STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2013 - PART ONE
A LOOK AT THE NEW AND DEPARTED MODELS FOR 2013
Welcome to the first instalment of MSG’s annual State of the Scooter Scene address. In this first half, we’ll run down the new machines going on sale in the USA and Canada for 2013, as well as reflect on the discontinued mounts winding down their showroom days. Part two will follow around March, when the sales figures are released and scooter story of 2012 can be told in full. Please take a second to vote in the poll for your favorite new or resurrected model.
New 2013 Scooters:
Honda Metropolitan / Giorno
Genuine Lemonhead Buddy (USA)
Kymco Movie 150
Kymco Compagno 50 / 110 (USA)
Kymco Like 50 / 200 (Canada)
Piaggio Typhoon 50 (USA)
Piaggio BV 350 (USA)
Yamaha Vino 50
Suzuki Burgman 650 [Late addition]
Kymco Sento 50 (USA)
Kymco Yager GT 200 (USA)
Piaggio BV 300 (USA)
Piaggio BV 500 (USA)
Piaggio MP3 line (Canada)
While the numbers won’t be released for some time, 2012 appears to have been a stronger year for the scooter industry. Sales were surely up across the board, and confidence from the manufacturers seems to higher than it’s been in some time, with many manufacturers taking the opportunity to introduce new models. Of particular note, Kymco Canada displayed the highest amount of confidence by carrying over all 10 of their 2012 models plus adding three new steeds for MMXIII.
For the coming year things look bright, with the return of some popular scooters (Yamaha Vino 50, Honda PCX), new generations of some old favorites (Piaggio Typhoon 50, Honda Metropolitan) and an impressive list of all new nameplates from Kymco USA and Piaggio. All told, 10 scooters are either new or returning after some time off, while 2 (Canada) or 5 (USA) are on their way out.
This translates to a total of 49 significantly different scooters on sale in the USA (up from 45 last year) from the main eight manufacturers covered here on MSG. Meanwhile in Canada 37 models are going to be offered for 2013, a four scooter increase. And that’s not counting the smaller Taiwanese brands (SYM, TGB) and the seemingly infinite number of Chinese makers.
Before delving into the new mounts, reflection is warranted for the (thankfully few) scooters on their way out. The most noteworthy machine on this list is Suzuki’s Burgman 650. However even here the news isn’t all that somber, as Suzuki showed a heavily revised Burgman 650 at the recent EICMA show, which stands a good chance of landing in North America soon. Still, the Burgman 650 as we know it - all 613 lbs of it - has ended its run after nine years (2004 - 2012).
[Edit: The revised Burgman 650 is indeed coming to North America for 2013.]
A moment of pause should also be given to Piaggio’s MP3 line - which carries on in the USA but has sadly been dropped from the Canadian market. Conversely, the BV 300 and BV 500 do continue on in Canada, while the BV 350 replaces both of these name plates in the USA. Finally, Kymco USA’s ever evolving line claimed two casualties this time around, with the Sento 50 and Yager GT 200 on their way out to make room for newer machines.
Piaggio has unleashed two major new models as 2013. The new BV 350 (left) has been a long time coming as the latest iteration in their BV series. With the overhaul, this new model is the easily the sharpest BV ever and is earning wide praise including accolades from Motorcycle-USA. At 330cc, this new model offers a great blend between highway touring capability and fuel milage (70mpg).
The other new Piaggio is a smaller 50cc version of their Typhoon scooter (top) which initially debuted as a 125 last year.
With 50cc scooters being the most popular, this new model should really increase the number of Typhoon’s on the streets.
The biggest news from Kymco for 2013 is their new Movie 150 scooter (right). The Movie takes the sports concept of the Super 8 150 and matures it, while adding a more powerful motor and a rear disc brake.
In addition, the retro yet fuel injected Compagno (50cc and 110cc) makes it way to the USA market after being introduced last year in Canada as the New Sento. Finally, the Like 50 & 200 make it to Canada for the first time.
2013 is also a big year for Honda, with a new generation of Metropolitan (left) arriving in both the USA and Canada. The new scooter is the same in both markets, but Canada has opted to use Honda’s overseas name of Giorno. The first generation of Metropolitan (2002 - 2009) was a popular model for Honda and this new generation takes over now that excess inventory from the slow 2009 and 2010 years has been cleared out.
The other Honda news for 2013 is the return of the PCX (shown at top). This time around the PCX gets a 25cc boost to 150cc, which makes it freeway legal in most states and bumps the top speed 5mph. In addition to the larger bore, PCX150 motor has been refined from the CVT to the bearings.
The biggest news from Genuine this year is a new Lemonhead edition of their popular Buddy scooter (shown at top). The Lemonhead draws inspiration for an entire scooter from the favorite snack of the Genuine/Scooterworks crew. The result is an individually numbered and limited edition scooter (200 being made) with various neat yellow accents and graphic odes to this bow-tie wearing candy.
Lastly, Yamaha is bringing back the Vino 50 (right) for 2013 after a year off. While it’s a bit of a stretch to call this one a new model, Yamaha did give it some nice revisions so it makes the list. The most notable update is a new fuel injection system which creeps fuel milage even higher (~110mg) . The other changes are fairly minor, but it’s still great to have this popular scooter back on the market.
EICMA 2012: NEW SCOOTS FROM VESPA, SUZUKI AND HONDA
2014 SUZUKI BURGMAN 650, VESPA 946 AND HONDA FORZA 300
As always, the EICMA show in Milan delivered as the years most exciting new scooter event. This time around there were many special edition scooters from all manufacturers as well as several new machines. In addition to the three new scooters highlighted below, Piaggio also revealed the production versions of their new Fly and X10 models which are going into production eminently. You can see the new Fly here (and read about it too if you’re Italian).
Vespa 946 / Quarantasei
A year after debuting the concept scooter, Piaggio pulled the wraps off the production version of their new 946 scooter (aka Quarantasei, which is Italian for 46). The biggest surprise here was the lack of changes for the production variant. Vespa kept this one very true to the concept, which is great news for the enthusiasts out there. There hasn’t been an announcement for North America yet, but the 946 is expected to go on sale globally and there’s a good chance North Americans will see it for 2014.
The new 946 uses Vespa latest mill - a 3-valve single putting out 11.7 hp in 125cc form. However, a North American models would likely be equipped with a more powerful 150cc motor in the 14 hp range. Compared to the concept, the changes are fairly subtle. The rear end is less pointy and lacks the indentation on the sides. There’s also been a few body seams added to the flanks. Up front there’s been some minor reworking of the horn grill area and of course mirrors had to be added. Without comparing the two scooters side by side, it’s tough to spot the changes which is a good thing.
In a surprise move, Honda took the wraps off their 4th generation Forza scooter. This time around everything is new from the 10% lighter frame, to the crisp body lines and fuel injected 279cc motor. Honda wasted no time announcing this scooter as a 2013 model for Europe and as a 2014 model for Canada. No word on the USA, but the Forza will be arriving in Canadian showrooms this spring.
The new Forza (NSS300) is a successor to the Reflex that was offered to North Americans from 2001 to 2007. Compared to that scooter, the new Forza is a technical tour-de-force offering fuel injection, roller rocker arms, 4-valves and ABS. While ABS is optional in Europe, it’s slated to be a standard feature in Canada.
Canadian pigment options are Pure Red and Seal Silver.
Suzuki Burgman 650
Perhaps the most famous maxi-scooter of all time, the Burgman 650, was at a crossroads recently with Suzuki pulling it from their 2013 USA line. Suzuki’s lack of attention over the past few years left many wondering what the future held, if anything.
At EICMA 2012 Suzuki revealed what they had been up to when they unveiled an overhauled Burgman 650. The core frame and motor carry on with just small refinements, but the transmission is new and more efficient. Most noticeably, the styling is tastefully reworked to freshen the look and give it a slimmer profile. The instrumentation is also brand new and contains a mix of analog and digital instrumentation.
It wouldn’t be an update to the Burgman if new features weren’t added, so Suzuki continued to up the maxi-scooter ante with power folding mirrors, heated seats and even heated backrests. A number of Executive trim features have also become standard perks.
Even with the same motor, Suzuki is claiming a 15% increase in fuel efficiency due to the subtle refinements, a new clutch design and the slimmer shape. Also noteworthy is a new ABS system with uses floating discs and weighs half what the older system did.
The new Burgman will enter production shortly and hopefully we’ll see it arrive in North America mid-2013.
For more pictures of the reworked style and a look at the new dash, head over to the Scooter Station.
VESPA MMXIII: THE WASP STIRS FOR 2013
VESPA REVAMPS THEIR COLOR PALETTE AND ADDS SPORT SE VARIANT
After maintaining a steady lineup for the past few years, Vespa has stirred things up for 2013. No, the radical new 946 won’t be here for another year or more, and no Vespa hasn’t slipped their new 3-valve 150cc engine into any North American models, but at least there’s something to get excited about. Consider 2013 to be the prequel, the warmup, to the bigger news announcements that lay in the years ahead.
First off, all of the models from 2012 are back. Besides the new pigments, the LX (50 & 150), S (50 & 50) and GTS (300 and 300 Super) have all been nearly identically reincarnated. Also back are the collectors ‘V’ variants of the LX and GTS -known as the LXV and GTV respectively. So what’s new? Well, a few tweaks, some new colors and a pretty neat ’Sport SE’ trim version of the S and GTS.
The ‘tweaks’ to the existing Vespas are focused on the S and LX. Both of these scooters receive new ‘horn guards’ (think grills) and additional Vespa logos on the handgrips and floorboard. The instrumentation has also been revised, with the S boasting classy blacked out and easier to clear gauges, while the LX 150 enjoying a freshening of the instruments style.
Vespa has made quite a few changes to their color offerings for 2013. You can delve into all the color details over at Vespa’s website and I’ll highlight the main ones here. The Vespa S is no longer available in titanium and Satin black has become exclusively available on the Sport SE variant of the S. The LX gets a new Aquamarine option and black is back. The upscale LXV trades Portofino green for a new ‘Sienna Ivory’ shade.
The larger GTS scooters also get new clothes. The regular GTS 300 trades Plum for Bronze, while the Super trades Titanium for Dragon Red. The new GTS 300 Super Sport SE comes in exclusively Satin black, like it’s S counterpart. Also like it’s smaller sibling, the GTV trades its green pigment option for a new ‘Sienna Ivory’ tint.
Sport SE Trim
The Sport SE variants of the S and GTS are undoubtably the biggest news for 2013. These limited edition Vespa’s claim to amplify Vespa’s sport spirit using a minimal aesthetic and high performance. While ‘high performance’ might be a bit of a stretch (there’s no performance tweaks at all), Vespa has created a tasteful aesthetic.
The Satin black paint (and wheels) look great with the red (shock coils) and white (seat piping) accents. The ribbed seat adds a sporty element too. While the checkered (S 50/150) or ‘Super’ (GTS) graphics on the flanks might not have been necessary, they are the most obvious identifier of these limited edition models.
Pricing for the Super SE adds $100 (S 50/150) or $200 (GTS) to the price, which is quite reasonable for even just the seat alone.
KYMCO CANADA UPS THE ANTE FOR 2013 WITH A RECORD 13 MODELS
MOVIE 150 AND LIKE 50/200 MODELS ADDED TO CANADIAN SHOWROOMS
Kymco Canada has stepped beyond their 2012 tally of 10 models and has announced an all time high of 13 scooters for 2013. That’s more scooters to choose from than all of the Japanese makers combined - quite a few more.
The biggest splashes for 2013 are the new Movie 150 and Like 50 & 200 machines. The Movie 150 is Kymco’s newest mid-sized sports scooter, while the Like 50 and 200 are Kymco’s most direct take on the ionic vintage scooter style. The Movie 150 was recently announced for the USA market as well, so you can read more detail now in the Movie 150 section.
The Like series was introduced state side a couple years back, but for 2013 Canadians get a white color option instead of ivory. The smaller Like 50 uses a potent 2-stroke motor, so power enthusiasts and larger riders can rejoice.
The larger Like 200 contains a 160cc 4-stroke motor, which really expands the usefulness of this scooter beyond the city. Between the New Sento 50 & 110 and the new Like scooters, there’s a retro styled Kymco in everyone’s desired power range.
Appearing alongside these three new models are a revised Xciting 500 and the rest of Kymco’s 2012 offerings which have all gotten the nod for 2013. With a total stable of 13 scooters, Kymco is marketing a scooter targeted at nearly everyone. For more info on these new models, have a look at YouMotorcycle.com’s first look.
THE END IS NIGH - SUZUKI OMITS THE BURGMAN 650 FOR 2013
SUZUKI’S BIG MAXI MAY END ITS USA RUN AT NINE YEARS
It appears one of the hallmarks of the maxi scooter scene has reached the end of its run - at least in its present form if not permanently.
In recent days, Suzuki USA announced the bulk of their 2013 line, with the Burgman 650 (AN650) silently absent. The newer Burgman 400 is present, but the biggest Burg didn’t make the list. Suzuki has developed a new generation of the Burgman 650 which is headed for showrooms overseas, but so far Suzuki USA has made no indication of importing this model.
The North American spec Burgman 650 hasn’t been updated since its 2004 introduction (and it went on sale for 2002 elsewhere), so it’s already been on sale for over a decade without a significant update. That’s a long time, but certainly nothing close to a record.
While it’s still a bit early for an obituary, it seems unlikely the Burgman 650 will be back in its present incarnation. Either Suzuki will usher in a new decade of maxi-scooter awesomeness with a fresh generation, or the end has finally come.
On a completely different, Honda’s PCX is now coming to Canada.
KYMCO USA's 2013 LINEUP: FOURTEEN SCOOTERS TO CHOOSE FROM
KYMCO USA ANNOUNCES THEIR 2013 LINE
For years Kymco has boasted the most populous scooter lineup in the USA and 2013 appears to be no exception. Occupying Kymco showrooms for 2013 will be a total of 14 different machines. The quick breakdown is four 50cc’s, one maxi scooter and an impressive tally of nine mid sized scoots (110-300cc).
Before delving into discussion on the new models, a moment of reflection is warranted to salute the departure of the original People scooters from Kymco’s lineup. Outlasting any of their contemporaries, the People 50 and 150 were introduced in 2001 and 2002 respectively - the former being a member of Kymco’s debut lineup in the USA. After more than a decade on sale in the USA, these two final members of the People family are headed for the great gymkhana in the sky. Also joining the People 50 & 150 out the exit door are the Yager 200 and retro Sento 50.
The outgoing Sento 50 is being replaced by a pair of new retro scooters badged as the Compagno 50i and 110i. This stylish model was actually introduced a year earlier in Canada as the New Sento 50i / 110i, so you can read some more in depth thoughts on it now.
The Compagno slots in as Kymco’s premium offering in the retro scooter niches with MSRP’s of $2599 (50cc) and $2999 (110cc). At $300 more than the Like 50, the Compagno 50 delivers about 10% better milage and power thanks to its 4-valve, fuel injected mill.
Also for 2013 is an entirely new nameplate - the Movie 150. Resembling the Super 8 150 more than anything else, the Movie 150 is a more subtly sporty model than the flashy Super 8. The Movie 150 boasts some neat features like disc brakes front and rear and dual rear shocks. Finally, the Xciting 500 has been redesigned for 2013 and is now called the Xciting 500 Ri. It boasts fresh styling, new conveniences and a new generation of Bosch ABS.
USA Models: Compagno 50i / 110i, Agility 50 / 125, Super 8 50 / 150, Like 50 / 200, Movie 150, People GT 200i / 300i, Downtown 200i / 300i, Xciting 500 Ri
2013 APRILIA SR50 - RACE REPLICA SBK EDITION
APRILIA’s 2013 RACE REPLICA SCOOTER HONORS #3 MAX BIAGGI
At 40, Aprilia factory rider Max Biaggi is having a superlative year. He’s out front in the Superbike World Championships (aka SBK) standings and now he’s getting his own race replica edition of the SR 50.
Available now as a 2013 model, Aprilia is honoring Max with a ‘Replica SBK’ edition of their fiesty SR 50. The SBK edition boasts racing derived graphics with Max’s #3 featured on the front end and rear haunches.
Pricing for the Replica SBK edition is the same as the regular SR 50 R: $3199. The mechanically identical regular SR 50 R continues to be offered in Diablo Black and Aprilia Orange.
NEW RESOURCE ON GENUINE SCOOTERS + LEMONHEAD BUDDY
July 13, 2012 - Filed under: Genuine
MSG WELCOMES “AMERICA’s SMALLEST SCOOTER COMPANY”
A new section has been added to the Motor Scooter Guide website in recent days. After a hefty amount of research, a pretty darn good resource on Genuine Scooters current and historical offerings has been assembled. Favorites like the Buddy, Stella and Rattler are all here.
Please take a look through the new resource and pipe in if you spot an inaccuracies or errors via the comments here or by contacting MSG. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
Also today, Genuine announced the newest variant of their Buddy line - the Lemonhead Buddy 50. This lemon inspired scoot features front to back visual cues, such as a yellow seat and neat lemon badging everywhere.
Only 200 have being made and they’re individually numbered with a collectors plate, so act soon if you want one. Price is set at $2199.
HONDA'S MISSING LINK: THE EXPRESS SR SCOOTER-PED
June 28, 2012 - Filed under: Honda
EVOLUTION OF SCOOT - MOPEDS GROW PANELS
A recent bit of discussion in the MSG forums over the definition of a scooter led to the study of Honda’s unique Express SR. Is it a scooter? Oddball moped? Neither?
While it’s not hard to come up with a scooter definition that most could agree with, it’s also easy to see not every vehicle fits nicely into one category. Honda’s 1981-1982 Express SR (NX50) is a nice example of this.
While this bike’s ancestry lies in Honda’s Express line of mopeds (Express, Express II, Express Deluxe), moped purists would see the Express SR as an outsider. Lacking pedals and a chain, this odd ride slots in better
as a scooter. While utilizing moped style handlebars and lacking the full rear wheel body panel coverage and full sized legshield found in most modern scoots, the basics are all here: step thru frame, swing arm engine & floorboard.
Accordingly, the Express SR has now been added to the scooter guide on this website and its 1981 existence could be considered the first foray of modern scooters into North America. This missing link introduced technology like auto choke, CVT transmission, oil injection and 12 volt electronics into the North American scooter scene. For a complete look at this unique scooter-ped check out the new Express SR page.
Also worth a look is the freshly scanned in 1981 Honda Express SR brochure. Right click to download. Please speak up in the comments section about the Express SR and/or what you consider to be a scooter.
2013 YAMAHA'S: ZUMA'S RETURN & VINO 50 GETS FUEL INJECTION
Yamaha Announces Vino 50, Zuma 50 and Zuma 125 for 2013
Yamaha USA and Yamaha Canada made concurrent press releases this past week to announce some early 2013 scooter models.
While not likely their complete 2013 lineup, this early release heralded the return of the Vino 50 and both Zuma’s - 50 and 125 - as 2013 models hitting showrooms this summer.
The Vino 50 lands with the biggest splash, as it had previously taken 2012 off and now returns boasting
fuel injection for the first time. This update was only fitting as the new for 2012 Zuma 50 and the departed C3 used the same core motor but with fuel injection while previous iterations of Vino 50 (2006 - 2011) made do with a carb. While lucky to get fuel injection, the small Vino 50 didn’t fare as fortunately in the paint booth. The lone color option for 2013 is a cream-ish shade being called Vanilla White in the USA and Yellow-ish Gray in Canada.
The Zuma’s didn’t receive any mechanical tweaks like the Vino, but they do get some nice color choices for 2013. The 125cc Zuma is going to be offered in Dynamic Blue (USA) and Vivid Metallic Red (Canada) alongside the more standard Matte Black option (both countries). The smaller Zuma 50 is available in Matte Black, Heat Red and Yamaha Blue (Canada Only). Heat Red is likely to be a popular option.
To make up for missing 2012, the Vino 50 is rolling into showrooms now, while the Zuma 50 lands in July and the Zuma 125 in August.
CMG REVIEWS KYMCO'S XCITING 500
June 07, 2012 - Filed under: Kymco
CMG Takes On The Big Kymco
While it might seem a tad odd posting to announce news on another great scooter site, anyone who’s a fan of the maxi side of the scooter scene won’t want to miss this. CMG (Canadian Motorcycle Guide) has posted up a great in depth review of Kymco’s flagship scoot - the Xciting 500 Ri. Head on over there for a great read and join the discussion in the comments.
CMG really put the Xciting 500 through its paces and it shows with the great depth of this review. Without giving too much away, the Xciting 500 nabs the distinction of being an ‘overachiever’. For some background info on the Xciting 500 and some more discussion on how it slots in versus the other maxi’s, also check out the Xciting 500 page here on Motor Scooter Guide.
GARDEN CITY SCOOTER RUN: "SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED" - MAY 18-21
May 11, 2012 - Filed under: Rallies
North America’s Longest
Running Rally Set For 28th Year in Victoria, BC
The longest running scooter rally in North America is set for its 28th year this coming May long weekend in Victoria, BC, Canada. The 2012 iteration entitled ‘Shaken, Not Stirred…” features a James Bond theme and goes off May 18 - 21.
The Garden City Scooter Run is put on by the Capital City Scooter Club (CCSC) and it’s a frolicking good time every year. The quality of people and
scooters that come out for this one make it an awesome rally. Anyone in BC, Canada and Washington State should be eyeing this up.
Check out the full rally itinerary. All scooters - classic or modern - are welcome. Mopeds and other small bikes have been known to sneak in too.
NEW PIAGGIO BV350 HITS SHOWROOMS
Newest Member of Piaggio’s BV Family Available Now
The newest member of Piaggio’s popular BV series has landed in American showrooms. The BV350, or Beverly Sport Touring 350 as it’s dubbed internationally, was unveiled last fall at the 2011 EICMA show in Milan.
At the time, Piaggio hinted towards a North American release and confirmed that in March when they announced it as an early release 2013 model. Piaggio expected to have this scooter in dealerships during May, but the intrepid BV350’s have slipped thru the border and are now landing in American showrooms.
The BV350 uses the same core frame as the departing BV300 (and BV250 before that), but Piaggio has made a huge list of great updates. The 330cc motor is new and now boasts both fuel injection and 4-valves.
Power is up to 33.3 HP (vs. 24HP for the 250), which is just 6 ponies shy of the heavier BV500. With the bump to 330cc comes a 10mph top speed boost to 90mph.
styling has also been reworked for 2013. There’s a lot of new bits (rims, mirrors, blinkers) and a number of components have been blacked out or darkened for more aggressive ‘dark knight’ slant. The mahogany toned saddle is also a great touch.
Colors for 2013 are Shiny Black and Matte Silver. Pricing is quite reasonable at $5499. Check out the Piaggio BV Series page for complete info on the BV350 or browse the first ride report from Cycle World.
NEW HONDA'S FOR AMERICA - 2013 PCX150 AND METROPOLITAN
Honda USA Announces All New 2013 Metropolitan and More Powerful PCX150
Nearly five months after announcing a pretty thin 2012 lineup of scooters, Honda USA threw out a surprise press release today announcing the return of the PCX and Metropolitan. Making the return of these scooters even sweeter is the news that Honda has made changes to both models to make them even better machines.
We’ll deal with the new PCX150 first because the changes are quicker to discuss. Simply put, the PCX is back for 2013 and features an updated 153cc motor. The basic motor is the same, but the bore is up from 52.4mm to 58mm which boosts displacement 28cc to a total of 152.9cc. Compression is down slightly to 10.6:1 (from 11:1) but regardless the new motor should significant best the PCX125’s 11.1 ponies.
Top speed should rise from 60mph to about 65mph unless Honda forgot to remove the old 64mph rev limiter. Most likely Honda tweaked the gearing to keep the redline the same RPM but raise the redline speed to around 70mph. American’s still don’t get the idle stop technology that Honda includes in many markets to shut off the engine after 3 seconds and re-start it in an instant when the throttle is twisted.
With the changes to the engine comes a tiny (0.4”) increase to the wheelbase, six extra pounds (to 286lbs) and an extra 0.2” of rear suspension travel to a total of 3.1”. The rest of the scooter is unchanged, which is to be expected since it was only sold here for one year previously (2011) as Honda skipped the 2012 model year. The largest impact of this change is that the PCX150 is now interstate legal in the USA, which makes it a more practical machine. The Candy Red color sticks around for 2013, but Metallic Black replaces Pearl White as the other color option.
The 2013 Metropolitan didn’t receive mere tweaks to its mill, it gets an entirely new frame and fuel injected motor plus many other updates. The style of the Metropolitan is completely overhauled, with no body panels left unchanged. The front end received the biggest changes, as the headlight was restyled and moved up from the leg shield to the headset. The new look is more reminiscent of Vespa’s LX model and less like Yamaha’s Vino. The front fender looks to be carried over from the previous (2009) Metropolitan but the rest of the body is new. The lines are freshened up and the rear flanks are raised up a bit higher to show more of the rear wheel. Also new are the gauges, handlebars, blinkers, locking ignition cover and seat.
Honda made the Metropolitan even more practical for 2013 with the new PGM-Fi (fuel injected) engine and additional storage options. Honda added a storage cubbyhole
in the leg shield which isn’t quite as good as a glovebox but its better than nothing. Honda also included a hook above the cubbyhole in addition to the large under seat storage area which carries over.
The motor in the updated 2013 Metropolitan is an all new design with few details currently available. The biggest news for this new motor is the addition of fuel injection. That should boost milage moderately. Honda is claiming 117mpg for this new motor, which is 3mpg better than their claim for the old carbureted engine. This motor is still a 2-valve design with the same bore and stroke as the old GET2 motor, but it’s obviously a new design as the engine is now bottom mounted to the frame and it’s no longer liquid cooled. Honda’s specs say this new engine is liquid cooled, but it sure looks like an air cooled motor and a bit of research reveals this engine is almost certainly Honda’s AF70E air cooled motor rated at 4.5 HP @ 8250 RPM.
With all these changes, it seems like almost everything is new but a few bits do return. These few returning items include the hand controls, rims, rear suspension and brakes. The basic frame does not return for 2013, as the new Metropolitan now uses a steel tube frame instead of the high end aluminum frame found in the outgoing Metropolitan. Maybe that’s how they shaved $50 off the MSRP.
Overseas, Honda announced the updated PCX150 for some markets (ie. Thailand) about 2 weeks ago. The new Metropolitan is going to be sold as the ‘Giorno’ in Japan. It was just announced March 28th for the Asian markets.
The new Metropolitan is going to be a really compelling scooter. In addition to adding fuel injection and reworking the styling, Honda also lowered the price $50 to $1999 and added more storage. The downsides are the switch away from liquid cooling and the move to a steel tube frame. Color options for the 2013 Metropolitan are Pearl Black, Pearl Black/Red and Pearl White. Don’t be mislead by the silver and brown Japanese market models shown. The new 2013 Metropolitan is expected in showrooms in June, while the PCX150 is going to show up later in the summer.
What do you think? Dig ‘em? Are these the scooters you want Honda to offer in the USA?
STATE OF SCOOTER SCENE 2012 - PART 2: SALES UP 11.8%
Part 2 - Scooter Sales Rise Nicely in 2011
The 2011 results are in from the USA based Motorcycle Industry Council and scooter sales finished 2011 up 11.8%. This rise in sales is a welcome bit of good news after pretty grim recession results from 2009 and 2010.
USA Scooter sales had been marching higher most every year from 2002 to 2008, with actual sales increasing from about 70,000 scooters up to around 200,000 in the peak year of 2008.
That all changed with the 2009 recession and subsequent lower fuel prices that combined to trigger a pancaking of the scooter market. 2009 sales were a staggering 59% lower than 2008, which led to a huge clog in showrooms as dealers had stocked up for another year like 2008.
Dusty showroom scooters were in everywhere 2010 except in buyers hands, as sales dropped 9.5% further despite the widely available discounts on surplus scoots. 2009 and 2010 combined sold less scooters than 2008. The motorcycling industry in general was hit hard by the recession, but no other segment suffered as hard as scooters.
The pendulum always swings a bit wider with scooters, and thankfully for 2011 it swung the other way. The motorcycling industry in general was stagnant with a 0.3% decline last year, but scooters enjoyed a healthy 11.8% rise. Total sales were still a far cry from the 2006 - 2008 glory days, but over 70,000 scooters found homes last year.
For the first time in several years, the future really does look bright. Dealer inventory from the 2009 collapse is mostly cleared out, the economy might be recovering and even if it doesn’t, gas prices and austerity measures are going to push more people onto scooters in 2012. We could easily see double digit growth again and the scooter market return to six figure sales in 2012. We won’t crack the 2008 record, but we should see a nice increase again which will hopefully be the start of a new era of growth.
As an aside, Piaggio publishes a neat little market brief that describes their North American fortunes. 2011 data isn’t up yet but in 2010 Piaggio is claiming about 28,000 scooters.
A LOOK BACK: 1984 HONDA USA SCOOTERS BROCHURE
March 10, 2012 - Filed under: Honda
Historic Gold: 1984 Honda USA Scooter Lineup Brochure
Fresh in from the scanning room is Honda’s 1984 brochure. A gem from the formative years of the modern scooter era.
Honda did a nice job with this one. It’s the only North America brochure to ever contain the short lived Aero 125. The smaller Aero’s (80 & 50) are here too, along with the Gyro, Spree and first Elite, the 125. Those latter three scooters and the Aero 125 were all new models for 1984, making it the biggest introduction year for Honda scooters ever.
Check out this brochure and many others in the Downloads section.
STATE OF SCOOTER SCENE 2012 - PART 1
Part 1 - A Look At The New and Dead Models for 2012
Part one of this address looks at the new scooter models are set hit the market for 2012. Please use the poll to vote for what you think is the best and most significant new scooter for 2012.
Part two will look back at scooter sales in 2011 and evaluate the health of the scooter market specifically in the context of the larger motorcycle market. It will be another month until the full 2011 data is out, but so far 2011 looks to be a big recovery over the painful recession years (2008, 2009) and the slightly better 2010.
New 2012 Scooters:
Aprilia SR Motard 50 / 125
Genuine Buddy 170i
Genuine Psycho Buddy
Kymco People GT 200 / 300
Kymco New Sento 50 / 110 (Canada Only)
Kymco Agility City (Canada Only
Piaggio Typhoon 125
Yamaha TMAX 530 (Canada Only)
Yamaha Zuma 50F
Honda PCX 125
Kymco Sting 50
Kymco Grandvista 250
Kymco Xciting 250
The scooter scene is in a positive upswing right now and enthusiasm is high for 2012. Scooters sales recovered quite a bit in 2011 (more on that in Part 2) so the back logs of dealer inventory from 2008 and 2009 are now largely cleared out. The only model to die for 2012 without an obvious replacement is Honda’s PCX 125. The PCX strangely makes it three one year wonders in a row for Honda (SH150 & Elite 110 being the other two), which indicates either sales haven’t been good for Honda or they’re indecisive about what they want to offer to North American scooterists.
The other three dropped scooters for 2012 are from Kymco. The Xciting 250 and Grandvista 250 have been replaced in the last year or two by the newer 2011 Downtown 200 / 300 and People GT 200 / 300 scooters that are a big step up technologically. The People GT is perhaps the first truly good looking large wheeled scooter sold in North America. The smaller Sting 50 is just a scooter who’s time has come, with nicer replacements like the Like 50 already introduced a couple years back.
The new scooters for 2012 are an exciting bunch. The Aprilia SR Motard and Piaggio Typhoon 125 are basically the same machines with tweaked styling and an extra 2-stroke 50 motor option for the Aprilia. These scooters don’t break any technological ground, but they do offer great styling and low MSRPs that will reduce the number of value oriented sales that the Taiwanese (Kymco, Genuine/PGO and SYM) have been snagging.
The Genuine Buddy 170i is a nice technological boost for the popular Buddy line and should deliver even better fuel economy for a surprisingly small increase in price ($100). The 170i adds fuel injection, an oil cooler and an extra 18cc to the top of the line Buddy models. The Psycho Buddy replaces the Buddy Blackjack in Genuine’s line with its matte black paint and high performance brakes and suspension. The key new differences are the switch to the smaller 125cc motor and the inclusion of the crash bars. Buyers will probably be happy to accept 25cc less in exchange for the $500 chop to the MSRP.
Lastly Yamaha made news in summer 2011 with their early release of the all new 4-stroke Zuma / BWs 50. They played it pretty safe with the styling - choosing to just refine their existing bug eye look rather than try something new. The 4-stroke engine in itself was probably a radical enough change for the Zuma fan base. Having long been known as a peppy 2-stroke that is easily modified, the 4-stroke model will alienate some enthusiasts but attract quite a few more due to it’s increased fuel economy and refinement. While it’s always sad to see one of the last remaining 2-stroke engines go, Yamaha did replace it with perhaps the best 4-stroke 50cc engine on the market right now. No one else can claim to have a fuel injected, liquid cooled 4-stroke engine that uses more than 2-valves.
All told, there are now 52 scooters available to the USA market for 2012 from the eight largest brands which are covered on this site. The number of offerings is the highest its been in a few years and in general the lineups are fresher. With warm weather right around the corner these new models and the annual favourites will by flying out of showrooms soon.
RARE SCOOTER BROCHURE SCANS: 1985, 2001
1985 Honda Aero 80 and Yamaha 2001 Scooter Lineup Scans
Through the 80’s and 90’s, Honda and Yamaha created some really neat literature for their scooter lines. Honda’s quality has waned in recent years (bikes and scooters are now lumped into one), but Yamaha has continued to do a fairly nice job.
The 80’s were the peak of the effort put into this literature and 1985 was Honda USA’s magnum opus - the year they put out an artistic brochure for their entire scooter line, as well as multi-page quality brochures for each of their 7 models. 27 years later these brochure are exceedingly rare, but once in a while one pops up on eBay. About 6 months ago I posted a scan of the 1985 brochure on Honda’s complete scooter line, and now I’ve been able to acquire the 1985 brochure on the Aero 80. Here is the 1985 Honda Aero 80 brochure.
In addition, I scooped up Yamaha USA’s 2001 scooter lineup brochure and scanned that in as well. It’s also a neat brochure. 2001 may sound pretty recent, but having a look at scooters like the Razz and original Zuma will make it feel older than that.
Browse over to the full Downloads page to have a look at the growing collection of scooter literature.
MP3 CITY 300 TAKING OVER IN 2013?
Piaggio replacing the MP3 250, 400 and 500 with new MP3 City 300
Rumour has it that Piaggio (USA & Canada) is scaling back their MP3 line from three models to one for 2013. Starting second quarter 2012, Piaggio is no longer accepting dealer orders for the soft styled MP3 250 and 400, as well as the bold MP3 500.
This move has speculation spiking amongst fans and dealers about the future of the MP3 line. While popular in many markets, the MP3 has received only a luke warm response in North America.
There has been some speculation Piaggio is axing their 3 wheeled line entirely, but most sources believe [see comments] they are scaling back to one model….the new MP3 City 300.
The City 300 was unveiled in late 2010 overseas under the awkward name ‘MP3 Yourban’ which Piaggio has wisely abandoned for America. One Piaggio dealer claims that Piaggio USA is training mechanics on the newest MP3 now, in preparation for a late summer launch.
Both the styling and performance of the MP3 City strike a compromise between the currently diametric range of MP3 models. The styling is less cheeky than the smaller MP3’s, while less over the top than the testosterone styled MP3 500. This sharp styling joins the new Beverly Sport in finding the handsome middle ground Piaggio has been missing lately.
The 300cc fuel injected motor falls on the smaller side of MP3 engine palette, but the City 300 makes up for it by shedding some pounds and inches of its own. The whole premise of the City 300 was the MP3 smaller, lighter and more nimble. Piaggio feels this better suits the MP3 to the city, but it actually makes the MP3 more fun to drive on any road.
While not confirmed yet, we’ll likely see a press release from Piaggio USA in early to mid-summer about the future of their MP3 line. Some fans are have got their fingers crossed that Piaggio will toss in the larger 350cc motor they’re using in the BV Sport 350.
What do you think? Is the City 300 a better scoot than the outgoing MP3’s? Is 300 is the right size?
LOOK OUT INDIA - VESPA'S COMING TOO
January 16, 2012 - Filed under: Vespa
Vespa Wooing Indian Customers with Pink LX125’s
Not to be outdone by Yamaha’s announcement last week, Vespa has ended their 13 year absence and announced their re-entry into the Indian scooter market with a pink scooter. This will be their third time trying the Indian market and the first without a local partner. In the 80’s and 90’s Piaggio partnered with LML (now maker of the Stella) and before that they joined forced with Bajaj who would go on to sell the Chetek PX clone..
Piaggio / Vespa made the announcement January 6th at the Auto Expo in Delhi, India. The Piaggio group has been selling three wheelers and commercial engines in India for some time, but now they are really getting serious about scooters with a new factory in India that opens in March and will have the capacity to churn out 300,000 shiny scooters annually.
With over 2.5 million scooters sold in India in 2011 (out of 13 million total vehicles), scooters represent a huge portion of the vehicle market. Vespa is going after this segment with just one model - an updated LX 125.
Vespa is using their newest 3 valve LEADER engine in this scooter (also used in the Quarantasei concept). The claims for this updated motor include less noise, reduced emissions and fuel economy up to 60km/liter (142 mpg). I’m not sure what the fine print is achieving for that 142 mpg figure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if began: “Step 1 - Load Vespa into the back of a truck”. My wife’s LX150 typically got about 55mpg, so I doubt the updated engine does much better than 70mpg in real world conditions.
Updated engine aside, Vespa also oriented this LX 125 for Indian roads by making the engine and wheel access easier. The improved wheel access is for changing flats caused by India’s rough roads. The improved engine access isn’t explained in the press release, but perhaps it’s because Piaggio hasn’t got all the bugs worked out of this new motor yet.
Look for this scooter at dealers in India’s 35 largest cities. Full Piaggio press release.
What’s going to capture Indian customers hearts? The LX 125 or Yamaha’s new Ray?
YAMAHA ENTERS INDIAN SCOOTER MARKET
January 08, 2012 - Filed under: Yamaha
Yamaha India Tries the Hot Pink Strategy
Yamaha is finally entering the scooter market in India for 2012 with a few popular models and one all new scooter. Despite selling lots of scooters in near by countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Veitnam, Yamaha has amazingly neglected one of the globes largest scooter markets until now.
Yamaha has been expanding their motorcycle presence in India over the past few years and finally at the recent India Auto Expo they announced a line of scooters. Yamaha is expecting 30% of their Indian sales
to be scooters by 2014.
The biggest news for the Indian market is the new Ray scooter, which is aimed at women with its hot pink paint job. Specs aren’t out yet, but it’s widely assumed this scooter will be 125cc, which is the most popular size in India.
Buyers looking for something a bit more masculine can take a look at the sporty 125cc Xeon scooters, which has been popular in other parts of Asia in recent years.
Rounding out the lineup is Yamaha’s retro styled Fino scooter (114cc and 125cc sizes) and the 125cc Mio scooter, which is their most affordable ride targeted at commuters. The Mio barely a lot of resemblance to the Vino they sell here.
Have a look at Yamaha’s Thailand site for some more info on these scoots. The Thailand site is partially in english, so for more of a challenge check out Yamaha Vietnam’s website which has some neat pictures as well as a completely foreign language.
What do you think? Is there a spot in Yamaha’s North America line for the Ray? Who wants one in their driveway?