YAMAHA RELEASES THEIR 2017 LINE
2017 BRINGS NEW COLORS, PRICES AND NO MORE TMAX
Yamaha released their 2017 offerings for the USA and Canada in recent days. The biggest news is the TMAX is gone for 2017, which has happened a couple times over the past 8 years but this ones looks like it might be for good. Yamaha released the TMAX in North America back in 2009. Over that time there’s been several updates and years off due to slow sales, but now this model is aging and most likely we won’t see it back unless Yamaha brings a new generation.
The rest of Yamaha’s 2017 line is standard fare - which is not surprising after releasing a nice update of the Zuma 125 last year and the SMAX the year before that. All Yamaha’s 2017 scooter models are carrying over unchanged, including the Vino 50, Zuma 50, Zuma 125 and SMAX. Once again there is the single - and better looking - headlight version of the Zuma called the Zuma FX.
Both the SMAX and Zuma 125 are fairly new machines so it’s not surprising there’s no changes here, but Yamaha’s 50cc models are showing some gray hair. Other than a switch to a 4-stroke motor for 2006, the Vino 50 is basically the same machine that went on sale 15 years ago for 2002. The Zuma 50 got a new motor more recently (2012) along with pretty substantial updates elsewhere, but the core platform also dates back to 2002. Hopefully Yamaha decides to release a new generation of their 50cc’s in the next few years.
Pricing changes for 2017 are trivial in the USA, with all scooters rising $9 (e.g. SMAX is now $3699 instead of $3690). Canadian prices are seeing a larger jump, with $100 added to price tags across the board except for the BMS/Zuma 125, which impressively drops $200 to $3699. That’s even more impressive when you consider back in 2009 it listed for $4199 in Canada - a drop over $500 over 8 years. The reduced BWS 125 pricing differentiates it from the more technologically advanced and larger displacement155cc SMAX, which was only $100 more in Canada last year. Now the SMAX is $300 more in both markets.
As usual Yamaha has revised their color offerings. The SMAX and Vino 50 get a single pigment choice, while the various Zuma models offer two. All colors are listed on the individual model pages. Also of minor note: Yamaha re-worked the side panel graphics on their Zuma scooters but they are still excessive.
MODELS: Vino, BWs / Zuma, Zuma FX/X, BWs 125 / Zuma 125, SMAX
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.
TOP SCOOTERS OF THE DECADE: PART 2 - 1990'S
In the second instalment of this series, I’ve deliberated over and served up my top 3 picks for best scooters of the 90’s. A core requirement is that a scooter must have been either introduced or substantially overhauled in the USA or Canadian markets during this decade. Simply keeping an 80’s machine on sale into the 90’s is not enough to qualify.
The 90’s were a darker time in North American scooter history. This sales had dived after record sales in the 80’s and new models were sparse. It’s a strong parallel to today, where scooter sales have yet to recover to anything approaching the pre-recession levels. Thankfully sales today are 50% of what they were pre-recession, while sales in the 90’s fell to only 20% of the 80’s peak.
As a result of slow sales, scooter lineups in the 90’s were mostly comprised of machines left over from the 80’s boom. Late 80’s machines like Honda’s Elite 80 and Elite SR, and Yamaha’s Riva 125 were mainstays. In fact, Honda didn’t introduce a single new scooter model to the USA throughout the 90’s after introducing 18 in the 80’s. The extent of their attention to their scooter lineup in the 90’s was resuming sales of the Helix in 1992, introducing the Dio to Canada, and revising their Elite SR with a new motor for ’94. Yamaha didn’t do much better, introducing only the CY50 generation of the Jog in 1992.
Another Japanese maker, Suzuki, had yet to offer scooters in North America in the 80’s, but surprised everyone in 1990 when they released their first scooter, the Hyper aka AE50, to the Canadian market. It wasn’t offered in the USA, but it qualifies for consideration here as it was both new and sold in either Canada or the USA.
By the late 90’s it was clear that the Italian brands (Vespa, Aprilia, Piaggio) were planning a return to North America, but only Aprilia managed to get their scooters in showrooms in the 90’s when they rolled out a limited release of their SR50 and Scarabeo 50 models in 1999.
1999 - 2003 Aprila SR50
The SR50 was easily the most significant new scooter launched in the 90’s. When it was launched for 1999 it became the first 50cc scooter sold in North America to offer liquid cooling, fuel injection, a rear disc brake and 13” rims. In doing so, it brought many features normally reserved for bigger motorcycles to 50cc riders.
The SR50 was also easily the most “sporty” scooter offered date, drawing direct inspiration from Aprilia’s sportbikes. It took the semi-sporty concept of scooters like Honda’s Elite SR and Yamaha’s Jog to an entire new level with advanced technology, impressive power, aggressive styling and class leading digital instrumentation.
With all that technology, the MSRP was high ($2699 in 1999) which limited it to a smaller niche as an enthusiasts machine. Sales were never high, but was a fantastic scooter and remains appealing today on the used market.
1992 - 2001 Honda Dio (Canada only)
The Dio is likely Honda’s best selling scooter globally but it has only appeared once in the North American market. Honda introduced the Dio to Canada for 1992 where it remained on sale for 10 years while American’s were offered the similar but watered down Elite SR.
The Dio has long represented Honda’s best effort at making a practical and sporty 50cc. It’s a highly refined, supremely reliable and notoriously easy machine to squeeze more power out of. Only the base model was offered in Canada, but that’s just as well as it leaves the joy of bolting on cheap and readily available suspension bits, rims and go-fast parts to the owner.
Honda eventually shoehorned the Dio’s 5.6 horsepower motor (AF16E) into the Elite SR for 1994, but the result wasn’t quite as elegant since that scooter still used the previous generation of exhaust, carb and intake. Elite SR owners can brag about their glovebox, but the Dio has superior telescoping front forks and most of the design is a decade newer.
The lasting greatness of the Dio is apparent on any forum for 80’s or 90’s Honda scooters, where the common response to anyone asking about souping up their scooter is to “get a Dio motor” and mod from there. Whether you get a proper Dio or just a ’94+ Elite SR, you’re benefitting from the finest 2-stroke 50cc design Honda’s come up with to date. Yamaha’s CY50 Jog was a tough competitor, but the Dio was the best small 2-stroke of the era.
1999 - 2006 Aprilia Scarabeo 50
The Scarabeo 50 is a noteworthy machine that makes this list not because it was great, but because it was the first big wheeled scooter offered in North America. Aprilia took a gamble introducing the 50cc Scarabeo into North America hoping buyers would be practical like they are in Europe. They weren’t, but Aprilia still sold enough to keep it in the lineup.
The ‘Beo was the best 90’s machine for the practical scooterist. In that sense it was the opposite of the SR50 which catered to the pure enthusiast. It’s large wheels worked well on rough roads and with glove box storage and an optional top case it was easy to live with. A 4-stroke motor would have been even more practical, but no one offered 4-stroke 50’s in the 90’s.
TOP SCOOTERS OF THE DECADE: PART 1 - 1980'S
For a new series, I’m going to run down my picks for the top 3 scooters of each decade, starting with the 80’s. These top three lists will leave out a lot of great machines, but I think they’ll capture most of the machines that stood out.
In the 80’s Honda and Yamaha pretty much had the scooter market to themselves with Vespa and Lambretta on the way out. A lot of neat machines were introduced during this decade, with some of the best machines coming in the late in the decade after the scooter craze died off. 1983 - 1985 were huge years for scooter sales, with ’86 - ’89 selling only a small fraction of that.
In the 80’s Honda and Yamaha combined to serve up 18 new models which ran the gamut from practical (Honda Elite 150) to just plain weird (Honda Gyro).
1987-91 Yamaha Riva 200
Like the other scooters on this list, Yamaha’s big Riva had teething problems in the early years. The Riva 180 suffered from autochoke issues that makes nearly all machines hard to start today. However, when Yamaha returned for 1987 with an upgraded version that added 28cc (171cc to 199cc) and remedied the autochoke issue, they had a real winner.
The Riva 200 rips on the highway with an 80mph top speed. With gold rims and the spaceship look, the Riva 200 combines 80’s glory with highway cruising practicality. It gets the win over Honda’s big scooters for being just as fast as an Elite 250 while looking even more awesome. Full info here.
1986-87 Honda Aero 50
Honda’s first generation of Aero 50 was a neat machine, but the second generation introduced for 1985 improved everything (faster, easily upgradable, glovebox, better suspension, new seat). The first year of the second generation lacked a kickstarter and throttle controlled oil injection, but when these were added for 1986’s Honda arrived at 2-stroke 50cc perfection.
The final version of this masterpiece was only sold for ’86 - ’87, but if you can find one in good condition it’s a great buy. They are seemingly immortal and have to been one of the most useful and fun 50cc scooters to own. Compared to 50cc’s from Yamaha, the Aero 50 was years ahead in power and engineering. Full info is here.
1985 Honda Aero 80
The Aero 80 is the most fun to ride stock small scooter ever, with it’s incredible torque making wheelies easy in stock form. It’s a package that’s gotten even more fun with time, as cruising around today on an Aero 80 combines memories of the 80’s with that amazing blast off the line. Moving slow or fast, the Aero 80 is awesome.
The ’83 - ’84 Aero 80’s suffered from a few issues, specifically the power cuts off at full throttle so a careful hand is needed for peak acceleration. Honda remedied this for 1985, plus they boosted the top speed and added storage in the side panel to achieve perfection. While an 80cc scooter isn’t as cheap to operate as a 50cc (insurance, fuel), the 1985 Aero 80 is easily the most fun to drive scooter from the 80’s. Full info is here.
Honda Helix - The original maxi scooter
Yamaha Riva 50 / Salient - Not a great machine, but a neat looker
Honda Aero 125 - Another 2-stroke torque monster
Honda Elite 150 - Perhaps the most practical 80’s machine.
Honda Gyro - This 3 wheeler easily wins the odd-ball award
STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2015 - PART ONE
MID-SIZED SCOOTERS ARE TAKING OVER IN 2015
With the new year almost here, it’s time to round up the news on new and departing scooters in North America for 2015. Before we delve into this, please take a second to vote in the poll for your favourite new scooter (If you’re not familiar with this models, read on!). As always, the full details on each manufacturers lineup is found on the respective manufacturers pages, and here we’ll just run down the new and departing models.
New 2015 Scooters:
Genuine Buddy Riot
Kymco Super 8 X 50 / 150
Kymco Super 8 R 50 / 150
News on 2015 models has been a slow trickle this fall, with full 2015 lineups still not announced from Genuine and the Piaggio group. Oftentimes these makers blend one model year into the next with little fanfare except for new models. Thus we’re assuming all the usual scooters will be back in 2015 except for models that have clearly been replaced, such as the Vespa LX and S.
All told, there are seven substantially new models launching in North America for the 2015 model year, which come in a total of 12 versions as many are offered in both 50cc and 150cc sizes. Interestingly, all of the new machines are either mid-sized (150-155cc) or they come in a mid-sized version. It’s a stark turn around in the mid sized segment compared to 4 years ago when mid-sized machines were less popular.
The first 2015 scooter was announced way back in February, which was Vespa’s new Primavera (above right). The Primavera is Vespa’s new small frame model and thus replaces the LX. Alongside the new Primavera is the new Vespa Sprint (above left), which is the same core model but with edgier styling that will replace the Vespa S. These scooters are available in both 50cc and 155cc sizes, with the latter featuring standard ABS.
The Japanese makers were also eying the mid-sized segment, with Honda producing a heavily overhauled PCX150 (above left) that gets new styling, a little more power and new amenities. The PCX looks like it’ll have stiff competition from Yamaha, who launched the new SMAX 155 (above right) in North America this fall. The SMAX is a physically larger scooter that looks like a great modern design featuring a high tech motor and long list of amenities.
The other new models for 2015 are from Genuine and Kymco. Genuine is launching a new limited edition of the ever popular Buddy named the Buddy Riot (below right), which features an upgraded suspension and a mean looking gunmetal and black color scheme. Kymco’s new models for 2015 haven’t been officially announced, but we’re expecting to hear new X and R versions of a new generation of the Super 8 announced soon. The X version has styling with an off-road slant, while the R version is a street style (below left) This new Super 8 aims to bring sporty transportation to a lower end of the cost spectrum by basing the new Super 8 off Kymco’s lower cost Agility model.
Kymco Compagno 50 (USA Only)
Kymco Like 50 (USA Only)
Kymco Movie 150 (USA Only)
Kymco Super 8 50 / 150 (USA Only)
Kymco Xciting 500 (USA Only)
Yamaha Majesty (USA Only)
The discontinued models for 2015 are disproportionately from Kymco USA, who have opted to refine their formerly huge range of offerings from 13 models to 11 models. Even with the trim, Kymco USA is still fielding the largest lineup of any scooter maker. Kymco’s lineup adjustments for 2015 appear aimed at targeting the lower cost end of the spectrum. Their more expensive small and mid sized machines have been dropped, and the new Super 8 X / R models appear to be based on their entry level design so the MSRP should be lower. Kymco has also discontinued the Xciting 500 for 2015, but this move likely reflects the popularity of the newer MyRoad 700i. Kymco Canada has yet to announce their 2015 line.
The other departing models for 2015 are older designs. The Vespa LX and S have been around since 2006 and 2009 respectively, but have now been replaced by the new Primavera and Sprint models respectively. Yamaha’s Majesty (left) hasn’t been replaced, but it is an old model dating back to 2005 in the USA. This model is cut in the USA but continuing on in Canada.
Overall the number of new scooters outnumbers the departing list by 1, and thus the number of scooters on the market increases from 53 models to 54 for 2015, assuming the Piaggio group doesn’t have any surprises in store. The slight increase in new models like reflects the overall health of the scooter market quite well. The scooter market plummeted in half during the 2008 recession and it’s recovery has been very slow with only 5-10% annual increases. When the scooter sales for 2014 are announced around February we’ll issue part 2 of this annual report to discuss the results.
OP-ED: THE FUTURE COULD BE ELECTRIC
Over the last five years there’s been a lot happening in the world of electric powered transportation. Companies like Zero and Brammo are making pretty nice electric motorcycles and upstart automaker Tesla is selling electric cars as fast as they can build them.
In this opinionated piece, I’ll take a look at the pros and cons of electric powered scooters, what electric scooters are being offered today, where eBikes have gone wrong and what it would take to create a compelling electric scooter.
The Potential For Electric
Before we get into this, we ought to know why there’s even a push to go electric. What are the advantages besides tree-hugger cred? The main draws are instant power, low fuel costs, reduced maintenance and low emissions. Scooters don’t use much fuel, but running on electricity is way cheaper than gas which means $1 fill ups. Secondly, maintenance on an electric vehicle is virtually nil. There’s no oil changes or coolant. You wouldn’t be replacing drivebelts or rollers because electric motors don’t need a transmission. There’s also the perk of reduced emissions, since the only emissions are from when we make the electricity in the first place, which is way cleaner than running on gas even if the power is coming from coal.
YAMAHA UNVEILS THE 2015 SMAX - AT DEALERS NOW
YAMAHA LAUNCHES AN ALL NEW 155cc MODEL IN NORTH AMERICA
Two months ago we wrote about how Yamaha received California emissions approval for their new XC155 model, known as the Majesty S and SMAX overseas. Indeed its release was near, as Yamaha USA and Canada simultaneously announced this design as an additional 2015 model bearing the SMAX name.
We’ve exhaustively researched this new model with a new SMAX page. Briefly, the SMAX lands as a new mid sized scooter that is targeted at machines like Honda’s PCX 150 and Kymco’s Movie 150. In comparison, the SMAX boasts a bit more legroom and fancy engine technology like roller rocker arms and dynamic closed loop fuel injection. The SMAX makes an impressive 14.8 HP from it’s 155cc, but it’s also hauling around 329 lbs so performance is closer to average than class leading.
The SMAX is landing in showrooms now at an MSRP of $3690 (USA) or $3999 (Canada). Color options for 2015 are Matte Titan (silver) or Aquamarine Blue, which Yamaha Canada calls Deep Purplish Blue. We’ll take one in silver.
UPDATE: Yamaha Canada just announced the return of the TMAX (left). When it was omitted from Yamaha’s earlier announcements we assumed that was end, but the TMAX is actually back with updates. The front end has been restyled and several new features added including inverted forks and remote storage unlock. All the details are on the TMAX page.
For 2015 the Canadian price is unchanged at $10,499. Color options are just Dark Metallic Gray.
YAMAHA'S SMALL SCOOTERS RETURN + NEW MAJESTY S?
RED AND WHITE SMALL SCOOTS + DOES YAMAHA HAVE A NEW 155cc?
One new theme for these returning 2015 models is red and white paint jobs, with 3 of the 4 scooters available in this layout. The Vino gets “Spartan” red paint with white accents, while the Zuma FX and Zuma 125 are being offered in white (or extremely pale silver) paint with sporty red accents.
Vino: Spartan Red
Zuma: Dark Metallic Green, Matte Titan (Grey)
Zuma FX: Team Yamaha Blue & White, Alpine White & Heat Red
Zuma 125: Stardust Silver, Competition Silver & Heat Red
USA MSRPs remain unchanged for 2015 at $2290 (Vino), $2590 (Zuma, Zuma FX) and $3390 (Zuma 125).
There’s no word from Yamaha USA on a 2015 version of the Majesty, which isn’t a good sign considering the Majesty is
While the bigger Majesty may be in trouble, there’s good reason to think a smaller machine bearing this name may be in the pipeline. California’s emissions people recently approved Yamaha’s Majesty S aka SMax for sale in the state, indicating Yamaha plans to release this model in America eminently. The Majesty S (XC155) looks poised to take on Honda’s PCX150 in the popular mid-sized market. This scooter would fill the void left by the aging Riva 125 when it departed after 2006.
STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2014 - PART ONE
A SUMMARY OF THE NEW AND DEPARTING MODELS FOR 2014
In this first portion of MSG’s annual state of the scooter scene (SOTSS) address, we’ll run down the full list of new scooters arriving in North America for 2014. We’ll also pay homage to the departing scooters, of which thankfully there are few.
First, please take a second to vote for your favourite new model for our “Motor Scooter Guide 2014 Scooter of the Year” award. Last year Honda’s PCX 150 took the top spot.
New 2014 Scooters:
Aprilia SR Motard
Kymco MyRoad 700i
Piaggio Fly 50
Piaggio Fly 150 (USA)
Suzuki Burgman 200
Yamaha Zuma FX / X
Aprilia SportCity One 50 (USA)
Aprilia SportCity One 125 (Canada)
Kymco Vitality 50 (Canada)
Kymco Downtown 200 (USA)
Kymco People GT 200
Vespa LX / LXV 150 (Canada)
Vespa S 150 (Canada)
The new machines announced for 2014 are a diverse bunch, with motor sizes ranging from 50cc to 700cc. Overall there are 8 significantly new scooters for 2014, based on 5 completely new designs and a significant new take on the Zuma style. While the list of departing scooters is a bit longer, many of these machines are only leaving either Canada or the USA. Accordingly, the total count of scooters on sale in the USA rises from 49 to 53 models, while Canadians will be offered 39 models (from 38) from the eight major brands covered here on MSG.
In the mid-size category, Piaggio has also launched their new Fly design with a 150cc motor boasting similar technology. Suzuki’s new Burgman 200 also qualifies as a mid-sized
The Burgman 200 (above) is going to be an interesting scooter to watch, as sales could take off if buyers see it as a more affordable way to enter the maxi scene and aren’t put off by a marginal 75mph top speed. It’s Suzuki’s first new scooter in some time, and their smallest offering ever in the USA.
Buyers that are looking for a full speed scooter will also want to consider Honda’s new Forza (below grey), which picks up where the old Reflex left off. At 279cc, the Forza can close in on 100mph and does so with style and refinement. This scooter is a great model from Honda and early reviews seem to very positive as it blends maxi scooter features with a price tag and fuel usage that is easier to swallow.
The last new model for 2014 is Kymco’s MyRoad 700i (white), which makes no secret of its status as a highway devouring mega-scooter. The MyRoad 700 is big and heavy at 608 lbs, but it provides a supremely comfortable and powerful highway tool that offers a larger motor and lower price that Suzuki’s popular Burgman 650.
Appendum: Genuine Scooter Co. is also on the cusp of releasing two substantially new models: An all new 170cc Hooligan rugged scooter and a 125cc Automatic version of their popular vintage Stella model. Here is more details.
Kymco has also opted to drop the 200cc version of their People GT (below) and Downtown models, leaving the more powerful and top selling 300 versions to carry on. This decision is hardly worth lamenting except Kymco Canada was only offfering the People GT in 200cc form, which means the end of the end of the line for that model in Canada.
Aprilia Canada - which is managed by the Piaggio group like Vespa - has also dropped their lone mid-sized offering, the SportCity One 125. It’s too bad to see the shift away from mid-sized machines, but the SportCity One remains around in 50cc form, unlike the USA where Aprilia has dropped it to reduced redundancy with their new SR Motard 50. As Piaggio Canada also opted not to import the new Fly 150, you can no longer buy any 125-150cc machines from this major group of scooter brands in Canada.
YAMAHA'S EARLY 2014 LINEUP RELEASE
YAMAHA 2014: FEWER MAXI’S, BOLD COLORS AND THE ZUMA X HITS CANADA
It’s become the norm to release the occasional model far ahead of the traditional fall release season, but Yamaha has taken things a step further for 2014 by announcing what appears to be their full lineup in June. Now that the details have coalesced, we can take a closer look at Yamaha’s plans for the year ahead.
The first interesting note from Yamaha’s release is the reduced maxiscooter presence in both the USA and Canada. There is still plenty of time for things to change, but presently it looks like the American and Canadian markets are each losing one maxi. Yamaha USA hasn’t announced the return of their only large scooter - the aging Majesty, while Yamaha Canada has issued a 2014 Majesty but omitted their larger TMAX 530 from the 5 model line up. Yamaha has missed model years before with their larger machines (ie. no 2011 Majesty in the USA), so the lack of news could merely be a sign of some time off or an impending release of new/updated model, much like Suzuki did with their 650 Burgman last year. There are some signs that Yamaha has more in store, such as the Yamaha Canada Majesty page, which refers to the Majesty as “one of 2 maxi scooters in our lineup”.
The most sweeping change for 2014 is Yamaha’s creativity in paint booth, which reaches a bold new high. After sticking to safe colors for many years after some strange 90’s missteps (ie. purple Jog’s), Yamaha has continued their 2013 trend towards aggressive colors. The 2014 Zuma/BWS 50 pigment options are orange (Burnt Orange Metallic) and silver (Matte Titan) in the USA, while up in Canada there are 3 options: blue, silver (Matte Titan) and a funky red (Vivid Metallic Yellowish Red). The Larger Zuma/BWs 125 gets the same options as its little brother in the USA, while Canadians can choose from Black or Red (Vivid Metallic Red). The boldest color decision is certainly the 2014 Vino 50, which is only going to be offered in a three color Captain America scheme (blandly named Dark Metallic Grayish Blue). It’s a good look, but a surprisingly bold choice for the sole color option. Like the Vino 50, the Canadian market Majesty gets just one color offering but it’s a beautiful “Deep Metallic Red” which everyone will like.
The news stops there for Americans, but Canadians get more to look forward to in the form of the new Zuma X. This new model is essentially the BWs 50, but reincarnated with a sporty graphics and a single front lamp instead of the bug eyes. The bug eye lights have always been a polarizing aspect of this BWs/Zuma, so now there’s something for everyone. The Zuma X has a much cleaner and simpler front end which draws the attention elsewhere to the sportier silhouette of this nice machine. The Zuma X also boasts a number of white accents (rims, underbody and elsewhere) and special “race inspired” grips to set it apart. Regardless of which version you prefer, owning either one will be cheaper than a 2013 BWs, as the 2014 BWs gets a $380 MSRP drop (now $2699 in Canada) while the two tone Zuma X costs $200 more.
STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2013 PT 2: SCOOTER OF THE YEAR
READERS CHOICE WINNER: 2013 HONDA PCX150
With the votes counted, Honda’s revamped PCX 150 ran away with the top honours in the 2013 readers choice poll. The faster and more refine
Piaggio’s new 2013 BV350 captured the second spot with 29.3% of the vote. Yamaha’s reintroduced and now fuel injected Vino 50 rounded out the top three with 8% of the vote.
USA: 2012 SALES
Scooter sales in 2012 rose for the third consecutive year, this time increasing by 7.7% to the highest level since the 2009 crash. That’s healthy news for the industry, especially when you consider 2012 sales were mostly current scooters being sold at regular margins, as opposed to the 2009 market crash leftovers that buoyed up sales in 2010 and 2011 with heavy discounts. The chart below shows scooter sales in the USA over the past seven years, but realize that this MIC data doesn’t include several smaller makes (Genuine, SYM) nor does it include the swell of Chinese makers.
Despite the nice annual rise sales remain a far cry from the 2008 heyday, which was the culmination of years of steady growth. From 2000 to 2007, mainstream scooter sales hovered in the 40,000 - 55,000 unit range - or about 20% higher than we’re seeing today. Mainstream USA sales were 34,294 in 2012, which may actually be there new norm as the non-represented Chinese makers have captured a portion. Popular Chinese makers like SunL and Znen are rumoured to be selling in the five figure range.
The news in Canada is both lacking and lackluster, so it slips in here at the bottom. The Canadian industry group (MMIC) is still sitting on the 2012 numbers, but we can report the 2011 numbers which were too late to slip in to this report last year. In short, Canadian scooter sales took a big dive in the wrong direction in 2011. Canuck sales were a healthy 10K units in 2008, which dropped to 6K for 2009 and 2010. Instead of a rebound, sales dropped further in 2011 to 4.6K units. Hopefully things were rosier in 2012.
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)
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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
2013 YAMAHA'S: ZUMA'S RETURN & VINO 50 GAINS F.I.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
YAMAHA ENTERS INDIAN SCOOTER MARKET
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
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
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.
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.
CANADA: NEW YAMAHA TMAX & HONDA RUCKUS RETURNS
NEW GENERATION OF YAMAHA TMAX AND HONDA CANADA RETURNS WITH 2012 RUCKUS
This week Yamaha Canada quietly updated their website with the addition of the hugely revised and improved 2012 TMAX maxi-scooter. This new generation of TMAX was announced at Milan last month and the updates have really made this a strong sports-maxi scooter. The styling is significantly overhauled and the best news is the reworked motor
Yamaha only briefly offered the earlier generation of TMAX in Canada for 2009, so its been a few years for Canadian fans. Most likely Yamaha USA will announce the new generation of TMAX soon, but since the previous TMAX was offered there in 2011 they likely need a bit more time to clear out dealer stock. This TMAX addition to Yamaha Canada’s 2012 line likely completes their 2012 scooter stable, which began to take shape way back in mid summer with the new BWs/Zuma 50. The full 2012 scooter line from Yamaha Canada is BWs 50, Majesty and TMAX. Curiously missing for 2012 is the BWs 125 (aka Zuma 125).
2012 news is a bit more sparse from Honda Canada, who quietly updated their website today with the 2012 issue of just the Ruckus. Just like Honda USA announced a month ago, the 2012 Ruckus gets no real changes aside from a spiffy new red/white paint option which joins the always popular black color scheme. The 10th anniversary Ruckus (as it’s called only in Japan) is essentially a white Ruckus with a neat red seat and red decals. Canadian MSRP is unchanged from 2011 at $3069. The Ruckus looks to be the only 2012 scooter offering from Honda Canada, although there are still a few dusty 2010 SH150i in showrooms.
NEW SCOOTERS AT MILAN (EICMA) & TOKYO MOTOR SHOWS
NEW SCOOTERS FROM YAMAHA, PIAGGIO AND HONDA
It’s the season for motorcycle shows, with the important Milan (EICMA) and Tokyo motorcycle shows taking place in early November and December respectively. This year Yamaha, Piaggio/Vespa and Honda have all rolled out new designs.
Also of interest from Yamaha is an updated Majesty which gets new styling on the front end. No word yet if either of these updated scooters will be arriving in North America. Full press release from Yamaha.
The big news from Piaggio is a new X10 maxi-scooter with a far more modern/futuristic look than their current maxi, the X9. The scooter is going to be sold in some markets in 2012. There’s no word yet on North America, but this scooter looks like an obvious replacement for the aging X9.
The new X10 is going to be sold in 125cc, 350cc and 500cc versions, all of which are liquid cooled and fuel injected. The frame is the same for all engine configurations. The X10 boasts some neat amenities like traction control, backlit handlebar controls and optional electrically controlled rear suspension.
On the concept scooter front, the Vespa turned heads with their new Quarantasei
Lastly from Piaggio is a re-styled Fly (50, 125 and 150cc) and a 350cc SportTouring version of the Beverly (or BV 300) that boasts an all new 350cc engine cranking 33hp. The SportTouring variant also gets standard ABS and traction control plus a few nice design touches like different rims. The new Fly is a fairly cosmetic overhaul, with fresh yet familiar styling and the same motor options found the previous generation. Check out the full Piaggio EICMA Press Release with larger photos.
Honda also made a splash at EICMA, by releasing a smaller their new 700cc Integra model which is half bike and half scooter. This new bike/scoot uses a unique dual clutch transmission that is going to wind up in a few Honda motorcycles as well.
Joining the Integra at the Honda booth is a 50cc version of their also fairly new Vision 110 (released a few months back). The Vision is Honda’s larger wheeled scooter in Europe (as opposed to the smaller wheeled Lead) and this time around you have the choice of a 14” or 16” wheel up front. Lastly, a new model of the Wave110i was released. The Wave110i traces is ancestry to the famous Cub, but it’s a lower end model that’s usually not sold in North American or European markets.
HIGH QUALITY HONDA & YAMAHA BROCHURE SCANS
HIGH QUALITY HONDA AND YAMAHA BROCHURE SCANS
After much delay, high quality scans of many scooter brochures from Honda and Yamaha are now online (to replace the camera taken low-quality PDFs that were online). All of these new PDFs and more are on the Downloads page.
In addition, a few more old Honda (3) and Yamaha (2) brochures have been purchased recently and those will be scanned in soon (Update: Honda USA 2001 and 2008 now added. 2001 is very neat). These old brochures are pretty neat and hard to get. If anyone has any they’d like to share, please Contact MotorScooterGuide.
The brochures that have been re-done are:
Honda USA - 1985, 1989 Accessories, 1993, 2001, 2008
Honda Canada - 1984
Honda UK - 1984 Mopeds and Commuters
Honda Japan - 2003 Zoomer
Honda Australia - NH80 Brochure
Yamaha USA - 1996, 1998, 1998 Alternate Version
Yamaha Canada - 2008, 2009
Check out the Downloads page to see all the brochures and manuals available for download.
NEW YAMAHA ZUMA / BWs 50 FOR 2012
NEW YAMAHA’S FOR 2012
It’s now mid-August, which means we’re only a couple months away from the main period of announcements for the 2012 scooter lineups from the major manufacturers. Yamaha has early announced their new 2012 Zuma 50 / BWs 50, so check out that page for complete information on that new model.
The other early Yamaha news for 2012 is the return of Majesty, which was missing for 2011. Sometime in September or October, we can expect to learn which existing Yamaha scooters will continue to make the cut for 2012.