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.
VESPA MMXIII: THE WASP STIRS FOR 2013
November 10, 2012 -
VESPA REVAMPS THEIR COLOR PALETTE AND ADDS SPORT SE VARIANT
After maintaining a steady lineup for the past few years, Vespa has stirred things up for 2013. No, the radical new 946 won’t be here for another year or more, and no Vespa hasn’t slipped their new 3-valve 150cc engine into any North American models, but at least there’s something to get excited about. Consider 2013 to be the prequel, the warmup, to the bigger news announcements that lay in the years ahead.
First off, all of the models from 2012 are back. Besides the new pigments, the LX (50 & 150), S (50 & 50) and GTS (300 and 300 Super) have all been nearly identically reincarnated. Also back are the collectors ‘V’ variants of the LX and GTS -known as the LXV and GTV respectively. So what’s new? Well, a few tweaks, some new colors and a pretty neat ’Sport SE’ trim version of the S and GTS.
The ‘tweaks’ to the existing Vespas are focused on the S and LX. Both of these scooters receive new ‘horn guards’ (think grills) and additional Vespa logos on the handgrips and floorboard. The instrumentation has also been revised, with the S boasting classy blacked out and easier to clear gauges, while the LX 150 enjoying a freshening of the instruments style.
Vespa has made quite a few changes to their color offerings for 2013. You can delve into all the color details over at Vespa’s website and I’ll highlight the main ones here. The Vespa S is no longer available in titanium and Satin black has become exclusively available on the Sport SE variant of the S. The LX gets a new Aquamarine option and black is back. The upscale LXV trades Portofino green for a new ‘Sienna Ivory’ shade.
The larger GTS scooters also get new clothes. The regular GTS 300 trades Plum for Bronze, while the Super trades Titanium for Dragon Red. The new GTS 300 Super Sport SE comes in exclusively Satin black, like it’s S counterpart. Also like it’s smaller sibling, the GTV trades its green pigment option for a new ‘Sienna Ivory’ tint.
Sport SE Trim
The Sport SE variants of the S and GTS are undoubtably the biggest news for 2013. These limited edition Vespa’s claim to amplify Vespa’s sport spirit using a minimal aesthetic and high performance. While ‘high performance’ might be a bit of a stretch (there’s no performance tweaks at all), Vespa has created a tasteful aesthetic.
The Satin black paint (and wheels) look great with the red (shock coils) and white (seat piping) accents. The ribbed seat adds a sporty element too. While the checkered (S 50/150) or ‘Super’ (GTS) graphics on the flanks might not have been necessary, they are the most obvious identifier of these limited edition models.
Pricing for the Super SE adds $100 (S 50/150) or $200 (GTS) to the price, which is quite reasonable for even just the seat alone.
LOOK OUT INDIA - VESPA'S COMING TOO
January 16, 2012 -
Vespa Wooing Indian Customers with Pink LX125’s
Not to be outdone by Yamaha’s announcement last week, Vespa has ended their 13 year absence and announced their re-entry into the Indian scooter market with a pink scooter. This will be their third time trying the Indian market and the first without a local partner. In the 80’s and 90’s Piaggio partnered with LML (now maker of the Stella) and before that they joined forced with Bajaj who would go on to sell the Chetek PX clone..
Piaggio / Vespa made the announcement January 6th at the Auto Expo in Delhi, India. The Piaggio group has been selling three wheelers and commercial engines in India for some time, but now they are really getting serious about scooters with a new factory in India that opens in March and will have the capacity to churn out 300,000 shiny scooters annually.
With over 2.5 million scooters sold in India in 2011 (out of 13 million total vehicles), scooters represent a huge portion of the vehicle market. Vespa is going after this segment with just one model - an updated LX 125.
Vespa is using their newest 3 valve LEADER engine in this scooter (also used in the Quarantasei concept). The claims for this updated motor include less noise, reduced emissions and fuel economy up to 60km/liter (142 mpg). I’m not sure what the fine print is achieving for that 142 mpg figure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if began: “Step 1 - Load Vespa into the back of a truck”. My wife’s LX150 typically got about 55mpg, so I doubt the updated engine does much better than 70mpg in real world conditions.
Updated engine aside, Vespa also oriented this LX 125 for Indian roads by making the engine and wheel access easier. The improved wheel access is for changing flats caused by India’s rough roads. The improved engine access isn’t explained in the press release, but perhaps it’s because Piaggio hasn’t got all the bugs worked out of this new motor yet.
Look for this scooter at dealers in India’s 35 largest cities. Full Piaggio press release.
What’s going to capture Indian customers hearts? The LX 125 or Yamaha’s new Ray?
NEW VESPA QUARANTASEI - A CLOSER LOOK
November 24, 2011 -
Vespa Quarantasei - Production Begins Fall 2012
At the early November EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Vespa pulled the wraps off a totally new style of Vespa - the Quarantasei (Italian for 46). The name is a reference to the year Piaggio began selling scooters (1946) and it’s also refers to how this scooters was based on the original 1945 MP6 Vespa design by Corradino D’Ascanio. It’s called 46 because it’s one step beyond the ’45 model. Perhaps the most exciting news for Vespa enthusiasts is that Piaggio has committed to getting this scooter in production by next fall.
Since the Quarantasei is meant to be a re-interpretation of the MP6 style, it shares several styling elements including the suspended seat and wasp like tail. There’s also quite a bit of deviation from the MP6 design, such as moving the headlight from the front fender to the headset.
The overall look is decidedly more edgy and aggressive then recent Vespas. While parts of the design may not suit everyone, there is a lot to like with this new Vespa. The more aggressive and mature look will broaden the appeal of this scooter to folks who find the LX and GTS series of scooters a little too cheeky. The lighting execution on this concept scooter is excellent, with a modern projector beam headlight and the integrated circular LED taillight that surrounds the gas cap, although there’s likely to be changes before production starts.
Other neat design touches from Vespa include running the cables inside the handlebar rather than externally, which really cleans up the handlebar area. Vespa also integrated the LED front blinkers into the ends of the handlebars, which is clever but likely doesn’t meet too many safety regulations.
Powering the Quarantasei is a fuel injected, 3-valve, air-cooled 4-stroke motor that will be sold in 125cc and 150cc versions. The 125cc motor is going to be for countries like the UK that limit learners to 125cc or less, while the 150cc version will be sold in areas like the USA that often require 150cc engines as the minimum for highway travel. While Vespa is calling this motor ‘state of the art’, it’s likely the latest reiteration of their long running LEADER motor. In recent years Vespa has been using a 4-valve, fuel injected LEADER motors in their mid-sized scooters, so the move down to 3-valves is interesting. Vespa may have found a way to beat the power or milage of their 4-valve version using
3-valves, or maybe they just found a way to get similar performance at a lower cost.
Production is slated to being in fall 2012 for the Quarantasei. Between now and then Vespa is going to be making changes to this design to meet safety regulations and tweak the style in a few areas. I personally would like to see the seat area re-worked a bit. The floating seat concept is nice, but I’d like to see it shortened and lowered a bit so it doesn’t stick out so much. The rear end of this scooter is a work of art and hopefully not too many changes are made here aside from the inclusion of a bracket to mount a licence plate. It’s also quite certain that the handlebar end LED blinkers are going to be gone on the production version. It’ll be interesting to watch this design develop over the coming year.
What do you think? Is this the right styling direction for Vespa? What changes would you like to see? Leave a comment.
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.