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.
NEW PIAGGIO BV350 HITS SHOWROOMS
April 19, 2012 -
NEWEST MEMBER OF PIAGGIO’S BV FAMILY AVAILABLE NOW
The newest member of Piaggio’s popular BV series has landed in American showrooms. The BV350, or Beverly Sport Touring 350 as it’s dubbed internationally, was unveiled last fall at the 2011 EICMA show in Milan.
At the time, Piaggio hinted towards a North American release and confirmed that in March when they announced it as an early release 2013 model. Piaggio expected to have this scooter in dealerships during May, but the intrepid BV350’s have slipped thru the border and are now landing in American showrooms.
The BV350 uses the same core frame as the departing BV300 (and BV250 before that), but Piaggio has made a huge list of great updates. The 330cc motor is new and now boasts both fuel injection and 4-valves.
Power is up to 33.3 HP (vs. 24HP for the 250), which is just 6 ponies shy of the heavier BV500. With the bump to 330cc comes a 10mph top speed boost to 90mph.
styling has also been reworked for 2013. There’s a lot of new bits (rims, mirrors, blinkers) and a number of components have been blacked out or darkened for more aggressive ‘dark knight’ slant. The mahogany toned saddle is also a great touch.
Colors for 2013 are Shiny Black and Matte Silver. Pricing is quite reasonable at $5499. Check out the Piaggio BV Series page for complete info on the BV350 or browse the first ride report from Cycle World.
STATE OF SCOOTER SCENE 2012 - PART 2: SALES UP 11.8%
March 18, 2012 -
PART 2: SCOOTER SALES RISE NICELY IN 2011
The 2011 results are in from the USA based Motorcycle Industry Council and scooter sales finished 2011 up 11.8%. This rise in sales is a welcome bit of good news after pretty grim recession results from 2009 and 2010.
USA Scooter sales had been marching higher most every year from 2002 to 2008, with actual sales increasing from about 70,000 scooters up to around 200,000 in the peak year of 2008.
That all changed with the 2009 recession and subsequent lower fuel prices that combined to trigger a pancaking of the scooter market. 2009 sales were a staggering 59% lower than 2008, which led to a huge clog in showrooms as dealers had stocked up for another year like 2008.
Dusty showroom scooters were in everywhere 2010 except in buyers hands, as sales dropped 9.5% further despite the widely available discounts on surplus scoots. 2009 and 2010 combined sold less scooters than 2008. The motorcycling industry in general was hit hard by the recession, but no other segment suffered as hard as scooters.
The pendulum always swings a bit wider with scooters, and thankfully for 2011 it swung the other way. The motorcycling industry in general was stagnant with a 0.3% decline last year, but scooters enjoyed a healthy 11.8% rise. Total sales were still a far cry from the 2006 - 2008 glory days, but over 70,000 scooters found homes last year.
For the first time in several years, the future really does look bright. Dealer inventory from the 2009 collapse is mostly cleared out, the economy might be recovering and even if it doesn’t, gas prices and austerity measures are going to push more people onto scooters in 2012. We could easily see double digit growth again and the scooter market return to six figure sales in 2012. We won’t crack the 2008 record, but we should see a nice increase again which will hopefully be the start of a new era of growth.
As an aside, Piaggio publishes a neat little market brief that describes their North American fortunes. 2011 data isn’t up yet but in 2010 Piaggio is claiming about 28,000 scooters.
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.
MP3 CITY 300 TAKING OVER IN 2013?
January 29, 2012 -
PIAGGIO REPLACING THE MP3 250, 400 AND 500 WITH NEW MP3 CITY 300?
Rumour has it that Piaggio (USA & Canada) is scaling back their MP3 line from three models to one for 2013. Starting second quarter 2012, Piaggio is no longer accepting dealer orders for the soft styled MP3 250 and 400, as well as the bold MP3 500.
This move has speculation spiking amongst fans and dealers about the future of the MP3 line. While popular in many markets, the MP3 has received only a luke warm response in North America.
There has been some speculation Piaggio is axing their 3 wheeled line entirely, but most sources believe [see comments] they are scaling back to one model….the new MP3 City 300.
The City 300 was unveiled in late 2010 overseas under the awkward name ‘MP3 Yourban’ which Piaggio has wisely abandoned for America. One Piaggio dealer claims that Piaggio USA is training mechanics on the newest MP3 now, in preparation for a late summer launch.
Both the styling and performance of the MP3 City strike a compromise between the currently diametric range of MP3 models. The styling is less cheeky than the smaller MP3’s, while less over the top than the testosterone styled MP3 500. This sharp styling joins the new Beverly Sport in finding the handsome middle ground Piaggio has been missing lately.
The 300cc fuel injected motor falls on the smaller side of MP3 engine palette, but the City 300 makes up for it by shedding some pounds and inches of its own. The whole premise of the City 300 was the MP3 smaller, lighter and more nimble. Piaggio feels this better suits the MP3 to the city, but it actually makes the MP3 more fun to drive on any road.
While not confirmed yet, we’ll likely see a press release from Piaggio USA in early to mid-summer about the future of their MP3 line. Some fans are have got their fingers crossed that Piaggio will toss in the larger 350cc motor they’re using in the BV Sport 350.
What do you think? Is the City 300 a better scoot than the outgoing MP3’s? Is 300 is the right size?
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.