STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2017
May 20, 2017
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.
HONDA's RELEASES 2017 SMALL SCOOTERS
November 24, 2016
RUCKUS AND METROPOLITAN QUIETLY RETURN
This week Honda quietly announced the 2017 editions of their 50cc models: the Ruckus and Metropolitan (known as the Giorno in Canada). Both scooters are returning without any updates, nor new color options.
After mixing up the Ruckus color options for the first decade, Honda has apparently decided that black and white/red are the best colors for the Ruckus, as these have now been offered for 6 years running (2012 - 2017). As the previous owner of both black and white Ruckus’s, I agree these are nice shade but I’m still partial to my 2008 shade of silver. All the year by year color options can be viewed on the Ruckus page.
The Ruckus has been on sale since 2003 in North America (2002 in Japan) which means 2017 marks its 15th anniversary here. The white/red color combo was originally introduced for it’s 10th anniversary but obviously has stuck around. Honda has clearly finished updating the Ruckus and it’ll probably just live on until sales reach a certain point. It is still a great scooter - now entering classic territory - and seems reasonably popular. It’ll be interesting to see if it can last longer than the Elite 80 (1985 - 2007), which had an impressive 23 year run in North America.
The Metropolitan / Giorno was overhauled last year, so the lack of mechanical changes isn’t surprising, but I did expect Honda to mix up the colors as they usually do. Instead, white, blue and red are back for a second year.
No word yet on pricing for 2017 but there’s no reason to expect substantial changes. Honda also offers two larger scooters, the PCX 150 and Forza 300. There’s no word yet on the 2017 Forza but the 2017 PCX was announced in early summer as it continues to be popular and sell well. I expect we’ll hear about the 2017 Forza soon.
2017 HONDA MODELS TO DATE: Ruckus, Metropolitan / Giorno, PCX150
YAMAHA RELEASES THEIR 2017 LINE
October 15, 2016
2017 BRINGS NEW COLORS, PRICES AND NO MORE TMAX
Yamaha released their 2017 offerings for the USA and Canada in recent days. The biggest news is the TMAX is gone for 2017, which has happened a couple times over the past 8 years but this ones looks like it might be for good. Yamaha released the TMAX in North America back in 2009. Over that time there’s been several updates and years off due to slow sales, but now this model is aging and most likely we won’t see it back unless Yamaha brings a new generation.
The rest of Yamaha’s 2017 line is standard fare - which is not surprising after releasing a nice update of the Zuma 125 last year and the SMAX the year before that. All Yamaha’s 2017 scooter models are carrying over unchanged, including the Vino 50, Zuma 50, Zuma 125 and SMAX. Once again there is the single - and better looking - headlight version of the Zuma called the Zuma FX.
Both the SMAX and Zuma 125 are fairly new machines so it’s not surprising there’s no changes here, but Yamaha’s 50cc models are showing some gray hair. Other than a switch to a 4-stroke motor for 2006, the Vino 50 is basically the same machine that went on sale 15 years ago for 2002. The Zuma 50 got a new motor more recently (2012) along with pretty substantial updates elsewhere, but the core platform also dates back to 2002. Hopefully Yamaha decides to release a new generation of their 50cc’s in the next few years.
Pricing changes for 2017 are trivial in the USA, with all scooters rising $9 (e.g. SMAX is now $3699 instead of $3690). Canadian prices are seeing a larger jump, with $100 added to price tags across the board except for the BMS/Zuma 125, which impressively drops $200 to $3699. That’s even more impressive when you consider back in 2009 it listed for $4199 in Canada - a drop over $500 over 8 years. The reduced BWS 125 pricing differentiates it from the more technologically advanced and larger displacement155cc SMAX, which was only $100 more in Canada last year. Now the SMAX is $300 more in both markets.
As usual Yamaha has revised their color offerings. The SMAX and Vino 50 get a single pigment choice, while the various Zuma models offer two. All colors are listed on the individual model pages. Also of minor note: Yamaha re-worked the side panel graphics on their Zuma scooters but they are still excessive.
MODELS: Vino, BWs / Zuma, Zuma FX/X, BWs 125 / Zuma 125, SMAX
2017 HONDA PCX 150 ANNOUNCED
June 14, 2016
NOTHING NEW EXCEPT IT COMES IN BLUE
Honda has continued their tradition of releasing the next years model of the PCX super early with an announcement this week for the 2017 PCX 150. It is expected in showrooms later this month.
Like last year, Honda hasn’t made any mechanical changes since the major overhaul for 2015 which won the MSG Scooter of the Year Award, however there are some new colors. 2017 color options are Pearl White (like 2015) and Pearl Blue, which is a nice new shade we haven’t seen from Honda before.
Pricing is unchanged for 2017 with a MSRP of $3499 and a $320 delivery charge. No word yet on Canada but it’s likely to follow suit. We expect the PCX will continue to be a very popular scooter, as it’s a refined and well rounded machine for an attractive price.