Genuine Scooter Co. began as the contrivance of scooter enthusiast Philip McCaleb, who got his start in 1990 with ScooterWorks. ScooterWorks initially rose to prominence as a mail order company supporting vintage Vespa’s in a time when no manufacturer support existed.
Early in the new millennium after coming out on the winning side of legal tussle with Piaggio, McCaleb went a step beyond Scooterworks and formed the Genuine Scooter Company. Genuine began by forging a partnership with India based manufacturer LML. Through the 80’s and 90’s, LML had been a licensee and primary builder of the PX scooters for Piaggio. This partnership ended in 1999 with both companies holding the rights to the PX design, which set the stage for an LML collaboration with Genuine. The two companies formed a close relationship and Genuine worked alongside LML in India to spec a version of the PX for the USA market called the Stella.
Several years later, Genuine would go on to forge a similar partnership with Taiwan based PGO scooters. Like they did with LML, Genuine worked alongside PGO as more than an importer and actually had a say in the design, marketing and equipment elements of these scooters. In recent years McCaleb has moved on from the CEO position but his spirit remains.
2003 – 2005
The first PX derived Genuine Stella’s arrived in showrooms for the 2003 model year. In these early years all Stella’s were powered by a 2-stroke 148cc engine. Unlike the limited edition 2-stroke PX150’s released by Vespa around the same time, the Stella used a more powerful (and higher emitting) version of the PX motor with a newer reed valve instead of the older rotary one.
Over the first few years, Stella’s arrived in batches which differed quite a bit in both spec and quality.
With a labor strike at LML limiting Stella production in India, Genuine diversified their operations by partnering with Taiwan based PGO Scooters to introduce their first modern scooters to sell alongside the Stella.
The first modern machine to arrive was the Buddy, which was initially offered in 50 and 125 sizes. The Buddy offered solid power, reliable quality and ease of use in a very affordable 4-stroke package. It quickly became a popular all around pick for the practical scooterist.
Genuine also added a few “sports” scooters to take on popular machines like Yamaha’s Zuma and Piaggio’s Typhoon. The Rattler 50 was Genuine’s main sports scooter offering but an extra $300 got you the Black Cat – a similar but limited edition model created in collaboration with Black Cat Fireworks.
Rounding out Genuine’s 2006 line was the Blur 150 – a longer, larger and more comfortable scooter aimed at higher speed travel and longer trips.
The Buddy International was the big news for 2007. In its first year, the “International” badged Buddy’s shared their 125cc motors with the regular Buddy, but they sported white wall tires, a few upscale touches and your choice between three two-tone paint schemes which emulated the colors of France, Italy and Spain.
The Black Cat could still be purchased widely in 2007, but it wasn’t an official 2007 model as the Black Cat was really a one time collaboration that resulted in a few more scooters than Genuine could sell in just 2006.
The 2-stroke Stella didn’t make it to the USA for 2007, but it would return in coming years.
Performance enthusiasts got great news for 2008 when Genuine announced the introduction of the 2-stroke Rattler 110 (aka Rattler Buck Ten). Stella and PX variants aside, the Rattler 110 was the first 2-stroke scooter bigger than 50cc’s to hit the USA since the 1987 Yamaha Riva 80.
Genuine also replaced the Rattler 50 scooter with the Roughhouse R50 for 2008. While sharing a great deal of components with the Rattler 50 and 110, the new Roughhouse had more of an off-road slant than its predecessor. Note the aggressive tires, raised front fender, bold headlights and mud shedding fork booties.
The Buddy series also got some attention for 2008 with the International models enjoying a bump to 150cc. This further separated the premium “International” Buddy’s from the lower cost Buddy 125’s. Genuine also added a 50cc variant to the International line, which was referred to as the “Lil International”. The Blur 150 was not imported for 2008. It would be a few years before it would reincarnate. Every scooter in the Genuine line up received a new “Bad Boy” air horn (139dB). This super horn was added to all 2008 and later scooters as an additional safety measure.
Despite a strong downtown for the entire scooter industry in 2008, the popular Buddy line expanded again for 2009 with the introduction of the Blackjack edition of the Buddy. Receiving the same 150cc motor as the Buddy International, the new Blackjack targeted a different niche with its flat black paint job and high performance exhaust, suspension and brakes.
2009 was the last year for the 2-stroke Stella. Ever tightening emissions regulations led to the switch to a 4-stroke Stella, but import delays meant the 4-stoke machines wouldn’t arrive until 2011.
The Buddy International and Blackjack were last produced for 2009. The massive downturn in the scooter market meant these machines could still be purchased for a couple years, but none were made after 2009. Genuine would make these color schemes available for the 170i in future years, but the International badging was dropped except for the Little International.
The best news for 2010 was the return of the Blur to the USA (except Cali) – now referred to as the Blur SS 220i. This time around, the Blur received fuel injection and a bigger 220cc motor to better equip it for the open road.
The 4-stroke Stella’s finally arrived in March (2011) and went on sale in the entire USA including California where the 2-stroke Stella had never gained access. The 4-stroke Stella also crept into Canada in summer 2011 under the import guidance of Motoretta. With the cleaner 4-stroke engine, the future looked bright for the Stella line.
Conversely, the 2-stroke Rattler 110 was dropped after 2010. Its departure marked the end of 2-stroke scooters bigger than 50cc being sold in America.
With supplies of the Buddy International dwindling, Genuine introduced their faster than ever 2012 Buddy 170i in June, 2011. With an extra 18cc, an oil cooler and fuel injection, the Buddy 170i became the most advanced Buddy yet.
The spirit of the 2009 Blackjack was also resurrected for 2012 with the limited edition Psycho Buddy. Sharing the flat black paint and boasting additional blacked out components like the headlight bezel, the new Psycho Buddy chopped $500 of the Blackjacks MSRP mostly in exchange for using the smaller 125cc motor.
Just 174 of these Psycho’s were made, so they’re not expected to last long. The foot rack and crash bars are standard which may take the sting out of a gymkhana mishap.
Also enjoying a limited release is the Lemonhead Buddy. Available in just the 50cc size, the 200 individually numbered Lemonheads take their styling cues from the candy of the same name which has long been a favourite treat of the Scooterworks gang.
The Blur 220 finally made it into California during summer 2011 as 2012 models.
After a busy 2012, Genuine kept things low key for 2013 and carried over their popular line up intact. The biggest news in 2013 was the stepping down of McCaleb after a dozen years as CEO, with Dorothy Hanley taking over the reins in non-congenial boardroom shuffle. The Psycho Buddy didn’t official return as a 2013 model as it was a one time product run, but this model was still widely available in 2013.
Genuine shuffled the deck for 2014 with a new scooter, a new version of a favourite scooter and new colors. The new colors are found in the Buddy series, where the Buddy 170i gains Matte Black and Brit (Blue/White) color options. The Brit color scheme is also coming to the Buddy Lil’ International 50, while Royal Blue arrives for the regular Buddy 50 and 125.
The Stella model gains a new derivative for 2014 in the form of the Stella Automatic 125. This clutch free scooter employs a modern CVT for those who’d rather not shift gears. The rear brake replaces the clutch on the left handle bar, with the foot break making a graceful exit.
The Auto 125 uses a smaller 125cc version of the same core motor, which knocks $200 off the MSRP compared to the manual Stella. The $3499 2014 Stella 125 Auto is offered in Electric Blue, Ivory and Candy Apple Red.
Lastly, but most exciting is the new Hooligan 170i. The performance oriented Hooligan appeals to the same rowdy crowd as the Roughhouse and Rattler, but it takes the power all the way to 170cc. This scooter employs the same 170cc fuel injected engine that’s found in the peppy Buddy 170i, but adds 12” rims, a rear disc brake and a larger front rotor. Sticker price is $3399. Look for it in showrooms around April.
Genuine announced the new Buddy Riot model as the first member of their 2015 model line. This new take on the popular Buddy design is available in both 50cc and 125cc sizes.
The Riot uses a gunmetal grey paint and black accents to achieve a sportier look. This style is amplified by blacked out components, a sporty seat and other small touches. The suspension has also been upgraded with an adjustable rear shock (50cc and 125cc) and stiffer front forks (125 model only).
The Riot will be accompanied in USA showrooms with the 7 other models that return for 2015. Up in Canada only the Stella is offered as PGO sells the rest of these models directly there.
Genuine introduced two new scooters for 2016, which are the first big changes from the new management team that took over in 2013. The Buddy Kick is a new 125cc scooter that shares the Buddy name, but is an entirely different machine. The Buddy Kick ($3199) is being marketed as a premium take on the Buddy concept and it does add some nice features like a rear disc brake and fuel injected motor. Whether those features will sway buyers to spend $500 more than the regular Buddy 125 remains to be seen.
Genuine’s other new machine is the Venture 50, which is an excellent value. This scooter is Chinese built to keep the price low, so it boasts front and rear disc brakes and a 3-valve motor for a mere $1599. Genuine looks to be going after the practical scooter market, and with specs like that it’s hard to see them not selling a bunch to the commuter crowd, although it won’t likely catch on with the enthusiasts.
Also new for 2016 is a “sport” version of the Roughhouse, which adds upgraded wheels, suspension, brakes and style for $300.
Gone for 2016 is the Riot edition of the Buddy but it has been replaced with yet another edition, the 10 Year Anniversary Buddy. This limited run is available in both 50cc and 125cc motor sizes and comes with a quite nice Diamond Blue paint job. Price is $2699 like the regular Buddy.
Lastly, Motoretta stopped importing the Stella to Canada after 2015, so Genuine ceased to have a presence in Canada.
Genuine largely rolled their lineup over unchanged for 2017, with the exception of a new version of the Buddy 50 and 125 called the Buddy Eclipse which features matte black paint and black components (forks, rims etc) with red accents.
Other that that, Genuine added a new Zephyr Silver color option for the Roughhouse and Matte Titanium paint for the Roughhouse Sport.
The Blur 220 did not make Genuine’s 2017 lineup, ended its run at seven years (2010 – 2016)
Genuine’s original scooter model – the Stella – abruptly disappeared from Genuine’s line in mid 2017 as a result of business woes at LML, who manufactured these machines for Genuine. LML went into insolvency and while they may emerge from bankruptcy, it sounds like they’re going to focus on 3 wheelers. The rest of Genuine’s line returned unchanged.
After a long absence, Genuine revived the Rattler 50 in fall 2018 as their first 2019 model. Rattler 50 was last offered in 2007, but since that time Genuine has offered the highly similar Roughhouse model, which is the same machine except for some cosmetic differences (handle bars, tires, fenders, rims).
Genuine also replaced their vintage Stella model which died an unceremonious death after 2017 due to solvency issues at its manufacturer, with a new Grand Tourer 150 model. The Grand Tourer 150 has a very similar style, but it a modern scooter at heart rather than a still in production vintage model like the Stella was. It is a product of the Scomadi group, which is one of the groups involved with the (messy) revival of the Lambretta brand.
Genuine took a step further towards importing Chinese scooters for 2020 with their new Brio 50i and Urbano 50i models, which offer modern and classic styling (respectively) at a slightly lower price point lower than the longer running models they’ve been importing for years from PGO.
2020 also saw Genuine form a partnership with NIU to import/sell their electric scooters. Genuine is distributing their edge MQi+ model and two variants (regular, GT) of their NQi+ model. The GT version adds a larger battery (35 vs 29 aH) and a more powerful motor (3000 vs 1500w) to achieve a longer range (60 vs 40 miles) and higher top speed (45 vs 30 mph).