STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2018 - PART ONE

A BOUNTY OF EIGHT NEW SCOOTERS FOR 2018
With all the 2018 scooter lineups from the major manufacturers announced, it’s time to round up the new, improved and departed scooter models. Once you are familiar with the new models, please take a second to vote for your favorite in our poll:


New 2018 Scooters
There is seven or eight new scooter models heading into 2018, depending on how you count it, which is a fantastic number compared to the one or two new machines that arrived in recent years. Technically, BMW’s C Evolution is arriving as a 2017 model, but it wasn’t on sale until recent months. Conversely, Piaggio’s Liberty is labelled a 2018 model, but it arrived nearly a year ago. We discussed the Liberty last year but skipped doing the poll last year because the Liberty was the only option, so it’s included now.

yamaha-x-max-300-usa-2018-whitesuzuki-burgman-400-2018-usa

The big theme for 2018 is the explosion of the mid-sized maxiscooter market. Five of the new scooters compete in this category. That includes Suzuki offering a brand new generation of
Burgman 400 (above, right), which will compete with brand new 300 - 400cc models from BMW (C 400 X), Kymco (X-Town 300, Xciting 400) and Yamaha (XMAX, above left). A curious trend here is the obsession with the letter X, with BMW, Kymco and Yamaha all incorporating it into their new model names.

BMW-C-Evolution-2018-Side BMW-C400X-350cc-Maxiscooter-USA

BMW brought the biggest news for 2018 by expanding into the mid-sized maxi market and by offering an alternative powertrain (electric). BMW finally brought their electric C Evolution (above left) maxiscooter to North America this fall, even if it is expensive ($13.5g) and limited to California. Details on BMW’s new mid-sized maxi-scooter, the C 400 X (above right), are sparse, but an MSRP is announced for Canada ($7540) and it should available in time for the warm riding weather in both markets. The C 400 X should expand BMWs scooter sales dramatically. In the USA it’s likely to be priced around $6g, compared to $10g for BMWs full size maxis.

2018-Kymco-Xciting-400i-ABS-Review-Scooter-Guide ´┐╝Kymco-USA-Canada-X-Town-Maxiscooter-2018

Also mixing things up was Kymco - as they often do. Kymco replaced their Downtown and People GT 300 models with the new X-Town 300 scooter (above right). On first glance the X-Town doesn’t look like anything special, but it’s priced to sell at a list price of only $3999 compared to $5600 for the outgoing mid-sized Kymco’s. As such, it’s a killer bargain compared to every other 300cc offering, so Kymco should sweep up the budget buyers. To further compete in the mid-sized segment, Kymco shrunk their Xciting (above left) down to 400cc (from 500cc), which offers larger riders some more leg room.

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In the smaller scooter realm, Kymco’s new Like 150 is a brand new machine with a nice all new style and all the power of the older Like 200 at a lower price. This scooter competes closely with Vespa’s offerings, and will also compete for value buyers with Piaggio’s 2018 Liberty 150.

Lastly, Vespa was quiet for 2018 except for the introduction of a new Sei Giorni variant of their GTV model. The Sei Giorni commemorates Vespa’s racing success in the 50’s with a new olive green racing paint job. The Sei Giorni doesn’t make the poll, as it’s changes are only paint deep.

Dropped Models
Three of the four discontinued models for 2018 were Kymco’s making room for new models (X-Town 300 replaces Downtown 300 and People GT 300), while the Xciting 400 replaces the Xciting 500.

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However, there is one truly sad loss: Genuine’s Stella. The Stella has been the last living remanent of Vespa’s PX series in North America, and an important part of the scooter scene over the past decade. Reportedly, it’s demise comes as a result of manufacturer LML hitting financial issues and choosing to move away from production of this low volume scooter. Thus the last vestige of the Vespa PX era has come to a close.

Total Models
Heading into 2018 there is a total of 46 substantially different scooter models on sale in the USA from the nine major manufacturers we cover here on MotorScooterGuide (and nearly that many models in Canada). That’s a conservative count which lumps Vespa’s numerous style variants into the same model, but does consider different displacements of the same machine as separate models.

As usual,
Kymco leads with the largest line up (9 scooters) but Piaggio (8) isn’t far behind. The rest of the makers offer 3-7 models each except for Aprilia, which has just been hanging on in recent years with one (SR Motard). Honda’s also on a bit of downward trend, with only 3 models now that the Forza is gone, and this includes the 16 year old Ruckus which is rather old although still from beating the Elite 80’s record for the longest market run of 23 years.

As usual, part two of the State of the Scooter Scene annual report will occur in a few months, where we’ll run down scooter sales in the past year. If you haven’t already, please vote in the poll to help select the 2018 MSG Reader’s Pick for Best New Scooter.

KYMCO REVAMPS FOR 2018 WITH LIKE 150, X-TOWN 300 & XCITING 400

THREE NEW MODELS AND THREE ON THE WAY OUT
No stranger to mixing up their scooter lineup, Kymco is back at it for 2018 with three new nameplates.

New for 2018 is the
Xciting 400, which replaces the Xciting 500 as the largest scooter in Kymco’s line. The Xciting 400 slips a freshly designed 399cc engine into the same body/chassis as last years Xciting 500, so it’s a new motor in a familiar package.

2018-Kymco-Xciting-400i-ABS-Review-Scooter-Guide

The power output is down, as you might expect with a loss of 100cc, but it’s not down that much with 35 horsepower on tap instead of 37.8. Torque is also down about 10% but so is the weight (425 lbs instead of 462) such that the power:weight ratio is unchanged at 17 lbs per pony.

Raw power probably isn’t the leading reason anyone buys a scooter though. The practical appeal of the new Xciting 400 is admittedly a bit tough to find, but the best candidate is the improved milage, which rises to about 55 mpg from 50. Also noteworthy is a next generation Bosch ABS. Price tag for the new 400 is $5999 - the same as the outgoing 500 model - so overall the new Xciting 400 is a fairly unexciting. A bit less power and bit better milage.

Kymco-2018-X-Town-300-USA-Scooter
More exciting is probably the new X-Town 300. Kymco has dropped both their Downtown 300 and People GT 300 models to make room for the new X-Town. At first glance the X-Town also doesn’t look like a great improvement over the outgoing models, as the power dives to 23 horsepower (vs 28 for the outgoing scooters) to meet stricter Euro-4 emissions regulations, but the low emissions are nice and when you see the price tag you won’t care about the 5 horsepower loss.

The new X-Town retails for a mere $3999 - a huge savings over the outgoing Kymco’s that were priced around $5399. That’s $1400 less than the outgoing models and even more compared with scooters like Yamaha’s new
X-MAX 300 and Piaggio’s BV 350 (both $5599). The styling is also reasonably nice - although a bit generic. Folks looking for a practical mid-sized scooter will want to give the X-Town 300 a close look.

Lastly, Kymco has introduced a new generation of their Like scooter. This new generation debuts as the
Like 150, and is being sold alongside the older Like 200 for 2018. Despite being badged as a 150, the new Like has almost as much displacement as the 200 (149cc vs 163cc) and actually has more power (13.5 HP vs 11.3HP).

Kymco-Like-150-New-Like-125-Review

The new styling also looks great. To the undiscerning eye, it looks close to the newest Vespa’s and Lambretta’s. When you consider that the new Like 150 includes standard ABS, it becomes a no-brainer choice over the old Like 200 at just $100 premium ($2599 vs $2499 for the Like 200). In Canada both models list for $3399, so the new 150 is a no-brainer.

It’s also going to be stiff competition for the Italians. A new 150 scooter from Vespa comes with a long list of extra amenities, such as liquid cooled motors and metal construction, but the Like 150 will tempt a lot of folks with half the price tag.

As mentioned, the Xciting 500, Downtown 300 and People GT 300 are on their way out. It’s surprising that Kymco has elected to return the Like 200 alongside the new Like 150, but presumably they’ve got inventory to clear and these older Like 200’s will be sold at a discount.

Kymco’s smaller scooter models (
Agility, Super 8X, Compagno) are returning unchanged

MODELS:
Agility 50 / 125 (USA Only), Super 8X 50 / 150, Compagno 110i, Like 150 / 200, X-Town 300, Xciting 400i ABS


NEW SCOOTERS GALORE AT EICMA AND TOKYO SHOWS

NEW ELECTRICS AND A SMALL BMW
Each year the Japanese and European scooter manufacturers unveil new concept and production scooters at the Tokyo and Milan (EICMA) motorcycle shows. These shows occur at almost the same time, so it’s the peak time of year for scooter news.

Thankfully 2017 did not disappoint with interesting concept and production machines from a wide range of OEMs. Notable machines this year were electric scooters from Vespa and Honda that are actually headed on sale, new maxiscooters from BMW, SYM and Kymco, and some vintage nostalgia courtesy of Honda (CC110) and Lambretta (V-Special)

Vespa-Elettrica-2019-Scooter

VESPA ELETTRICA
Vespa displayed an electric version of their Primavera last year called the Elettrica, but it was a non-functional concept. This year Vespa returned with a fully developed Elettrica they actually plan to start producing next year. Vespa is claiming they are going to sell this new scooter in many markets, so we’ll see where it winds up and if they’re serious.

The Elettrica puts out 4kW of peak power (5.35 horsepower) but can only do 2 kW on a sustained basis, so the power is comparable to a 50cc but the cruising speed probably isn’t quite there. Vespa hasn’t disclosed the battery size, but they did say the range is 100km (62 miles), so we expect that comes from a battery size around 5kWh.

Vespa-Elettrica-2019-Scooter-Dash

Vespa has designed this scooter for faster speed “level 2” charging, but not ultra fast charging, so it still takes 4 hours at best (and probably 8-12 hours at home). If you’re worried about the range, Vespa is also going to produce a “range extended” version with an on-board gas generator to charge the batteries called the Elettrica X. Mostly likely this version will make an already expensive scooter even more pricey.



HONDA PCX ELECTRIC
Honda is also going to start producing a serious electric scooter. They revised their popular PCX design to come up an electric version that is uncreatively called…..the PCX Electric. Unfortunately Honda hasn’t started with a clean sheet design here, so they’ve had to stuff the batteries in under the seat which cuts the storage space.

Honda-PCX-Electric-2018-Japan

Honda has actually teamed up with Yamaha on the battery side of this, so they’re using standardized and swappable batteries that are supposed to be compatible with a range of Honda and Yamaha machines in the years to come. We’ve been
skeptical of battery swapping here in the past - particularly when it’s mandatory like Gogoro who disallows home charging - because people like to own all of their scooter. Having the option to swap is fine, as long as manufacturers work towards faster charging as well.

Honda-PCX-Electric-2018-Japan-Battery-Swap

Honda hasn’t released any specs on the PCX Electric yet, but they do claim it’ll go on sale in Asia next year. They’re also prepping a hybrid version of the PCX, which is basically the regular PCX plus regenerative braking and a small battery to store the regenerated electrons. The PCX Hybrid cleverly uses the starter motor to deploy the regenerated power.


BMW C400X

BMW unveiled a sweet looking and production ready new scooter called the
C400X. Despite the C400X name, this adventure maxi-scooter is actually a 350cc. So it’s quite a bit smaller than BMW’s other C series models and hopefully quite a bit lower cost as well.

BMW-C400X-350cc-Maxiscooter-USA

BMW has released all the specs for this machine, so we know it’s a 450 lbs, single cylinder scooter with a peak output of 34 horsepower @7500 RPM (that’s 4 HP more than the
new Burgman 400) and an 86 mph top speed. The C400X also has standard ABS, traction control and dual 270mm disc brakes up front. Full info here.

The styling is reminiscent of the larger C series models, but it also has an adventure scooter look to it. BMW seems pretty serious with this model as they’ve already
announced it will arrive in Canada and the USA in spring 2018.
Lambretta-V-Special-150-2018
OTHER NEW SCOOTERS
A few other noteworthy scooters this year including the new Lambretta V-Special (above), which is being launched in 50cc, 125cc and 150cc sizes which is a SYM based scooter built in collaboration with the Lambretta Consortium. There’s also a nice looking 465cc maxi from SYM called the MaxSym TL and an interesting 550cc adventure scooter from Kymco called the AK550. Finally, Honda unveiled several new variants of their Cub at the Tokyo show, including the handsome CC110.

Honda-2017-Tokyo-CC110-Cub