HONDA's 2019 SCOOTER LINEUP (USA, Canada)

AN AGING RUCKUS AND METROPOLITAN ACCOMPANY A NEW PCX150
All indications are that Honda has finished their 2019 scooter announcements for the USA and Canada, although they could surprise at any time. Thus it’s as good an opportunity as any to summarize what’s new for 2019 and what isn’t.

The main thing that’s new for 2019 is the third generation of the PCX 150, which by all accounts is a fantastic machine. It boasts Honda’s latest technology both in the engine and throughout, such as the LED dash. However this machine was first announced way back in April 2018 so it hardly counts as news now. Thus for full details on this 2019 model check out our
2019 PCX article or the full PCX page.

2019-Honda-USA-PCX150

One more recent bit of news on the 2019 PCX is that Honda Canada surprisingly hasn’t followed suit with an introduction there. Thus 2018 looks to be the last for the PCX in Canada.

The rest of Honda’s 2019 announcements have come more recently as Honda rolls over their existing models. The Metropolitan is back again in the USA without changes to the form or price, which stays at $2499. There is a new color however, with a pastel “Coastal Blue” replacing the darker “Denim Blue Metallic”.
2019-Honda-Metropolitan-USA-Coastal-Blue
If there’s one thing we’re good at here at MSG, it’s reporting on the lack of attention that Honda pays to the Ruckus. Despite being perpetually popular, Honda hasn’t substantially updated the Ruckus since its 2003 introduction - a fact we’ve been reporting for over a decade. With its unmodified return for 2019, the Ruckus has now reached its 18th consecutive year without substantial changes - an impressive run which is closing in on the 23 year record held by another Honda - the venerable Elite 80. Currently the Ruckus sits third on this list as it also lags Yamaha’s Riva 125 (22 years).

Despite the lack of changes, Honda USA did deem it time to increase the price of the Ruckus as it rises to $2749 (from $2699). Honda Canada didn’t have the same audacity, so it remains at $3399 there.

Pricing for the Metropolitan remains at $2499 in the USA, while in Canada there is no sign of its return. Thus Honda Canada is fielding a scooter lineup (if you can still call it that) of merely one machine - the Ruckus. Even here the white/red color option available in the USA isn’t offered, so scooterists in Canada are being offered a mere one color of one scooter. Things haven’t been this grim for Honda scooters in Canada since the
Dio only lineup in the 90’s which was only offered in purple some years.

2019 HONDA MODELS: Ruckus, Metropolitan (USA Only), PCX150 (USA Only)
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VESPA ELETTRICA HEADED TO USA

PRODUCTION STARTS IN SPRING 2019
Back in November Vespa showed off an all electric concept scooter called the Elettrica at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan. Now today Vespa has announced they are taking this model to production, with the first examples rolling off the production line in September. Vespa-Elettrica-2019-USA_front

Production will be slow to start, but Vespa hopes to start deliveries in November. Interestingly, Vespa has announced that they are going to sell this model worldwide including the USA, with sales starting there in spring 2019. Thus it will become the first small electric scooter in North America from one of the major brands, as previous electrics from
BMW and Vectrix have been larger maxiscooters.

Vespa has equipped the Elettrica with an engine that offers 4 kW peak power (5.4 horsepower) and 2 kW (2.7 horsepower) sustained. That might sound firmly in 50cc territory, but this scooter should be quick off the line because electric torque is instant and abundant. The Elettrica boasts 11 ft-lbs of torque - which outdoes their gas powered 150 models which have 9.4 ft-lbs.
Vespa-Elettrica-2019-USA-side

Top speed is not announced, but I expect a peak velocity in the 40 - 45 mph range, similar to a typical 50cc. Anything higher would eat through the range much quicker and thus require more of the expensive batteries, but Vespa is hoping to keep this model semi-affordable. For the first year at least, the range is rated at 62 miles (100 km).

Vespa is also going to offer the scooter in a restricted “Eco” version that is likely being designed to meet e-Bike regulations to compete with the growing popularity of that niche. This approach seems misguided, as it’s hard to imagine there are a lot of folks wanting an e-Bike to save on insurance/registration costs, yet also willing to pay thousands more for a Vespa branded one. Then again, fewer young folks are getting drivers licences these days, and Vespa might make it easy to derestrict these models, so outlaw owners might get the best of both worlds.

A final version is the Elettrica X, which features a gas generator to extend the range. That sounds good, but I don’t think this version is a wise choice since you give up a lot of electric range (31 miles versus 60) and accept the added weight and hassle of a gas engine. Since Vespa seems to be putting together a city oriented machine, it’s hard to imagine that 60 miles won’t be enough so it seems best to just keep things simple and take the longer range model. A range extended version would made more sense if the top speed was high enough to be reasonable for road tripping, such that a gas generator would enable that compared to the slow charging times of the battery.

Vespa-Elettrica-2019-USA-dash

Charging times for the Elettrica are 4 hours, which is okay. That’s about as good as you can do on a normal plug, but you could do much faster at a DC fast charging station like electric cars use, if Vespa had designed for this. However with a urban top speed of 45 mph, you should have enough range to get you through the day anyways. Hopefully someday soon we’ll soon see updated versions that work with DC fast charging stations. Most likely we’ll see that once batteries are cheap enough to use in higher speed models.

Battery life is spec’d at about 35,000 miles (60,000 kms) or 10 years, which seems alright. A replacement would likely be cheap by that point in time anyways.

Three years ago
I wrote about the coming tide of electric scooters. In that piece I suggested that a winning electric scooter would boats 45 mph top speed, 60 miles of range and a 20 minute charge time. Vespa looks like they’ve achieved two of these three criteria which should make for a compelling city scooter. Hopefully they can continue to improve those metrics while reducing the charging time to create a road trip worthy machine.

The cost of the Elettrica is unannounced, but Vespa says it will be similar to their other models. Since the Elettrica seems targeted at the 50cc niche, I’m expecting an MSRP around $4000 USD but they could surprise with a much higher price.
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HONDA UNVEILS NEW GENERATION OF PCX150

2019 PCX150 OFFERS NEW FRAME, BODYWORK AND LCD DISPLAY
Honda has announced a new generation of their popular PCX 150 for 2019, which will be arriving in the USA in July. The new PCX features a new frame, new body work, an updated motor, tweaks to the tires, brakes and suspension, and a nice LCD instrument panel. Honda claims the new PCX offers a premium feel and improved handling.

2019 Honda PCX 150 Bronze-Front

Most notably, the new 2019 PCX150 boasts a new frame and body work. On first glance, it looks similar to the previous model, but when you look closer it becomes clear that major changes have occurred. Indeed, all the body work is new. While the lines are a similar, they’ve been refreshed throughout to be a little more curvy, such as the rear flanks. Actually, the new body style has been taken from the electric version of the PCX that Honda unveiled this past November at the Tokyo Auto Show.

Honda says the new frame adds stability and saves a bit of weight but not much as it’s still steel. Also saving a little weight is the new 8 spoke rims, which look nice in a dark grey. In total, the 2019 PCX150 comes in 6 lbs lighter at 289 lbs wet weight.

While the core motor is carrying over for 2019, it has been heavily updated. It actually loses a little displacement because the bore has been reduced by 0.7mm, so displacement is now 149cc (from 153cc). However, top end power is said to be increased via a new freer flowing intake, air filter and exhaust. The new power specs are 13.3 HP at 8500 RPM and 10.3 ft-lbs of torque at 5000 RPM, which is actually identical to the power specs of the outgoing PCX except for a 0.1 decline in horsepower, so we’ll have to trust Honda that the power peak has been broadened.

2019-Honda-USA-PCX150

The brakes and suspension are mostly carrying over. The brakes look to be identical for 2019, except for optional ABS on the front wheel (only) for an extra $300. The front suspension returns unchanged, while the rear suspension gets new springs, 0.2” more travel, and the shocks get mounted back a few inches for improved stability.

A big part of Honda’s claim of improved handling likes come from the tires, which grow wider for 2019. The front tire moves 10mm wider to 100/80-14 (from 90/90-14), while the rear tire becomes 20mm wider (120/70-14 instead of 100/90-14). That probably offsets Honda’s weight savings elsewhere, but should improve braking and handling.

In terms of features and amenities, Honda has eeked out an extra liter of under seat storage (now 28), and switched to a nice LCD instrument panel. Honda is also claiming the PCX has all LED lighting, but the outgoing model already had LED headlights and brake lights, so maybe it’s just the signals that have been updated.

2019-Honda-PCX-Gauges

The 2019 PCX150 is slated to arrive in USA showrooms in July. Pricing is up $100 for 2019 to $3699, unless you want that front wheel ABS for an additional $300.

Overseas they get numerous color options including the awesome matte black shown below, but colors in the USA are limited to just one option for 2019 - the “Bright Bronze Metallic” shown above. For full details on the PCX including prior generations, check out the
PCX page.
2019-Honda-PCX-150-matte-black
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