July 27, 2015
In the decade from 2000 to 2009 an incredible 77 new scooters models were introduced into the USA and Canada. This was a huge increase from the paltry 6 new models that were introduced the 90’s. More importantly, the scooter market diversified as it grew from a trio of Japanese makers (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki) to include Italian brands (Vespa, Aprilia, Piaggio) and several Taiwanese manufacturers (Kymco, Genuine/PGO, SYM).
The 2000’s are also notable for being when the maxi-scooter concept was really developed, with machines going far beyond 250cc designs like Honda’s Helix and cranking that up to 500-650cc. Another noteworthy change this decade was a shift from 50cc 2-strokes to 4-strokes, with new 2-strokes becoming rare by the end of the decade. Scooter sales during this time had some strong years (2005 - 2008) followed by a 50% collapse during the 2009 recession - a sales level which remains to this day.
Choosing just 3 machine to represent the best of the 00’s from the list of 77 is difficult. The following machines were selected because they combine top notch design with historical importance. There are numerous fantastic machines that have been left out.
Vespa S 150 (2008 - 2014)
Vespa returned to North America in 2001 with their ET model, but it wasn’t until the S was launched in 2008 that Vespa really connected with North American enthusiasts. The ET was a bit awkward and it’s LX successor was a bit cheeky. When Vespa took the same LEADER motor and LX frame and wrapped that in the edgier S styling they had their first real hit in North America in 3 decades and became relevant again.
The S has been offered in 50cc and 150cc versions, but the 150 is the real deal with power to match the capabilities of the rest of the machine. It lacks the handy glovebox of the LX, but the style is more than enough to make up for it. If you’re in the market for a machine from the 00’s, the S provides edgy style and top notch quality in a reliable package.
Suzuki Burgman 650 (2004 - present)
Aprilia was the first to introduce a proper maxi scooter to North America with their Atlantic 500 in 2000 and Honda followed that up in 2002 with the even better, but full mastery of the maxi-scooter concept wasn’t demonstrated until Suzuki released the Burgman 650 in 2004.
The Burgman 650 has advocates everywhere and for good reason. It matches highway power with a full array of touring amenities, and goes a step further than touring motorcycles by providing a package that is easier to mount and ride. Quite a few maxi’s have been introduced since, but none have dethroned the Burg 650.
Honda Ruckus (2003 - present)
More than any other scooter, Honda’s Ruckus is responsible for making scooters cool again in the new millennium. Prior to the Ruckus, most small scooters were meekly styled plastic blobs that most people would be embarrassed to be seen on. I love a good 90’s machine, but it’s fair to say that style struggled to gain mass acceptance.
In addition to it’s rugged style, the Ruckus is also a top notch machine with an aluminum frame, liquid cooled 4-stroke motor and and clever bits like a new alternator design that shed the need for a starter motor. The Ruckus is the complete trio of great style, clever design and top quality. It’s the type of machine that helped Honda build their reputation for reliability.
February 14, 2012
1985 HONDA AERO 80 AND YAMAHA 2001 SCOOTER LINEUP SCANS
Through the 80’s and 90’s, Honda and Yamaha created some really neat literature for their scooter lines. Honda’s quality has waned in recent years (bikes and scooters are now lumped into one), but Yamaha has continued to do a fairly nice job.
The 80’s were the peak of the effort put into this literature and 1985 was Honda USA’s magnum opus - the year they put out an artistic brochure for their entire scooter line, as well as multi-page quality brochures for each of their 7 models. 27 years later these brochure are rare, but once in a while one pops up on eBay. About 6 months ago I posted a scan of the 1985 brochure on Honda’s complete scooter line, and now I’ve been able to acquire the 1985 brochure on the Aero 80. Here is the 1985 Honda Aero 80 brochure.
In addition, I scooped up Yamaha USA’s 2001 scooter lineup brochure and scanned that in as well. It’s also a neat brochure. 2001 may sound pretty recent, but having a look at scooters like the Razz and original Zuma will make it feel older than that.
Browse over to the full Downloads page to have a look at the growing collection of scooter literature.
October 20, 2011
HIGH QUALITY HONDA AND YAMAHA BROCHURE SCANS
After much delay, high quality scans of many scooter brochures from Honda and Yamaha are now online (to replace the camera taken low-quality PDFs that were online). All of these new PDFs and more are on the Downloads page.
In addition, a few more old Honda (3) and Yamaha (2) brochures have been purchased recently and those will be scanned in soon (Update: Honda USA 2001 and 2008 now added. 2001 is very neat). These old brochures are pretty neat and hard to get. If anyone has any they’d like to share, please Contact MotorScooterGuide.
The brochures that have been re-done are:
Honda USA - 1985, 1989 Accessories, 1993, 2001, 2008
Honda Canada - 1984
Honda UK - 1984 Mopeds and Commuters
Honda Japan - 2003 Zoomer
Honda Australia - NH80 Brochure
Yamaha USA - 1996, 1998, 1998 Alternate Version
Yamaha Canada - 2008, 2009
Check out the Downloads page to see all the brochures and manuals available for download.