For a new series, I’m going to run down my picks for the top 3 scooters of each decade, starting with the 80’s. These top three lists will leave out a lot of great machines, but I think they’ll capture most of the machines that stood out.

In the 80’s Honda and Yamaha pretty much had the scooter market to themselves with Vespa and Lambretta on the way out. A lot of neat machines were introduced during this decade, with some of the best machines coming in the late in the decade after the
scooter craze died off. 1983 - 1985 were huge years for scooter sales, with ’86 - ’89 selling only a small fraction of that.

In the 80’s
Honda and Yamaha combined to serve up 18 new models which ran the gamut from practical (Honda Elite 150) to just plain weird (Honda Gyro).

Yamaha Riva 180 - Red
1987-91 Yamaha Riva 200
Like the other scooters on this list, Yamaha’s big Riva had teething problems in the early years. The Riva 180 suffered from autochoke issues that makes nearly all machines hard to start today. However, when Yamaha returned for 1987 with an upgraded version that added 28cc (171cc to 199cc) and remedied the autochoke issue, they had a real winner.

The Riva 200 rips on the highway with an 80mph top speed. With gold rims and the spaceship look, the Riva 200 combines 80’s glory with highway cruising practicality. It gets the win over Honda’s big scooters for being just as fast as an Elite 250 while looking even more awesome. Full info

1985 Honda Aero 50 - Monza Red
1986-87 Honda Aero 50
Honda’s first generation of Aero 50 was a neat machine, but the second generation introduced for 1985 improved everything (faster, easily upgradable, glovebox, better suspension, new seat). The first year of the second generation lacked a kickstarter and throttle controlled oil injection, but when these were added for 1986’s Honda arrived at 2-stroke 50cc perfection.

The final version of this masterpiece was only sold for ’86 - ’87, but if you can find one in good condition it’s a great buy. They are seemingly immortal and have to been one of the most useful and fun 50cc scooters to own. Compared to 50cc’s from Yamaha, the Aero 50 was years ahead in power and engineering. Full info is here.

1985 Honda Aero 80
The Aero 80 is the most fun to ride stock small scooter ever, with it’s incredible torque making wheelies easy in stock form. It’s a package that’s gotten even more fun with time, as cruising around today on an Aero 80 combines memories of the 80’s with that amazing blast off the line. Moving slow or fast, the Aero 80 is awesome.

The ’83 - ’84 Aero 80’s suffered from a few issues, specifically the power cuts off at full throttle so a careful hand is needed for peak acceleration. Honda remedied this for 1985, plus they boosted the top speed and added storage in the side panel to achieve perfection. While an 80cc scooter isn’t as cheap to operate as a 50cc (insurance, fuel), the 1985 Aero 80 is easily the most fun to drive scooter from the 80’s. Full info is

Honorable Mentions
Honda Helix - The original maxi scooter
Yamaha Riva 50 / Salient - Not a great machine, but a neat looker
Honda Aero 125 - Another 2-stroke torque monster
Honda Elite 150 - Perhaps the most practical 80’s machine.
Honda Gyro - This 3 wheeler easily wins the odd-ball award

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