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.
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.
STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2016 - PART ONE
March 30, 2016
NINE NEW OR IMPROVED MODELS ARRIVING IN SHOWROOMS
With 2016 models mostly in showrooms, it is time to review all the new and improved models. Please take a second to vote for your favorite. If you’re not familiar with the choices, read on!
New 2016 Scooters
Genuine Buddy Kick
Genuine Venture 50
Updated 2016 Scooters
BMW C 650 Sport
Piaggio MP3 500 Sport
Vespa Primavera Tourer
Vespa Sprint Sport
Vespa 946 EA
Yamaha Zuma 125
Kymco MyRoad 700i
New scooters are sparse for 2016, comprising just two models from Genuine. These new models consist of a nice addition to the Buddy lineup called the Buddy Kick, and the low cost 50cc Venture. Thankfully quite a few more models received major updates.
For 2016 BMW resumed sales of their C Sport model, now calling it the C 650 Sport. It still uses the same 647cc motor so the new name just corrects the earlier non-sense of calling it the C 600 Sport. The 2016 upgrades include freshened styling, traction control and tweaks to the suspension, CVT and exhaust. Honda took 2016 as an opportunity to heavily overhaul their popular Metropolitan with a new liquid cooled motor, revised styling, new glovebox, 12V port, rims and an in floor fuel tank to increase underseat storage. The Zuma 125 from Yamaha is also less recognizable, with all new style, instruments, more room and improved brakes and suspension.
The Italians haven’t been sitting idle either. Piaggio surprisingly resurrected their MP3 in North America after several years in the grave (although it was on sale overseas). The new MP3 is called the 500 Sport but rather than resembling prior Sport models, it’s actually the softer original MP3 styling but with a new grill, rims and Piaggio’s larger 492cc motor. Vespa reworked three of their models for 2016, adding Tourer and S variations to the Primavera and Sprint models respectively. The Sprint S receives fairly mild styling tweaks while the Primavera Tourer gets the full set of Vespa racks and accessories similar to the LXV of years past. Last is the 2016 edition of the 946, called the Emporio Armani edition. This EA edition gets pretty neat green/grey paint but otherwise is similar to past 946 editions in style, function and price ($10g).
Gone for 2016 is Aprilia’s iconic SR50. After 16 years and 2 models in North America (23 years overseas), Aprila’s original and high tech sports scooter is no more. This is the scooter that invented the sports scooter concept and introduced fuel injection, rear disc brake and liquid cooling to the 50cc segment. Hopefully Aprilia will return with a new generation, but if not the SR50 will have a solid legacy from a generation of passionate owners.
Also gone but not nearly as iconic is Kymco’s MyRoad 700i, which was only offered for two years in the USA and never saw much sales success against the big maxiscooters from the Japanese.
In total there are 52 scooter models being offered from the 9 major manufacturers covered on this site. That’s down 2 from last year but up quite a bit from 45 models 5 years ago.
GENUINE GOES CHINESE
March 22, 2016
2016 LINE INCLUDES MACHINES FROM PGO, LML AND CHINA
Genuine Scooters, a great little company, tends to be less than upfront about what they actually do as “America’s Favorite Scooter Company”. As opposed to most scooter companies that actually make scooters, Genuine imports batches of
scooters from other manufacturers that otherwise don’t sell in the USA. These machines are then marketed under the Genuine brand. It’s not a bad strategy since building scooters is expensive and there are already nice machines built and sold overseas that aren’t offered in the USA. It’s similar to the business model of most distributers except Genuine goes a step further by trying to improve upon the often poor branding and support.
However Genuine has never been very upfront with their status as an importer/distributer, leaving people to assume they are a manufacturer. A few years back I actually had a potential advertising deal with Genuine for this website, which went south when Genuine asked me to remove the information on where their scooters come from. This is something I try to shed a light on here because people should know what they’re buying and where they can get OEM and aftermarket parts. Genuine generally imports pretty good scooters but readers still need to know this.
The first overseas maker Genuine struck a deal with was LML, who for years had manufactured the PX series for Vespa and thus was capable of making perfect clones for Genuine when Vespa’s patents ran out. These machines are imported as the Stella and are generally great scooters considering they’re a 30 year old design.
Since LML is limited in what scooters they make, Genuine next struck a deal with PGO Scooters of Taiwan, who make reasonably good scooters in the same vein as Kymco and SYM. Starting in 2006 and continuing today, Genuine imports most of their line from PGO such as the Buddy, Roughhouse and the new for 2016 Buddy Kick (left in silver), whereas PGO sells these scooters under the PGO name up in Canada (but still through a distributer) and elsewhere.
The big news for 2016 is the addition of a new, undisclosed Chinese manufacturer for their new Venture 50 scooter (top). The Venture 50 is impressively low priced ($1599) for a machine with pretty good specs (3-valve motor, front and rear disc brakes) other than top speed (30mph) and slightly better than average looks for a Chinese machine. Whether it’s any good or not remains to be seen but most likely it’s okay commuter material.
The 50cc market segment is really price sensitive, so it’s not surprising that Genuine decided to market a lower cost scooter, especially after the 2013 boardroom shakeup where founder, CEO and enthusiast Philip McCaleb was pushed out. The interesting question is whether Genuine can do this without hurting the rest of their brand, or maybe they plan to slowly switch to a mostly Chinese line? Hopefully Genuine has good quality control they can avoid a situation that hurts their reputation.
USA MODELS: Stella, Roughhouse, Venture, Buddy Kick, Buddy 50 / 125 / 170i, Hooligan 170, Blur 220
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.
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
2014 GENUINE: HOOLIGAN 170 + STELLA AUTOMATIC 125
January 19, 2014
BIG CHANGES FROM AMERICA’S LITTLEST SCOOTER COMPANY
After keeping things steady for 2013, Genuine Scooter Company is widely expected to make substantial changes to their arsenal for 2014, including an all new scooter (Hooligan 170) and a new version of the Stella (Automatic 125). The internet is abuzz with these rumours, but no official announcements have been made which is the only feeble excuse I can offer for missing these fine new machines in the State of the Market 2014 report last month.
Most exciting is the reclusive new Hooligan 170i, which Genuine leaked a teaser photo of last November. Photographic evidence of this new steed is rare, but it’s clearly heavily based on PGO’s X-Hot 150. The Hooligan 170i essentially takes the X-Hot frame and front end, tosses in an amped up motor and the cleaner back end from PGO’s Libra model and then coats the whole thing with macho paint and performance touches like larger rims and a rear disc brake. This new stealth fighter scooter is expected in showrooms in a couple months - likely April. The performance oriented Hooligan builds off Genuine’s sporty Roughhouse and Rattler models, but it’s got a new look and thus a new name.
The $3399 Hooligan has been endowed with the sporty 169cc fuel injected motor that Genuine and PGO co-developed for the Buddy 170. This motor should propel the Hooligan to around 70 mph, while returning about 80 mpg. With this respectable top speed and a more satiable appetite for fuel than the old Rattler 110, the Hooligan is going to be the most well rounded of Genuine’s macho scooters yet. Look for the Hooligan in showrooms this spring in both Matte Black and Matte Army Green.
The other substantially new machine from Genuine Scooter Co. is an Automatic 125cc version of their venerable 4-stroke Stella. This scoot is a more accessible machine to new scooterists thanks to the easy learning curve of a CVT and the $200 lower MSRP. It’s hard to see too many purists choosing to give up the manual shift and extra 25cc’s though. Regardless, it’s an impressive feat that LML - who manufacturers the Stella for Genuine - was able to cram a CVT under the Stella’s left flank. The left haunch is normally home to the spare tire, so the Stella Automatic shifts that over to the right haunch, which is a far better solution that eliminating this classic feature. The MSRP is expected to be $3499 in the USA when it hits showrooms this spring. Pigment options are Cream or you choice of three metallic options (Red, Blue or Black).
The Hooligan 170 and Stella Automatic join the complete return cast of 2013 machines to form Genuine’s 2014 lineup. No word yet whether the Stella Automatic is being sold outside USA.
USA MODELS: Stella, Roughhouse, Buddy 50 / 125 / 170i, Psycho Buddy, Hooligan 170, Blur 220
CANADA MODELS: Stella
The Stella Automatic’s impressively compact new CVT
STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2013 PT 2: SCOOTER OF THE YEAR
April 02, 2013
READERS CHOICE WINNER: 2013 HONDA PCX150
With the votes counted, Honda’s revamped PCX 150 ran away with the top honours in the 2013 readers choice poll. The faster and more refined PCX ruled the poll, cornering a remarkable 40.9% of the vote. The PCX embodies practicality, with world class refinement and technology packed into a machine that delivers both huge storage and a 70mph top speed for $3449.
Piaggio’s new 2013 BV350 captured the second spot with 29.3% of the vote. Yamaha’s reintroduced and now fuel injected Vino 50 rounded out the top three with 8% of the vote.
USA: 2012 SALES
Scooter sales in 2012 rose for the third consecutive year, this time increasing by 7.7% to the highest level since the 2009 crash. That’s healthy news for the industry, especially when you consider 2012 sales were mostly current scooters being sold at regular margins, as opposed to the 2009 market crash leftovers that buoyed up sales in 2010 and 2011 with heavy discounts. The chart below shows scooter sales in the USA over the past seven years, but realize that this MIC data doesn’t include several smaller makes (Genuine, SYM) nor does it include the swell of Chinese makers.
Despite the nice annual rise sales remain a far cry from the 2008 heyday, which was the culmination of years of steady growth. From 2000 to 2007, mainstream scooter sales hovered in the 40,000 - 55,000 unit range - or about 20% higher than we’re seeing today. Mainstream USA sales were 34,294 in 2012, which may actually be there new norm as the non-represented Chinese makers have captured a portion. Popular Chinese makers like SunL and Znen are rumoured to be selling in the five figure range.
Another trend worth noting is that bigger scooters (+50cc) are said to be responsible for most of the rebound, with 50cc sales remaining depressed - or more likely drifting to the Chinese. So midsized/large scooter sales are up quite a bit, as are profit margins - while the 50cc market continues to languish. Piaggio in particular reported a 22% increase in their over 50cc models, with 50cc sales stable. Looking ahead to 2013, scooters seem to be poised for a decent year. Sales increased in momentum all year in 2012, with sales up 5.6% over 2011 at mid year, which rose to a 7% lead by Q3 and a final score of 7.7%, so 40K is likely a good stretch goal for 2013.
The news in Canada is both lacking and lackluster, so it slips in here at the bottom. The Canadian industry group (MMIC) is still sitting on the 2012 numbers, but we can report the 2011 numbers which were too late to slip in to this report last year. In short, Canadian scooter sales took a big dive in the wrong direction in 2011. Canuck sales were a healthy 10K units in 2008, which dropped to 6K for 2009 and 2010. Instead of a rebound, sales dropped further in 2011 to 4.6K units. Hopefully things were rosier in 2012.
STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2013 - PART ONE
December 11, 2012
A LOOK AT THE NEW AND DEPARTED MODELS FOR 2013
Welcome to the first instalment of MSG’s annual State of the Scooter Scene address. In this first half, we’ll run down the new machines going on sale in the USA and Canada for 2013, as well as reflect on the discontinued mounts winding down their showroom days. Part two will follow around March, when the sales figures are released and scooter story of 2012 can be told in full. Please take a second to vote in the poll for your favorite new or resurrected model.
New 2013 Scooters:
Honda Metropolitan / Giorno
Genuine Lemonhead Buddy (USA)
Kymco Movie 150
Kymco Compagno 50 / 110 (USA)
Kymco Like 50 / 200 (Canada)
Piaggio Typhoon 50 (USA)
Piaggio BV 350 (USA)
Yamaha Vino 50
Suzuki Burgman 650 [Late addition]
Kymco Sento 50 (USA)
Kymco Yager GT 200 (USA)
Piaggio BV 300 (USA)
Piaggio BV 500 (USA)
Piaggio MP3 line (Canada)
While the numbers won’t be released for some time, 2012 appears to have been a stronger year for the scooter industry. Sales were surely up across the board, and confidence from the manufacturers seems to higher than it’s been in some time, with many manufacturers taking the opportunity to introduce new models. Of particular note, Kymco Canada displayed the highest amount of confidence by carrying over all 10 of their 2012 models plus adding three new steeds for MMXIII.
For the coming year things look bright, with the return of some popular scooters (Yamaha Vino 50, Honda PCX), new generations of some old favorites (Piaggio Typhoon 50, Honda Metropolitan) and an impressive list of all new nameplates from Kymco USA and Piaggio. All told, 10 scooters are either new or returning after some time off, while 2 (Canada) or 5 (USA) are on their way out.
This translates to a total of 49 significantly different scooters on sale in the USA (up from 45 last year) from the main eight manufacturers covered here on MSG. Meanwhile in Canada 37 models are going to be offered for 2013, a four scooter increase. And that’s not counting the smaller Taiwanese brands (SYM, TGB) and the seemingly infinite number of Chinese makers.
Before delving into the new mounts, reflection is warranted for the (thankfully few) scooters on their way out. The most noteworthy machine on this list is Suzuki’s Burgman 650. However even here the news isn’t all that somber, as Suzuki showed a heavily revised Burgman 650 at the recent EICMA show, which stands a good chance of landing in North America soon. Still, the Burgman 650 as we know it - all 613 lbs of it - has ended its run after nine years (2004 - 2012).
[Edit: The revised Burgman 650 is indeed coming to North America for 2013.]
A moment of pause should also be given to Piaggio’s MP3 line - which carries on in the USA but has sadly been dropped from the Canadian market. Conversely, the BV 300 and BV 500 do continue on in Canada, while the BV 350 replaces both of these name plates in the USA. Finally, Kymco USA’s ever evolving line claimed two casualties this time around, with the Sento 50 and Yager GT 200 on their way out to make room for newer machines.
Piaggio has unleashed two major new models as 2013. The new BV 350 (left) has been a long time coming as the latest iteration in their BV series. With the overhaul, this new model is the easily the sharpest BV ever and is earning wide praise including accolades from Motorcycle-USA. At 330cc, this new model offers a great blend between highway touring capability and fuel milage (70mpg).
The other new Piaggio is a smaller 50cc version of their Typhoon scooter (top) which initially debuted as a 125 last year. With 50cc scooters being the most popular, this new model should really increase the number of Typhoon’s on the streets.
The biggest news from Kymco for 2013 is their new Movie 150 scooter (right). The Movie takes the sports concept of the Super 8 150 and matures it, while adding a more powerful motor and a rear disc brake.
In addition, the retro yet fuel injected Compagno (50cc and 110cc) makes it way to the USA market after being introduced last year in Canada as the New Sento. Finally, the Like 50 & 200 make it to Canada for the first time.
2013 is also a big year for Honda, with a new generation of Metropolitan (left) arriving in both the USA and Canada. The new scooter is the same in both markets, but Canada has opted to use Honda’s overseas name of Giorno. The first generation of Metropolitan (2002 - 2009) was a popular model for Honda and this new generation takes over now that excess inventory from the slow 2009 and 2010 years has been cleared out.
The other Honda news for 2013 is the return of the PCX (shown at top). This time around the PCX gets a 25cc boost to 150cc, which makes it freeway legal in most states and bumps the top speed 5mph. In addition to the larger bore, PCX150 motor has been refined from the CVT to the bearings.
The biggest news from Genuine this year is a new Lemonhead edition of their popular Buddy scooter (shown at top). The Lemonhead draws inspiration for an entire scooter from the favorite snack of the Genuine/Scooterworks crew. The result is an individually numbered and limited edition scooter (200 being made) with various neat yellow accents and graphic odes to this bow-tie wearing candy.
Lastly, Yamaha is bringing back the Vino 50 (right) for 2013 after a year off. While it’s a bit of a stretch to call this one a new model, Yamaha did give it some nice revisions so it makes the list. The most notable update is a new fuel injection system which creeps fuel milage even higher (~110mg) . The other changes are fairly minor, but it’s still great to have this popular scooter back on the market.
STATE OF SCOOTER SCENE 2012 - PART 1
February 23, 2012
PART 1: A LOOK AT THE NEW AND DEAD MODELS FOR 2012
Part one of this address looks at the new scooter models are set hit the market for 2012. Please use the poll to vote for what you think is the best and most significant new scooter for 2012.
Part two will look back at scooter sales in 2011 and evaluate the health of the scooter market specifically in the context of the larger motorcycle market. It will be another month until the full 2011 data is out, but so far 2011 looks to be a big recovery over the painful recession years (2008, 2009) and the slightly better 2010.
New 2012 Scooters:
Aprilia SR Motard 50 / 125
Genuine Buddy 170i
Genuine Psycho Buddy
Kymco People GT 200 / 300
Kymco New Sento 50 / 110 (Canada Only)
Kymco Agility City (Canada Only
Piaggio Typhoon 125
Yamaha TMAX 530 (Canada Only)
Yamaha Zuma 50F
Honda PCX 125
Kymco Sting 50
Kymco Grandvista 250
Kymco Xciting 250
The scooter scene is in a positive upswing right now and enthusiasm is high for 2012. Scooters sales recovered quite a bit in 2011 (more on that in Part 2) so the back logs of dealer inventory from 2008 and 2009 are now largely cleared out. The only model to die for 2012 without an obvious replacement is Honda’s PCX 125. The PCX strangely makes it three one year wonders in a row for Honda (SH150 & Elite 110 being the other two), which indicates either sales haven’t been good for Honda or they’re indecisive about what they want to offer to North American scooterists.
The other three dropped scooters for 2012 are from Kymco. The Xciting 250 and Grandvista 250 have been replaced in the last year or two by the newer 2011 Downtown 200 / 300 and People GT 200 / 300 scooters that are a big step up technologically. The People GT is perhaps the first truly good looking large wheeled scooter sold in North America. The smaller Sting 50 is just a scooter who’s time has come, with nicer replacements like the Like 50 already introduced a couple years back.
The new scooters for 2012 are an exciting bunch. The Aprilia SR Motard and Piaggio Typhoon 125 are basically the same machines with tweaked styling and an extra 2-stroke 50 motor option for the Aprilia. These scooters don’t break any technological ground, but they do offer great styling and low MSRPs that will reduce the number of value oriented sales that the Taiwanese (Kymco, Genuine/PGO and SYM) have been snagging.
The Genuine Buddy 170i is a nice technological boost for the popular Buddy line and should deliver even better fuel economy for a surprisingly small increase in price ($100). The 170i adds fuel injection, an oil cooler and an extra 18cc to the top of the line Buddy models. The Psycho Buddy replaces the Buddy Blackjack in Genuine’s line with its matte black paint and high performance brakes and suspension. The key new differences are the switch to the smaller 125cc motor and the inclusion of the crash bars. Buyers will probably be happy to accept 25cc less in exchange for the $500 chop to the MSRP.
Lastly Yamaha made news in summer 2011 with their early release of the all new 4-stroke Zuma / BWs 50. They played it pretty safe with the styling - choosing to just refine their existing bug eye look rather than try something new. The 4-stroke engine in itself was probably a radical enough change for the Zuma fan base. Having long been known as a peppy 2-stroke that is easily modified, the 4-stroke model will alienate some enthusiasts but attract quite a few more due to it’s increased fuel economy and refinement. While it’s always sad to see one of the last remaining 2-stroke engines go, Yamaha did replace it with perhaps the best 4-stroke 50cc engine on the market right now. No one else can claim to have a fuel injected, liquid cooled 4-stroke engine that uses more than 2-valves.
All told, there are now 52 scooters available to the USA market for 2012 from the eight largest brands which are covered on this site. The number of offerings is the highest its been in a few years and in general the lineups are fresher. With warm weather right around the corner these new models and the annual favourites will by flying out of showrooms soon.