Speaking of the big four… guys, where are your scooters going? Honda is down to two scooters this year… The mac-daddy Silverwing and the baby ruckus. Yamaha has cut back from five to three scooters. They’ve switched their cult favorite two stroke Zuma into a four stroke and dropped their other 50cc models In 2012 they are only offering a Zuma 50, Zuma 125 and the Majesty. Suzuki is not even trying to win in the small scooter market, only offering their touring scooter the Burgman this year.
Alright, not much to see there. Where else can we look? Well Vespa and sister company Piaggio always have something fun to offer. Vespa is offering five different scooter lines with a total of eight scooters for 2012. To start out they’re continuing to offer the LX 50 and LX 150 with the standard Vespa look and feel. New to the market is the s50 and s150 which have a cute vintage 70′s style. These are my personal favorites in the Vespa line-up, they are so cute! The GTS 300 and GTS 300 Super have the same styling as the LX line but with bigger engines and more power. Finally, Vespa is also bringing back two more vintage styled scooters, the LXV 150 and the slightly more touring oriented GTV 300.
While Vespa is sticking to the classic looks, Piaggio offers some four modern/sporty styled scooters. They’ve returned with their entry level scooters the Fly 50 and Fly 150. They are also re-introducing the Typhoon 125, which is their more rugged and tough looking scooter. I expect that one to be a favorite of many of boys in the group. Then Piaggio has a couple of larger scooters the BV300 and BV500. The thing that always strikes me about the big Vespa and Piaggio scooters is that they’re not the giant ski-do like scooters the Honda/Suzuki/Yamaha put out. And of course, no scooter article would be complete without the MP3‘s. Those crazy three wheeled scooters.
That leaves Kymco who has so many scooters available in the US this year I can’t even count. The cheapest entry level scooter is the Agility 50 at $1400. I think that is the least expensive scooter on the market this year. The Agility also comes in a 125cc version which is also quite economical at $1800. I am also surprised at how many 2-stroke little scooters Kymco is offering, I believe they’re they only manufacturer offering 2 stroke scooters in the US this year. They have the Super 8, Like, and People 50 cc bikes. Kymco also has plenty of 125cc, 150cc, 200cc, 300cc, and 500cc bikes available. Most noteable in the larger bike range is the Downtown 300 and the Xciting 500.
It’s almost time to start thinking about next year’s riding season and what better place to start than with the scooters. It looks like there is little change in the North American market from the big four motorcycle brands (as if you can even count four in the scooter market with Kawasaki’s lack of an entry!). If you’re looking for new and exciting things it’s time to turn to some of the niche scooter brands.
So here are my top picks for 2012 scooters:
Best Budget Buy: Kymco Agility 50. For only $1,400 you get a 50cc four stroke scooter that gets an estimated 87 mpg. The specs are comparable to all the 50cc scooters on the market even if the aesthetic is a bit bare bones.
Most Rugged Look: If you’re looking for a scooter that looks a little tougher then the vintage Vespa styling go for the Honda Ruckus. Again, similar specs to the other 50 cc’ers but no one is going to mistake this scooter for a toy. Plus less plastic bits to scratch up.
Cutest: The new Vespa S series. The 70′s retro look just does it for me.
Best Tourer: If I were going on a trip and wanted to take a scooter I would go for the Piaggio MP3 500.