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2013 $2000 Scooter Comparison

Monday, November 25, 2013

DECK: Little Big Fun
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2013 Kymco Agility 125 Video
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The 2013 Kymco Agility 125 offers plenty of bang for the buck, but how does it stack up against scoots in the same price range?

Talk about the dearth of young folk coming into our sport with old-timers, and they'll start telling you about their first motorized two-wheeler. Generally, the story will have the following elements:
a) the purchase was funded by returnable bottles/paper route/summer job at the carwash/grocery/saddle-and-tack store
b) the motorcycle was small and light, and
c) they crashed/wheelied/rode through a fence/struck a small animal and/or a car in the first 500 yards of ownership.

Those good old days are gone, as faded as a sepia-toned Instagram post. After all, a "starter" bike like Kawasaki's Ninja 300R is around $6000 out the door, about $1000 in 1970 dollars. If only there were a light, cheap, easy-to-ride alternative, something to introduce (or re-introduce) people to two-wheeled transportainment.
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2013 Honda Metropolitan Video
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Honda gave the Metropolitan a full overhaul for 2013. How does the scoot fare against others in the price range?

And then you smack your wrinkly bald noggin: Scooters! There's actually a nice selection of scooters (and even some motorcycles) under $3000, which is $500 in 1970 dollars. But what is there for the really budget conscious? What if your budget is under $2000 – a mere $331.80 in 1970 dollars?

That's when your choice shrinks to just a handful of models if you want to stick to the largest manufacturers. We wanted to see what the shallowest end of the pool was like to splash around in, so we called up our media-relations friends at the biggest OEMs to see what they had.

Pickings were slim. Honda sent its recently redesigned $1999 Metropolitan 50. Yamaha's cheapest street-legal ride is the excellent Vino 50, but it's just too spendy at $2290 – what do I look like, Donald Trump? Kawasaki doesn't even sell scooters
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2013 Piaggio Typhoon 50   Aprilia Motard SR50 Video
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The 2013 Piaggio Typhoon 50 and Aprilia Motard SR50 bring some European flair to the table. How did they stack up?
(yet?) in the USA, and Suzuki's rides are too big and pricey, though the new Burgman 200 ABS is a step in the right direction.

In the Euro corner, BMW just entered the "Urban Mobility" market (as the Bavarians call it), but you better have five figures to join that party. Vespa? That's a luxury brand. But Piaggio (parent company of Aprilia, Vespa and Moto Guzzi) does offer two models for under $2000, the $1899 Piaggio Typhoon 50 and the $1999 Aprilia SR Motard 50. Send them over!

Is that it? Don't forget KYMCO, a big name in the scooter and quad market. That Taiwanese firm makes quality stuff that's a good value, so I expected a serious contender – and got it. For $1899, you can get a KYMCO Agility 125. It's like getting a 1000cc sportbike for the price of a 650 Twin.

Sounds like the bones for a good old-fashioned shootout, just on a miniature scale. I'm usually a lone wolf, but I needed some bodies to help photograph, video and test ride all the scoots, so I made the trip down to the MotoUSA offices in Irvine, California, to put the four bikes through their paces. Helping out with the riding was the pragmatic and detail-oriented Motorcycle USA staff Zack Galifinakis impersonator, Justin Dawes, along with the enthusiastic, sometimes incomprehensible, but always hard-charging Adam Waheed. We were still short a body, so I called up an old friend, David Lander, roadracer, bike-builder and actual professional engineer that people pay to engineer stuff, to keep us grounded in the real world.

For two days, we rode back and forth across Irvine, putting hundreds of miles on the little bikes to see if we could figure out what you'd want out of a scooter in this price range – and what you'll actually get. We discovered some surprises: read on.

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getshokin   December 26, 2013 05:56 PM
@rachhoyt: Read the sidebar on page 5 of this story! I don't ride the Jet 50 or Mio 50, or the Havana or Cali (which are sold as Lance, not SYM)but I did ride the Lance PCH 125, which is a great value.
rachhoyt   December 5, 2013 12:04 PM
I wish you would have talked to SYM! They offer three great scooters with MSRP under $2000. The 125 cc Havana and Cali Classic are $1995 and the 125cc PCH is only $1899.
counterintuitive   November 27, 2013 05:29 PM
...anyway 1790 sorry 1970 was 45 years ago. Now you're seriously reminding me of the Old Grandpa skits. "I remember when gas was a nickel a gallon!" The real issue TODAY is not *price* but *performance*. You want to do a truly interesting shootout? Pick A 50cc scooter, a 150, a 250, a 500, a literbike and some sort of Harleyesque big-iron, get your 7 riders and ride them all for a month around LA or whatever. The catch is that you have to ride the same bike the whole time. Winner determined by how many hours the bike was actually in use over the course of the month.
counterintuitive   November 27, 2013 05:07 PM
"But what is there for the really budget conscious? " ...used scooters? Scooters of questionable origin?
kz1000st   November 25, 2013 07:59 AM
Fix page two on this article. It's not working and I want to see why the clearly superior Agility didn't win this test.