Back in 2006, Genuine Scooters of Chicago brought us a wonderful scooter called the Blur. It was one of the best-handling scooters I had ever ridden. I liked it so much that I bought one. Ostensibly for my wife, but I ride it nearly as much as she does. The Blur was in production for a couple of years and then fell out of the Genuine line-up. Here in 2010, the Blur is back. This time it has a larger engine (220cc as opposed to 150cc) and fuel injection.
I’m not sure why the Blur wasn’t a stronger seller the first time around. I suspect that the US scooter-buying public wasn’t really ready for a sport-scooter with modern styling and a price tag of $3,500. The vast majority of scooters being sold were of the retro style. Scooters like the Buddy did very well (and continue to do so) while scooters in general were just starting to get a foot-hold in this market.
Bob Hedstrom at Scooterville generously provided the Blur used for this review. Because I have a lot of riding time on the 2006 Blur, I didn’t keep the 2010 version for terribly long. Just enough to get a good feel for what has changed and what stayed the same.
Speedometer Reading/Speed/Fuel Economy
I’ll say right away that the one area of concern I had with the new Blur 220i occurs here – the speedometer is inaccurate. I did several tests at several different speeds including city and highway riding. All tests were performed with a GPS unit mounted to the Blur. The worst was 17% optimistic and best was 15% optimistic. That is to say that the speedometer indicated about 15% faster than the actual speed of the Blur. The odometer was equally inaccurate. When cruising around town at an indicated 35 MPH, I was actually going 30 MPH. On the highway at an indicated 65 MPH I was really going 56 MPH. The fastest I got the Blur to was 69 MPH which was an indicated 80 MPH.
I contacted Genuine Scooters about this disparity and they are looking into it.
Again, I didn’t have the Blur for the several days that I usually spend on a review. As such, my fuel economy test was over limited miles. I got 85 MPG which I consider good for a new scooter in mixed use riding. Let’s not forget that I’m a big load (I really can’t think of anybody who would disagree with that statement) at over 200 pounds. I would expect that an average sized rider, riding at moderate speeds and not running full-throttle every chance they got could expect to see 90 MPG or better.
The Blur 220i is powered by a four-stroke fuel injected 220cc engine fed via fuel injection. Power gets to the rear wheel by means of a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with belt drive. There are disc brakes on both ends, a telescopic fork on the front and 6 bar link system for the rear make up the suspension. The dash varies from the 2006 Blur with some digital additions. The digital speedometer was easy to read in most conditions. There is a new ignition switch with a nice security cover that is operated by the key. A tab sticks out of the left side of the switch that one pushes in to “close” the switch cover. A little slide-out tab fits into a slot just below the key insertion point that releases the security cover.
Just as was the case on the 2006 Blur, the fuel door is located on the mild “hump” in the middle of the floorboards. I don’t mind this location and it’s easy to fill the tank WITHOUT SPILLING any fuel – something that can’t be said for lots of other scooters. There is some storage under the seat, but no “native” rear rack. There is a grab-bar in the rear, but a very nice accessory rear rack is available from Genuine. More in this in a bit. The seat on the Blur 220i is a bit different than the 2006 version and is more comfortable though it also results in a touch taller seating position.
As mentioned earlier, part of this review is the comparison to the first generation Blur. In addition to the larger engine and fuel injection, the new Blur is available in white and gunmetal as opposed to orange or black. I do miss the orange, but the white is quite striking. The new Blur is a bit more comfortable than the 2006 version. The seat is better padded and the ride is smoother. This is likely due to the fuel injection and the bar-end weights that come standard on the 2010 Blur.
In my opinion, there is no direct comparison to the Blur from other manufacturers currently available in the USA. I decided to go with a slightly smaller engine displacement scooter from Kymco with modern design and fuel injection though lacking in “sporty” features and a slightly larger engine displacement from Aprilia with scooter-sport-touring intentions.
Though all three machines have some similarity in specification, they are very different in execution. I have ridden all three including a full review of the Kymco Yager 200GT. The Kymco is a very capable machine but is nothing like as much fun to ride as the Blur. The Aprilia is a nice ride, but probably more comparable to the Kymco People ‘S’ 250 than the Blur. The SportCity just isn’t as responsive or as much fun to throw around as the Blur.
Everything I said about the 2006 Blur 150 applies to the new Blur 220i so far as riding impressions go. This is a fine-handling machine that is a complete blast to ride. I think part of the intention with the increase in engine displacement was to make the Blur 220i a small sport-tourer. With a couple of accessories, this is certainly possible to a point. With a single rider and modest top speed expectations, the Blur would be a wonderfully fun back-road ride. If you’re expecting to gobble up mile after mile of interstate blacktop at speeds well in excess of the legal limit this is not the machine for you. Get a maxi-scooter for that (Suzuki Burgman, Kymco Xciting 500, Yamaha Majesty, Honda Silverwing, etc.).
The Blur can carry two in reasonable comfort and the suspension and brakes are well up to the task. Around town there is very little that is as much fun as a Blur except maybe another Genuine – the Buddy BlackJack. The BlackJack differs in design and execution from the Blur, but does accomplish that wonderfully high fun factor. The BlackJack is a built up Buddy while the Blur is designed from the get-go to be what it is.
Fit and Finish
The quality of components and manufacture is what I have come to expect from Genuine – very good. The Blur is manufactured in Taiwan by PGO. In recent years, several Taiwanese manufacturers (PGO, Kymco, SYM) have proven themselves to be the equal of anything out of Japan. The Blur 220i has a couple of improvements over it’s 2006 brother. The bar-end weights, brake levers and wheels have an improved finish that looks great. The body panels fit perfectly and are well finished. Everything about the Blur feels substantial and well made. Over the past several years, my 2006 Blur has held up very well with no problems in materials or workmanship. I expect the same from the new Blur 220i.
My 2006 Blur makes use of the front turn signals that are integrated into the bodywork. The 2010 Blur 220i has add-on front turn signals added on near the levers. They do not interfere with operation of the levers, but I expect they could be easily removed and the integrated signals wired up to function (ahem, cough, cough) should one want to do that in disregard of certain federal requirements.
I’m very glad that Genuine decided to bring the Blur back to the USA. I know that the market for sporty scooters is not huge, I expect that Genuine will sell many many more Buddy scooters than it does Blurs. If you are looking for something that stands out from the crowd – both in appearance and performance – the Genuine Blur 220i is a great choice. It combines great features, high quality and functionality into a package that is more than the sum total of its parts.
If your already have a first generation Blur should you rush out and replace it? That’s a VERY tough question. I continue to be happy with the 2006 Blur. I am adding a NCY CVT kit, performance CDI and coil and considering an engine kit. I expect I could match the performance of the Blur 220i with modifications to my Blur. HOWEVER I still won’t have fuel injection and that is a very nice feature. The more experience I have with injected scooters the more I like them. Especially here in Minnesota where we have winter to deal with.
I have mentioned accessories a couple of times and it bears pointing out that there are a couple of OUTSTANDING ones available for the Blur. Genuine offers a windshield and rear rack for the Blur, both of which I have on my 2006 Blur. Both accessories are proprietary to the Blur. The fit perfectly and are very functional. Add a topcase to the rear rack and you have a nice commuting/touring set-up.