super 8 X and R will be priced under $2000 as well compared to $2199 for the discontinued Super 8 50.
A bright spot for 2015 is a new 50th Anniversary edition of the Like 200 (left), which replaces the Like LX as the premium variant of the Like 200. The MSRP for this metallic gold scooter is $100 more than the regular Like 200 at $2799. For the extra funds you get the fancy gold paint and black accent decals which do look quite nice.
2015 USA Models: Agility 50 / 125, Super 8 X & R, Compagno 110i, Like 200, Movie 150, People GT 300i, Downtown 300i, MyRoad 700i
HONDA QUIETLY RELEASES RETURNING 2015 SCOOTERS
RUCKUS, METROPOLITAN AND FORZA ARE BACK
Today Honda quietly announced the 2015 versions of their returning scooter models. As expected, the Ruckus, Forza and Metropolitan (Giorno in Canada) are back and largely unchanged. Accompanying these returning models in showrooms for 2015 is the PCX 150, which was heavily updated and announced much earlier. We’ve covered the changes to the PCX150 in an earlier news post and on the PCX page, so here we’ll take a look at the updates to the returning models and comment on the health of Honda’s lineup.
USA Pricing for the returning scooters is unchanged at $1999 (Metropolitan), $2649 (Ruckus) and $5599 (Forza), with the updated PCX150 slotting in at $3449 (Honda Canada hasn’t announced pricing yet). Color options are unchanged as well for the Ruckus and Forza. The Forza will again be available only in Pure Red, with Canadians again getting the extra option of Seal Silver Metallic. The Ruckus is now entering its 4th year with the same color options (Black and White/Red).
The USA market Metropolitan fared a little better with one change to its three color option list. For 2015 a two tone color combo of White and Grey (shown) replaces the outgoing Candy Orange/Black combo. Honda Canada didn’t change any of the colors there, but they did spruce up the color names. There was a big shift from two word color names (i.e. Candy Orange) to three word names (i.e. Candy Blaze Orange). Fancy words like “Pearl” and “Gemini” were also liberally sprinkled throughout. Yes, it’s an exciting time to reading Honda press releases. A full year by year color list is at the bottom of the Metropolitan page.
While the news for most 2015 models is status quo, Honda does have a great lineup right now. The PCX 150 and Forza are both new and great machines that won the MSG Scooter of the Year readers poll for 2013 and 2014 respectively.
The Metropolitan / Giorno was also a brand new model for 2013, so only the Ruckus is an older model and that scooter is seemingly a timeless icon. It looks just as good as it did 12 years ago when it was introduced.
What Honda ought to do is flesh out their lineup with new machines at both ends of the spectrum. What’s missing is a modern styled 50cc and a maxi replacement for the Silverwing (2002 - 2013). The Ruckus and Metropolitan are both solid machines, but they appeal to distinct market niches. A broadly appealing modern 50cc like the Honda Dunk or Dio could be a strong seller to the mainstream practical market at the right price. At the other end of the spectrum, Honda needs a new maxi above 500cc. Their new-ish 580cc Silverwing GT (right) would fit the task. Maybe for 2016?