Honda scooter

By David Harrington

We’re coming up on a new riding season here in Minnesota and that means either getting our scooter(s) out of storage and making them road-ready or…. Getting a scooter!

If you’re part of the former group, be sure and devote some time to verifying the reliable function and safety of your ride. Check those tires, lights, brakes and so forth. If you DIDN’T prep your scooter for storage, get ready to (likely) clean out that fuel system and (probably) get a new battery. Those of you in the latter group have some shopping to do. There aren’t a lot of “new” offerings in the scooter world for 2017. There are some scooteresque machines coming out and we’ll delve deeper into those coming up.

Vespa/Piaggio – In the Twin Cities proper, you’ve got Scooterville for Vespa (and Piaggio) scooters, a bit south there’s also Leo’s in Lakeville. Vespa is continuing to evolve their line for 2017 offering some new colors and configurations but no new models. In Minnesota, 50cc Vespas are treated as motorcycles (not mopeds) so they are not commonly found at delaers. What you will see are the small-frame Primavera and Sprint and the large-frame GTS. Oh sure, you might encounter a 946 “art scooter” or two out there, but with an MSRP of $10,500 for 150cc machine I doubt you’ll see many of them. The Primavera offers 150cc, fuel injected of course, 3 valve engine and the unique Vespa steel monocoque chassis. I heard they were also adding anti-lock brakes for 2017. The Sprint has the same driveline, slightly larger wheels and, in my opinion, a more retro headset. The Sprint has included anti-lock and electronic stability control since its introduction. In larger Vespas, one can pick from the GTS in several configurations and the GTV. Both lines offer a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 278cc powerplant along with anti-lock technology. The GTV bumps up the game with a front fender mounted light, split seat and more standard goodies.

Piaggio is bringing us something new (for the USA) this year in their Liberty scooter. Their continuing line-up includes the Typhoon in 50cc and 125cc versions, the Fly (one of my favorites) is 50cc and 150cc fuel-injected versions, the mighty BV350 with a fuel-injected liquid-cooled 33 horsepower (that’s a lot in the scooter world) 330cc engine as well as anti-lock , electronic stability control and big wheels. This model is my current favorite do-anything scooter. The three-wheeled MP3 is still here with one engine choice of about 500cc. The Liberty is a big-wheeled scooter in 50cc and 150cc choices. The Liberty has been around in other countries for a bit, but the line has been completely re-designed for 2017 so the USA will be getting the latest version.

Honda – In Minneapolis there’s Honda Town. Spreading out to the suburbs adds Tousley, Motoprimo and Hitching Post. Go out a bit further and the list just grows. Honda’s scooter line up for 2017 includes the 50cc Metropolitan and Ruckus. The PCX is a 150cc machine that is an excellent choice in this class. At 280cc is the Forza which brings real highway capability to the game. For the maxi-scooter crowd, there is the venerable 600cc twin-cylinder SIlverwing. The 2017 Honda X-ADV is one of those new machines that blurs the lines between motorcycle and scooter and we’ll discuss further in a future article.

Yamaha – Look to Tousley, Motoprimo and Hitching Post for Yamahas close to the metro. From Yamaha we have the 50cc Vino Classic and a couple of versions of the 50cc Zuma. Back in the day, the then 2-stroke Zuma was quite the machine with a large performance aftermarket and cult-like following. Not so much in these 4-stroke times. The Yamaha S-Max is a 155cc machine that fits into the same class as the Honda PCX. Though not new for 2017, the Yamaha T-Max was re-introduced in 2015 (it had died out in 2009) and I have not yet ridden one. A 530cc twin-cylinder maxi-scooter with sport leanings in style and, ostensibly, performance. I’d love to get my mitts on one so I can give a first-hand impression.

Suzuki – Close to the metro we have Tousley, Leo’s and Hitching Post for Suzukis. For 2017 Suzuki continues to hold the lead position in maxi-scooters with their Burgman 650. This machine has seen some evolution over the years including improvements to the transmission that make it much friendlier around the garage. The 638cc twin-cylinder executive version includes heated grips and seat and is a wonderful highway machine. The Burgman 400 is, in my opinion, a bit overweight for its class, but is filled with high quality features just like the big machine including anti-lock braking. The Burgman 200 is another scooter of the Honda PCX and Yamaha S-Max ilk. Nothing especially new in scooters for 2017.

Kymco – Scooterville in Minneapolis is the largest scooter dealer in the area. Delving into the suburbs we also have Cities Edge and Heinen’s that carry Kymco. I’m a Kymco fan and have owned several. Until the recent Piaggio BV350 upgrade, the Kymco People 250 – 300 line held my title of best do-everything scooter. In recent years, Kymco has reduced their USA offerings their fine 2-stroke 50cc scooters are long gone. They are still one of the few lines to offer moped-legal 50cc scooters in Minnesota including the Agility 50 and the Super 8 50. At 110cc Kymco offers the small stature rider friendly Fuel injected Campagno. The Agility 125 has been a value leader in this class for years. The Super 8 is also available in a 150 and the Like 200i offers more traditional scooter styling in a fuel injected 163cc machine. Jumping up to the 300cc class, Kymco has the Downtown with maxi-scooter styling and the still exceptional People GTi that can do it all from highway trips to running errands around town. The Xciting offers up a 500c liquid-cooled fuel-injected anti-lock braking equipped true maxi-scooter at more favorable pricing than its Japanese competitors. The bigger Kymcos are manufactured in Taiwan and represent a great value.

SYM – GoMoto in Minneapolis is your local SYM (and Lance…. and Royal Enfield) dealer. Like Kymco, SYM is a Taiwanese company. The SYM USA distributor also distributes Lance scooters. Lance scooters are mainland Chinese through SYM and are of substantially better quality than many of the mainland Chinese offerings. The SYM Mio 50 is one of my favorite 4-stroke 50cc scooters and is a very friendly scooter for those of normal stature as opposed to the freakishly tall (say, oh, anyone over 5’ 10”). For 2017 the SYM Fiddle 200 is fuel injected (169cc) and offers more traditional scooter styling. The HD 200 is a 171cc liquid-cooled big-wheeled scooter of excellent quality. The similar RV 200 offers sportier styling similar to the Honda PCX and Yamaha S-Max though without fuel injection…. yet. The SYM CityCom is a 278cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected do everything machine in the class of the Piaggio BV350 and Kymco People GTi. Lance offers 50, 125 and 170cc machines (including some fuel injected) in their Soho, Cabo, PCH, Havana and Cali lines. You can see these aside the SYM offerings at GoMoto.

Stella scooter
Photo Courtesy of Genuine

BMW – Hitching Post, Leo’s and Moon Motors are your closest to the metro BMW dealers. BMW offers two maxi-scooters with no major changes for 2017 that I noticed.  I have not ridden either of these machines and can’t speak from personal experience, but many people are fans of the touring C650GT and the playful (for a BMW) C650 Sport.

Genuine – Back to Scooterville for Genuines in the metro. Best known for the Stella scooter (essentially an updated Vespa P-series) and the Buddy line (wildly successful), Genuine brings us the best (in my opinion) Minnesota moped-legal scooters available with their 2-stroke Buddy 50 and Roughhouse. Doubt me? Cruise around the U of M and count the number of Genuine Mopeds you see. The Buddy is also available in a carbureted 125 and fuel injected 170. The Buddy Kick is a 125 fuelie that is similar to the Kymco Campagno. The Venture is a big-wheeled moped-legal 4-stroke 50cc. The Stella is still out there in an automatic version and one might even find a manual shifter or two available. The Hooligan shares the 170 fuel injected powerplant with the Buddy and is bigger, sportier and features modern styling. The sporty 220cc fuel injected Blur is also available from Genuine.

There you have my quick 2017 listing of available scooters, not counting many of the mainland Chinese offerings. Coming up, I’ll look at some machines that blend the motorcycle/scooter line and we’ll talk about some small displacement motorcycles that seem to draw scooterists, including anew-to-the-USA offering from SYM…… the Wolf 300!

Twin Cities scooterist David Harrington owns and operates


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