Warmer weather has arrived in
Europe and so has the release of 4 new Scarabeo models. Lets take a
history lesson from the day it all started.
Now with Aprilia 09 Scarabeo Video
SCARABEO, A HISTORY OF SUCCESSES
In 1990 the Aprilia design laboratories created a high wheeled scooter
which shaped the course of the next decade with its original design and
outstanding commercial success.
Presented to the public for the first time in September 1993 in the 50
cc version, Scarabeo has gradually increased its engine capacity and
widened its range to become a highly versatile scooter which has
adapted to the mobility requirements of increasingly more complex and
Today, the Scarabeo family is one of the most numerous on the market
and able to cater for a wide variety of needs. From 1993 to the present
day, a full range has been created which is constantly updated from a
design, technical, engine and performance point of view and today
consists of a total of 7 different models.
The idea of a “City Bike“ was conceived in Aprilia in 1990; it is a
perception that has been transformed, sketch after sketch, into a
vehicle which is completely different from any other with high wheels
and unusual bodywork: while everyone else was adopting futuristic,
extreme, pointed lines, Aprilia opted for the soft, rounded lines of a
The designers were apprehensive about presenting on the market a
vehicle with such revolutionary lines, so much so that they decided to
give it the name of Scarabeo, which had already brought Aprilia luck at
the beginning of 1970s for an original and successful “scrambler/cross”
with a small engine capacity.
Completely unexpectedly, Scarabeo became a trend-setter, an inspiration
for everyone and started a real "Scarabeo Mania" that shows no signs of
declining over the years with over 750,000 Scarabeo scooters produced
The key to success is a mixture of elements that make Scarabeo the only
one of its kind. Whether the “small” ageless 50 cc or the 500 cc
flagship, Scarabeo offers its customers a unique way to get around. In
addition to the safety guaranteed by its high wheels and perfect
chassis, Scarabeo riders combine the unique opportunity of experiencing
urban mobility with timeless style and personality which never goes out
THE HISTORY OF SCARABEO
A unique example of Italian style and technology that has been able to
win a place in the history of two-wheel mobility in a short space of
The first vehicle called Scarabeo is created in Aprilia in January
1970. It is not the same scooter that we know today but a distant
predecessor, a 50 cc motocross bike. The name, taken from the ancient
Egyptian culture, lives up to expectations: Scarabeo becomes the lucky
forefather of a series of off-road vehicles with a number of different
engines that are produced until 1974.
This is the beginning of a long, tiring design path that leads to the development of the Scarabeo as it is conceived today.
The title of the research project that created the unique high wheeled
scooter is surprisingly simple: “Study for a City Bike”. Scarabeo is
therefore the result of development of a project that owes a great deal
to the motorcycling culture.
The first sketch, created on November 5th 1990, clearly shows all the
motorcycle features: central tunnel, wide section wheel, and even – in
that first study – a single arm front fork.
Giuseppe Ricciuti, who has designed all the Scarabeos, creates two
projects, the first one still inspired by an intermediate version of
the original city bike, with traditional suspension, smaller section
wheels and a central tunnel. The second one, more compact, does away
with the tunnel and includes wheels with a smaller section and larger
diameter. Two more versions are created from this base, one inspired by
an elegant but slightly retro style, the other more contemporary. The
first predominates and on May 18 1992, a maquette is presented, from
which an unrivalled commercial success will start.
At this point, an engineering project begins, that will keep the
technical team busy for roughly one year. Scarabeo is the first Aprilia
vehicle on which computer is used extensively in its technical
In September, the first Scarabeo produced in Noale is unveiled at the International Cycling and Motorcycling Exhibition.
Scarabeo immediately becomes a best seller, a fashion statement across
all ages thanks to its amazingly efficient technical features: Scarabeo
is a light, easy to handle, safe, high wheeled scooter (a real
innovation at the time), with ridiculously low fuel consumption that is
perfect for city riding.
1994 - 1998
In this period the Scarabeo project dominates the market. In addition
to the wide range of new colours, there are also new technical
developments including above all disc brake on the rear end. Scarabeo
becomes one of the first high wheeled scooters to fit disc brakes, a
sure sign that one of the most classical scooters also focuses on
safety and technology.
Following on from the 50 cc., the 125 and 150 cc models are developed at the end of the 1990s.
Scarabeo moves with the times. It is a response to the growing need for
space and the need to share rediscovered freedom with a passenger on a
vehicle that can replace cars even over medium-range distances as well
as Aprilia's answer to constant growth in the market of vehicles with
over 50 cc engines. Since it was presented in Lisbon, with its
distinctive personality, the “Scarabeone” also immediately makes its
New models and technologies are added to the Scarabeo family: the new
4-stroke engines, the 100 and 200 cc. versions, the revolutionary
DITECH engine with very low emission rates and the 4-stroke 50. The
pursuit of elegant and environmentally-friendly urban mobility has now
become a distinctive feature of the Scarabeo.
The GT version of the Scarabeo 125/200 is created: medium windshield,
built-in hand guards, new concept front cowls, two-tone colour
10 years have passed since the Scarabeo was created and in these ten
years, the Scarabeo has continued to be an icon of its time.
The demand for mobility has evolved.
The scooter has gone from being a simple commuting tool to playing a major part in the organisation of free time.
New lines and new concepts are developed by the Aprilia design
laboratory. The Scarabeo 500 comes to light and truly represents the
touring class. From the city centre to the outskirts, from home to the
open road for a trip out of town, from the road to the motorway for a
proper journey: flexibility is an intrinsic part of the Scarabeo 500
and in 2004 the ABS version is also produced.
Compared with its 1993 forerunner the engine capacity has increased
considerably, the engine has gone from 2 to 4-stroke and the line is
much more distinctive and inspired by models that have made the history
of two wheels like the Moto Guzzi Galletto. With its excellent engine
and chassis performance, high wheels and bags, the Scarabeo 500 is the
most “grand touring” scooter that has ever come out of Noale.
In 2004 a move from the Rotax 200 cc engine to the Piaggio 250 cc
engine confirms the full technical maturity of the Scarabeo. The
arrival of the new engine led to upgrading of the entire vehicle as can
be seen in the new design that made it so different from the 200
Scarabeo establishes itself as a flexible scooter, agile for about-town
use and practical for touring or transport needs. It skilfully plays
the role of those products that in accordance with classic stylistic
features, are a benchmark for whoever is seeking a sober, contemporary
Scarabeo, which is by now a historic Aprilia vehicle, a product that
has reached the threshold of 70,000 units per year and boasts at least
a dozen attempts to copy it, celebrates a total of 250,000 units (over
50 cc) sold world-wide. A new, original 50 cc graphic version is also
created called “Graphic”.
A very important year for the Scarabeo in which major work is carried
out on the whole range. This is the year in which the "small" versions
of the Scarabeo, the originals that started Scarabeo Mania, are
restyled. New restyled elements and modifications in every division
renew its appearance without modifying its image. The “Street” versions
of the scooter are created with 125 and 200 cc engines and the new 500
arrives, more compact and slender for better around-town riding. The
“flagship” version receives a new 400 cc engine with lower insurance
costs that can be driven by young people with an A2 licence(For Europe
The 250 ie version is created featuring the same elegance as its 500 cc
older brother and the new Scarabeo 125/200s arrive: their simplicity
and compact size mean a return to the origins. Once again, a uniquely
styled product with a variety of standard equipment.
Two new models are added to the Scarabeo range: the Scarabeo 50 4VALVE and the Scarabeo 300 Special.
The Scarabeo 50 4VALVE is completely new: high-tech, powerful and
sophisticated. A small masterpiece of engineering that with its
state-of-the-art solutions offers power which is at the top of its
field. The four-valve distribution and fluid dynamic efficiency of the
cylinder head have brought benefits to the engine speed and performance
which are comparable with those of a two-stroke engine.
The Scarabeo 300 Special is the natural completion of the Scarabeo
range, a totally modern engine capacity for a timeless scooter which in
this configuration offers that extra touch of sportiness and dynamism
that is much appreciated by the more dynamic rider. The optimum
compromise between engine performance, compactness, agility and riding
pleasure. All this is highlighted, as always, by carefully designed