STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2016 - PART ONE
March 30, 2016 - Filed under: Genuine | Honda | BMW | Piaggio | Vespa | Aprilia | Kymco | 2016 Models
9 NEW OR IMPROVED MODELS ARRIVING IN SHOWROOMS
With 2016 models mostly in showrooms, it’s time to review all the new and improved models. Please take a second to vote for your favorite. If you’re not familiar with the choices, read on!
As usual, complete details for each manufacturers lineup and specific models are found their respective pages here on MSG. A full report on 2015 scooter sales will be released in Part 2 of MSG’s State of the Scooter Scene, along with the winner of the poll. With just one entrant, it’ll be interesting to see if Honda can make 2016 their 4th straight win.
New 2016 Scooters
Genuine Buddy Kick
Genuine Venture 50
Updated 2016 Scooters
BMW C 650 Sport
Piaggio MP3 500 Sport
Vespa Primavera Tourer
Vespa Sprint Sport
Vespa 946 EA
Yamaha Zuma 125
Kymco MyRoad 700i
New scooters are sparse for 2016, comprising just two models from Genuine. These new models consist of a nice addition to the Buddy lineup called the Buddy Kick, and the low cost 50cc Venture. Thankfully quite a few more models received major updates.
For 2016 BMW resumed sales of their C Sport model, now calling it the C 650 Sport. It still uses the same 647cc motor so the new name just corrects the earlier non-sense of calling it the C 600 Sport. The 2016 upgrades include freshened styling, traction control and tweaks to the suspension, CVT and exhaust. Honda took 2016 as an opportunity to heavily overhaul their popular Metropolitan with a new liquid cooled motor, revised styling, new glovebox, 12V port, rims and an in floor fuel tank to increase underseat storage. The Zuma 125 from Yamaha is also less recognizable, with all new style, instruments, more room and improved brakes and suspension.
The Italians haven’t been sitting idle either. Piaggio surprisingly resurrected their MP3 in North America after several years in the grave (although it was on sale overseas). The new MP3 is called the 500 Sport but rather than resembling prior Sport models, it’s actually the softer original MP3 styling but with a new grill, rims and Piaggio’s larger 492cc motor. Vespa reworked three of their models for 2016, adding Tourer and S variations to the Primavera and Sprint models respectively. The Sprint S receives fairly mild styling tweaks while the Primavera Tourer gets the full set of Vespa racks and accessories similar to the LXV of years past. Last is the 2016 edition of the 946, called the Emporio Armani edition. This EA edition gets pretty neat green/grey paint but otherwise is similar to past 946 editions in style, function and price ($10g).
Gone for 2016 is Aprilia’s iconic SR50. After 16 years and 2 models in North America (23 years overseas), Aprila’s original and high tech sports scooter is no more. This is the scooter that invented the sports scooter concept and introduced fuel injection, rear disc brake and liquid cooling to the 50cc segment. Hopefully Aprilia will return with a new generation, but if not the SR50 will have a solid legacy from a generation of passionate owners.
Also gone but not nearly as iconic is Kymco’s MyRoad 700i, which was only offered for two years in the USA and never saw much sales success against the big maxiscooters from the Japanese.
In total there are 52 scooter models being offered from the 9 major manufacturers covered on this site. That’s down 2 from last year but up quite a bit from 45 models 5 years ago.
GENUINE GOES CHINESE
2016 LINE INCLUDES MACHINES FROM PGO, LML AND CHINA
Genuine Scooters, a great little company, tends to be less than upfront about what they actually do as “America’s Favorite Scooter Company”. As opposed to most scooter companies that actually make scooters, Genuine imports batches of scooters from other manufacturers that otherwise don’t sell in the USA. These machines are then marketed under the Genuine brand. It’s not a bad strategy since building scooters is expensive and there are already nice machines built and sold overseas that aren’t offered in the USA. It’s similar to the business model of most distributers except Genuine goes a step further by trying to improve upon the often poor branding and support.
However Genuine has never been very upfront with their status as an importer/distributer, leaving people to assume they are a manufacturer. A few years back I actually had a potential advertising deal with Genuine for this website, which went south when Genuine asked me to remove the information on where their scooters come from. This is something I try to shed a light on here because people should know what they’re buying and where they can get OEM and aftermarket parts. Genuine generally imports pretty good scooters but readers still need to know this.
The first overseas maker Genuine struck a deal with was LML, who for years had manufactured the PX series for Vespa and thus was capable of making perfect clones for Genuine when Vespa’s patents ran out. These machines are imported as the Stella and are generally great scooters considering they’re a 30 year old design.
Since LML is limited in what scooters they make, Genuine next struck a deal with PGO Scooters of Taiwan, who make reasonably good scooters in the same vein as Kymco and SYM. Starting in 2006 and continuing today, Genuine imports most of their line from PGO such as the Buddy, Roughhouse and the new for 2016 Buddy Kick (left in silver), whereas PGO sells these scooters under the PGO name up in Canada (but still through a distributer) and elsewhere.
The big news for 2016 is the addition of a new, undisclosed Chinese manufacturer for their new Venture 50 scooter (top). The Venture 50 is impressively low priced ($1599) for a machine with pretty good specs (3-valve motor, front and rear disc brakes) other than top speed (30mph) and slightly better than average looks for a Chinese machine. Whether it’s any good or not remains to be seen but most likely it’s okay commuter material.
The 50cc market segment is really price sensitive, so it’s not surprising that Genuine decided to market a lower cost scooter, especially after the 2013 boardroom shakeup where founder, CEO and enthusiast Philip McCaleb was pushed out. The interesting question is whether Genuine can do this without hurting the rest of their brand, or maybe they plan to slowly switch to a mostly Chinese line? Hopefully Genuine has good quality control they can avoid a situation that hurts their reputation.
USA MODELS: Stella, Roughhouse, Venture, Buddy Kick, Buddy 50 / 125 / 170i, Hooligan 170, Blur 220
VESPA ADDS SPRINT S, PRIMAVERA TOURER FOR 2016
2016 LINE INCLUDES UPDATED GTV AND NEW 946, SPRINT AND PRIMAVERA MODELS
Vespa has been busy refreshing their scooter line up for 2016. The first changes came in summer 2015 with the early introduction of the 2016 GTV 300 (not shown). This revised GTV gained ABS and ASR (traction control) like the GTS models did for 2015, but Vespa went a step further and also redesigned the saddle, added a new tail light with a chrome frame, chromed the rims and revised the front rack and windscreen. With the updates the GTV 300 rose $100 to $7499 in the USA. Pricing in Canada is $7795 which is steal with the Canadian dollar at $0.73. The only GTV color for 2016 is metallic grey.
Also new is the Emporio Armani edition of the 946 (aka 946 EA). This time around the 946 is offered in a neat dark grey/green color with handsome matte black accents including the rims. It’s a great look other than the over abundance of Armani logo’s on the machine. Some accents like the rear rack and mirrors are a nice pewter finish. As usual, the 946 is likely to list for around $10g and it apparently is only being offered from a few big dealers in handful of major cities.
More relevant to regular Vespa enthusiasts are the new versions of the Sprint and Primavera. Vespa has done a nice job putting together a sport version of the Sprint and a touring version of the Primavera. The sport version of the Sprint is called the Sport S 150 (no 50cc option) and it adds a ribbed seat, black rims and side striping on top of the unique titanium color for an extra $100 vs. the regular Sprint. It’s a nice option for the extra money. The rims in particular look great in black.
The new Primavera Tourer 150 is a tougher decision because it adds a substantial $400 to the price tag ($5399). This touring version adds a few functional features (windscreen, rear rack) and a few features that are more for style (ribbed leather seat, front rack). This model carries on where the old LXV 150 left off in the spirit of Quadrophenia.
Pricing is up across the Vespa range by $50-$100. The 50cc Vespa’s are up $50 to $3650 (Primavera) or $3750 (Sprint). The 150 models are up $100 to $4999 (Primavera) or $5299 (Sprint). The reason for the price difference between the Sprint and Primavera is because only the former comes with ABS.
With all the new features the Primavera Tourer is listing for $5399, which is the same as the Sprint S 150, so it’s your choice between ABS or a few racks and a windscreen. Color options are also updated for 2016, with Vespa typically narrowing the choices by a few colors.
USA MODELS: Primavera 50 / 150 / 150 Touring, Sprint 50 / 150 / S 150, 946, GTS 300 / 300 Super / 300 Super Sport SE / GTV 300
CANADA MODELS: Primavera 50 / 150, Sprint 50 / 150, GTS 300 / 300 Super /300 Super Sport SE / GTV 300