Designed to be versatile, rugged, and ever so slightly evil, the Genuine Hooligan dares you to NOT smile while riding it. I’m adjusting to the “Hooligan” name. As a Brit, for me the word is most ordinarily tied to football (soccer to you lot) fans who are often less interested in the game than in the accompanying, sometimes destructive, behavior in the stands. To be sure, there are already scooter hooligans. Every city has at least one (in Minneapolis he goes by the nickname Pooter). Now we have a scooter that tells you right up front that it’s going to encourage you to misbehave a bit.
Genuine Scooters has a history of working with PGO Scooters of Taiwan to manufacture some outstanding machines for the North American marketplace. The Genuine Buddy is built by PGO and has been an unmitigated success for Genuine since 2006. The Hooligan is a combination of the PGO X-Hot and Libra scooters with some USA-only modifications. The Hooligan utilizes the same 169cc fuel-injected powerplant as the Genuine Buddy 170i, just with a longer drivecase to make room for the larger twelve-inch wheel.
Scooterville in Minneapolis generously provided the Hooligan used in this review.
Speedometer Reading/Speed/Fuel Economy
I picked up the new Hooligan 170i and mounted up a GPS unit right away. Another sporting scooter from Genuine (the Blur) has a reputation of being wildly optimistic in it’s indicated speed and miles. The Blur 150 I tested about eight years ago wasn’t bad, but other 150 owners reported as much as 20% optimistic readings. The Blur 220i I tested in 2010 was 17% optimistic. In some forums, this reputation has lead to the creation of BDUs (Blur Distance Units) as a measurement of distance between a kilometer and a mile. The Hooligan is also optimistic, though not to the extent of needing to utilize BDUs to track distance covered. My tests returned 12% optimistic for BOTH the speedometer and the odometer. When the speedometer indicates 30 MPH the actual speed is 26 MPH. At 50 MPH the actual speed is 44 MPH. My 11 mile test run for the odometer registered 12.5 miles on the Hooligan.
I did not have ideal conditions for a top speed test. I like to get a couple of experienced riders to assist with this and scheduling just didn’t work out, so we are left with the results of somewhat windy days and a 220 pound pilot. A GPS indicated 63 MPH was the best I could do. Fuel economy was good-not-great at 72 MPG. Keep in mind that this was a new machine, not yet broken in, being ridden fairly hard by a heavy rider. I would expect that an average sized person, riding a broken in scooter at speeds in the 35MPH – 55MPH range could expect to see 80 MPG or better.
As I mentioned earlier, the Genuine Hooligan is manufactured in Taiwan by PGO and includes components of the PGO X-Hot and Libra scooters as well as features unique to the Hooligan. The fuel injected 169cc motor has a claimed output of 15 horsepower. Doesn’t sound like a lot until one considers that most comparable scooters have to get by on 10 – 12 ponies. An automatic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) gets that power to the rear wheel. Dual disc brakes (more on what a big deal that is later) slow down the 12 inch wheels. The Hooligan is currently available in flat black or flat green. I don’t mind the flat finish craze, but it would be nice to see just one “shiny” color option.
The control configuration is standard for a modern automatic scooter – the left hand controls the rear brake, turn signals, high and low beam headlight, flash-to-pass and horn. The right hand controls the throttle, front brake, engine kill switch and electric starter. NOT so standard, the Hooligan also includes a four-way hazard light switch on the right hand controls. To start the scooter, just turn the ignition key to the on position, grab a brake lever, and press the starter button. Lots of stuff happens with the main switch. One can engage the front end lock, turn the ignition on & off, release the seat catch AND open the high-mounted fuel filler cap. The cap is on the left side of the inner legshield just below the (handy) covered power socket. The neck leads down to the fuel tank which is below the floorboards.
The mirrors spaced far enough apart to allow a decent view of what’s going on behind one. Lighting is freaking awesome on the Hooligan. Of course it goes without saying that Genuine had to have clumsy front turn signal indicator lights added on to meet the requirements of USA’s Department Of Transportation, but at least these look more like they belong than so many other scooters. The headlight and “projector” light up front make for outstanding nighttime visibility. The turn signal and brake lights are also bright and easy for others on the road to spot. The dash is a mix of a large round analog tachometer to the left and a small round digital speedometer/odometer to the right. There are warning lights in the lower/right corner of the tachometer and control buttons between and below the two round pods. There’s a fairly accurate fuel gauge on the outer edge of the speedometer. As it is, the dash looks good and is easy to read even in sunlight. However, my personal opinion is that a tachometer is of precious little use on a CVT-equipped scooter and I would much rather see the large, analog gauge contain the speedometer.
Native storage (what’s available on the scooter with no additions) is pretty good with one minor quibble. There’s a small tray on the inside legshield and good under-seat space. One has to take some care in positioning one’s helmet for storage under the seat. I just tossed my XXL three-quarter Nolan under there because it LOOKED like there was plenty of room and then I couldn’t latch the seat closed. Turned the helmet a bit and everything was fine.
Now we get to the quibble. The Hooligan comes with four attachment points, two on either side of the floorboard, and a cargo net. I suppose the attachment points would be helpful when securing the scooter on a trailer or something, but there are already MUCH better ways to do that. We’re supposed to utilize those points and the net to secure stuff on the floorboards. What a great idea! Sounds like it, but I don’t believe they thought this through. Anything stored there that is flat and sturdy would be OK, but you’d give up foot/leg room and anything large and tall (like a helmet) leaves no place for one’s feet on the floorboard.
Before I continue, I’m going to rant for a bit. If you’re looking to add some great, useable storage space, get a topcase. You may have noticed that the Hooligan is equipped with a rear grab rail, but no luggage rack. That’s OK, because Genuine Scooters understands that different scooter buyers want different things. When last I checked, Genuine offers a very nice windshield, cowl guards AND a rear luggage rack for the Hooligan. All are designed specifically for THIS scooter, very reasonably priced, and, if Genuine’s history repeats itself, of good quality. When it comes to ACCESSORIES, Genuine gets it. Other scooter brands in this country don’t seem to understand or care about accessories that actually work and are readily available. Rant over.
The Hooligan seat is large enough for two and there are BOTH built-in foot rests and flip-out foot pegs to accommodate a passenger.
Very nearly as sporty as a Genuine Blur with better ergonomics. You want more? Really? You’ve read all the way down to here and you don’t think I can continue to be ridiculously verbose as regards a scooter? Whew. Apparently you’re a glutton for punishment.
Let’s start with the ergonomics of the Hooligan. The seat is large and nicely shaped. The floorboards are roomy and flat with a slightly forward cant. The reach to the controls is just about dead neutral. I found myself in a tiny bit of a forward lean, due to the floorboards. With a seat height of 31 inches and those wide floorboards, it’s a bit of a reach for the shorter amongst us at stops. Even with my weight compressing the seat, I couldn’t touch flat-footed, but the center of gravity is so low that it didn’t matter to me at all. I felt very comfortable at stops and at parking lot speeds on the Hooligan. I had room to move around a bit on both the seat and floorboards while riding and found the Hooligan to be VERY comfortable even during an extended parkway ride. I would guess that the taller and longer-legged may run out of room on the Hooligan, but most people will find it a great fit.
The Hooligan fired right up every time and quickly settled into a smooth idle. Well, every time but one. I did experience a problem with the scooter after about 60 miles of riding. The scooter started to run roughly, lost power and stalled out. I couldn’t get it re-started. A service truck was quickly dispatched to me and the Hooligan brought in for repair. It turned out to be a minor pre-delivery issue. The Hooligan has an additional battery connection that wasn’t connected prevented the battery from re-charging while running. As such, the scooter’s electronic ignition and fuel injection ran out of juice. It was repaired and the scooter was back on the road. This can. and does, happen with any machine and the true measure of quality is how the manufacturer and dealer take care of these rare issues. Suffice to say that I retain my high opinion of Genuine/PGO products and support.
Back to riding the Hooligan. The very first thing I noticed was how neutral the handling is on the Hooligan. Tight maneuvers at low speeds were easy. “Responsive” is not a strong enough word to describe the Hooligan. Next thing to grab my attention was the brakes (grab, brakes, I couldn’t help myself). To this point, I’ve reviewed something like 45 scooters and ridden dozens more. The Hooligan brakes are second only to its stable-mate the Blur in the world of scooters. Good, strong disc brakes front AND rear on a scooter that weighs 270ish pounds with a good suspension and tires are an absolute joy. The Hooligan’s brakes are strong, easy to modulate, and inspire confidence. OK, OK, I admit, I did one (or may be two) controlled slides with the almost-too-strong rear brake, but that was only in the interest of examining the capabilities of the Hooligan for this review.
Acceleration is strong for this class of scooter up to about 50 MPH. After that, it takes a while to build up more speed. Roll-on in the mid-range of 20MPH – 45MPH is excellent. The combination of 12 inch wheels, neutral steering geometry, more-than-responsive suspension and engine strength make the Hooligan one of those rides that is likely to be more capable than the rider piloting it. As I mentioned at the start of this section, Blur-like sporty fun is to be had here.
Riding around the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area was prefect for the Hooligan. It gobbled up the crappy road surfaces we have here without a problem and made commuting, dare I say it, fun. Jumping onto the highway for short runs was not a problem, but the Hooligan is NOT a good choice for a regular highway scooter. If you live your life at 30MPH – 45MPH with the occasional short run into the low 60s, you’ll be just fine. If you’re looking for an interstate cruiser at 70MPH all day long this is not the machine for you.
Fit & Finish
I’ve reviewed several Genuine/PGO scooters and the quality of components and assembly is very high. This is one of the things that makes scooters like the Hooligan (and Buddy, and RoughHouse, and Blur) such a great value. The longer you own the scooter, the more apparent the quality will become. The body panels, though dull and lackluster in finish – by design, fit together well with close tolerances. Damn, if only there were some shiny bits. Switches, gauges and the like work very well and feel as though they’ll still be doing their job ten years from now.
Genuine Hooligan 170i vs. The Competition
For this review, I chose to compare the Hooligan with the Lance Cabo and Piaggio Fly. I didn’t include the similar-looking Yamaha Zuma 125, Piaggio Typhoon 125 or Kymco Super 8 150 because none of them is in the same performance class as the Hooligan. Frankly, neither is the Lance Cabo. I chose the Cabo because to me it represents the closest low-cost alternative to the Hooligan. Out-the-door a Cabo could easily be $1,000 or more less than a Hooligan.
The Hooligan is not cheap in components, build quality, or price. Even counting the Yamaha Zuma (which is a fuel-injected 125cc scooter), the Hooligan is the highest priced scooter in its class, though not by much. There are elements of the Hooligan that easily justify the price – rear disc brake, larger engine displacement, excellent warranty and support, etc. How much are these elements worth to you? I can’t answer that question for you. I can say that the Hooligan provides very good value for the money invested.
The Genuine Hooligan 170i scooter is a fine example of how good a modern scooter can be. Very nearly as sporty as a Blur with better ergonomics. Capable of all sorts of practical transport tasks. If it were me, I’d add the windshield, rear luggage rack, and a mid-sized topcase. On top of all this utilitarian ability, the Hooligan is still true to its name – it’s a boatload of fun to ride and will bring a wicked sparkle to your eye. Thanks again to Scooterville for facilitating this review.
READER RESPONSE September 2014
You used to send your reviews out to some knowledgeable people before you put them on your site. It might be time to return to this practice. I’ll start with the fact checks. All Piaggio and Vespa scooters beginning with MY 2014 have a 2 year parts and labor warranty. Price on the Fly 150i is $2999.00.
The breakdown you experienced had nothing to do with the charging system, but rather was the result of an eager sales staff member wanting to take the Hooligan out for a spin and not getting the battery hooked up properly. The Hooligan has an additional connection at the battery for the rectifier that was not connected on your test bike.
I think you were really reaching for minuses when you took issue with the price. I’ve never heard you say anything short of glowing regarding the Buddy 170i. At $50 more I think it can be argued that the Hooligan is comparably a bargain. I would suggest the Honda PCX as a scooter to add as an optional comparison.
Try a trip to the post office with several small boxes to mail. On the way back, grab a 12 pack of bottles. I think you find the floorboard net less of a gimmick.
Really, Dave. Your helmet on the floor? That belongs on your head. You might need it someday.
I stand corrected, the Piaggio Fly info was pulled from a 2013 review when I SHOULD HAVE checked it. The comparison table has been updated as has the description of the battery charging issue. I DO think the Hooligan’s features and quality make it a comparable bargain. For some, fuel injection alone would make the Hooligan a better choice than any carbureted scooter. However, Genuine scooters have typically been less expensive than comparable models as is seen in the Buddy, which is my choice as the best deal in its class. I stand by the gimmickiness of the floorboard cargo net. It’s fine for some flat things, but forces one’s feet ON TOP of the net. I carry stuff on scooter floorboards regularly – in a bag, with the bag’s handles on the luggage hook and my feet flat on the floorboards on either side of the bag. I used my helmet in the picture because it was the closest taller object to hand at the time.
Hooligan 170i vs Buddy 150 Black Jack Who is the REAL Hooligan? September, 2014
As mentioned in the reader response above, I used to get more input from other sources on my scooter reviews. I frequently try and get a variety of scooterists to take whatever I’m reviewing for a spin and give me their comments. Scheduling just didn’t go my way while I had the Hooligan. That’s not to say I didn’t get input from other riders, I did. It just occurred AFTER the review was published.
When one chooses to mention a local scooterist by name, one shouldn’t be surprised when that local scooterist wants to ride the scooter he was associated with. Yes, Pooter got hold of me and thought it only fair that he get to take a spin on a Hooligan. He also mentioned that he thought it would be fun to compare the Hooligan to the Genuine Buddy Black Jack. As it happens, Pooter’s father owns a Black Jack. It sounded like a great idea to me. I am very, very fortunate to have a great dealer who is incredibly tolerant of my requests. Bob Hedstrom of Scooterville in Minneapolis Minnesota arranged for the Hooligan to be available and I met up with Pooter and his father (I’m going to call him Robert, though he often goes by “Bob” so as to avoid confusion with Bob Hedstrom) and took a couple of pictures and turned them loose.
Robert’s 2009 Genuine Buddy 150 Black Jack has at least a couple of thousand miles on it, so it is well and truly broken in. It has the absolutely awesome sounding performance exhaust installed, some nice decals and modified mirrors. Mechanically, it is as could be had from the dealer in 2009, stock. The Genuine Buddy Black Jack was a sensation in 2009. Staring with a standard Buddy 150, Genuine added NCY components including a racing front fork, adjustable rear shock, large front disc brake. They didn’t stop there, the Black Jack came with a standard exhaust installed and a Prima performance exhaust included. In my opinion, the Black Jack is the most fun-to-ride version of the Genuine Buddy platform. I suspect Bob from Scooterville agrees with me – he was all smiles after taking Robert’s Black Jack for a spin.
Pooter and Robert looked over the Hooligan and then took off. They were gone for some time and when they returned to Scooterville, their response to the Hooligan was less-than enthusiastic. I set up a digital recorder and had them share their opinions. First, the things they liked.
The brakes, particularly the rear disc
The larger twelve inch wheels
The passenger accommodations
What didn’t they like? “It’s slow compared to the Black Jack” was chimed out in unison by both of them. “It sounds like crap compared to the Black Jack” and “It’s too big, and not as much fun as the Black Jack. How can a ‘Hooligan’ not be fun?” I think it’s important to mention that, unless you happen to find a used one, you can’t go out and by a Black Jack Buddy. They were made in a limited edition. I thought it would be good to have Pooter and Robert try a new Buddy 170i which has the same engine as the Hooligan and standard Buddy suspension, exhaust, brakes and so forth. ONCE AGAIN the infinitely patient Bob from Scooterville allowed us to take a demo Buddy 170i off the showfloor and run around. Pooter and Robert both found the powertrain on the Buddy 170i to be more to their liking than the on the Hooligan. The extra 50 pounds or so that a Hooligan carries over a Buddy apparently make quite a difference.
As we chatted with the digital recorder running, it sounded more and more as though they didn’t like the Hooligan. “No, that’s not it” Pooter corrected me, “Throw a topcase on it and it would be a good commuter scoot. It’s just NOT deserving of the Hooligan name.” Pooter and Robert compared the two scooters side-by-side and did the same things on them. They checked acceleration from a stop, roll-on acceleration, braking, quickness and ease of handling, curb climbing, all sorts of holliganesque tasks. The Hooligan 170i climbed over stuff better (12 inch wheels vs. 10 inchers) and had good brakes, but every other informal test went the way of the Buddy Black Jack.
Listening to Pooter and Robert talk made me start to think of the Hooligan 170i as more of a “Junior Blur” than anything else. Did we come away from this not liking the Hooligan? No, just the name for this particular scooter. Did we come away wishing for a 170cc fuel injected Black Jack Buddy with a performance exhaust named “Hooligan”? Hell yes!
Thanks again to Pooter, Robert and Bob at Scooterville for their time and work on this. A Hooligan Buyer Gives His Views May, 2015
Just picked up my 2015 Genuine Hooligan last week from College Scooters & Cycles (http://collegescootersusa.com/) in College Park, Maryland. I exchanged emails with four area dealerships, but Navid at CSC was by far the most responsive and helpful. He walked this complete newbie through everything from the 50cc-versus-something-larger debate, whether to test or take the Basic Rider Course, to which scooter best met my needs (something big enough for myself (at 6’2″, 230 lbs) plus an adult passenger, and something rugged and reliable.) My interest in scooters stemmed from having only one vehicle, the family van, which is just too massive and gas-guzzling for every single little trip to post office or grocery store. But the expense of a second car was more than I wanted to take on. After looking at Vespas, and Hondas, I was closing in on a Buddy 125, but was then sold on the Hooligan by David’s review at Just Gotta Scoot, another review at ScooterFile, and Scooter Stop’s video review. Since this is my first scooter, I can’t really comment on how the ride, braking or acceleration compare with other scooters. All I can say is, with zero prior experience, I felt very comfortable on it before even rolling off CSC’s parking lot, for the leisurely 10 mile ride home I had carefully mapped out before hand to keep me on quiet roads.
Half-way home however, I had what turned out to be precisely the same experience David described in his review: the engine began to sputter. Pulled over, and was unable to start it up again. I called Navid at CSC, who I’m sure was incredibly busy in the shop on a beautiful Spring day. But, having not yet had a moment to register my Genuine Roadside Service (I had only just left twenty minutes earlier) he personally closed up shop and drove out to meet me. He threw in another battery and the scooter fired right up. I thanked him, continued on my way. …almost made it home when the engine began sputtering again. Pulled over, no start. Close to home now, I just rolled it the rest of the way. His shop was closed by now, but he still responded to an email later that evening assuring me that he would make this right, and that I was now registered for the Genuine Roadside Service. I called them in the morning and they picked the scooter up within 40 minutes (!) and drove it back to CSC. Navid called an hour later to say they had missed a step in the post-delivery prep process: the Hooligan’s battery has a third cable for recharging, which they hadn’t seen on other scooters and hadn’t spotted, since it was tucked away under the compartment. I appreciated his honesty because, of course, it’s at this point I finally remember David’s review describing having exactly the same experience after about 60 miles of riding. I suppose it happened sooner with me because I had stopped and started several times on the ride home, to admire the bike, adjust the helmet, etc. At any rate, like David, I was left completely impressed with Genuine/PGO, their warranty and support network and dealers like Navid.
So, on to the scooter: as I say, it’s my first, but it feels very solid. Shocks feel great. Seat closes with a nice firm click. Gas cap opens and closes neatly. Seat storage is cavernous – I can easily drop in my XL helmet and a few other items. I rather like the storage net at the bottom, where I can securely strap down two large portable soccer goals. The mirrors are a nice distance apart, for a full view of what’s behind me. The Hooligan starts up quickly and idles quietly. Lighting is awesome. The only thing on this scooter I would change is, as David notes, the sizes of the tiny speedometer and massive tachometer really need to be swapped. I guess the tachometer is helpful, but it’s an automatic, right? I’m more concerned about my speed, which I can now barely read without taking my eyes off the road for split seconds longer than I’m comfortable. The dash is the one part of this bike that doesn’t look quite right.
Oh, David asked for a few pix. Note: I removed the Hooligan sticker from the sides. I had mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I really like this scooter, and am happy to help advertise a Genuine product – indeed, that’s why I wanted to send in this review. On the other hand, I’m not English, but I follow, play and coach soccer and don’t think Hooligan means what the folks at Genuine think it means. Anyway this 45-yo father of four just felt a little silly bearing the moniker.