2014 LITTLE HONDA'S: RUCKUS + METROPOLITAN
November 24, 2013 -
THE METROPOLITAN / GIORNO RETURNS WITH 3 BOLD NEW COLORS
In the traditional fall release season, Honda has announced the return of their ever-popular Metropolitan and Ruckus. Up in Canada (and in the rest of the world) the Italian inspired Metropolitan is badged a
s the Giorno, which means “day” in Italian. 2014 marks year two for the second generation Metropolitan (NCH50), while the Ruckus (NPS50) heads into it 12th year in North America.
Honda hasn’t made any changes to either of these models for 2014 except for three new colors for the Metropolitan (NCH50). The 2014 color options for the metro are now pink, royal blue and orange, which Honda has elegantly named Pink Metallic, Pearl Blue/Black and Candy Orange/Black respectively.
The Ruckus heads into 2014 with the same color options as 2012 and 2013: Black or White/Red (shown). Historically Honda hasn’t paid much attention the Ruckus aside from annual new colors, but now with the same colors now returning for a third year it’s clear Honda isn’t paying any attention at all to this older model - or they ordered way too many white and red parts when they made the first batch and they’re still clearing them out.
MSRP’s have yet to be announced, but they aren’t likely to stray far from the 2013 prices of $1999 (Metropolitan) and $2649 (Ruckus).
For complete information on these little Honda’s, check out the Ruckus and Metropolitan/Giorno pages.
TOKYO SHOW RELEASE: HONDA DUNK 50
October 25, 2013 -
HONDA TAKES THE WRAPS OFF THE ROBO-SCOOTER
Honda has announced their new Dunk scooter ahead of the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013 where this model will be on display.
The Dunk is a sharp new 50cc with unique style. Honda’s added some nice touches to it, including an LED taillight,
front disc brake and classy instrumentation. The legshield features a small open storage cubby below the ignition, and then a locking mini-glovebox on the left side with a 12V socket inside, which seems aimed at the smartphone generation.
The aggressive edges and blacked out rims combine for a great modern look. It’s half scooter and half space shuttle. Honda is powering this little space machine with a brand new liquid cooled 4-stroke 50. It uses some of the same engineering tricks as the Ruckus: a side mounted radiator, floorboard located gas tank, camshaft driven water pump and ACG starting technology (no starter motor). The Dunk actually goes beyond, as it also incorporates fuel injection and idle stop systems like non-North American versions of the PCX 150.
There’s no word yet on North America, or even if Honda has planned this as a world model. There will likely be some hint at the upcoming Tokyo show in late November, but any North American introduction won’t be for a while. If it does come here, a name change might be in order - Honda Tron has a nice vibe to it. Check out a nice gallery of Dunk pictures from Honda UK. What do you think? If it does come here, all this technology will likely mean a premium price.
BLAST TO THE PAST: HONDA'S 1996 SCOOTER BROCHURE
September 11, 2013 -
DOWNLOAD HONDA’S SCOOTER LINEUP CIRCA 1996
While the 90’s don’t seem that long ago, somehow it’s been 17 years since Honda released their 1996 lineup. While the 80’s are considered to be the glory years of Honda’s scooters, the mid 90’s actually featured some darn nice artwork in their scooter brochures.
1996 was one such high point artistically for Honda, with profiles of their various machines weaved together with an elaborate - and likely funnier with time - detective story. Two 80’s stars (Helix, Elite 80) as well as a 90’s newcomer (Elite 50 SR/S) are presented here in fine form. This brochure is certainly worth checking out for any scooter enthusiasts, so download the Honda Scooter Lineup 1996 PDF.
Also head to the Downloads page for a look at the rest of the brochure scans from Honda, Yamaha and others stretching back to the early 80’s.
2014 PIAGGIO FLY + HONDA FORZA HEADED TO NORTH AMERICA
June 02, 2013 -
THREE NEW 2014 MODELS HEADED FOR NORTH AMERICAN SHOWROOMS
The scooter market just got more interesting in recent days with major announcements from both Piaggio and Honda.
Piaggio’s line has taken a huge step forward with their announcement of a second generation of the popular Fly scooter. The original Fly debuted in North America for 2005, so it was due for some revisions. Piaggio took the wraps off the second generation style in fall 2011 at the Milan show and with producing starting last fall, but up until now we’ve been left wondering if it’ll arrive in North America and what motors will be offered.
That speculation ended this week, when Piaggio announced both 50 and 150 models for the USA and only the 50cc variant for Canada - all of which are arriving now. The Fly 50 continues to use Piaggio’s fancy 4 valve motor (of Vespa fame) which was added for 2011, while the Fly 150 gets Piaggio’s much anticipated 3 valve fuel injected 150cc motor. This new motor boosts both power (+0.5hp to 12.1) and fuel economy over the outgoing model.
The styling of the Fly is a breath of fresh air. The edgy look is unique among scooters and far less generic than its predecessor. The result is a sleek package that’s going to draw stares on the street and in Piaggio showrooms for years to come. And the best part: MSRPs remain unchanged at $2199 / $2899 (USA) and $2295 (Fly 50) in Canada. Pretty darn reasonable for a scooter this nice. Check out the full Motor Scooter Guide write up and the full details from Piaggio.
Honda has also been juggling their scooter line in recent years, with short lived forays with the Elite 110 and SH150i before finding success with the PCX150. In that same vein, Honda’s new Forza takes the style of the PCX150 and amps it up into the highway devouring category. The Forza 300 has now been announced as a 2014 model for both Canada and the USA and is expected in showrooms in the next few weeks.
The Forza (model code NSS300) is actually the modern incarnation of the Reflex, which was known as the Forza globally but rebadged here. North American missed the last generation of the Forza (2008 - 2012) but this all new machine attempts to make up for that. The Forza 300 gets the boost to 279cc and is capable of exceeding 90mph. Besides power, the Forza provides the complete package of features from well designed storage areas and classy black rims to ABS (optional in the USA).
Unlike their misstep with the SH150, Honda has priced the Forza aggressively from the get go. In America the MSRP is $5599 - directly in line with Kymco’s competing Downtown 300i. Antilock Brakes add $500 for a $6099 bill, while ABS is standard in Canada as part of the reasonable $6399 price tag. It’s great to see Honda filling in the gaps in their lineup and getting more aggressive with pricing instead of resting on their laurels.
If there is a complaint with the Forza, it’s the rather slim selection of colors. American buyers won’t need to spend too much time mulling over the color swatches, as Honda has decided that all Americans like red. Those tough to please Canadians are a bit luckier and get a choice between Pearl Red and Silver. For full details, check out the complete Motor Scooter Guide write up on the new Forza.
Both the new Fly scooters and the Forza are attractive and highly practical new offerings in their respective segments. It’s great to see manufacturers introducing excellent new models and pricing them to sell. We’ll be seeing a lot of all three on the road in the years to come.
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 refine
d 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. We’ll post the numbers when MMIC releases them.
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.
EICMA 2012: NEW SCOOTS FROM VESPA, SUZUKI AND HONDA
November 20, 2012 -
2014 SUZUKI BURGMAN 650, VESPA 946 AND HONDA FORZA 300
As always, the EICMA show in Milan delivered as the years most exciting new scooter event. This time around there were many special edition scooters from all manufacturers as well as several new machines. In addition to the three new scooters highlighted below, Piaggio also revealed the production versions of their new Fly and X10 models which are going into production eminently. You can see the new Fly here (and read about it too if you’re Italian).
Vespa 946 / Quarantasei
A year after debuting the concept scooter, Piaggio pulled the wraps off the production version of their new 946 scooter (aka Quarantasei, which is Italian for 46). The biggest surprise here was the lack of changes for the production variant. Vespa kept this one very true to the concept, which is great news for the enthusiasts out there. There hasn’t been an announcement for North America yet, but the 946 is expected to go on sale globally and there’s a good chance North Americans will see it for 2014.
The new 946 uses Vespa latest mill - a 3-valve single putting out 11.7 hp in 125cc form. However, a North American models would likely be equipped with a more powerful 150cc motor in the 14 hp range. Compared to the concept, the changes are fairly subtle. The rear end is less pointy and lacks the indentation on the sides. There’s also been a few body seams added to the flanks. Up front there’s been some minor reworking of the horn grill area and of course mirrors had to be added. Without comparing the two scooters side by side, it’s tough to spot the changes which is a good thing.
In a surprise move, Honda took the wraps off their 4th generation Forza scooter. This time around everything is new from the 10% lighter frame, to the crisp body lines and fuel injected 279cc motor. Honda wasted no time announcing this scooter as a 2013 model for Europe and as a 2014 model for Canada. No word on the USA, but the Forza will be arriving in Canadian showrooms this spring.
The new Forza (NSS300) is a successor to the Reflex that was offered to North Americans from 2001 to 2007. Compared to that scooter, the new Forza is a technical tour-de-force offering fuel injection, roller rocker arms, 4-valves and ABS. While ABS is optional in Europe, it’s slated to be a standard feature in Canada.
Canadian pigment options are Pure Red and Seal Silver.
Suzuki Burgman 650
Perhaps the most famous maxi-scooter of all time, the Burgman 650, was at a crossroads recently with Suzuki pulling it from their 2013 USA line. Suzuki’s lack of attention over the past few years left many wondering what the future held, if anything.
At EICMA 2012 Suzuki revealed what they had been up to when they unveiled an overhauled Burgman 650. The core frame and motor carry on with just small refinements, but the transmission is new and more efficient. Most noticeably, the styling is tastefully reworked to freshen the look and give it a slimmer profile. The instrumentation is also brand new and contains a mix of analog and digital instrumentation.
It wouldn’t be an update to the Burgman if new features weren’t added, so Suzuki continued to up the maxi-scooter ante with power folding mirrors, heated seats and even heated backrests. A number of Executive trim features have also become standard perks.
Even with the same motor, Suzuki is claiming a 15% increase in fuel efficiency due to the subtle refinements, a new clutch design and the slimmer shape. Also noteworthy is a new ABS system with uses floating discs and weighs half what the older system did.
The new Burgman will enter production shortly and hopefully we’ll see it arrive in North America mid-2013.
For more pictures of the reworked style and a look at the new dash, head over to the Scooter Station.
HONDA'S MISSING LINK: THE EXPRESS SR SCOOTER-PED
June 28, 2012 -
EVOLUTION OF SCOOT - MOPEDS GROW PANELS
A recent bit of discussion in the MSG forums over the definition of a scooter led to the study of Honda’s unique Express SR. Is it a scooter? Oddball moped? Neither?
While it’s not hard to come up with a scooter definition that most could agree with, it’s also easy to see not every vehicle fits nicely into one category. Honda’s 1981-1982 Express SR (NX50) is a nice example of this.
While this bike’s ancestry lies in Honda’s Express line of mopeds (Express, Express II, Express Deluxe), moped purists would see the
Express SR as an outsider. Lacking pedals and a chain, this odd ride slots in better as a scooter. While utilizing moped style handlebars and lacking the full rear wheel body panel coverage and full sized legshield found in most modern scoots, the basics are all here: step thru frame, swing arm engine & floorboard.
Accordingly, the Express SR has now been added to the scooter guide on this website and its 1981 existence could be considered the first foray of modern scooters into North America. This missing link introduced technology like auto choke, CVT transmission, oil injection and 12 volt electronics into the North American scooter scene. For a complete look at this unique scooter-ped check out the new Express SR page.
Also worth a look is the freshly scanned in 1981 Honda Express SR brochure. Right click to download. Please speak up in the comments section about the Express SR and/or what you consider to be a scooter.
NEW HONDA'S FOR AMERICA - 2013 PCX150 AND METROPOLITAN
April 02, 2012 -
HONDA USA ANNOUNCED ALL NEW 2013 METROPOLITAN AND MORE POWERFUL PCX150
Nearly five months after announcing a pretty thin 2012 lineup of scooters, Honda USA threw out a surprise press release today announcing the return of the PCX and Metropolitan. Making the return of these scooters even sweeter is the news that Honda has made changes to both models to make them even better machines.
We’ll deal with the new PCX150 first because the changes are quicker to discuss. Simply put, the PCX is back for 2013 and features an updated 153cc motor. The basic motor is the same, but the bore is up from 52.4mm to 58mm which boosts displacement 28cc to a total of 152.9cc. Compression is down slightly to 10.6:1 (from 11:1) but regardless the new motor should significant best the PCX125’s 11.1 ponies.
Top speed should rise from 60mph to about 65mph unless Honda forgot to remove the old 64mph rev limiter. Most likely Honda tweaked the gearing to keep the redline the same RPM but raise the redline speed to around 70mph. American’s still don’t get the idle stop technology that Honda includes in many markets to shut off the engine after 3 seconds and re-start it in an instant when the throttle is twisted.
With the changes to the engine comes a tiny (0.4”) increase to the wheelbase, six extra pounds (to 286lbs) and an extra 0.2” of rear suspension travel to a total of 3.1”. The rest of the scooter is unchanged, which is to be expected since it was only sold here for one year previously (2011) as Honda skipped the 2012 model year. The largest impact of this change is that the PCX150 is now interstate legal in the USA, which makes it a more practical machine. The Candy Red color sticks around for 2013, but Metallic Black replaces Pearl White as the other color option.
The 2013 Metropolitan didn’t receive mere tweaks to its mill, it gets an entirely new frame and fuel injected motor plus many other updates. The style of the Metropolitan is completely overhauled, with no body panels left unchanged. The front end received the biggest changes, as the headlight was restyled and moved up from the leg shield to the headset. The new look is more reminiscent of Vespa’s LX model and less like Yamaha’s Vino. The front fender looks to be carried over from the previous (2009) Metropolitan but the rest of the body is new. The lines are freshened up and the rear flanks are raised up a bit higher to show more of the rear wheel. Also new are the gauges, handlebars, blinkers, locking ignition cover and seat.
Honda made the Metropolitan even more practical for 2013 with the new PGM-Fi (fuel injected) engine and additional storage options. Honda added a storage cubbyhole
in the leg shield which isn’t quite as good as a glovebox but its better than nothing. Honda also included a hook above the cubbyhole in addition to the large under seat storage area which carries over.
The motor in the updated 2013 Metropolitan is an all new design with few details currently available. The biggest news for this new motor is the addition of fuel injection. That should boost milage moderately. Honda is claiming 117mpg for this new motor, which is 3mpg better than their claim for the old carbureted engine. This motor is still a 2-valve design with the same bore and stroke as the old GET2 motor, but it’s obviously a new design as the engine is now bottom mounted to the frame and it’s no longer liquid cooled. Honda’s specs say this new engine is liquid cooled, but it sure looks like an air cooled motor and a bit of research reveals this engine is almost certainly Honda’s AF70E air cooled motor rated at 4.5 HP @ 8250 RPM.
With all these changes, it seems like almost everything is new but a few bits do return. These few returning items include the hand controls, rims, rear suspension and brakes. The basic frame does not return for 2013, as the new Metropolitan now uses a steel tube frame instead of the high end aluminum frame found in the outgoing Metropolitan. Maybe that’s how they shaved $50 off the MSRP.
Overseas, Honda announced the updated PCX150 for some markets (ie. Thailand) about 2 weeks ago. The new Metropolitan is going to be sold as the ‘Giorno’ in Japan. It was just announced March 28th for the Asian markets.
The new Metropolitan is going to be a really compelling scooter. In addition to adding fuel injection and reworking the styling, Honda also lowered the price $50 to $1999 and added more storage. The downsides are the switch away from liquid cooling and the move to a steel tube frame. Color options for the 2013 Metropolitan are Pearl Black, Pearl Black/Red and Pearl White. Don’t be mislead by the silver and brown Japanese market models shown. The new 2013 Metropolitan is expected in showrooms in June, while the PCX150 is going to show up later in the summer.
What do you think? Dig ‘em? Are these the scooters you want Honda to offer in the USA?
A LOOK BACK: 1984 HONDA USA SCOOTERS BROCHURE
March 10, 2012 -
HISTORIC GOLD: 1984 HONDA SCOOTER BROCHURE
Fresh in from the scanning room is Honda’s 1984 brochure. A gem from the formative years of the modern scooter era.
Honda did a nice job with this one. It’s the only North America brochure to ever contain the short lived Aero 125. The smaller Aero’s (80 & 50) are here too, along with the Gyro, Spree and first Elite, the 125. Those latter three scooters and the Aero 125 were all new models for 1984, making it the biggest introduction year for Honda scooters ever.
Check out this brochure and many others in the Downloads section.
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.
RARE SCOOTER BROCHURE SCANS: 1985, 2001
February 14, 2012 -
1985 HONDA AERO 80 AND YAMAHA 2001 SCOOTER LINEUP SCANS
Through the 80’s and 90’s, Honda and Yamaha created some really neat literature for their scooter lines. Honda’s quality has waned in recent years (bikes and scooters are now lumped into one), but Yamaha has continued to do a fairly nice job.
The 80’s were the peak of the effort put into this literature and 1985 was Honda USA’s magnum opus - the year they put out an artistic brochure for their entire scooter line, as well as multi-page quality brochures for each of their 7 models. 27 years later these brochure are exceedingly rare, but once in a while one pops up on eBay. About 6 months ago I posted a scan of the 1985 brochure on Honda’s complete scooter line, and now I’ve been able to acquire the 1985 brochure on the Aero 80. Here is the 1985 Honda Aero 80 brochure.
In addition, I scooped up Yamaha USA’s 2001 scooter lineup brochure and scanned that in as well. It’s also a neat brochure. 2001 may sound pretty recent, but having a look at scooters like the Razz and original Zuma will make it feel older than that.
Browse over to the full Downloads page to have a look at the growing collection of scooter literature.
CANADA: NEW YAMAHA TMAX & HONDA RUCKUS RETURNS FOR 2012
December 15, 2011 -
NEW GENERATION OF YAMAHA TMAX AND HONDA CANADA RETURNS WITH 2012 RUCKUS
This week Yamaha Canada quietly updated their website with the addition of the hugely revised and improved 2012 TMAX maxi-scooter. This new generation of TMAX was announced at Milan last month and the updates have really made this a strong sports-maxi scooter. The styling is significantly overhauled and the best news is the reworked motor
which puts out a lot more power
and does so at lower RPMs. Also new is a bunch of convenience touches like the adjustable windscreen. MSRP is $10,499. Check out the TMAX page for the full details.
Yamaha only briefly offered the earlier generation of TMAX in Canada for 2009, so its been a few years for Canadian fans. Most likely Yamaha USA will announce the new generation of TMAX soon, but since the previous TMAX was offered there in 2011 they likely need a bit more time to clear out dealer stock. This TMAX addition to Yamaha Canada’s 2012 line likely completes their 2012 scooter stable, which began to take shape way back in mid summer with the new BWs/Zuma 50. The full 2012 scooter line from Yamaha Canada is BWs 50, Majesty and TMAX. Curiously missing for 2012 is the BWs 125 (aka Zuma 125).
2012 news is a bit more sparse from Honda Canada, who quietly updated their website today with the 2012 issue of just the Ruckus. Just like Honda USA announced a month ago, the 2012 Ruckus gets no real changes aside from a spiffy new red/white paint option which joins the always popular black color scheme. The 10th anniversary Ruckus (as it’s called only in Japan) is essentially a white Ruckus with a neat red seat and red decals. Canadian MSRP is unchanged from 2011 at $3069. The Ruckus looks to be the only 2012 scooter offering from Honda Canada, although there are still a few dusty 2010 SH150i in showrooms.
NEW SCOOTERS AT MILAN (EICMA) & TOKYO MOTOR SHOWS
November 09, 2011 -
NEW SCOOTERS FROM YAMAHA, PIAGGIO AND HONDA
It’s the season for motorcycle shows, with the important Milan (EICMA) and Tokyo motorcycle shows taking place in early November and December respectively. This year Yamaha, Piaggio/Vespa and Honda have all rolled out new designs.
A second generation of TMAX is set to be officially released at the Tokyo show in early December and it appears to be quite a nice scooter. Yamaha has overhauled the sporty TMAX scooter with redesigned suspension, a bump up in engine size (to 530cc) and even
sportier styling. They’ve done a great job of updating the styling and making it even more aggressive, while still keeping this clearly a TMAX. ABS is going to be an option in some markets.
Also of interest from Yamaha is an updated Majesty which gets new styling on the front end. No word yet if either of these updated scooters will be arriving in North America. Full press release from Yamaha.
The big news from Piaggio is a new X10 maxi-scooter with a far more modern/futuristic look than their current maxi, the X9. The scooter is going to be sold in some markets in 2012. There’s no word yet on North America, but this scooter looks like an obvious replacement for the aging X9.
The new X10 is going to be sold in 125cc, 350cc and 500cc versions, all of which are liquid cooled and fuel injected. The frame is the same for all engine configurations. The X10 boasts some neat amenities like traction control, backlit handlebar controls and optional electrically controlled rear suspension.
On the concept scooter front, the Vespa turned heads with their new Quarantasei
(Italian for 46) concept scooter (above left). This design is interesting as it’s got many true Vespa styling cues (rims, front fender), but it’s still quite a deviation for the Wasp. It is just a concept scooter, although Vespa might be on to something with the slimmer design. Vespa has used a neat 3-value fuel injection 125cc version of their LEADER motor in this concept. This photo doesn’t really due this scooter justice, so go see this model from all angles over at Moto.It. In most photos the design is quite simple and elegant, although I’m not so sure about the seat area.
Lastly from Piaggio is a re-styled Fly (50, 125 and 150cc) and a 350cc SportTouring version of the Beverly (or BV 300) that boasts an all new 350cc engine cranking 33hp. The SportTouring variant also gets standard ABS and traction control plus a few nice design touches like different rims. The new Fly is a fairly cosmetic overhaul, with fresh yet familiar styling and the same motor options found the previous generation. Check out the full Piaggio EICMA Press Release with larger photos.
Honda also made a splash at EICMA, by releasing a smaller their new 700cc Integra model which is half bike and half scooter. This new bike/scoot uses a unique dual clutch transmission that is going to wind up in a few Honda motorcycles as well.
Joining the Integra at the Honda booth is a 50cc version of their also fairly new Vision 110 (released a few months back). The Vision is Honda’s larger wheeled scooter in Europe (as opposed to the smaller wheeled Lead) and this time around you have the choice of a 14” or 16” wheel up front. Lastly, a new model of the Wave110i was released. The Wave110i traces is ancestry to the famous Cub, but it’s a lower end model that’s usually not sold in North American or European markets.
2012 HONDA's RELEASED: RUCKUS AND SILVERWING
November 08, 2011 -
2012 HONDA SCOOTER ANNOUNCED: RUCKUS AND SILVERWING
Today Honda USA announced their 2012 line of scooters, which is going to consist of only the Ruckus and Silverwing. Gone is the PCX 125 and any hopes of other scooters like the Met, Elite 110 and SH150i returning after a year or two absence.
The best news for 2012 is ‘10th Anniversary Edition’ of the Ruckus, which gets some special design touches including a classy red seat. Honda USA isn’t calling this Ruckus a 10th anniversary model, but this same color scheme was announced by Honda Japan (who designed this scooter) as a 10th anniversary model two months ago. Honda USA is calling this a White/Red Ruckus and it joins Black as the second color option for 2012. The White/Red Ruckus is essentially a white Ruckus (sold in 2006) but with a red seat and red side decals. Look for it in showrooms in February.
On the other end of the scooter spectrum, Honda’s steady selling Silverwing scooter will be around for another year (its 11th). No new colors are being made available for this scoot, so your choices for 2012 will be black, black or black.
One of the most interesting developments today was that the PCX 125 isn’t returning. Honda seems to be making a strong global push with this model and they put some serious R&D into it, so it’s surprising to see it disappear from the USA lineup after just one year. It’s hard to imagine sales were too bad considering the 2011 PCX 125 was priced fairly well and it’s an attractive looking scooter. As is always a possibility, perhaps Honda just brought in too many and they’re taking a year off. The non-return of the PCX 125 was the only thing wrong with the Motorscooter Guide 2012 Honda Scooter Lineup prediction, which guessed 2 months back that we’d see Ruckus, PCX and Silverwing for 2012.
The Elite 110 and SH150 are two Honda scooters that had already taken a year off after being only offered in 2010. Since these scooters weren’t announced for 2012, that pretty much confirms Honda isn’t going to sell those scooters here again. That’s really too bad, as the Elite 110 is a really nice little Honda. It’s got all the right attributes of a good Honda scooter - physically small size, clean styling, modern engine and lots of well engineered aspects like the storage areas.
Finally, all hope can now be extinguished for the return of Honda’s Metropolitan / Jazz scooter, having most recently been offered in 2009. The only Honda scooter to ever return the North American market after 3+ years away is the Helix, which accomplished this feat twice (not sold 1988 - 1991 and 2001 - 2003). The absence of the Met leaves a hole in Honda’s thin lineup. Hopefully we’ll see some new great small scooters from Honda for 2013.
HIGH QUALITY HONDA & YAMAHA BROCHURE SCANS
October 20, 2011 -
HIGH QUALITY HONDA AND YAMAHA BROCHURE SCANS
After much delay, high quality scans of many scooter brochures from Honda and Yamaha are now online (to replace the camera taken low-quality PDFs that were online). All of these new PDFs and more are on the Downloads page.
In addition, a few more old Honda (3) and Yamaha (2) brochures have been purchased recently and those will be scanned in soon (Update: Honda USA 2001 and 2008 now added. 2001 is very neat). These old brochures are pretty neat and hard to get. If anyone has any they’d like to share, please Contact MotorScooterGuide.
The brochures that have been re-done are:
Honda USA - 1985, 1989 Accessories, 1993, 2001, 2008
Honda Canada - 1984
Honda UK - 1984 Mopeds and Commuters
Honda Japan - 2003 Zoomer
Honda Australia - NH80 Brochure
Yamaha USA - 1996, 1998, 1998 Alternate Version
Yamaha Canada - 2008, 2009
Check out the Downloads page to see all the brochures and manuals available for download.
NEW 125cc SCOOTER ENGINE FROM HONDA
September 25, 2011 -
HONDA ANNOUNCES NEW GLOBAL 125CC SCOOTER ENGINE
Honda (Worldwide) announced an new mid-sized ‘global standard engine’ for their future 125cc scooters. This new motor is a 125cc liquid cooled 4-stroke that will be used in quite a few future scooters starting next year. Honda hasn’t announced any specific scooters that will use this engine yet, but it’s good to get to know this motor, as it will likely make it to the North American market in some form in the future years.
Honda announced this motor as a ‘global standard engine’, which means they will eventually create quite a few variations to meet different price points and scooter designs (ie. different swing arm lengths to accommodate different wheel sizes). On first glance, this motor might not look like anything radical, but there are a number of nice improvements that will benefit scooterists. Honda claims they focused on three areas with this new motor: durability, fuel economy and quietness. The most interesting of these areas is the fuel economy.
This engine ‘accommodates an idle stop system’, which means that higher end scooters sold in places like Europe and Japan will get the idle stop system which shuts off the engine at stop and instantly restarts it, while in other markets Honda will cut costs and omit this system. Honda’s first scooter to incorporate an idle stop system is the 2011 PCX 125, which doesn’t get this system in the USA market, but does elsewhere. Like the idle stop feature, fuel injection is another feature that this engine ‘accommodates’, so most markets will get that but some countries will get budget versions with carbs.
Honda claims a big overall improvement in fuel economy of 25%, which likely assumes the use of both the idle stop feature and fuel injection. Honda also improved fuel economy by making a big effort to reduce friction in many areas of the engine. This friction reduction has been accomplished by a large number of small tweaks. Some of the more note worthy ideas are needle bearings on the rocker arm shafts (most scooter engines have no bearings here and just rely on oil), roller rocker arms (very cool, a 125cc scooter first), an offset cylinder to reduce friction against the wall (see diagram below), a more efficient radiator which requires a smaller lighter fan, lighter piston, less oil agitation in the transmission etc. Ideas like idle stop technology and fuel injection are already present on some Honda 125cc scooters, but the needle bearings on the rocker arm shafts and the roller bearing rocker arms (on left where they contact the camshaft) are an industry first in a 125cc scooter and very nice to see. These features are normally only seen on higher end motors.
Fuel economy and friction aside, Honda has made a few other neat tweaks. They’ve found a new ‘high-elasticity’ rubber for the drive belt that is both quieter and more efficient which is good news. Typically scooter CVT’s are only about 80-85% efficient, so there is some real room for improvement here. Honda has also included a brushless ‘ACG’ starter which has been seen on a few other Honda’s before this (ie. Honda Ruckus, Metropolitan and PCX 125). This ACG design is great (simple, lighter and silent) and for this new generation of engine Honda has increased their electronic control over this starter to make the idle stop system work better and all starting easier.
One thing that stood out from Honda’s press release, was this motors similarities with the current Honda PCX 125 engine (idle stop system, fuel injection, 125cc displacement, ACG starter etc). Digging a little deeper revealed that the bore (52.4mm) and stroke (57.9mm) of this new engine are coincidentally identical to the PCX 125 motor. Accordingly, this ‘new’ engine might be better considered as a new generation / refinement of the current PCX powerplant. While likely PCX based, the engine improves in a large number of areas including overall weight, lower friction in the transmission, offset cylinder, new drive belt material and the great roller rocker arms and needle bearings on the rocker arm shafts.
Honda plans to announce the first models using this engine next year as 2013 models. The USA/Canada might get this motor in an updated 2013 PCX 125, or North America might lag a bit further behind and not receive this motor until the 2014 model year. There’s also the possibility Honda won’t roll it out here for a number of years until they replace the PCX 125 with a new model. Honda is impossible to predict for the North American market, but I do think they’ll make an effort to get this engine here eventually.
You can get all the details on the motor at Honda’s Press Release. There’s also a really good photo gallery of this engine on Gizmag along with Honda’s new 700cc maxi-scooter/motorcycle engine.
2012 HONDA SCOOTER LINEUP PREDICTIONS
September 10, 2011 -
HONDA SCOOTER LINEUP PREDICTIONS FOR 2012
The 2012 model year is approaching, with Honda traditionally announcing their next years line up sometime in September or October. At present, one can only speculate what Honda might do for next year. It seems to me that the SH150i is not coming back. While Honda often skips model years as they did for 2011, the SH150i didn’t seem to sell that well in 2010 and Honda’s newer PCX 125 seems to have the SH150’s spot in the line up covered.
I do expect we’ll see the PCX 125 return as Honda has high hopes for that scooter as a world wide model and it is indeed a great scooter. Scooter sales were slower in 2011 though, so it’s possible Honda will skip a year. The Elite 110 is a tough call, because this is a great little scooter but it also overlaps a lot with the PCX 125.
One of these years the long-running Silverwing is going to get the axe, but it has avoided being dropped for a decade now so I bet it’ll hold on for another year yet. Since Honda doesn’t really have a replacement for it, most likely the Silverwing will return with the usual new color offering and continue to sell at low numbers.
The most interesting area for 2012 is the 50cc segment. The Metropolitan wasn’t sold for 2010 or 2011, but Honda definitely needs to fill this spot (50cc aimed at urban/retro/female riders) in it’s lineup now that existing dealer inventories are pretty much depleted, so I think we’ll either see the return of the Met or a replacement sometime in the next year or two. My guess is we’ll get something new, but not until 2013 or later. I think the safest bet for 2012 is that the rugged Ruckus will again be offered because Honda has little else like it and it’s a popular scooter every year. The Ruckus design is long paid off and I think it’ll continue to be sold until sales eventually drop too low...which could be many years away.
Honda Canada usually has a very similar lineup as Honda USA, so we can learn a bit from the situation there. In Canada, the SH150 and Jazz (same scooter as Metropolitan) are both being cleared out a steep discounts (ie. $1000 off a Jazz) so it’s pretty clear these scoots aren’t coming back to Canada or likely to the USA. The Silverwing is also completely gone from Honda Canada’s website (last offered for 2009 there) so it’s days are likely numbered in the USA as well.
So without further ado, my predication for Honda’s 2012 Scooter Lineup is: Ruckus, PCX 125 and Silverwing. I’d love to see a 50cc replacement for the Met which is going to be less retro and more modern - perhaps the Honda Today or Giorno - but I don’t think that’s going to happen until 2013 or 2014. While I’m at it, I’ll guess Honda USA’s 2013 lineup is going to be Ruckus, new modern styled 50cc and PCX 125.
The above list is what I think is most likely to happen, but perhaps Honda is reading this so it would be a shame not to mention what I would like to happen. I would love to see Honda add a sports scooter to their 50cc offerings. This scooter would of course be the Dio which is looking particularly sharp these days (see left). Please give us a nice JDM spec and not a stripper model with drum brakes and devoid of neat features.
Besides the soon to be hugely popular Dio, of course they would keep the Ruckus, but please upgrade it to the fuel injected, 4 valve engine found in Europe. Maybe the carb can stay to make working it easier, but please give us 4 valves for a little more power.
The Elite 110 would stay because it’s a great little Honda and so would the PCX 125. Fleshing out Honda’s lineup would be the nice 250cc Forza. The Forza is an awesome new model that looks a lot like a big brother to the PCX 125. I’d be fine to see the Silverwing go away for a year or two (or maybe try offering the Silverwing 400 GT instead to mix it up). The Silverwing has been a good scooter but it’s due for a redesign. If Honda isn’t going to give it any attention then they axe it.
The Metropolitan could stay, but I’d rather Honda mixed it up for a couple year and offered us the Today or Giorno that are sold overseas. For a look at some of the fine scooters Honda offers overseas, check out Honda’s Japan Lineup.