With the Mojito, you won’t get the steel body, micro-chip key and fuel injection found in newer Vespa models, but you will save quite a bit of money in the used scooter market
Powerful motor options
Limited used parts availability
APRILIA MOJITO – RETRO 50 & CUSTOM 50 / 150
The Mojito line of scooters from Aprilia were retro scooters sold in the early years of the millennium (2004 to 2007). The Mojito’s swooping retro look was inspired by automobiles of the 1950’s and brings to mind scooters like Honda’s Joker.
Americans were first offered the Mojito in 2004, when three versions were imported to the USA market. The base model was the Mojito Retro, which was offered in only a 50cc version. The higher end option was the Mojito Custom, which came in 50cc or 150cc versions.
The Mojito remained on sale for four years in the USA, with 2007 being the final year. In Canada, the Mojito also debuted for 2004 with only the Mojito Custom 150 being offered. Aprilia announced the smaller Custom 50 would join the 150 in showrooms for 2005, but it never happened and the Mojito was dropped from the Canadian market following 2005. Overseas the Mojito enjoyed a longer run under the names Habana and Habana Retro.
Powering Aprilia’s Mojito scooters were two air cooled engine options. The larger 150 motor option was Piaggio’s 4-stroke LEADER engine, which has been widely used in mid-sized scooters from the Piaggio Group recent decades. Some examples include Vespa’s LX 150 and Piaggio’s Fly 150. Piaggio’s LEADER engine is a nice motor with a good amount of power and a satisfying growl. It’s a bit loud at idle, but when you open it up the note changes to a deeper purr. Aprilia nixed the kick starter that is usually present on this engine, but that’s probably a good call because the LEADER kickstarter is notoriously difficult to use successfully and prone to breakage. Top speed for the 150 is a respectable 60 mph. The only real downside to this motor is the mileage, which lags some of the more advanced scooter engines employing fuel injection, 4-valves and liquid cooling. Mojito 150’s are capable of about 60 mpg on the open road. In the aftermarket scene there are a lot of parts for this engine including 190cc kits.
The smaller displacement Mojito uses a peppy 2-stroke 50cc Aprilia/Morini engine. A similar version of this engine can also be found in Aprilia SR50 scooters built prior to 2009. This motor saves on insurance costs but not so much at the gas pump. Without the neat direct fuel injection found on the SR50, fuel mileage is only slightly better than the 150cc at 70mpg. Power is strong for a 50cc, with unrestricted Mojito 50’s capable of 45-50 mph.
The underlying idea for the Mojito was to take the retro scooter look and blend it with the swagger of 50’s American cars. The result is a fairly unique ‘cruiser’ scooter that brings to mind the Vespa LXV more than anything else. The style of the Mojito is interesting, as its got an obvious retro look but there’s still a lot of little modern touches like the machined passenger pegs. The Mojito seemed to appeal quite strongly to some scooterists. It’s not hard to find passionate Mojito owners who love their scooters.
The Custom version of the Mojito takes this concept a step further and according to Aprilia adds the influence of classic motorcycles, which might be a stretch. To Aprilia this means plenty of chrome and two tone paint. Aprilia added touches like the exposed chrome handlebars and the chromed headlight in addition to many other chromed bits. The price increase for this chrome glow was $300, which is a pretty good deal compared to what Vespa charges for their chromed out LXV over a regular LX (admittedly there are other differences as well). In some overseas markets Aprilia felt the need to plaster the word ‘custom’ down the flanks (see left), but thankfully they opted for a smaller Mojito Custom badge on North America models. Aprilia also equipped the Mojito with a solid (i.e.. no-spokes) rear rim, while other markets got a rear rim that matched the front one.
Brakes / Suspension / Handling
Since the 50’s, front wheels on retro scooters have gradually been increasing to improve handling over bumps and at high speed. In this case, the Mojito goes one step beyond Vespa’s small to mid sized scooters with its 12” front wheel (vs. 11”). The result is improved stability, which is also due in part to the lower seat height (29.7” vs. 30.5”) which drops the rider an inch closer to the road.
Front braking on the Mojito is handled by a retro looking leading link setup. It’s a classic system that works fine, while being a little more complex and heavy than more commonly used hydraulic forks. Aprilia gets full marks for looks though, with the blacked out rods and chrome linkage yielding a nice look that would go really well with blacked out rims. Rearing braking is handled by a typical 120mm (50cc) or 140mm (150cc) drum brake, which works fine but won’t set any records.
Storage & Convenience
Underseat storage area is adequate under the Mojito’s expansive seat, with room for most full face lids. The underseat area could be bigger, but Aprilia also located the gas tank here to enable a gravity fuel feed. Having the gas tank share the underseat space is pretty common, but it’s nice when companies slip the tank into the floorboard and add a fuel pump to free up even more space. One thing to watch out for with the underseat area is that it does get a bit hot due to motor heat. It wouldn’t take too long to spoil a block of Taleggio stored down there.
All Mojito scooters have a nicely sized locking glovebox which is awesome. Not that many small-mid sized scooters have glove boxes, but they should be mandatory. They’re such a great spot for your insurance papers, a couple spare tools and random items like some gloves, cigars and sunglasses.
Interested buyers will likely be comparing the Mojito against the fine scooters from Vespa, as well as against more value oriented retro scooters from Yamaha, Kymco and Honda. With the Mojito, you won’t get the steel body, micro-chip key and fuel injection found in newer Vespa models, but you will save quite a bit of money in the used scooter market. The Mojito 150 uses the same core engine as Vespa’s mid-sized scooters, so it’s your call whether the prestige, steel body and other touches are worth the Vespa premium. In its day, the Mojito competed against Vespa’s ET scooters, and the new LX models introduced for 2006.
Other competitors in the ‘value retro scooter’ segment include Yamaha’s Vino 50 & 125, Honda Metropolitan and Kymco’s Like, Sento and Sting scooters. It’s tough to beat the value of a gently used Kymco scooter, but the Mojito is a more well appointed machine so it slots in nicely between the Kymco and Vespa offerings. The choice between Aprilia’s Mojito and its Japanese competition comes down to power and style preference. The Metropolitan is quite a nice scooter, but its fuel sipping 4-stroke engine lags a derestricted Mojito 50 in outright power. The earlier 2-stroke models of the Vino 50 can hang with the Mojito 50 uphill, but Vino 125 can’t make quite the same claims. The Vino 125 is significantly slower than the Mojito 150, with a top speed gap of 10 mph.
The base model Mojito Retro was priced at $1999 in 2004. That’s significantly cheaper than a 2004 Vespa 50cc, but still more than most 50’s. Opting for the 150 Custom takes the price up to $3899 which is really getting into Vespa territory ($3999 for an 2004 Vespa ET4 150). Aprilia definitely wasn’t selling these purely on price. A higher end Mojito Custom mostly appeals to retro scooter fans who love swagger and chrome while preferring something a little different than the popular Vespa’s.