70th ANNIVERSARY SETTANTESIMO VESPAS
LIMITED EDITIONS OF THE PRIMAVERA AND GTS
Vespa is celebrating their 70th anniversary (1946 - 2016) with special editions of the Primavera 50, Primavera 150 and GTS. These models are available in limited numbers in both the USA and Canada (and worldwide).
For an extra $300, the Settantesimo comes in two unique colors: Azzurro Metallizzato (which looks like robin’s egg blue) and Grigio Pulsar (light grey). These editions also include gunmetal finished rims and an upgraded dark brown seat with a matching rear luggage bag and rack. Also included are 70th anniversary badges on the legshield and luggage.
The rear luggage bag is really nice, and since this includes the rack the Settantesimo is a pretty good value. Buyers who just want the bag and rack might want to opt for this in the more normal grey, while folks really into Vespa may prefer the light blue, which is sort of a classic Vespa color with similar shades being used on other notable models such as the 2004 limited edition return of the PX to North America.
STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2016 - PART TWO
BMW BEATS YAMAHA, HONDA FOR 2016 SCOOTER OF THE YEAR
Readers Pick: BMW C 650 Sport Is 2016’s Best New Scooter
Coverage of BMW scooters was added to this site after BMW introduced their set of C series maxiscooters (2013), so the revised 2016 C 650 Sport was the first model from BMW to go head to head against other new and revised models in the readers choice poll. It’s clear that people like what they see, as the C650 Sport handily took first place with nearly one third of the votes (31%), making it the 2016 Motor Scooter Guide Reader’s Pick.
Rounding out the top three models were Yamaha’s new Zuma 125 which took an unchallenged second place (23%), followed by Honda’s updated Metropolitan in third (15%). With a third place finish, 2016 is the first time Honda hasn’t won the award since it began for 2013.
Garnering the least enthusiasm was Genuine’s new Chinese built and ultra low cost Venture 50 along with the 2016 Armani edition of Vespa’s ultra pricey 946.
2015 Scooter Market Sales
Another year of scooter sales data is in and with it more confirmation that mediocre sales are here to stay. Before the 2008 recession USA scooters were a 50,000+ unit market, with highs some years approaching 100,000 (2004). Since the recession the market has been flat at 28-35,000 units and there are no clear catalysts for a recovery. Exact 2015 sales aren’t yet available from MIC but sales were down 10% year over year after the first 3 quarters and thus likely came in very close to 30k.
The situation in Canada is similar. With a population one-tenth the size of the USA, scooter sales in Canada were also one tenth with sales of 3452 units in 2015 per the MMIC. Canada looked like it was going to take less of a post-recession drop than the USA with okay 2009-2010 sales, but in 2011 sales shifted to today’s norm of ~3500 units.
Scooter sales today are in a similar pattern as we’ve seen once before in history. Following the 80’s boom, sales were low for the entire 90’s before picking up steam in the early 2000’s.
Perhaps the biggest threat to scooter sales today are e-Bikes, which appeal for all the same reasons scooters historically have: low cost and less regulation. eBikes lack the power of even a 50cc scooter, but with a super low purchase price and often no registration, licence or insurance required, it’s not hard to see why they’ve become the vehicle of choice amongst the frugal (and DUI limited).
I see three possible solutions to the doldrums that scooter sales are now in. First, new regulations might make eBikes less appealing. If eBike owners are required to have a licence, registration and insurance like many areas require for scooters, then buyers might choose to pay a bit more for a more capable and higher quality scooter. However, there’s not much indication this is going to change.
Secondly, scooters could benefit from some unexpected cultural shift, like a hit movie, that makes scooters cool again. In the past two movies have done this (Roman Holiday, Quadrophenia) and something similar could happen again. In North America scooters have always been practical enough and it’s been the “broke motorcyclist” stigma that’s prevented far higher sales.
Thirdly, and preferably, scooter makers could release interesting new models that genuinely pique customers interests. Right now there are too many models on the market that are either boring or aging. The market needs another icon like the Vespa or Honda Ruckus to give it a boost.
An appealing and capable electric scooter could be what’s needed to make scooters cool again and boost the market. Unfortunately Gogoro doesn’t have plans to bring this to the USA and the other manufacturers seem content to slowly sell the same old models. Maybe Honda will get serious about their EV-Cub.
STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2016 - PART ONE
9 NEW OR IMPROVED MODELS ARRIVING IN SHOWROOMS
With 2016 models mostly in showrooms, it’s time to review all the new and improved models. Please take a second to vote for your favorite. If you’re not familiar with the choices, read on!
As usual, complete details for each manufacturers lineup and specific models are found their respective pages here on MSG. A full report on 2015 scooter sales will be released in Part 2 of MSG’s State of the Scooter Scene, along with the winner of the poll. With just one entrant, it’ll be interesting to see if Honda can make 2016 their 4th straight win.
New 2016 Scooters
Genuine Buddy Kick
Genuine Venture 50
Updated 2016 Scooters
BMW C 650 Sport
Piaggio MP3 500 Sport
Vespa Primavera Tourer
Vespa Sprint Sport
Vespa 946 EA
Yamaha Zuma 125
Kymco MyRoad 700i
New scooters are sparse for 2016, comprising just two models from Genuine. These new models consist of a nice addition to the Buddy lineup called the Buddy Kick, and the low cost 50cc Venture. Thankfully quite a few more models received major updates.
For 2016 BMW resumed sales of their C Sport model, now calling it the C 650 Sport. It still uses the same 647cc motor so the new name just corrects the earlier non-sense of calling it the C 600 Sport. The 2016 upgrades include freshened styling, traction control and tweaks to the suspension, CVT and exhaust. Honda took 2016 as an opportunity to heavily overhaul their popular Metropolitan with a new liquid cooled motor, revised styling, new glovebox, 12V port, rims and an in floor fuel tank to increase underseat storage. The Zuma 125 from Yamaha is also less recognizable, with all new style, instruments, more room and improved brakes and suspension.
The Italians haven’t been sitting idle either. Piaggio surprisingly resurrected their MP3 in North America after several years in the grave (although it was on sale overseas). The new MP3 is called the 500 Sport but rather than resembling prior Sport models, it’s actually the softer original MP3 styling but with a new grill, rims and Piaggio’s larger 492cc motor. Vespa reworked three of their models for 2016, adding Tourer and S variations to the Primavera and Sprint models respectively. The Sprint S receives fairly mild styling tweaks while the Primavera Tourer gets the full set of Vespa racks and accessories similar to the LXV of years past. Last is the 2016 edition of the 946, called the Emporio Armani edition. This EA edition gets pretty neat green/grey paint but otherwise is similar to past 946 editions in style, function and price ($10g).
Also gone but not nearly as iconic is Kymco’s MyRoad 700i, which was only offered for two years in the USA and never saw much sales success against the big maxiscooters from the Japanese.
In total there are 52 scooter models being offered from the 9 major manufacturers covered on this site. That’s down 2 from last year but up quite a bit from 45 models 5 years ago.
GENUINE GOES CHINESE
2016 LINE INCLUDES MACHINES FROM PGO, LML AND CHINA
Genuine Scooters, a great little company, tends to be less than upfront about what they actually do as “America’s Favorite Scooter Company”. As opposed to most scooter companies that actually make scooters, Genuine imports batches of scooters from other manufacturers that otherwise don’t sell in the USA. These machines are then marketed under the Genuine brand. It’s not a bad strategy since building scooters is expensive and there are already nice machines built and sold overseas that aren’t offered in the USA. It’s similar to the business model of most distributers except Genuine goes a step further by trying to improve upon the often poor branding and support.
However Genuine has never been very upfront with their status as an importer/distributer, leaving people to assume they are a manufacturer. A few years back I actually had a potential advertising deal with Genuine for this website, which went south when Genuine asked me to remove the information on where their scooters come from. This is something I try to shed a light on here because people should know what they’re buying and where they can get OEM and aftermarket parts. Genuine generally imports pretty good scooters but readers still need to know this.
The first overseas maker Genuine struck a deal with was LML, who for years had manufactured the PX series for Vespa and thus was capable of making perfect clones for Genuine when Vespa’s patents ran out. These machines are imported as the Stella and are generally great scooters considering they’re a 30 year old design.
Since LML is limited in what scooters they make, Genuine next struck a deal with PGO Scooters of Taiwan, who make reasonably good scooters in the same vein as Kymco and SYM. Starting in 2006 and continuing today, Genuine imports most of their line from PGO such as the Buddy, Roughhouse and the new for 2016 Buddy Kick (left in silver), whereas PGO sells these scooters under the PGO name up in Canada (but still through a distributer) and elsewhere.
The big news for 2016 is the addition of a new, undisclosed Chinese manufacturer for their new Venture 50 scooter (top). The Venture 50 is impressively low priced ($1599) for a machine with pretty good specs (3-valve motor, front and rear disc brakes) other than top speed (30mph) and slightly better than average looks for a Chinese machine. Whether it’s any good or not remains to be seen but most likely it’s okay commuter material.
The 50cc market segment is really price sensitive, so it’s not surprising that Genuine decided to market a lower cost scooter, especially after the 2013 boardroom shakeup where founder, CEO and enthusiast Philip McCaleb was pushed out. The interesting question is whether Genuine can do this without hurting the rest of their brand, or maybe they plan to slowly switch to a mostly Chinese line? Hopefully Genuine has good quality control they can avoid a situation that hurts their reputation.
USA MODELS: Stella, Roughhouse, Venture, Buddy Kick, Buddy 50 / 125 / 170i, Hooligan 170, Blur 220
VESPA ADDS SPRINT S, PRIMAVERA TOURER FOR 2016
2016 LINE INCLUDES UPDATED GTV AND NEW 946, SPRINT AND PRIMAVERA MODELS
Vespa has been busy refreshing their scooter line up for 2016. The first changes came in summer 2015 with the early introduction of the 2016 GTV 300 (not shown). This revised GTV gained ABS and ASR (traction control) like the GTS models did for 2015, but Vespa went a step further and also redesigned the saddle, added a new tail light with a chrome frame, chromed the rims and revised the front rack and windscreen. With the updates the GTV 300 rose $100 to $7499 in the USA. Pricing in Canada is $7795 which is steal with the Canadian dollar at $0.73. The only GTV color for 2016 is metallic grey.
Also new is the Emporio Armani edition of the 946 (aka 946 EA). This time around the 946 is offered in a neat dark grey/green color with handsome matte black accents including the rims. It’s a great look other than the over abundance of Armani logo’s on the machine. Some accents like the rear rack and mirrors are a nice pewter finish. As usual, the 946 is likely to list for around $10g and it apparently is only being offered from a few big dealers in handful of major cities.
More relevant to regular Vespa enthusiasts are the new versions of the Sprint and Primavera. Vespa has done a nice job putting together a sport version of the Sprint and a touring version of the Primavera. The sport version of the Sprint is called the Sport S 150 (no 50cc option) and it adds a ribbed seat, black rims and side striping on top of the unique titanium color for an extra $100 vs. the regular Sprint. It’s a nice option for the extra money. The rims in particular look great in black.
The new Primavera Tourer 150 is a tougher decision because it adds a substantial $400 to the price tag ($5399). This touring version adds a few functional features (windscreen, rear rack) and a few features that are more for style (ribbed leather seat, front rack). This model carries on where the old LXV 150 left off in the spirit of Quadrophenia.
Pricing is up across the Vespa range by $50-$100. The 50cc Vespa’s are up $50 to $3650 (Primavera) or $3750 (Sprint). The 150 models are up $100 to $4999 (Primavera) or $5299 (Sprint). The reason for the price difference between the Sprint and Primavera is because only the former comes with ABS.
With all the new features the Primavera Tourer is listing for $5399, which is the same as the Sprint S 150, so it’s your choice between ABS or a few racks and a windscreen. Color options are also updated for 2016, with Vespa typically narrowing the choices by a few colors.
USA MODELS: Primavera 50 / 150 / 150 Touring, Sprint 50 / 150 / S 150, 946, GTS 300 / 300 Super / 300 Super Sport SE / GTV 300
CANADA MODELS: Primavera 50 / 150, Sprint 50 / 150, GTS 300 / 300 Super /300 Super Sport SE / GTV 300
KYMCO 2016: XCITING 500 REPLACES MYROAD 700
MYROAD DROPPED AFTER TWO YEARS
Kymco USA has released their 2016 scooter offerings. The big news for 2016 is the demise of the MyRoad 700i, which was teased for the North American market for several years before being launched in 2014. The biggest Kymco has been available overseas since 2008, but it wasn’t a match for North America and didn’t make the cut for 2016.
The most likely culprit here is the high MSRP Kymco set for the machine. At $9699, the MyRoad listed for a similar price as a BMW C 600 and about a grand under premium touring machines like the BMW C 650 GT and Suzuki Burgman 650. The MyRoad was reported a nice enough machine, but once prices get near 5 digits most buyers are going to opt for machines with more of a reputation.
In it’s place, Kymco USA is resurrecting the Xciting 500 (shown right) for 2016 at a more palatable $6899. This Xciting is known as the Xciting Ri 500 ABS and it’s the same machine that was introduced for 2013 and last offered in the USA for 2014 (not to be confused with the single headlight ’09 - ’12 Xciting Ri 500). As the name implies, ABS is standard.
The rest of Kymco’s line is returning unchanged. Even the prices are all the same including for the Downtown 300 which has never seen an MSRP boost in the 6 years it’s been on the market.
To freshen the rest of their line, Kymco has revamped the color palette for their lineup except the Agility 50 / 125. Most of the new colors are nice standard choices. The except is the new “light green” option for the Campagno 110. This mint shade is pretty unique color that will stand out.
No word yet from Canada.
USA MODELS: Agility 50 / 125, Super 8X / 8R 50, Compagno 110i, Super 8X / 8R 150 Like 200, People GT 300i, Downtown 300i, Xciting 500 Ri ABS
HONDA LAUNCHES NEW LIQUID COOLED 2016 METROPOLITAN
REVAMPED METROPOLITAN HEADLINES HONDA’S 2016 SCOOTER LINE
The Metropolitan has been majorly upgraded for 2016 with an all new motor, revised style and improved amenities. The new Met gains liquid cooling, an in-floor fuel tank, larger underseat storage and a small glovebox with 12V charging socket. This new Met is essentially Honda Japan’s new Giorno Clip model, which is replacing the discontinued regular Giorno in Asian markets. In Canada, Honda is also offering this new model but under the overseas Giorno name.
The 2016 Met utilizes Honda’s new AF74E liquid cooled motor. This new motor is similar to the GET2 design in the 2002-2009 Metropolitan, with a clever side mounted radiator and reversible alternator that doubles as the starting motor. Power from the new motor is similar with 0.1 less horsepower (now 4.4) but coming at a lower RPM (8000 vs 8250). The main appeal of the new motor is the improved efficiency, made possible with higher compression (12.0:1 instead of 10.1:1) and an idle stop system, although the idle stop system appears seems to be nixed from the North American market. In Japan this model is rated at a staggering 132 mpg in real world conditions (180 mpg in Japan’s wildly optimistic 30km/hr test), which is 13% better than the departing Metropolitan which was rated at 117 mpg. Honda USA is sticking with their 117 mpg claim, but it’s likely they haven’t had the chance to run the new model past the D.O.T. yet, either that the axed idle stop system contributed that much.
In terms of the style, it’s the same core machine but Honda reworked the side flanks with new horizontal streaks and freshened up the front of the legshield. Also new are the 8 spoke rims and instrumentation, which gains a digital trip odometer. There’s also new black shrouding under the floor, which conceals the relocated 1.2 gal fuel tank. The frame itself appears to be the same and the wheelbase is unchanged at 46.5”. There’s a good video walk around of the new style here.
In terms of amenities, the revised Met replaces the open legshield storage cubby with a smaller one under the ignition good for a bottle of water and then a more useful but small glovebox on the left side. This glovebox has a small 12V outlet perfect for charging a cell phone.
Colors for 2016 are Pearl Blue, Pearl White and Red. Pricing has now been announced and it’s up $400 in Canada and the USA to $2399 (USA) and $2699 (Canada). It’s a big increase that likely partially reflects the increased cost of the machine but also reflects a new strategy for Honda of less skimpy margins.
YAMAHA READIES NEW ZUMA 125 FOR 2016
NEW 2016 ZUMA 125 WHILE REMAINING SCOOTERS CARRY OVER
Yamaha released the better part of their 2016 scooter line up this week for both the USA and Canada.
The USA announcement includes the return of all 2015 scooters except for the TMAX and the Zuma 125. So the Vino 50, Zuma 50, Zuma 50 FX and the SMAX are all back unchanged in design and price. As usual there are new color options, with the Vino 50 available in a particularly fantastic Rosewood Brown.
The absence of the TMAX is understandable since Yamaha surprised everyone with a really late 2015 TMAX announcement this spring, so most likely they’re going to hold off a bit on announcing the 2016 TMAX or maybe they’ll skip the year entirely if inventory is high, but we’ll see the TMAX back at some point as soon as inventory is low enough.
The really interesting news is the lack of the Zuma 125. By itself it would be a worrying sign but a look at Yamaha’s Canadian 2016 lineup (which typically mirrors the USA) provides some exciting insight. In Canada is similar except it includes a heavily updated BWs 125, which is the Canadian name for the Zuma 125. Most likely Yamaha USA has delayed announcing their 2016 Zuma 125 because it’s not quite ready for showrooms and they don’t want to tank sales of the outgoing version, but we should see an announcement in the next few weeks.
At first glance, the new BWs/Zuma 125 looks like an all new machine. The styling is hardly recognizable as a Z125, particularly in the rear where the exposed tube frame is gone. Likely Yamaha’s got a new sub-frame here. The front is also way different, with the classic bug eye lights being replaced by somewhat bulgy but more integrated dual headlights. Also new are the rims and the gauge setup.
Style aside, Yamaha gave this machine some nice functional upgrades. The front brake moves to a larger disc (245mm vs. 220mm) and with twin pistons in the caliper instead of one. There’s also a sweet disc brake in the rear now instead of a drum. The suspension details aren’t all announced but the front forks are larger diameter (31mm vs 27mm) and the rear suspension looks different.
Yamaha also bumped up space in the cockpit with a claim of more knee room, which is great because the outgoing model was a bit tight here for 6 footers. With that said, it still looks a bit tight in the photos. There’s also nice new folding passenger pegs, a 10% larger fuel tank and somehow Yamaha got almost 50% more space out of the underseat storage area (7.6 gallon vs. 5.2). It looks like this was achieved by extending the butt of the scooter and making it a bit deeper.
What’s not changed seems to be the engine, which has all the same specs. Even there the are some obvious external changes (i.e. exhaust cover, fan cover) so it’s possible Yamaha’s even tweaked this. Hopefully we get some more details and a USA announcement soon.
HONDA RELEASES 2016 EDITION PCX150
2016 MODEL IN SHOWROOMS THIS MONTH
The PCX 150 - a two time winner of the Motor Scooter Guide readers pick poll (2013, 2015) - is returning for 2016 via another early release from Honda. Apparently inventory of 2015 models was running low, which isn’t surprising since the PCX is a great scooter at a great price and Honda released the 2015’s way back in April 2014.
The announcement for the 2016 model was back in April, but the new machines are just rolling into showrooms over this month.
After being substantially revamped last year, the PCX is rolling over without major changes. Honda has increased the MSRP by $50 to $3499 in the USA while also mixing up the color options. In Canada the 2016 PCX 150 is listing for $3999, a bump of $100 over last year which is small considering how much the Canadian currency has devalued.
The new colors for 2016 are dark red and grey, which replace the 2015 color options of black and white in the USA and red and bronze in Canada. Honda USA is calling these new colors Dark Cherry Red and Steel Grey. In Canada only grey is being offered for 2016 but as always the Honda Canada folks have gotten more creative with the naming so they are calling it Matte Techno Silver Metallic.
No news yet on the rest of Honda’s scooters. That announcement should come in September or October.