STATE OF SCOOTER SCENE 2015 - PART TWO
March 29, 2015 -
HONDA PCX150 WINS READERS POLL, SCOOTER SALES FLAT FOR 2014
2015 Readers Pick: Best New Scooter
Honda continued their dominance of the annual MSG readers poll for best new scooter, having won the poll three years in a row. The substantially overhauled PCX150 was voted into the top spot with 42% of the vote. That’s the second win for the PCX150, which also nabbed the award when it was last overhauled for 2013.
Yamaha’s new SMAX was also a popular pick with 31% of the vote. Third place (16%) went to Vespa’s new Primavera and Sprint models, with offerings from Genuine and Kymco lagging with single digit support. Consistent with other trends, mid-sized scooters dominated the poll.
Scooter Market Sales
The USA scooter sales figures for 2014 are in from the Motorcycle Industry Council. The faint recovery from the 2009-2010 recession seems to have stalled in the USA as sales were flat at 33,528 units. That’s down 1214 machines or 3% from 2013 (34,742 scooters) and about half of the pre-recession sales.
While a full recovery would be great, the 2006 - 2008 period was an unusual spike in scooter sales second only to the mid-80’s boom. The current level of sales at 30-40k units is about the historical norm for scooters, as similar volumes were sold from about ’88 to 2004.
As usual, the 2014 figures aren’t in yet for Canada but the MMIC has finally posted the 2013 numbers. In Canada scooter sales rebounded moderately after a pretty dismal 2012. Including all the major, non-Chinese brands, 3912 scooters were sold in Canada in 2013. On a per capita basis, that’s a bit better than in the USA but still a far cry from the pre-recession popularity. Hopefully things take an upturn in 2015. eBikes seem to be stealing sales from the 50cc segment, but mid-sized scooters seem to be selling well.
VESPA GTS 300 GOES HIGH TECH FOR 2015
February 23, 2015 -
GTS GAINS ABS, TRACTION CONTROL AND PHONE INTEGRATION
For 2015 Vespa has made a slew of updates to their GTS model. Unlike the last few updates, the motor is staying the same but the features list is getting some nice additions. Most noteworthy is ABS, which arrives as a standard feature for 2015 on all of the GTS models. Also debuting is traction control which Vespa is calling ASR or Acceleration Slip Regulation. ABS is a welcome addition, while ASR is mostly a burn-out killing gimmick.
Smartphone integration is the neatest feature being added. This functionality lets you connect your smartphone via USB. This charges the phone and also lets you use your phone as a computer to display a wealth of information. Once connected, your phone can display speed, RPM, horsepower, torque, fuel milage, lean angle and supposedly even tire condition (although a simple glance downwards is likely more informative than a presumably milage based estimate of wear). With the Vespa App you can also help navigate back to your machine in the busy parking lot because it’ll make a note of the GPS coordinates where the motor got shut off. Neat stuff.
Also new for 2015 is an updated suspension design that draws on the ideas implemented with the new Primavera and Sprint. It’s still the Vespa classic single sided trailing link design, but the angles have been reworked and a new pin + hinge has been added at the base of the shock. The shock is mounted to the trailing link via a new hinge which allows for some “suspension slide”. It appears the base of the shock can slide fore/aft slightly, but some saddle time will be needed to evaluate how well it works.
As a refresher, Vespa offers four variations of their GTS platform. The GTS 300 ABS and GTS 300 Super are basically the same machine with minor style differences. The Super trades the rear rack for a grab handle, adds vent cutouts to the right flank, comes with a black seat rather than beige, has blacked out wheels and is offered in black, white or blue rather than black or gray. Both models list for $6599. The GTS 300 Supersport is a premium machine at $6799. The Supersport is equipped with a ribbed single rider seat with accent color piping and gains sport decals which are orange for 2015. Lastly, the GTV is the most substantially different scooter with a revised headset that exposes the handlebars and moves the headlamp down the front fender. This scooter comes with a full list of normally optional equipment including a windshield, luggage racks at both ends and a leather seat. The price for this luxury cruiser is $7199.
These updates appear limited to the three GTS models, as they aren’t specifically mentioned for the GTV. Also, the MSRP of the GTV hasn’t risen in price by $200 like the rest of the models. At $200, these upgrades seem downright cheap for all that’s been added.
KYMCO'S 2015 SUPER 8R / 8X
January 24, 2015 -
A NEW GENERATION OF SUPER 8 ARRIVING THIS SPRING
There’s been extra room in Kymco’s lineup since they axed quite a few models from their lineup a few months ago including the Super 8. We broke news of a rumoured next generation Super 8 in X (offroad) and R (sports) versions at the time, but now more details are available.
In recent days Kymco Canada has added the Super 8R 50 to their website as a 2015 model, while Kymco USA’s Facebook account claims a spring release for both the 8R and 8X in 50cc and 150cc sizes. Interestingly, Kymco Canada is opting for a 4-stroke 50cc motor in the 8R, while Kymco USA is planning on releasing both models with either a 2-stroke 50cc, or a 4-stroke 150cc, similar to the outgoing Super 8 options. The outgoing Super 8 is remaining on sale in Canada in only the 150cc form for 2015, likely to clear out inventory.
The new Super 8 models appear to be an effort to streamline Kymco’s scooter operations by using a common platform. The main idea seems to be restyling the Agility model to achieve a more sporty look, while simultaneously slipping in the higher output versions of their motors that were previously used in the Super 8. In doing so, Kymco has made a number of nice changes to the Agility design including new aluminum rims, a brushed aluminum rear rack, folding passenger pegs and a neat digital gauge setup. The main downside is the Agility frame is quite a bit smaller than the outgoing Super 8, so riders above 5’10” won’t be well accomodated. Overall it looks like a reasonable move if Kymco is able to pass along some of the cost savings to buyer and retain the performance of the Super 8. We expect full details to be announced in the next few weeks. For now, check out the new Super 8R / 8X page for more details.
BMW ADDED TO MOTOR SCOOTER GUIDE
January 06, 2015 -
NEW RESOURCE ON THE BAVARIAN MAKER
Maxi-scooters have admittedly not been the main focus here at MSG but BMW has been building some great ones for a couple years now and they deserve recognition for it. Hence, a new section on BMW at MSG.
Introduced into 2013, BMW’s C series of scooters has provided stiff competition to maxi’s like Suzuki’s Burgman and Kymco’s MyRoad for a few years now. For 2015, BMW has dropped the cheaper Sport version of their C series scooters, and is forging ahead with only the C 650 GT for 2015.
Despite the lineup trim, BMW is still investing heavily in their C series of scooters with the all electric C Evolution likely to be officially announced sometime soon for North America. BMW has already indicated it will be released here soon, but the MSRP and launch date have yet to be revealed.
What we do know is that the C Evolution will be an impressive machine with perhaps the fastest 0-60 mph time ever for a scooter at a claimed 6.2 seconds. The C Evolution also has an electronically limited 75 mph top speed and 60 mile range, with charging taking about 2 hours for an 80% top up. Unfortunately the price for generation one looks to be a tad expensive at $13-17g estimated MSRP.
Check out the BMW overview page for a year by year account of BMW’s lineup and the C 600 / C 650 page.
STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2015 - PART ONE
December 09, 2014 -
MID-SIZED SCOOTERS ARE TAKING OVER IN 2015
With the new year almost here, it’s time to round up the news on new and departing scooters in North America for 2015. Before we delve into this, please take a second to vote in the poll for your favourite new scooter (If you’re not familiar with this models, read on!). As always, the full details on each manufacturers lineup is found on the respective manufacturers pages, and here we’ll just run down the new and departing models.
New 2015 Scooters:
Genuine Buddy Riot
Kymco Super 8 X 50 / 150
Kymco Super 8 R 50 / 150
News on 2015 models has been a slow trickle this fall, with full 2015 lineups still not announced from Genuine and the Piaggio group. Oftentimes these makers blend one model year into the next with little fanfare except for new models. Thus we’re assuming all the usual scooters will be back in 2015 except for models that have clearly been replaced, such as the Vespa LX and S.
All told, there are seven substantially new models launching in North America for the 2015 model year, which come in a total of 12 versions as many are offered in both 50cc and 150cc sizes. Interestingly, all of the new machines are either mid-sized (150-155cc) or they come in a mid-sized version. It’s a stark turn around in the mid sized segment compared to 4 years ago when mid-sized machines were less popular.
The first 2015 scooter was announced way back in February, which was Vespa’s new Primavera (above right). The Primavera is Vespa’s new small frame model and thus replaces the LX. Alongside the new Primavera is the new Vespa Sprint (above left), which is the same core model but with edgier styling that will replace the Vespa S. These scooters are available in both 50cc and 155cc sizes, with the latter featuring standard ABS.
The Japanese makers were also eying the mid-sized segment, with Honda producing a heavily overhauled PCX150 (above left) that gets new styling, a little more power and new amenities. The PCX looks like it’ll have stiff competition from Yamaha, who launched the new SMAX 155 (above right) in North America this fall. The SMAX is a physically larger scooter that looks like a great modern design featuring a high tech motor and long list of amenities.
The other new models for 2015 are from Genuine and Kymco. Genuine is launching a new limited edition of the ever popular Buddy named the Buddy Riot (below right), which features an upgraded suspension and a mean looking gunmetal and black color scheme. Kymco’s new models for 2015 haven’t been officially announced, but we’re expecting to hear new X and R versions of a new generation of the Super 8 announced soon. The X version has styling with an off-road slant, while the R version is a street style (below left) This new Super 8 aims to bring sporty transportation to a lower end of the cost spectrum by basing the new Super 8 off Kymco’s lower cost Agility model.
Kymco Compagno 50 (USA Only)
Kymco Like 50 (USA Only)
Kymco Movie 150 (USA Only)
Kymco Super 8 50 / 150 (USA Only)
Kymco Xciting 500 (USA Only)
Yamaha Majesty (USA Only)
The discontinued models for 2015 are disproportionately from Kymco USA, who have opted to refine their formerly huge range of offerings from 13 models to 11 models. Even with the trim, Kymco USA is still fielding the largest lineup of any scooter maker. Kymco’s lineup adjustments for 2015 appear aimed at targeting the lower cost end of the spectrum. Their more expensive small and mid sized machines have been dropped, and the new Super 8 X / R models appear to be based on their entry level design so the MSRP should be lower. Kymco has also discontinued the Xciting 500 for 2015, but this move likely reflects the popularity of the newer MyRoad 700i. Kymco Canada has yet to announce their 2015 line.
The other departing models for 2015 are older designs. The Vespa LX and S have been around since 2006 and 2009 respectively, but have now been replaced by the new Primavera and Sprint models respectively. Yamaha’s Majesty (left) hasn’t been replaced, but it is an old model dating back to 2005 in the USA. This model is cut in the USA but continuing on in Canada.
Overall the number of new scooters outnumbers the departing list by 1, and thus the number of scooters on the market increases from 53 models to 54 for 2015, assuming the Piaggio group doesn’t have any surprises in store. The slight increase in new models like reflects the overall health of the scooter market quite well. The scooter market plummeted in half during the 2008 recession and it’s recovery has been very slow with only 5-10% annual increases. When the scooter sales for 2014 are announced around February we’ll issue part 2 of this annual report to discuss the results.
KYMCO USA CLEANS HOUSE FOR 2015
November 12, 2014 -
MOVIE AND XCITING MODELS DROPPED, NEW X AND R VERSIONS OF THE SUPER 8
Kymco USA recently updated their website to reflect what appears to be their 2015 scooter lineup. The result is a dramatic trimming of models from 13 to 7, but we expect that count will soon rise as new “X” and “R” versions of the Super 8 are planned for 2015 per Kymco’s official Facebook.
For the time being, the Super 8 50 & 150, Movie 150 and Xciting 500 have all been moved to the “non-current models” section of Kymco’s USA website, along with the 50cc versions of the Compagno and Like scooters. The larger Compagno 110 and Like 200 will return for 2015. The discontinuation of the Xciting 500 isn’t a big surprise considering it’s an aging model and Kymco has the newer MyRoad 700, but the cancelling of the Movie is unexpected.
As mentioned, Kymco has new “X” and “R” versions of their Super 8 planned (X is above), which they showed last month at the AIMExpo. These appear to be a substantially different model than the outgoing Super 8. At first glance, this model appears to not be a Super 8 at all, but rather a naked camo version of their Agility model now being sold under the Super 8 name. Similarly, the new Super 8 R is a sportier version of the Agility with different decals and tires. Both 50 and 150 sizes of these new scooters use the 2 piece buddy seat currently seen on the Agility 50. Perhaps the aim here is to move the Super 8 to the lower cost end of the lineup. The regular Agility 50 is offered for $1699, so we expect the new Super 8 X and R will be priced under $2000 as well compared to $2199 for the discontinued Super 8 50.
A bright spot for 2015 is a new 50th Anniversary edition of the Like 200 (left), which replaces the Like LX as the premium variant of the Like 200. The MSRP for this metallic gold scooter is $100 more than the regular Like 200 at $2799. For the extra funds you get the fancy gold paint and black accent decals which do look quite nice.
2015 USA Models: Agility 50 / 125, Super 8 X & R, Compagno 110i, Like 200, Movie 150, People GT 300i, Downtown 300i, MyRoad 700i
HONDA QUIETLY RELEASES RETURNING 2015 SCOOTERS
November 05, 2014 -
RUCKUS, METROPOLITAN AND FORZA ARE BACK
Today Honda quietly announced the 2015 versions of their returning scooter models. As expected, the Ruckus, Forza and Metropolitan (Giorno in Canada) are back and largely unchanged. Accompanying these returning models in showrooms for 2015 is the PCX 150, which was heavily updated and announced much earlier. We’ve covered the changes to the PCX150 in an earlier news post and on the PCX page, so here we’ll take a look at the updates to the returning models and comment on the health of Honda’s lineup.
USA Pricing for the returning scooters is unchanged at $1999 (Metropolitan), $2649 (Ruckus) and $5599 (Forza), with the updated PCX150 slotting in at $3449 (Honda Canada hasn’t announced pricing yet). Color options are unchanged as well for the Ruckus and Forza. The Forza will again be available only in Pure Red, with Canadians again getting the extra option of Seal Silver Metallic. The Ruckus is now entering its 4th year with the same color options (Black and White/Red).
The USA market Metropolitan fared a little better with one change to its three color option list. For 2015 a two tone color combo of White and Grey (shown) replaces the outgoing Candy Orange/Black combo. Honda Canada didn’t change any of the colors there, but they did spruce up the color names. There was a big shift from two word color names (i.e. Candy Orange) to three word names (i.e. Candy Blaze Orange). Fancy words like “Pearl” and “Gemini” were also liberally sprinkled throughout. Yes, it’s an exciting time to reading Honda press releases. A full year by year color list is at the bottom of the Metropolitan page.
While the news for most 2015 models is status quo, Honda does have a great lineup right now. The PCX 150 and Forza are both new and great machines that won the MSG Scooter of the Year readers poll for 2013 and 2014 respectively.
The Metropolitan / Giorno was also a brand new model for 2013, so only the Ruckus is an older model and that scooter is seemingly a timeless icon. It looks just as good as it did 12 years ago when it was introduced.
What Honda ought to do is flesh out their lineup with new machines at both ends of the spectrum. What’s missing is a modern styled 50cc and a maxi replacement for the Silverwing (2002 - 2013). The Ruckus and Metropolitan are both solid machines, but they appeal to distinct market niches. A broadly appealing modern 50cc like the Honda Dunk or Dio could be a strong seller to the mainstream practical market at the right price. At the other end of the spectrum, Honda needs a new maxi above 500cc. Their new-ish 580cc Silverwing GT (right) would fit the task. Maybe for 2016?
YAMAHA UNVEILS THE 2015 SMAX - AT DEALERS NOW
November 02, 2014 -
YAMAHA LAUNCHES AN ALL NEW 155cc MODEL IN NORTH AMERICA
Two months ago we wrote about how Yamaha received California emissions approval for their new XC155 model, known as the Majesty S and SMAX overseas. Indeed its release was near, as Yamaha USA and Canada simultaneously announced this design as an additional 2015 model bearing the SMAX name.
We’ve exhaustively researched this new model with a new SMAX page. Briefly, the SMAX lands as a new mid sized scooter that is targeted at machines like Honda’s PCX 150 and Kymco’s Movie 150. In comparison, the SMAX boasts a bit more legroom and fancy engine technology like roller rocker arms and dynamic closed loop fuel injection. The SMAX makes an impressive 14.8 HP from it’s 155cc, but it’s also hauling around 329 lbs so performance is closer to average than class leading.
The SMAX is landing in showrooms now at an MSRP of $3690 (USA) or $3999 (Canada). Color options for 2015 are Matte Titan (silver) or Aquamarine Blue, which Yamaha Canada calls Deep Purplish Blue. We’ll take one in silver.
UPDATE: Yamaha Canada just announced the return of the TMAX (left). When it was omitted from Yamaha’s earlier announcements we assumed that was end, but the TMAX is actually back with updates. The front end has been restyled and several new features added including inverted forks and remote storage unlock. All the details are on the TMAX page.
For 2015 the Canadian price is unchanged at $10,499. Color options are just Dark Metallic Gray.
2015 SUZUKI SCOOTERS
October 23, 2014 -
THE BURGMAN TRIUMVIRATE IS BACK
Suzuki has quietly released their 2015 USA scooter lineup. The lack of fanfare matches the lack of changes, as Suzuki has rolled over all three Burgman models with just a few minor tweaks for 2015. Perhaps this was to be expected since Suzuki made big changes for 2013 and 2014.
Some of the best news for 2015 is that Suzuki hasn’t upped their prices. The Burgman 200 ABS is still a great deal at $4999, while the larger 400 and 650cc models remain at $7999 and $10,999 respectively.
The only updates made for 2015 aside from color changes were a few tweaks to the Burgman 400 (above). This model now comes with a passenger backrest similar to the one on the 650. Suzuki also added hand guards and changed the rims from black to a bronze color. Gone are the red edging on the wheels and red seat stitching.
The other noteworthy change for 2015 is the Burgman 200 will now be offered only in white (“Brilliant White”) instead of silver (“Cool Silver”). The Burgman 200 looks great in white, but it’s a risky choice since the little Burg only comes in one color. Suzuki also switched the lone color option for the Burgman 400 but they played this safer but merely switching between shades of black. Instead of Glass Sparkle Black there’s a new Metallic Matte Black No 2, which appears identical. Suzuki didn’t make any such posturing with the Burgman 650 and merely stuck to offering their handsome but absurdly named “Metallic Mat Fibroin Gray” for another year. In case you’re wondering, fibroin is an insoluble protein made by spiders. Now you know.
Despite the status quo 2015 scooter lineup, it’s still comforting to see these popular scooters return. The Burgman 200 is a unique offering in America, while the larger Burgman’s are stalwarts of the maxi scene and to lose them would a blow. The Burgman 400 and 650 have been sold here since 2003 and 2004 respectively, during which time they’ve cemented their status as legendary maxiscooters. The 650 in particular epitomizes the maxi concept.
WHAT'S NEW AT GENUINE
September 25, 2014 -
A NEW BUDDY DERIVATIVE + TURMOIL IN THE BOARDROOM
Genuine has been making news recently for both good and bad reasons. The good news is the recent announcement of a handsome new derivative of the Buddy. New for 2015 is the Buddy Riot, which is a handsome take on the otherwise fairly cute Buddy design. The Buddy Riot uses gunmetal grey paint - or “Limited Edition
Matte Platinum Metallic” if you ask Genuine - which is accompanied by matte black accents.
The result is a slightly sinister version of the Buddy which slots in well between the cute regular model and more nefarious past editions like the Blackjack and Psycho. The Buddy Riot is being offered in both 50cc and 125cc sizes, with pricing at $1999 and $2799 respectively. Besides the paintwork, the Buddy Riot adds blacked out elements (wheels, bezels, rear rack), sporty mirrors, and a low profile seat. Genuine also snazzed up the front brake with a new rotor design, a braided brake line, a splash of red paint on the caliper and “sport” brake levers. Also tweaked is the suspension, which gets stiffer forks (125cc only) and an adjustable rear shock (both versions).
In less upbeat news, the 2013 ousting of Genuine CEO and all around good guy Philip McCaleb appears to be less amiable than initially assumed. This situation has been in the news in recent months as a result of a lawsuit filed this summer by McCaleb. The suit brings to light all sorts of conspiratory and nefarious behaviour by the new board members that arrived in 2011 when a struggling Genuine sought outside investment during the tough years after the 2008 recession. In short, McCaleb claims that new board member (and current CEO) Dorothy Hanley spearheaded the creation of a “toxic” work environment where McCaleb was mistreated, pressured out and manipulated into selling his shares for well below value.
This suit likely won’t be settled anytime soon, but our sympathies certainly go out to McCaleb who has invested a lot of energy into the scooter scene in North America through both Genuine Scooter Company and ScooterWorks. More reading over at Modern Buddy
YAMAHA'S SMALL SCOOTERS RETURN + NEW MAJESTY S?
September 09, 2014 -
RED AND WHITE SMALL SCOOTS + DOES YAMAHA HAVE A NEW 155cc?
Yamaha has announced the return of their perennially popular small scooters for 2015. The 2015 editions of the Vino Classic, Zuma (aka BWs), Zuma FX (aka Zuma X) and Zuma 125 will be arriving in both American and Canadian showrooms later this month. Unsurprisingly, Yamaha hasn’t made any updates to these models for 2015 except new colors, but its still nice to see these stalwarts of the scooter scene back for another year.
One new theme for these returning 2015 models is red and white paint jobs, with 3 of the 4 scooters available in this layout. The Vino gets “Spartan” red paint with white accents, while the Zuma FX and Zuma 125 are being offered in white (or extremely pale silver) paint with sporty red accents.
Vino: Spartan Red
Zuma: Dark Metallic Green, Matte Titan (Grey)
Zuma FX: Team Yamaha Blue & White, Alpine White & Heat Red
Zuma 125: Stardust Silver, Competition Silver & Heat Red
USA MSRPs remain unchanged for 2015 at $2290 (Vino), $2590 (Zuma, Zuma FX) and $3390 (Zuma 125).
There’s no word from Yamaha USA on a 2015 version of the Majesty, which isn’t a good sign considering the Majesty is
an older model and Yamaha Canada has already announced it there, indicating that the Yamaha has made their full announcement of returning models. However, Yamaha USA may simply be skipping a year - as they did in 2011 - or they may have something else up their sleeve like the newer Majesty currently being offered to overseas markets. Fingers crossed for a new maxi from Yamaha.
While the bigger Majesty may be in trouble, there’s good reason to think a smaller machine bearing this name may be in the pipeline. California’s emissions people recently approved Yamaha’s Majesty S aka SMax for sale in the state, indicating Yamaha plans to release this model in America eminently. The Majesty S (XC155) looks poised to take on Honda’s PCX150 in the popular mid-sized market. This scooter would fill the void left by the aging Riva 125 when it departed after 2006.
VESPA SPRINT ARRIVES IN MAY
April 15, 2014 -
NEW VESPA SPRINT REPLACES THE VESPA S
Vespa has wasted no time in announcing the Sprint as a sporty derivative of their new Primavera platform. The recently unveiled Vespa Sprint will be sold alongside the Primavera in the USA and Canada, much like the Vespa LX and S duo of the previous small frame Vespa generation.
Vespa is introducing the Sprint in both 50cc and 155cc versions in the USA, while Vespa Canada thus far has only announced the 155cc. Vespa Canada has announced standard ABS, while Vespa USA hasn’t released all the details but the price implies ABS will standard on the Sprint 155.
The Sprint is mechanically identical to the Primavera, but achieves a mature look with the trapezoidal headlight, new mirrors and larger 14 spoke 12” rims with low profile rubber. The Vespa Sprint also uses a number of red accents including on the coil springs and glowing red upper edges on the front vents. The Sprint shares the same instrument panel as the Primavera, but with a switch to red backlighting and red speedometer needle. Vespa has also created a number of sportier accessories for the Sprint including blacked out rims, racing stripe decals and a solo seat (shown below left).
Vespa has talked about a new instrument panel for the North American market, much like the departing Vespa S which used different gauges than the LX. However thus far we haven’t seen any new gauge layouts and the Sprint is scheduled to go on sale in the USA mid-May and is set to be arriving in Canada this month, so it additional changes look unlikely.
When it arrives, the Sprint will be available in both 50cc and 155cc versions as early 2015 models. USA Pricing for the Sprint 50 is similar to the Primavera at $3699 (50), while the 155 is up $400 at $5099 which likely accounts for standard ABS. Vespa Canada is listing the price at $5295, which definitely includes ABS. Canadian colors are Yellow (Giallo Positano) and Shiny Black. No word yet on USA colors. Check out the Sprint page for full details.
NEW HONDA PCX + HONDA FORZA TAKES SCOOTER OF THE YEAR
April 05, 2014 -
CAN HONDA WIN IT THREE YEARS IN A ROW WITH THE NEW 2015 PCX150?
Honda’s 2014 Forza claimed the title of 2014 MSG Scooter of the Year in the readers poll, with a healthy 36% of the vote, beating Suzuki’s new Burgman 200 at 22%. The new Forza is indeed a well engineered and sharp looking machine. It also helps that the Forza lands right in one of the hottest scooter segments right now: 200-400cc maxi’s. Just 2 of the 7 new scooters for 2014 are small maxi’s, yet they collected a huge 58% of the vote. That reveals just how popular these new affordable and fuel sipping pseudo-maxi’s are. Compare that to the three 50cc models that are new for 2014, which collectively nabbed only 18% of the vote. Times sure have changed.
This win by the Forza makes it two years in a row for Honda, who nabbed the readers pick a year ago with the revised PCX150 capturing a dominating 41% of the vote. Now Honda will have a chance at making it three years in a row with a new 2015 PCX150 that was just announced for the USA and Canada.
The new 2015 PCX150 (below) resembles the bigger Forza more than before and will be available in July wearing Metallic Black or Pearl White in the USA. No you can’t have the wonderful grey below, but you can have Candy Noble Red or the classy Bright Bronze Metallic (think mahogany) if you’re in Canada. This iteration of the PCX is heavily overhauled but not entirely new. In short, it’s a new body and a tweaked motor packed around the same frame. The updates are plentiful and noteworthy. Besides the new styling, there a big increase in glovebox storage in the legshield with a 12V charge port inside. There’s also an extra half gallon or 2 liter boost to the fuel tank capacity. This new 2.1 gallon tank in combination with efficiency improvements (reduced engine friction, faster rolling tires) pushes the PCX150’s range beyond 200 miles. Other new features include all LED lighting, a clock and a hazard lighting button on the dash. The LED lighting reduces power demand which of course is a good thing since there are 720 watts in a horsepower. This means the conversion of the headlights to LED’s frees up a solid 0.1 horsepower for other uses like smoky burnouts. There’s also a new seat that opens via a loaded spring and is claimed to be much more comfortable. The previous seat on the previous PCX150 was widely criticized, so hopefully the new saddle is much better.
Powering the 2015 PCX150 is the same core motor, but tweaked to deliver an extra 0.4 ponies. The grand total is now 13.4, which equates to a 3% rise. Unfortunately Honda has again nixed the idle stop feature from the North American market. There does seem to be a new catalytic converter in the 2015 model and a trio of new bearings in the final drive that minimizes transmission drag. For all the tech details check out the press release, but be aware quite a bit of the engine tech claims were actually new for the 2013 model (ie. offset cylinder, spiny cylinder) and they’re being re-hashed.
The price tag for 2015 remains unchanged at $3449 in the USA. No word yet on Canadian pricing. Check out the PCX150 page for all the details.
VESPA's PRIMAVERA 50 / 150 NEAR READY FOR LAUNCH
February 16, 2014 -
VESPA’S THIRD GENERATION MODERN SMALL FRAME HEADED FOR USA, CANADA
Vespa’s most important model in years, the Primavera, is poised to hit North American showrooms this spring as a 2015 model. The Primavera is thought to be the eventual successor to Vespa’s top selling LX and S series of small framed scooters.
The new Primavera is clearly inspired by Vespa’s flagship 946 model, but it makes this new style accessible to most scooter enthusiasts with a price tag around half. USA pricing has yet to be announced, but look for an MSRP around $3800 (50cc) and $4800 (150cc). While more expensive that most machines, these prices will be about half that of the 946. In Canada the MSRP’s are $3895 and $4995 (50cc and 150cc respectively).
Vespa is making the Primavera available to the USA and Canada with either a 50cc or 150cc 4-stroke. The smaller motor option is the same Hi-PER4 motor as the LX50, while the Primavera 150 gets the latest iteration of Piaggio’s mid sized motor which is a fuel injected 3-valve motor with 12.7 HP. This motor is up 0.7 HP over the LX150, which means a top speed of at least 65 mph and a nice boost in milage as well to about 80 mpg.
The Primavera brings a number of new features besdies the updated 150cc motor and completely new body. Most notably, Vespa has moved to a larger 11” rear wheel, upsized the rear drum brake, added tasteful new rims, LED lights front and rear and created a tasteful new instrumentation cluster with an analog speedometer and a larger digital display that reads time, fuel and odometer including trip odometer.
The full details on the new Primavera can be found here. Look for this scooter to launch in the April - June window across the USA and Canada.