STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2018 - PART ONE
February 03, 2018
A BOUNTY OF EIGHT NEW SCOOTERS FOR 2018
With all the 2018 scooter lineups from the major manufacturers announced, it’s time to round up the new, improved and departed scooter models. Once you are familiar with the new models, please take a second to vote for your favorite in our poll:
New 2018 Scooters
There is seven or eight new scooter models heading into 2018, depending on how you count it, which is a fantastic number compared to the one or two new machines that arrived in recent years. Technically, BMW’s C Evolution is arriving as a 2017 model, but it wasn’t on sale until recent months. Conversely, Piaggio’s Liberty is labelled a 2018 model, but it arrived nearly a year ago. We discussed the Liberty last year but skipped doing the poll last year because the Liberty was the only option, so it’s included now.
The big theme for 2018 is the explosion of the mid-sized maxiscooter market. Five of the new scooters compete in this category. That includes Suzuki offering a brand new generation of Burgman 400 (above, right), which will compete with brand new 300 - 400cc models from BMW (C 400 X), Kymco (X-Town 300, Xciting 400) and Yamaha (XMAX, above left). A curious trend here is the obsession with the letter X, with BMW, Kymco and Yamaha all incorporating it into their new model names.
BMW brought the biggest news for 2018 by expanding into the mid-sized maxi market and by offering an alternative powertrain (electric). BMW finally brought their electric C Evolution (above left) maxiscooter to North America this fall, even if it is expensive ($13.5g) and limited to California. Details on BMW’s new mid-sized maxi-scooter, the C 400 X (above right), are sparse, but an MSRP is announced for Canada ($7540) and it should available in time for the warm riding weather in both markets. The C 400 X should expand BMWs scooter sales dramatically. In the USA it’s likely to be priced around $6g, compared to $10g for BMWs full size maxis.
Also mixing things up was Kymco - as they often do. Kymco replaced their Downtown and People GT 300 models with the new X-Town 300 scooter (above right). On first glance the X-Town doesn’t look like anything special, but it’s priced to sell at a list price of only $3999 compared to $5600 for the outgoing mid-sized Kymco’s. As such, it’s a killer bargain compared to every other 300cc offering, so Kymco should sweep up the budget buyers. To further compete in the mid-sized segment, Kymco shrunk their Xciting (above left) down to 400cc (from 500cc), which offers larger riders some more leg room.
In the smaller scooter realm, Kymco’s new Like 150 is a brand new machine with a nice all new style and all the power of the older Like 200 at a lower price. This scooter competes closely with Vespa’s offerings, and will also compete for value buyers with Piaggio’s 2018 Liberty 150.
Lastly, Vespa was quiet for 2018 except for the introduction of a new Sei Giorni variant of their GTV model. The Sei Giorni commemorates Vespa’s racing success in the 50’s with a new olive green racing paint job. The Sei Giorni doesn’t make the poll, as it’s changes are only paint deep.
Three of the four discontinued models for 2018 were Kymco’s making room for new models (X-Town 300 replaces Downtown 300 and People GT 300), while the Xciting 400 replaces the Xciting 500.
However, there is one truly sad loss: Genuine’s Stella. The Stella has been the last living remanent of Vespa’s PX series in North America, and an important part of the scooter scene over the past decade. Reportedly, it’s demise comes as a result of manufacturer LML hitting financial issues and choosing to move away from production of this low volume scooter. Thus the last vestige of the Vespa PX era has come to a close.Total Models
Heading into 2018 there is a total of 46 substantially different scooter models on sale in the USA from the nine major manufacturers we cover here on MotorScooterGuide (and nearly that many models in Canada). That’s a conservative count which lumps Vespa’s numerous style variants into the same model, but does consider different displacements of the same machine as separate models.
As usual, Kymco leads with the largest line up (9 scooters) but Piaggio (8) isn’t far behind. The rest of the makers offer 3-7 models each except for Aprilia, which has just been hanging on in recent years with one (SR Motard). Honda’s also on a bit of downward trend, with only 3 models now that the Forza is gone, and this includes the 16 year old Ruckus which is rather old although still from beating the Elite 80’s record for the longest market run of 23 years.
As usual, part two of the State of the Scooter Scene annual report will occur in a few months, where we’ll run down scooter sales in the past year. If you haven’t already, please vote in the poll to help select the 2018 MSG Reader’s Pick for Best New Scooter.
KYMCO REVAMPS FOR 2018 WITH LIKE 150, X-TOWN 300 & XCITING 400
January 14, 2018
THREE NEW MODELS AND THREE ON THE WAY OUT
No stranger to mixing up their scooter lineup, Kymco is back at it for 2018 with three new nameplates.
New for 2018 is the Xciting 400, which replaces the Xciting 500 as the largest scooter in Kymco’s line. The Xciting 400 slips a freshly designed 399cc engine into the same body/chassis as last years Xciting 500, so it’s a new motor in a familiar package.
The power output is down, as you might expect with a loss of 100cc, but it’s not down that much with 35 horsepower on tap instead of 37.8. Torque is also down about 10% but so is the weight (425 lbs instead of 462) such that the power:weight ratio is unchanged at 17 lbs per pony.
Raw power probably isn’t the leading reason anyone buys a scooter though. The practical appeal of the new Xciting 400 is admittedly a bit tough to find, but the best candidate is the improved milage, which rises to about 55 mpg from 50. Also noteworthy is a next generation Bosch ABS. Price tag for the new 400 is $5999 - the same as the outgoing 500 model - so overall the new Xciting 400 is a fairly unexciting. A bit less power and bit better milage.
More exciting is probably the new X-Town 300. Kymco has dropped both their Downtown 300 and People GT 300 models to make room for the new X-Town. At first glance the X-Town also doesn’t look like a great improvement over the outgoing models, as the power dives to 23 horsepower (vs 28 for the outgoing scooters) to meet stricter Euro-4 emissions regulations, but the low emissions are nice and when you see the price tag you won’t care about the 5 horsepower loss.
The new X-Town retails for a mere $3999 - a huge savings over the outgoing Kymco’s that were priced around $5399. That’s $1400 less than the outgoing models and even more compared with scooters like Yamaha’s new X-MAX 300 and Piaggio’s BV 350 (both $5599). The styling is also reasonably nice - although a bit generic. Folks looking for a practical mid-sized scooter will want to give the X-Town 300 a close look.
Lastly, Kymco has introduced a new generation of their Like scooter. This new generation debuts as the Like 150, and is being sold alongside the older Like 200 for 2018. Despite being badged as a 150, the new Like has almost as much displacement as the 200 (149cc vs 163cc) and actually has more power (13.5 HP vs 11.3HP).
The new styling also looks great. To the undiscerning eye, it looks close to the newest Vespa’s and Lambretta’s. When you consider that the new Like 150 includes standard ABS, it becomes a no-brainer choice over the old Like 200 at just $100 premium ($2599 vs $2499 for the Like 200). In Canada both models list for $3399, so the new 150 is a no-brainer.
It’s also going to be stiff competition for the Italians. A new 150 scooter from Vespa comes with a long list of extra amenities, such as liquid cooled motors and metal construction, but the Like 150 will tempt a lot of folks with half the price tag.
As mentioned, the Xciting 500, Downtown 300 and People GT 300 are on their way out. It’s surprising that Kymco has elected to return the Like 200 alongside the new Like 150, but presumably they’ve got inventory to clear and these older Like 200’s will be sold at a discount.
Kymco’s smaller scooter models (Agility, Super 8X, Compagno) are returning unchanged
MODELS: Agility 50 / 125 (USA Only), Super 8X 50 / 150, Compagno 110i, Like 150 / 200, X-Town 300, Xciting 400i ABS
THIRD GENERATION SUZUKI BURGMAN 400 DEBUTS FOR 2018
October 19, 2017
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.
YAMAHA ADDS XMAX 300 TO 2018 SCOOTER LINEUP
October 15, 2017
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)
BMW ANNOUNCES C EVOLUTION FOR CALIFORNIA
August 10, 2017
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.
PIAGGIO RELEASES 2018 LIBERTY 50 / 150
May 14, 2017
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.