STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2018 - PART ONE

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.

yamaha-x-max-300-usa-2018-whitesuzuki-burgman-400-2018-usa

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-C-Evolution-2018-Side BMW-C400X-350cc-Maxiscooter-USA

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.

2018-Kymco-Xciting-400i-ABS-Review-Scooter-Guide ´┐╝Kymco-USA-Canada-X-Town-Maxiscooter-2018

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.

Kymco-Like-150-New-Like-125-Review
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.

Dropped Models
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.

genuine-stella-army-green-2
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.

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STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 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-USA-Liberty-50-2018
New Scooters
Piaggio Liberty 50 / 150

Updated Scooters
Genuine Buddy Eclipse
Piaggio MP3 Business 500
Vespa (red) 946

Discontinued Scooters
Genuine Blur 220
Honda Forza
Burgman 400
Yamaha TMAX

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.

Honda-Forza-2016-USAGenuine-Blur-220i-USA-Scooter
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.
2009 Suzuki Burgman 400 - WhiteYamaha-TMAX-2015-Canada

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.

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STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2016 - PART TWO

BMW BEATS YAMAHA, HONDA FOR 2016 SCOOTER OF THE YEAR

Readers Pick: BMW C 650 Sport Is 2016’s Best New Scooter
Coverage of BMW scooters was added to this site after BMW introduced their set of C series maxiscooters (2013), so the revised 2016 C 650 Sport was the first model from BMW to go head to head against other new and revised models in the readers choice poll. It’s clear that people like what they see, as the C650 Sport handily took first place with nearly one third of the votes (31%), making it the 2016 Motor Scooter Guide Reader’s Pick.
2016-BMW-C650-Sport-MSG-Scooter-of-Year

Rounding out the top three models were Yamaha’s new Zuma 125 which took an unchallenged second place (23%), followed by Honda’s updated Metropolitan in third (15%). With a third place finish, 2016 is the first time Honda hasn’t won the award since it began for 2013.

Garnering the least enthusiasm was Genuine’s new Chinese built and ultra low cost
Venture 50 along with the 2016 Armani edition of Vespa’s ultra pricey 946.

2015 Scooter Market Sales
Another year of scooter sales data is in and with it more confirmation that mediocre sales are here to stay. Before the 2008 recession USA scooters were a 50,000+ unit market, with highs some years approaching 100,000 (2004). Since the recession the market has been flat at 28-35,000 units and there are no clear catalysts for a recovery. Exact 2015 sales aren’t yet available from MIC but sales were down 10% year over year after the first 3 quarters and thus likely came in very close to 30k.

USA-Scooter-Sales-2006-2015

The situation in Canada is similar. With a population one-tenth the size of the USA, scooter sales in Canada were also one tenth with sales of 3452 units in 2015 per the MMIC. Canada looked like it was going to take less of a post-recession drop than the USA with okay 2009-2010 sales, but in 2011 sales shifted to today’s norm of ~3500 units.

Scooter-Sales-Canada-2007-2015

Scooter sales today are in a similar pattern as we’ve seen once before in history. Following the 80’s boom, sales were low for the entire 90’s before picking up steam in the early 2000’s.

Perhaps the biggest threat to scooter sales today are e-Bikes, which appeal for all the same reasons scooters historically have: low cost and less regulation. eBikes lack the power of even a 50cc scooter, but with a super low purchase price and often no registration, licence or insurance required, it’s not hard to see why they’ve become the vehicle of choice amongst the frugal (and DUI limited).

I see three possible solutions to the doldrums that scooter sales are now in. First, new regulations might make eBikes less appealing. If eBike owners are required to have a licence, registration and insurance like many areas require for scooters, then buyers might choose to pay a bit more for a more capable and higher quality scooter. However, there’s not much indication this is going to change.

Secondly, scooters could benefit from some unexpected cultural shift, like a hit movie, that makes scooters cool again. In the past two movies have done this (Roman Holiday, Quadrophenia) and something similar could happen again. In North America scooters have always been practical enough and it’s been the “broke motorcyclist” stigma that’s prevented far higher sales.

Thirdly, and preferably, scooter makers could release interesting new models that genuinely pique customers interests. Right now there are too many models on the market that are either boring or aging. The market needs another icon like the Vespa or Honda Ruckus to give it a boost.

Gogoro-electric-scooter-USA

Honda-EV-Electric-Cub-Scooter-USA
Perhaps the biggest opportunity here is with a well done electric scooter. Manufacturers have been toying with the idea, as I described previously, but no one has gotten serious about providing a capable electric scooter that latches on to Tesla’s momentum. I think Gogoro might be on to something with their new design, but I’d rather buy a battery and charge at home then be tied to a swap network.

An appealing and capable electric scooter could be what’s needed to make scooters cool again and boost the market. Unfortunately Gogoro doesn’t have plans to bring this to the USA and the other manufacturers seem content to slowly sell the same old models. Maybe Honda will get serious about their EV-Cub.

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STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2016 - PART ONE

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
Honda
Metropolitan
Piaggio MP3 500 Sport
Vespa
Primavera Tourer
Vespa
Sprint Sport
Vespa
946 EA
Yamaha
Zuma 125

Dropped Models
Aprilia SR50
Kymco
MyRoad 700i

Genuine-Buddy-Kick-125-USAGenuine-Venture-50-2016
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.

2016-Honda-Metropolitan-Pearl-Blue
Yamaha-2016-Zuma-125-Blue-USA


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).

Piaggio-MP3-Sport-500-2016Vespa-Primavera-Tourer-150-2016Vespa-Sprint-S-150-ABS-USA

Aprilia-SR50-USA
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.


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STATE OF SCOOTER SCENE 2015 - PART TWO

HONDA PCX150 WINS READERS POLL, SCOOTER SALES FLAT FOR 2014

2015 Readers Pick: Best New Scooter
Honda continued their dominance of the annual MSG readers poll for best new scooter, having won the poll three years in a row. The substantially overhauled PCX150 was voted into the top spot with 42% of the vote. That’s the second win for the PCX150, which also nabbed the award when it was last overhauled for 2013.

Honda-PCX150-2015-MSG-Winner

Yamaha’s new
SMAX was also a popular pick with 31% of the vote. Third place (16%) went to Vespa’s new Primavera and Sprint models, with offerings from Genuine and Kymco lagging with single digit support. Consistent with other trends, mid-sized scooters dominated the poll.

Scooter Market Sales
The USA scooter sales figures for 2014 are in from the Motorcycle Industry Council. The faint recovery from the 2009-2010 recession seems to have stalled in the USA as sales were flat at 33,528 units. That’s down 1214 machines or 3% from 2013 (34,742 scooters) and about half of the pre-recession sales.

While a full recovery would be great, the 2006 - 2008 period was an unusual spike in scooter sales second only to the mid-80’s boom. The current level of sales at 30-40k units is about the historical norm for scooters, as similar volumes were sold from about ’88 to 2004.

USA-Scooter-Sales-2006-2014 Canada-Scooter-Sales-2007-2013

As usual, the 2014 figures aren’t in yet for Canada but the MMIC has finally posted the 2013 numbers. In Canada scooter sales rebounded moderately after a pretty dismal 2012. Including all the major, non-Chinese brands, 3912 scooters were sold in Canada in 2013. On a per capita basis, that’s a bit better than in the USA but still a far cry from the pre-recession popularity. Hopefully things take an upturn in 2015. eBikes seem to be stealing sales from the 50cc segment, but mid-sized scooters seem to be selling well.

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STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2015 - PART ONE

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
Honda PCX150
Kymco
Super 8 X 50 / 150
Kymco
Super 8 R 50 / 150
Vespa
Primavera
Vespa
Sprint
Yamaha
SMAX

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.

Vespa-Sprint-2015-BlackVespa-Primavera-2015-USA



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.

Honda-PCX150-Canada-Bright-Bronze-Metallic
Yamaha-SMAX-2015-Blue


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.

2015-Kymco-USA-Super-8-R
Genuine-Buddy-Riot-2015-Scooter

Dropped Models:
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)
Vespa
LX
Vespa
S
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.

Yamaha-Majesty-2012-Black
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.


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STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2014 - PART ONE

A SUMMARY OF THE NEW AND DEPARTING MODELS FOR 2014
In this first portion of MSG’s annual state of the scooter scene (SOTSS) address, we’ll run down the full list of new scooters arriving in North America for 2014. We’ll also pay homage to the departing scooters, of which thankfully there are few.

First, please take a second to vote for your favourite new model for our “Motor Scooter Guide 2014 Scooter of the Year” award. Last year Honda’s PCX 150 took the top spot.

New 2014 Scooters:
Aprilia
SR Motard
Honda
Forza
Kymco
MyRoad 700i
Piaggio
Fly 50
Piaggio
Fly 150 (USA)
Suzuki
Burgman 200
Vespa
946
Yamaha
Zuma FX / X

Dropped Models:
Aprilia SportCity One 50 (USA)
Aprilia
SportCity One 125 (Canada)
Honda
Silverwing
Kymco
Vitality 50 (Canada)
Kymco
Downtown 200 (USA)
Kymco
People GT 200
Vespa
LX / LXV 150 (Canada)
Vespa
S 150 (Canada)

2014-Aprilia-SR-Motard-50
New Models
The new machines announced for 2014 are a diverse bunch, with motor sizes ranging from 50cc to 700cc. Overall there are 8 significantly new scooters for 2014, based on 5 completely new designs and a significant new take on the Zuma style. While the list of departing scooters is a bit longer, many of these machines are only leaving either Canada or the USA. Accordingly, the total count of scooters on sale in the USA rises from 49 to 53 models, while Canadians will be offered 39 models (from 38) from the eight major brands covered here on MSG.

2014-Yamaha-Zuma-FX
Three significantly new 50cc models have been released, which are the Aprilia SR Motard 50, Yamaha Zuma FX/X and Piaggio Fly 50. The Aprilia SR Motard (black) has been long rumoured to be headed to North America, but it’s virtually the same model as the second generation Piaggio Typhoon, so it’s not surprising that Aprilia took their time. The new Zuma FX (called the Zuma X in Canada) is a derivative of the current generation Zuma model but aimed at
2014-Piaggio-Fly-USA
those who aren’t into the polarizing bug eye headlights. The Zuma FX employs the Asian market single headlight design and concurrently adds colored rims, grips and stripes to stand out as a sportier Zuma. Lastly, the Fly 50 (white) is Piaggio’s high volume machine that offers tasteful and unassuming style for the urban rider. The edgier new model is nice and includes an updated 4-valve fuel injected engine.

In the mid-size category, Piaggio has also launched their new Fly design with a 150cc motor boasting similar technology. Suzuki’s new
Burgman 200 also qualifies as a mid-sized
2014-Suzuki-Burgman-200-Canada
machine
2014-Vespa-946-USA
based on its displacement, but the design is solidly in the maxi category. The other new 150cc scooter is Vespa’s new ultra premium 946. This new mid-sized Vespa is being released in hand made limited edition batches, with the first being the Ricordo Italiano edition. This wildly expensive $9946 scooter justifies its price tag through technology (ABS, traction control, FI, 3 valves, LCD gauges) and through premium construction (aluminum, hand stitched leather).

The Burgman 200 (above) is going to be an interesting scooter to watch, as sales could take off if buyers see it as a more affordable way to enter the maxi scene and aren’t put off by a marginal 75mph top speed. It’s Suzuki’s first new scooter in some time, and their smallest offering ever in the USA.

Buyers that are looking for a full speed scooter will also want to consider Honda’s new Forza (below grey), which picks up where the old
Reflex left off. At 279cc, the Forza can close in on 100mph and does so with style and refinement. This scooter is a great model from Honda and early reviews seem to very positive as it blends maxi scooter features with a price tag and fuel usage that is easier to swallow.

Honda-Forza-2014-USA2014-Kymco-MyRoad-700-USA

The last new model for 2014 is Kymco’s MyRoad 700i (white), which makes no secret of its status as a highway devouring mega-scooter. The MyRoad 700 is big and heavy at 608 lbs, but it provides a supremely comfortable and powerful highway tool that offers a larger motor and lower price that Suzuki’s popular Burgman 650.

Appendum: Genuine Scooter Co. is also on the cusp of releasing two substantially new models: An all new 170cc Hooligan rugged scooter and a 125cc Automatic version of their popular vintage Stella model. Here is more details.

Departing Models

2005-Kymco-Vitality-50
There’s little cause for mourning for the departing models, as most of these machines are sticking around in some form. The only two designs that are leaving us entirely have an average age of 9.5 years. They are Honda’s Silverwing (silver) and Kymco’s Vitality 50 (blue), which arrived for 2002 and 2005 respectively. The Vitality was dropped from Kymco’s USA lineup quite a few years ago (2008), but it somehow lingered on in Canada until finally meeting its demise amidst competition from many new small Kymco’s. The Silverwing on the other hand has been dropped not because of a new model from Honda (maybe the Forza 300 interferes a bit),
2002-Honda-Silverwing
but rather because sales have likely been declining for years. Honda hasn’t updated the Silverwing since its introduction, which means that new models like Suzuki’s Burgman 650 and Kymco’s MyRoad 700i are likely cornering the market.

Kymco has also opted to drop the 200cc version of their People GT (below) and Downtown models, leaving the more powerful and top selling 300 versions to carry on. This decision is hardly worth lamenting except Kymco Canada was only offfering the People GT in 200cc form, which means the end of the end of the line for that model in Canada.

kymco-people-gt-125-i-1
One of the biggest losses to the scooter scene for 2014 occurs in Canada, where Vespa has deciding against offering their 150cc models. This means the LX and S designs can still be purchased, but only with the smaller and more legislation friendly 50cc engines.

Aprilia Canada - which is managed by the Piaggio group like Vespa - has also dropped their lone mid-sized offering, the SportCity One 125. It’s too bad to see the shift away from mid-sized machines, but the SportCity One remains around in 50cc form, unlike the USA where Aprilia has dropped it to reduced redundancy with their new SR Motard 50. As Piaggio Canada also opted not to import the new Fly 150, you can no longer buy any 125-150cc machines from this major group of scooter brands in Canada.


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STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2013 PT 2: SCOOTER OF THE YEAR

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
Honda PCX150 - Scooter of the Year 2013
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.

USA Scooter Sales: 2006 - 2012
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.

CANADA
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.


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STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2013 - PART ONE

Piaggio-Typhoon-125-2014
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
Honda
PCX150
Genuine Lemonhead Buddy (USA)
Honda-PCX-150-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]

Dropped Models:
Kymco
Sento 50 (USA)
Genuine-Lemonhead-Buddy
Kymco Yager GT 200 (USA)
Piaggio
BV 300 (USA)
Piaggio
BV 500 (USA)
Piaggio MP3 line (Canada)

Industry Overview
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.

Departing Scooters
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.]

2012 Piaggio Beverly Sport Tourer 350
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.

New Scooters
Piaggio
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.
Kymco-Movie-150-2013
With 50cc scooters being the most popular, this new model should really increase the number of Typhoon’s on the streets.

Kymco
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.

Honda
Honda Metropolitan - 2013 Model - Red/Black
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.

Genuine
Yamaha-2013-Vino-50-White
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.

Yamaha
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.
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STATE OF SCOOTER SCENE 2012 - PART 2: SALES UP 11.8%

PART 2: SCOOTER SALES RISE NICELY IN 2011
Honda-2009-Scooters-Leftover
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.
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STATE OF SCOOTER SCENE 2012 - PART 1

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

2009-kymco-sting50
Dropped Models:
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.

Buddy-170
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.
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