by Stephen “Hell Cat” Heller 

‘08 Year Of The Mega-Maxi
You might as well start calling 2008 the year of the Mega-maxi scooter. Gearing up for the fall shows, scooter manufacturers have started to release details for their new line-up. Taiwanese manufacturer Kymco was the first with a few details and photos leaked of their 700cc scooter, the Myroad i. It follows in the same vein as the Xciting scooters with a few new unique details including 3 halogen headlights, LED blinkers and a suspension that is adjustable via a switch on the handlebars. The i in the Myroad i indicates that it is fuel injected. Something we haven’t seen on Kymco scooters in the US yet, but will most likely be a feature on the 2008 Xciting models. Not to be out done, there are strong rumors that Honda will be announcing a 750cc version of the Silverwing.

Is it the American market getting stronger and our appetite for bigger? Or a reaction to Gilera’s GP800? I don’t know, but rumors have been confirmed of Gilera’s Fuoco “Fire” 3-wheeler, (Think tougher version of the MP3) will be sold in the US as the Piaggio MP3 500.

Recently I had the chance to test a SYM HD200. Yes, SYM is another scooter manufacturer new to the US, but unlike all of the other scooter brands that are popping up, SYM is legit. A major manufacturer in Taiwan, SYM, along with their US distributor Carter Brothers, are poised to make more than a dent in the scooter market.

The HD200 is a big-wheeled scooter with styling very similar to the Kymco People S line. Like the People S 200, its name is also deceiving because it is actually 171cc. But this liquid-cooled scoot certainly doesn’t feel that small. Acceleration is great. Around town I had no trouble reaching speed quickly and safely. On the highway, I reached an indicated 70 mph and felt like it had a bit more to give. The narrow 12” wheels lend to a very stable ride. The 32” seat height was pretty high. I was only able to touch my toes at stops. I appreciated the liquid-cooled engine for its added performance, though I was nervous about the temperature gauge on the dash. The bike I tested seemed to have a very small temperature range so the gauge moved from below range to mid-range very quickly.

The gear cluster is utilitarian, yet very easy to read. The front disc did an admirable job stopping the bike, which was great because the rear drum seemed to fade very quickly during braking.

The HD200 with its modern big-wheeled styling is a nice looking bike with a surprisingly nice engine. Look for SYM to be a major player in the years to come.

Last Of The Stellas
I would be remiss to not talk about Genuine this month. It is shaping up that the first batch of Stellas in over a year will be the last we see. With more regulations tightening up on all motor vehicles the Stella won’t be able change once again. 200 Stellas, in 5 different colors including a new Avocado green and light blue, will be arriving later this fall.

There is pretty solid information that the 2008 Buddies will see a significant power upgrade. The Buddy bumps up to 200cc and receives a 4-valve head. While I was happy with the 60+ mph that the 125cc Buddy would do, who can turn down more power?


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