November 11, 2017 Filed under: 2019 Models | BMW | Vespa | Honda | Lambretta | Kymco | SYM
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.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.
October 19, 2017 Filed under: Suzuki | 2018 Models
BURGMAN 400 GETS SPORTY
Suzuki USA has brought their Burgman 400 back to life for 2018 with an all new third generation of this popular maxiscooter. The Burgman 400 originally went on sale in North America fifteen years ago for 2003, with new generations debuting for 2007 and now 2018.
The new Burgman 400 departs from the ideology of its ancestors by targeting more of a sports touring niche rather than comprising a pure touring machine. The new Burgman moves towards the “sports maxi” segment in numerous ways, including a more forward seating position, slimmer body work, a larger 15” front rim, shedding 14 lbs, more aggressive styling and a trimmed tail that reduces storage space.
The lighter, slimmer new Burgman 400 is quite a bit more handsome than the stocky second generation Burg 400, and should be more fun to ride, but you might want to look elsewhere if you’re after maximum comfort and storage. For that, there’s still Suzuki’s Burgman 650.
For 2018 Suzuki is only offering the Burgman 400 in Pearl Glacier White. The nice charcoal shade shown above is being offered in most markets, but Suzuki’s practice the last few years has been to only offer a single color of each model in North America.
The new Burgman 400 arrives with an MSRP of $8099, which is reasonable $100 increase over the departed second generation last offered for 2016. Head over to the Burgman 400 page for more info on the new generation.
The rest of Suzuki’s line up is largely unchanged for 2018, with both the Burgman 200 and 650 arriving back in American showrooms. The Burgman 200 is unchanged in both price ($4999) and color options (silver), while the 2018 Burgman 650 receives a new shade of white and a $50 price increase to $11,049. No word yet on Suzuki’s Canadian lineup.
October 15, 2017 Filed under: Yamaha | 2018 Models
NEW XMAX 300 CARRIES ON THE TMAX SPIRIT
Yamaha has released their 2018 scooter lineup and it is arriving in dealerships now.
The big news this year is the all new XMAX 300, which looks a lot like a mini-version of the TMAX 530 that left a couple years ago. The XMAX is an all new machine that went on sale in Europe earlier this year. It features aggressive styling, good power and sporty handling with a number of high end features including ABS, traction control and a keyless ignition (just have the key in your power and you can scoot off). Unfortunately for Canadian scooterists, the XMAX looks like it’s only headed to the USA for 2018.
The XMAX jumps in where Honda left off with their Forza 300 after discontinuing it last year. Comparatively, the XMAX offers 10% more power (27.6 HP vs 24.5 HP) in a lighter scooter (397 lbs vs 428 lbs), so it should be pretty quick. If you’re worried about handling all that power, Yamaha’s got you covered with standard traction control and ABS. Unfortunately Yamaha thinks everyone in the USA likes white, so the silver and brown colors they’re offering overseas won’t be arriving here this year.
The rest of Yamaha’s scooter line received virtually no attention. Yamaha USA is returning their 5 other scooters without a single tweak to even the colors. Thankfully the pricing is also the same.
Without the XMAX, Yamaha Canada is offering a completely unchanged line up for 2018. Color options are the same, but there are some price increases for the BWs (+$200 to $2999), Zuma X (+$100 to $3099) and SMAX (+$100 to $4099) but no changes in pricing to the Vino ($2899) and BWs 125 ($3699).
MODELS: Vino, BWs / Zuma, Zuma FX / X, BWs 125 / Zuma 125, SMAX, XMAX (USA Only)
August 10, 2017 Filed under: 2018 Models | BMW
ONLY ALL ELECTRIC MAXI-SCOOTER ON SALE IN THE USA
BMW has been selling their all electric C Evolution maxiscooter in Europe since 2014, but they’ve been coy about whether it will be sold in North America, with several false promises over the years. Finally this week BMW announced that it is coming to the USA - or at least California - for 2018, and they seem serious this time by also releasing pricing. When it arrives, it’ll be the first electric maxi-scooter sold here since Vectrix closed up shop a couple years ago.
The C Evolution shares little with BMW’s other C series maxiscooters, but rather has been designed from the ground up as an all electric ride. It’s based around a 12.5 kWh battery, which are pretty large for a scooter. For comparison, Chevy’s all electric car, the Bolt, has a 60 kWh back, while Tesla’s new Model 3 is being offered with 50 and 75 kWh packs. With 12.5kWh, the C Evolution has a range of 100 miles.
That should be enough range for most folks commutes, but BMW hasn’t equipped the C Evolution with particularly fast charging, so it’s not a great road trip machine. The C Evolution can’t use DC fast charging networks currently, so the best it can do is an 80% charge via 220V power in 4 hrs, or double that on 110V. So at best you’d spend twice as much time charging as driving.
The C Evolution makes 19 kW of power (not to be confused with kWh, which is power capacity), which translates into about 48 horsepower and 53 lbs-ft of torque. Thus, the C Evolution can jump to 60 mph in just 6.8 seconds despite it’s hefty 606 lbs weight (about 50 lbs more than BMW’s other maxi’s).
For folks that do more commuting than road tripping, the C Evolution could be an excellent machine with it’s clean operation, low maintenance, cheap operational costs and quality construction. The C Evolution also has 40mm diameter inverted forks, a single sided swingarm, 15” wheels and dual 270mm front disc brakes with standard ABS.
BMW is pricing the longer range model (12.5 kWH, 48 horsepower) at $13.5g and then you can add heated grips ($250), an upgraded seat ($145) and an alarm ($395). This price is $3-4g higher than BMW’s gas powered maxi scooters, but you’ll save quite a bit in fuel and maintenance costs over the life of the machine, as electrons are typically only 1/4 the cost of gasoline.
2017 BRINGS JUST ONE NEW MODEL, WHILE OLD FAVOURITES DEPART
All the 2017 scooter lineups have been announced, and unfortunately there’s not much to get excited about with only a single new model, while several notable scooters are on their way out. For 2017, six of the nine major manufacturers we cover here are returning last years models unchanged or reduced (Aprilia, BMW, Honda, Kymco, Suzuki, Yamaha). Only Piaggio released a new model, while Genuine and Vespa made some updates.
Piaggio Liberty 50 / 150
Genuine Buddy Eclipse
Piaggio MP3 Business 500
Vespa (red) 946
Genuine Blur 220
In each of the past five years, 7 to 10 new scooters were introduced. For 2016 that dipped to just two and now for 2017 Piaggio’s Liberty 50 and 150 is the lone new machine. Even that is a bit of a stretch because the Liberty is actually a 2018 model, but we need to count something.
The Liberty (above) is a large wheeled scooter and it actually has a little history in North America, with a previous generation being offered briefly here in 2003 - 2004 using the LT50 and LT150 names. The Liberty certainly has grown up since then, with less quirkiness in the styling, which now resembles Piaggio’s larger BV350. We’ll see if it catches on better than other big wheeled scooters in North America that didn’t last long, like Honda’s SH150i.
Thankfully a few other scooters got substantial updates. Piaggio unwrapped a “Business” version of their MP3 500 with a brown seat and grey rims, Vespa debuted a new version of their 946 as part of the anti-aids (red) project, and Genuine released the next in a long list of variants of their Buddy scooter, called the Buddy Eclipse, which is a stylistic variant on the regular Buddy.
Unfortunately the list of discontinued scooters is even longer. It includes 4 machines: Genuine’s Blur 220, Honda’s Forza, Suzuki’s Burgman 400 and Yamaha’s TMAX. Collectively, these four machines have 31 years of experience in the North American market.
The Blur 220 was first offered with a 150 motor from 2006 - 2007 before returning with an extra 70cc from 2010 to 2016, so it’s an aging design and it’s no surprise to see it dropped. The Forza was only introduced in 2014 and it’s been a popular scooter, so hopefully we’ll see it return for 2018. It was voted by the readers here as the favourite new scooter for 2014, so hopefully Honda is just be reducing inventory or prepping a new variant. The Burgman 400 was in Suzuki’s original lineup when they returned to North American in 2003. While it was overhauled for 2007, it hasn’t been updated in the decade since so it’s not shocking that the end has come. Lastly, Yamaha has flip flopped with offering their TMAX since it was introduced in 2009, so unless it has more lives than a cat, this is likely the end.
While 2017 isn’t blessed with many new machines, the numerous new models introduced over the past 5 years have meant that scooter selection remains near an all time high. In total, 49 different scooter models are being offered from all these manufacturers in 2017. That counts scooters available in 2 engine sizes as 2 models (fair? maybe not) and it includes the Liberty 50 and 150, which is sort of a 2018 machine. This total of 49 models is less than last year (52) but the same as 2013, so scooter selection has been largely stable for the past few years.
May 14, 2017 Filed under: Piaggio | 2018 Models
PIAGGIO BRINGS LARGE WHEELS TO NORTH AMERICA
The large wheeled scooter segment has dried up in North America in recent years, despite being more popular than ever overseas. Big wheeled scooters like Aprilia’s Scarabeo series and Kymco’s People S series have been discontinued, while Honda’s 2010 introduction of the SH150i lasted just one year.
Thankfully for people interested in a scooter that can dance across potholes and railroad tracks, Piaggio is bringing one of their top selling global models - the Liberty - the USA and Canada. This new model has been arriving at showrooms throughout the spring, but is being listed by Piaggio as an early release 2018 model.
The Liberty was actually sold in the USA way back in 2003 - 2004 (badged as the LT 50 / 150) when Piaggio was first getting started here, so its re-introduction is also a chance to reflect at how far Piaggio has come. The new 4th generation Liberty is quite a bit nicer than the old LT models, which certainly had a quirky look, and also offers far better technology like ABS and fuel injection.
The 2018 Piaggio Liberty will be available in both 50cc and 155cc sizes, and in two trims: regular and S. The S trim (top left) adds black accents (rims, mirrors) etc instead of chrome (top right). Full details on the new Liberty models are available on the new Liberty page.
For 2018, the Liberty costs $2399 (50) or $2999 (150) in the USA, with the S versions adding another $100. Canadian prices are even more reasonable at $2645 (50) and $3345 (150) - again the S versions add $100.
March 31, 2017 Filed under: Safety
If you use a scooter for transportation, you are not alone. Scooters are a fun and economical form of transportation. Scooters are also environmentally friendly, which means you won't leave a big carbon footprint on the planet. However, scooters do fall into a category much like bicycles and motorcycles where they aren't as likely to be noticed by car drivers. It is often not entirely the fault of the other driver, but also relates to how the brain and eyes work together. To address this problem, you should do everything you can to make yourself more visible so you will be noticed by other drivers.
Ride With Traffic
You are riding a motorized vehicle, so you need to adhere to the rules of the road. This include riding with traffic. You need to stay in a place in the lane so you will be noticed and stand out. Don't stay over near the curb or cut around cars in bike lanes. Instead, place yourself in the center of the lane to let drivers know that you are there and holding your own spot in traffic.
When you are riding your scooter on the road, you don't want to weave and out of traffic. If you are weaving, drivers don't know where you are headed and you are much likely to not be noticed and be hit. Instead, stay visible in the lane so you will be noticed by drivers as they maneuver on their way.
Ride at a Safe Speed
Most scooters won't travel at excessively high rates of speed, but you need to travel at a safe speed. Pedestrians might not see your scooter and they are quiet, so you need to make sure you can stop fast enough if a pedestrian steps out in front of you. Be prepared for pedestrians or animals entering your path because either can cause a crash if you don't get stopped in time.
Fluorescent Clothing and Gear
You need to stand out in the crowd. One way to do so is by wearing fluorescent clothing or a brightly colored helmet. Traditional colors such as blue, black, brown, or gray just blend in with the surroundings. You want to go with hot pink, lime green, neon yellow, or orange so drivers will see you. These colors can definitely make a difference when you are out and about.
Riding After Dark
If you are out before dawn or after dusk, you need to make sure your bike has the proper gear to make it visible. Your white headlight and red taillight are just the start. Don’t remove reflectors from your scooter to make it look cooler. Rather, add reflectors to the scooter and your clothing. This is most easily done with reflective tape, which is cheap and can be placed almost anywhere. These reflectors come in particularly handy if one of your lights burns out. You can also wear an LED light to help you stand out even more and get noticed by drivers.
You want drivers to be able to know where you are going. This means you need to always signal and well in advance. If your scooter is equipped with signals, use them. If it is not, use hand signals so drivers will know where you are going and when you are going to make a move. Do everything you can so drivers will know your intentions.
Most accidents occur at intersections. You want to make sure you stand out so you need to do everything you can to be noticed. Follow traffic signals and don't roll through stop signs. Make eye contact with drivers so you will know that they saw you. Always have your hand near the brake so you can stop, slow down or ride defensively if you need to do so.
Other Safety Tips
By knowing the traffic regulations and familiarizing yourself with the roads where you will be riding, you can help protect yourself when you are out on the roads. By understanding the laws of the road and proceeding with the proper caution, you can make sure you are less likely to be involved in a crash when riding your scooter on the road. Staying alert is the key to making sure you are noticed.
This article was written by the Outreach Team at Personal Injury Help, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information.