STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2014 - PART ONE
A SUMMARY OF THE NEW AND DEPARTING MODELS FOR 2014
In this first portion of MSG’s annual state of the scooter scene (SOTSS) address, we’ll run down the full list of new scooters arriving in North America for 2014. We’ll also pay homage to the departing scooters, of which thankfully there are few.
First, please take a second to vote for your favourite new model for our “Motor Scooter Guide 2014 Scooter of the Year” award. Last year Honda’s PCX 150 took the top spot.
New 2014 Scooters:
Aprilia SR Motard
Kymco MyRoad 700i
Piaggio Fly 50
Piaggio Fly 150 (USA)
Suzuki Burgman 200
Yamaha Zuma FX / X
Aprilia SportCity One 50 (USA)
Aprilia SportCity One 125 (Canada)
Kymco Vitality 50 (Canada)
Kymco Downtown 200 (USA)
Kymco People GT 200
Vespa LX / LXV 150 (Canada)
Vespa S 150 (Canada)
The new machines announced for 2014 are a diverse bunch, with motor sizes ranging from 50cc to 700cc. Overall there are 8 significantly new scooters for 2014, based on 5 completely new designs and a significant new take on the Zuma style. While the list of departing scooters is a bit longer, many of these machines are only leaving either Canada or the USA. Accordingly, the total count of scooters on sale in the USA rises from 49 to 53 models, while Canadians will be offered 39 models (from 38) from the eight major brands covered here on MSG.
In the mid-size category, Piaggio has also launched their new Fly design with a 150cc motor boasting similar technology. Suzuki’s new Burgman 200 also qualifies as a mid-sized
The Burgman 200 (above) is going to be an interesting scooter to watch, as sales could take off if buyers see it as a more affordable way to enter the maxi scene and aren’t put off by a marginal 75mph top speed. It’s Suzuki’s first new scooter in some time, and their smallest offering ever in the USA.
Buyers that are looking for a full speed scooter will also want to consider Honda’s new Forza (below grey), which picks up where the old Reflex left off. At 279cc, the Forza can close in on 100mph and does so with style and refinement. This scooter is a great model from Honda and early reviews seem to very positive as it blends maxi scooter features with a price tag and fuel usage that is easier to swallow.
The last new model for 2014 is Kymco’s MyRoad 700i (white), which makes no secret of its status as a highway devouring mega-scooter. The MyRoad 700 is big and heavy at 608 lbs, but it provides a supremely comfortable and powerful highway tool that offers a larger motor and lower price that Suzuki’s popular Burgman 650.
Appendum: Genuine Scooter Co. is also on the cusp of releasing two substantially new models: An all new 170cc Hooligan rugged scooter and a 125cc Automatic version of their popular vintage Stella model. Here is more details.
Kymco has also opted to drop the 200cc version of their People GT (below) and Downtown models, leaving the more powerful and top selling 300 versions to carry on. This decision is hardly worth lamenting except Kymco Canada was only offfering the People GT in 200cc form, which means the end of the end of the line for that model in Canada.
Aprilia Canada - which is managed by the Piaggio group like Vespa - has also dropped their lone mid-sized offering, the SportCity One 125. It’s too bad to see the shift away from mid-sized machines, but the SportCity One remains around in 50cc form, unlike the USA where Aprilia has dropped it to reduced redundancy with their new SR Motard 50. As Piaggio Canada also opted not to import the new Fly 150, you can no longer buy any 125-150cc machines from this major group of scooter brands in Canada.
2014 LITTLE HONDA'S: RUCKUS + METROPOLITAN
METROPOLITAN / GIORNO RETURN WITH 3 BOLD NEW COLORS
In the traditional fall release season, Honda has announced the return of their ever-popular Metropolitan and Ruckus. Up in Canada (and in the rest of the world) the Italian inspired Metropolitan is badged a
Honda hasn’t made any changes to either of these models for 2014 except for three new colors for the Metropolitan (NCH50). The 2014 color options for the metro are now pink, royal blue and orange, which Honda has elegantly named Pink Metallic, Pearl Blue/Black and Candy Orange/Black respectively.
The Ruckus heads into 2014 with the same color options as 2012 and 2013: Black or White/Red (shown). Historically Honda hasn’t paid much attention the Ruckus aside from annual new colors, but now with the same colors now returning for a third year it’s clear Honda isn’t paying any attention at all to this older model - or they ordered way too many white and red parts when they made the first batch and they’re still clearing them out.
MSRP’s have yet to be announced, but they aren’t likely to stray far from the 2013 prices of $1999 (Metropolitan) and $2649 (Ruckus).
For complete information on these little Honda’s, check out the Ruckus and Metropolitan/Giorno pages.
TOKYO SHOW RELEASE: HONDA DUNK 50
HONDA TAKES THE WRAPS OFF THE ROBO-SCOOTER
Honda has reveiled their new Dunk scooter ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show where it will be on display.
The Dunk is a sharp new 50cc with unique style. Honda’s added some nice touches to it, including an LED taillight,
The aggressive edges and blacked out rims combine for a great modern look. It’s half scooter and half space shuttle. Honda is powering this little space machine with a brand new liquid cooled 4-stroke 50. It uses some of the same engineering tricks as the Ruckus: a side mounted radiator, floorboard located gas tank, camshaft driven water pump and ACG starting technology (no starter motor). The Dunk actually goes beyond, as it also incorporates fuel injection and idle stop systems like non-North American versions of the PCX 150.
There’s no word yet on North America, or even if Honda has planned this as a world model. There will likely be some hint at the upcoming Tokyo show in late November, but any North American introduction won’t be for a while. If it does come here, a name change might be in order - Honda Tron has a nice vibe to it. Check out a nice gallery of Dunk pictures from Honda UK. What do you think? If it does come here, all this technology will likely mean a premium price.
KYMCO USA LAUNCHES THEIR FULL 2014 LINE
UPDATES TO THE AGILITY & SUPER 8, NO MORE 200cc PEOPLE GT & DOWNTOWN
Kymco USA’s tally of 2014 models is 13, which is down one from last year but there’s actually more body styles to choose from since Kymco opted to drop the smaller 200i versions of their popular Downtown and People GT machines. These 200cc machines have been living in the shadow of their faster 300cc counterparts. Costing just $400-$500 extra, the larger displacement 300’s are more comfortable on the highway and thus have wooed sales away from their smaller 200cc siblings. It’s a good move by Kymco to focus on their best models as competition heats up in the mid-sized scooter segments.
The popular Agility (left) and Super 8 models have both received attention for 2014, with new graphics all around. The Agility 50 and 125 get fresh stripes and a two-tone look in your choice of 3 colors (Orange, Blue, Red). MSRP for the 125 model is unchanged at $1899, while the 50cc moves up $100 to $1599.
The popular Super 8 also gets new graphics, with racing inspired slashes across much of the machine. The Super 8 also receives a tasteful new headlight array, which merges the dual headlights into a single new opening. Color options are also new, with your choice of red, white or orange being paired with black accents. With the tweaks the MSRP for the Super 8 remains unchanged at $2199 (50cc) or $2499 (150cc).
The rest of Kymco’s line carries over for 2013, which is expected as all of these machines are either new or reworked in the last few years. MSRPs and colors are unchanged from 2013 for the returning models. For more info check out the year by year history of Kymco scooters or browse the individual machines below:
USA MODELS: Compagno 50i/110i, Agility 50/125, Super 8 50/150, Like 50/200, Movie 150, People GT 300i, Downtown 300i, Xciting 500 Ri, MyRoad 700i
BLAST TO THE PAST: HONDA'S 1996 SCOOTER BROCHURE
DOWNLOAD HONDA’S SCOOTER LINEUP CIRCA 1996
While the 90’s don’t seem that long ago, somehow it’s been 17 years since Honda released their 1996 lineup. While the 80’s are considered to be the glory years of Honda’s scooters, the mid 90’s actually featured some darn nice artwork in their scooter brochures.
1996 was one such high point artistically for Honda, with profiles of their various machines weaved together with an elaborate - and likely funnier with time - detective story. Two 80’s stars (Helix, Elite 80) as well as a 90’s newcomer (Elite 50 SR/S) are presented here in fine form. This brochure is certainly worth checking out for any scooter enthusiasts, so download the Honda Scooter Lineup 1996 PDF.
Also head to the Downloads page for a look at the rest of the brochure scans from Honda, Yamaha and others stretching back to the early 80’s.
2014 GETS EVEN BETTER: FOUR MORE NEW MACHINES
NEW SCOOTS: APRILIA SR MOTARD, VESPA 946, SUZUKI BURGMAN 200 + KYMCO MYROAD
2014 is continuing to shape up as an exciting year for scootering. In addition to the bounty of 2014 models already discussed, four more new scooters on their way. Three of these models have been tempting North Americans from overseas markets for several years, so their delayed launch here comes with a sigh of relief as we’d begin to doubt they’d ever arrive.
The longest overseas hold out is the Suzuki Burgman 200, which has been on sale elsewhere since 2007. In recent weeks it has received approval for sale in the USA, so we can expect the official announcement at any time. The Burgman 200 offers maxi scooter amenities in a far more affordable and fuel sipping package than its larger siblings. The 200 isn’t quite comfortable on the open road (top speed is 70-75mph) but it can hold its own if you don’t try sneak a passenger on the back. It’s great to see Suzuki bringing in more affordable options for people without five figures to spend on a scooter.
Also eyeing the North American market in recent years with some trepidation has been Aprilia’s SR Motard and Kymco’s MyRoad 700i. Aprilia Global initially announced the SR Motard for North America a couple years ago before changing their mind and releasing its Piaggio branded twin - the Typhoon - here instead. Finally for 2014 Aprilia gets new SR Motard for their North American showrooms (USA & Canada). Aprilia has opted to bring in the 4-stroke 50cc version, which means mediocre power and excellent milage. MSRP for the SR Motard 50 is an impressively affordable $1999. On the other end of the displacement spectrum is Kymco’s MyRoad 700i,
Lastly, Vespa’s magnum opus - the 946 - makes its debut this fall. Vespa has poured all their innovative ideas into t
YAMAHA'S EARLY 2014 LINEUP RELEASE
YAMAHA 2014: FEWER MAXI’S, BOLD COLORS AND THE ZUMA X HITS CANADA
It’s become the norm to release the occasional model far ahead of the traditional fall release season, but Yamaha has taken things a step further for 2014 by announcing what appears to be their full lineup in June. Now that the details have coalesced, we can take a closer look at Yamaha’s plans for the year ahead.
The first interesting note from Yamaha’s release is the reduced maxiscooter presence in both the USA and Canada. There is still plenty of time for things to change, but presently it looks like the American and Canadian markets are each losing one maxi. Yamaha USA hasn’t announced the return of their only large scooter - the aging Majesty, while Yamaha Canada has issued a 2014 Majesty but omitted their larger TMAX 530 from the 5 model line up. Yamaha has missed model years before with their larger machines (ie. no 2011 Majesty in the USA), so the lack of news could merely be a sign of some time off or an impending release of new/updated model, much like Suzuki did with their 650 Burgman last year. There are some signs that Yamaha has more in store, such as the Yamaha Canada Majesty page, which refers to the Majesty as “one of 2 maxi scooters in our lineup”.
The most sweeping change for 2014 is Yamaha’s creativity in paint booth, which reaches a bold new high. After sticking to safe colors for many years after some strange 90’s missteps (ie. purple Jog’s), Yamaha has continued their 2013 trend towards aggressive colors. The 2014 Zuma/BWS 50 pigment options are orange (Burnt Orange Metallic) and silver (Matte Titan) in the USA, while up in Canada there are 3 options: blue, silver (Matte Titan) and a funky red (Vivid Metallic Yellowish Red). The Larger Zuma/BWs 125 gets the same options as its little brother in the USA, while Canadians can choose from Black or Red (Vivid Metallic Red). The boldest color decision is certainly the 2014 Vino 50, which is only going to be offered in a three color Captain America scheme (blandly named Dark Metallic Grayish Blue). It’s a good look, but a surprisingly bold choice for the sole color option. Like the Vino 50, the Canadian market Majesty gets just one color offering but it’s a beautiful “Deep Metallic Red” which everyone will like.
The news stops there for Americans, but Canadians get more to look forward to in the form of the new Zuma X. This new model is essentially the BWs 50, but reincarnated with a sporty graphics and a single front lamp instead of the bug eyes. The bug eye lights have always been a polarizing aspect of this BWs/Zuma, so now there’s something for everyone. The Zuma X has a much cleaner and simpler front end which draws the attention elsewhere to the sportier silhouette of this nice machine. The Zuma X also boasts a number of white accents (rims, underbody and elsewhere) and special “race inspired” grips to set it apart. Regardless of which version you prefer, owning either one will be cheaper than a 2013 BWs, as the 2014 BWs gets a $380 MSRP drop (now $2699 in Canada) while the two tone Zuma X costs $200 more.
MAD BASTARD SCOOTER RALLY 2013
RAISING THE BAR FOR ENDURANCE AND [IN]SANITY
The 2013 running of the biannual Mad Bastard Scooter Rally unfolded last weekend in southern Ontario, Canada. As usual, the rally raised the bar for both endurance and [in]sanity, with participants covering up to 855km (530mi) while collecting “mad points” en route. To win, you must demonstrate supreme lunacy in attire, machine (low cc and decorated) and action (deranged photo ops and a Timbit collecting bonus spree).
The Mad Bastard Rally is the opus of CMG head honcho Rob Harris and made possible by headline sponsor Kymco Canada, who provide everything from eager volunteers to a lucrative Agility City 50 as the top prize. This was my third MBSR but first doing it right: on a 50cc machine.
I wasn’t eligible for the grand prize as a member of the media class, but it was just as well since a 1 in 8 shot at a case of beer (the media prize) seemed a lot more feasible than outdoing the 99 other lunatics in the room. I scanned the room at the Friday night welcome dinner and was amazed yet again by the humiliation people stoop to. From cross dressing newlyweds and dinosaurs to a quartet of fish tacos and the full gamut of superheroes, standing out in this crowd was impossible. The Mad Bastard Scooter Rally is the ultimate venue for alter egos.
2014 PIAGGIO FLY + HONDA FORZA HEADED TO NORTH AMERICA
THREE NEW 2014 MODELS HEADED FOR NORTH AMERICAN SHOWROOMS
Piaggio’s line has taken a huge step forward with their announcement of a second generation of the popular Fly scooter. The original Fly debuted in North America for 2005, so it was due for some revisions. Piaggio took the wraps off the second generation style in fall 2011 at the Milan show and with producing starting last fall, but up until now we’ve been left wondering if it’ll arrive in North America and what motors will be offered.
That speculation ended this week, when Piaggio announced both 50 and 150 models for the USA and only the 50cc variant for Canada - all of which are arriving now. The Fly 50 continues to use Piaggio’s fancy 4 valve motor (of Vespa fame) which was added for 2011, while the Fly 150 gets Piaggio’s much anticipated 3 valve fuel injected 150cc motor. This new motor boosts both power (+0.5hp to 12.1) and fuel economy over the outgoing model.
Honda has also been juggling their scooter line in recent years, with short lived forays with the Elite 110 and SH150i before finding success with the PCX150. In that same vein, Honda’s new Forza takes the style of the PCX150 and amps it up into the highway devouring category. The Forza 300 has now been announced as a 2014 model for both Canada and the USA and is expected in showrooms in the next few weeks.
Unlike their misstep with the SH150, Honda has priced the Forza aggressively from the get go. In America the MSRP is $5599 - directly in line with Kymco’s competing Downtown 300i. Antilock Brakes add $500 for a $6099 bill, while ABS is standard in Canada as part of the reasonable $6399 price tag. It’s great to see Honda filling in the gaps in their lineup and getting more aggressive with pricing instead of resting on their laurels.
Both the new Fly scooters and the Forza are attractive and highly practical new offerings in their respective segments. It’s great to see manufacturers introducing excellent new models and pricing them to sell. We’ll be seeing a lot of all three on the road in the years to come.
STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2013 PT 2: SCOOTER OF THE YEAR
READERS CHOICE WINNER: 2013 HONDA PCX150
With the votes counted, Honda’s revamped PCX 150 ran away with the top honours in the 2013 readers choice poll. The faster and more refine
Piaggio’s new 2013 BV350 captured the second spot with 29.3% of the vote. Yamaha’s reintroduced and now fuel injected Vino 50 rounded out the top three with 8% of the vote.
USA: 2012 SALES
Scooter sales in 2012 rose for the third consecutive year, this time increasing by 7.7% to the highest level since the 2009 crash. That’s healthy news for the industry, especially when you consider 2012 sales were mostly current scooters being sold at regular margins, as opposed to the 2009 market crash leftovers that buoyed up sales in 2010 and 2011 with heavy discounts. The chart below shows scooter sales in the USA over the past seven years, but realize that this MIC data doesn’t include several smaller makes (Genuine, SYM) nor does it include the swell of Chinese makers.
Despite the nice annual rise sales remain a far cry from the 2008 heyday, which was the culmination of years of steady growth. From 2000 to 2007, mainstream scooter sales hovered in the 40,000 - 55,000 unit range - or about 20% higher than we’re seeing today. Mainstream USA sales were 34,294 in 2012, which may actually be there new norm as the non-represented Chinese makers have captured a portion. Popular Chinese makers like SunL and Znen are rumoured to be selling in the five figure range.
The news in Canada is both lacking and lackluster, so it slips in here at the bottom. The Canadian industry group (MMIC) is still sitting on the 2012 numbers, but we can report the 2011 numbers which were too late to slip in to this report last year. In short, Canadian scooter sales took a big dive in the wrong direction in 2011. Canuck sales were a healthy 10K units in 2008, which dropped to 6K for 2009 and 2010. Instead of a rebound, sales dropped further in 2011 to 4.6K units. Hopefully things were rosier in 2012.
MAXI REVIVAL: KYMCO'S MYROAD 700i + UPDATED BURGMAN 650
A LEGEND OVERHAULED AND A NEW CHALLENGER
Kymco’s 2005 jump into the fray with the Xciting 500 was the last news for a while, with Yamaha making a brief 3 year foray with the TMAX (’09-’11). While the big Yammie lives on in Canada and elsewhere, it’s truncated lifespan in the USA seemed to hint that the USA maxi-market had cooled and perhaps the big scooters from Suzuki, Honda and Kymco were living out their final days. Dusty veterans
Thankfully that doesn’t appear to be the case, with Suzuki recently announcing a significant overhaul for the Burgman for 2013 and with Kymco on the cusp of unleashing their bigger than ever MyRoad 700i (above right) into the northern most continent of the Americas.
While the 2013 Burgman 650 isn’t all new, it is a substantial update that refines the ‘Burg in several key areas. The most obvious revision is the styling, which has been refreshed up with an edgier front end and a slimmed posterior. The new look isn’t radical, which is a good thing. It’s a tasteful update to a perennial favorite. Beneath the new body panels are two major updates: a redesigned ABS system which adds floating front discs yet weighs half, and a new transmission/clutch system which improves performance and reduces drag. Between the new transmission and slimmer silhouette, Suzuki is claiming a 15% improvement in fuel use. Also helping you realize this boost in efficiency is a
The MyRoad 700i was released a few years ago overseas and is Kymco’s most displacement endowed scooter ever at 699cc. This big brother to their Xciting 500 hasn’t been officially announced for North America yet, but the word is that Kymco is planning to have it in USA showrooms by July. This super sized maxi was originally announced as being designed with America in mind, so its been strange to watch its slow progression to North American showrooms. While its release has been pushed back several times, things are looking good for a summer 2013 release in the USA and hopefully soon after in Canada.
While the MyRoad boasts an extra 61cc over the 650 Burgman, power is actually a hair less (59 HP vs 61 HP) from its DOHC 8V parallel twin mill. Torque and weight are also deadlocked, with the MyRoad claiming 46 ft/lbs of torque to move its 608 lbs and Suzuki listing 45.7 ft/lbs of torque available for its 609 lbs of heft. Although the Burgman sheds 4 lbs in its 2013 form, neither model
In typical Kymco fashion, the MyRoad sets the bar high for features. The Burgman has always been very well appointed, but the MyRoad goes even beyond this with gizmo’s like tire pressure sensors and electronically adjustable suspension. Even the key has been done away with and replaced with an electronic fob that just needs to be within 5 feet of the bike.
Kymco is still being coy with an official release announcement, but 2013 looks like the year it’ll arrive. With the updated Burgman 650 headed for showrooms now, we just need Honda do to something about their 12 year old Silverwing.