Beaut scootin’ time
The scooter market’s growing and so is the Italians’ share
AS IT rounds out the Piaggio and Vespa ranges, PS Importers has a maxi-scooter as the big item on its wish-list.
Piaggio had the top-selling scooter last year with the 150cc Fly and the 2012 model will go on sale in July with fuel injection in place of carburettors, immobiliser, more under-seat storage and a halogen lamp for $3290.
Spend another $200 and the bigger-wheeled Liberty 150ie irons out the bigger bumps, making it a smart choice for riders who deal with bad roads on the daily commute.
The Piaggio range is the modern interpretation of the Vespa scooter.
Prices will run from $1790 for a 50cc inner-city runabout that struggles to do more than 70km/h to $10,990 for a 500cc three-wheeler that will embarrass sports bikes over rough roads in the wet.
The 10 models on sale here are priced from $3990 to $9490. The Italian-built Vespa range is as famous for resale values as for classic lines.
One scooter proving a hit with the rental and younger crowd is the Piaggio Typhoon, with 50cc and 125cc models.
The rugged-looking scooter has chunky treaded tyres and sports military-style logos. These give it street cred in the city— if you plan to ride into the ’ burbs, opt for the 125cc or a soundtrack of car horns will urge you to get out of the way.
A quick ride of the range shows the latest versions are as simple to use and as stable as ever.
The Vespas have the reassurance of those solid metal fenders up front to protect legs in an accident. It’s not much but it’s far better than plastic.
Both ranges make easy work of filtering through peak hour queue to the front line at the lights. The low centre of gravity and small diameter rubber combine to make these as nimble as a startled rat and that can save your life in the ratrace rush to and from work.
You need to get the 50cc models off the line as quickly as self-preservation demands but the stablemates are more than capable of putting a gap on the cars before the next lights.
The scooter market grew 8.8 per cent last year, with the Vespas and Piaggios taking a proportionately larger chunk of that growth. The updated models and broader fitment of fuel injection should maintain that growth.