Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Consumer Reports Scooter Testing Results

A while ago I posted about Consumer Reports starting testing on motorscooters. The results of that testing appears in this month's issue, on sale today. I haven't seen it yet, but according to a press release issued this week:

Consumer Reports tested a total of eight fuel sipping, small-displacement models: three 50cc scooters, three scooters in the 125cc to 150cc range, and two 250cc entry-level motorcycles, all priced between about $1,000 to $4,400 and delivering as much as 60 to 100 mpg fuel economy, at a steady cruise. Among the scooters, models from Italy’s Vespa and Taiwan’s Kymco achieved the highest overall ratings, with the Vespa LX 50 leading the 50cc category, and the Vespa LX 150 and Kymco People 150 sharing best overall ratings in the bigger engine class. Among the motorcycles, the Kawasaki Ninja 250, an entry-level sports bike, achieved a higher score than the Honda Rebel.

With their 35 to 40 mph top speed, 50cc scooters may suffice for short trips in suburban and city riding. Of the three models tested, the Vespa LX 50’s smooth four-stroke engine, good ergonomics, controlled ride quality, and solid fit and finish made it the favorite choice, but it is very slow. Testers found that “you get what you pay for,” with the inexpensive $995 Motorino Allegra getting the worst marks for vibration, harsh ride, and subpar fit.

In the 125cc to 150 cc category, the tested models’ top speed range of 55 mph to 57 mph made them much better suited for keeping up with traffic but still not recommended for freeway or interstate use. The 150cc Kymco People and Vespa LX both proved well-rounded, easy-to-ride machines, with responsive handling and easy maneuverability. With its big 16-inch wheels, the Kymco offered superior stability and off-the-line acceleration while the Vespa excelled in ride quality, roominess, under-seat storage, and build quality. The third model tested, the Yamaha Vino 125 could not match the other two models’ ride experience. While offering the lowest price point at $2,899, the Yamaha’s harsh ride and sluggish engine detracted from its cost benefit.

This will be a great shot in the arm for scooters as Consumer Reports has over 7 million readers.

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