Genuine has been successful with the Buddy because they’ve designed a well appointed scooter (front disc, peppy engines) that is fun to ride and affordable.
Wide range of versions, color options and accessories
Well rounded package
Could use a little more storage
GENUINE BUDDY SERIES
Genuine’s Buddy line is one of the biggest scooter success stories of the past decade. The Buddy became highly popular because it delivers a strong all around package at a very fair price by a small company that cares about its scooters. All the Buddy scooters are peppy, reliable and quite affordable. Comparable scooters from the Italian and Japanese brands are usually a few hundred more, and cheaper scooters from the Chinese makers don’t offer the same reliability, performance, quality, resale value and manufacturer support.
The Buddy scooter is manufactured for Genuine via a collaboration with PGO Scooters of Taiwan (not to be confused with the Chinese manufacturers). PGO is one of the four main Taiwanese makers (along with Kymco, SYM and TGB) who have been rapidly refining their scooters and competing globally with the Italian and Japanese brands. The Buddy is based on PGO’s PA model which comes in a variety of engine displacements with commensurate model codes (ie. PA50, PA125 and PA150). PGO also sells this model through various other distributors worldwide, where it receives other names like the Metro (Canada), Bubu (Taiwan) and Ligero (UK and elsewhere).
Versions and Updates
The first Buddy’s arrived in the USA in time for the 2006 model year. That first year the Buddy could be had in 50cc ($1900) and 125cc ($2500) calibers. Since then a number of versions have been added and prices have evolved upwards a notch, but the basic Buddy design remains intact as of 2019.
2007 saw Genuine add the higher end Buddy ‘International’ with its Euro inspired two color paint schemes. Genuine also tweaked the lighting, headsets and mirrors on all the Buddy’s and added a 12V charger under the seat for your phone, laptop or music player.
The Buddy International got bumped to 150cc for 2008 to better differentiate it as the premium offering in the Buddy line. All Genuine scooters received a ‘Bad Boy’ air horn for 2008 as an additional safety measure to make sure cars hear you and take notice.
2009 marked the last year of the Buddy International and the introduction of the performance oriented Buddy Blackjack 150. The follow up to the Blackjack was the Psycho Buddy which hit the market for 2012 only. The fuel injected Buddy 170i also debuted for 2012. More recently, the Lemonhead Buddy 50 was introduced as a 2013 model in a limited run of 200. For 2015 Genuine announced the limited edition Buddy Riot in both 50 and 125 sizes. All told there has been eight variants of the Buddy:
Buddy (Regular) – 50cc and 125cc sizes. Solid colors. Sold 2006 to present.
Buddy International – Gains oil cooler, white wall tires, a larger 150cc engine (except 2007) and the two tone color schemes called ‘Pamplona’, ‘St. Tropez’ and ‘Italia’ (Spain, France and Italy). Sold 2007 – 2009.
Buddy Lil’ International – 50cc version of the Buddy International. 2008 – 2009, 2013 – 2014. St. Tropez colors not offered.
Buddy 50 International – Same as Lil’ International, just a minor name change starting in 2015.
Lemonhead Buddy – 2012, 50cc only. 2012. Limited run of 200. Yellow ‘Lemonhead’ (candy) inspired art.
Buddy Blackjack 150 – 2009. Premium performance Buddy. Flat black paint job, solo seat, white wall tires, performance brakes, suspension and exhaust. $3499
Psycho Buddy – Limited edition (174 made for 2012). Successor to the Blackjack, but at a lower MSRP due to its use of the 125cc engine and regular brakes. Gets a similar flat black look.
Buddy 170i – Dual color paint schemes, fuel injection and the largest 170cc engine. New for 2012.
Buddy Riot – 2015. Gunmetal paint with black accents. 50 and 125cc. Performance suspension. 2015 only.
Buddy Anniversary – 2016. Diamond blue paint, 50cc and 125cc, upgraded forks, front disc and brake levers, low profile seat.
Buddy Eclipse – 2017. 50 and 125cc. Matte black paint and blacked out components except for red seat piping and brake calipers.
The 50cc Buddy scooters use a horizontal Minarelli engine. This basic design is shared with the other 50’s from Genuine and a host of other scooter sold worldwide. The Minareli design is the worlds most popular 2-stroke 50cc engine for a scooter application, so it’s been widely used by makers such as Aprilia and Yamaha. Stock, the Buddy 50 is restricted to 30mph which makes it eligible for the desirable ‘moped’ legal treatment in quite a few states. Often registration and/or a motorcycle licence is not required, although if you derestrict your Buddy to 48mph you’ll want to look into obtaining these.
The 125cc and larger (150cc, 170cc) Buddy scooters are all based on short case (small rear wheel) PGO/Genuine produced versions of the GY6 engine. The GY6 is a globally popular design that used by a variety of makers besides Genuine such as Kymco and Znen. The 125 and 150 variants of this motor are reliable and powerful, while not offering quite the same fuel economy as a fuel injected, liquid cooled 4-stroke engine would. The 150cc Buddy’s typically get 70-80mpg in mixed real world use, which is solid although the most miserly scooters in the 125-150cc class (ie. Yamaha’s Zuma 125) can often post ~90mpg in real world mixed use with their 4-valves and fuel injection.
The Buddy 170i does benefit from fuel injection, so it typically posts the better milage than the 125 and 150 models despite its extra displacement. You’ll typically see milage in the mid 80’s under mixed use.
Top speeds for the Buddy’s range from a restricted 30mph (50cc) to 60mph (125) and even 65-70mph (150, 170i models). Your Buddy may appear to be faster still, but the speedometers on the Buddy’s are widely reported to be 10-14% optimistic. The smallest Buddy is a powerful machine that can spool up to 48mph once unrestricted, but if power is really what you’re after then the bigger Buddy’s are the way to go. With the 125-170 models, you’ve got virtually the same lightweight Buddy body straddling an engine that’s 2-3 times the size, so acceleration is reputed to be outstanding.
Design and Amenities
The urban styled Buddy is well suited for regular and physically shorter riders. The Buddy uses a 29.7” high seat that is about 2” lower than Genuine’s other 50cc scooters. This also lowers the riders body weight to create a handling advantage for any scooter rider. The cockpit of the Buddy isn’t huge however, so lanky riders may want to look for a physically larger ride.
The Buddy does a lot of things right that combine to make it one of the most popular modern scooters. The price is darn affordable, the entire suite of engines are peppy for their size, the style is unique and urban and the scooter is physically small which makes an easy and confident machine. There’s also a front disc brake which you don’t find on nearly as many 50’s as you should. The performance Buddy’s (Blackjack, Psycho) take this even further with high end suspension goodies and upgraded brakes that reputedly offer best in class stopping and turning.
Rounding out the Buddy’s arsenal of amenities is a 12V/cell phone charging port in the underseat area and Genuine’s 139dB Bad Boy horn – the latter of which was added starting in 2008. The only real weak spot in the Buddy’s array of convenience features is the somewhat small underseat storage area that won’t swallow most full face lids. 3/4 helmets are normally fine, but the Buddy’s gas tank gobbles too much of the underseat area to provide room for averaged sized full faced helmets. It would be nice to get a glovebox to compliment the smaller underseat space, but the Buddy utilizes a large but open cubby hole in the legshield instead. This bin is alright, but a glovebox is more useful for storing items like insurance papers, spare spark plugs and a set of gloves.
The Buddy competes in the small and mid sized urban/modern scooter niches. Similar scooters are Yamaha’s Vino 50 / 125, Piaggio’s Fly 50 / 150, Kymco’s Like 50 / 200 and Honda’s Metropolitan, Elite 110 and PCX 125 rides. Vespa sorta competes too, but their higher priced chromed offerings mostly appeal to a different crowd.
Genuine has been successful with the Buddy because they’ve designed a well appointed scooter (front disc, peppy engines) that is fun to ride and affordable. The smallest Buddy 50 uses a 2-stroke engine, so heavier riders and the performance driven will prefer this over a 50cc 4-stroke, while those looking for rock bottom fuel economy might want to check out some of the slower 4-stroke 50’s out there.
The numerous iterations of the Buddy show the flexibility Genuine has as a smaller company. They can create small runs of scooters like the 174 Psycho Buddy’s built for 2012, and in doing so cater to a wider range of scooterists than larger brands which often sell just one or two variants. With displacements of 50, 125, 150 and 170cc and a number of different takes on the Buddy style, it’s easy to see why so many people find a Buddy that works for them.
Wide range of versions, color options and accessories