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December 2014 - Posts

  • Vespa GTS 150 Super Review

     

    Vespa’s large frame has spawned a new child. The GTS 150 Super offers up a smaller capacity alternative.

    Allen Drysdale

     

    Vespa GTS 150 Super Review 

    This year the Vespa brand is exceeding all expectations. Not only are sales up against last year, every model in the range has been given some kind of enhancement. New Primavera, Sprint and GTS models have injected much enthusiasm on to the local scooter scene. For Vespa, the GTS 150 Super is an entirely new model and must have been somewhat of an experiment for the Australian importer. Large frame - small engine, how will it be received?

    Sourced via Asia, the GTS 150 Super sure does look the part. Sporty ‘Super’ colour scheme, red shock absorber and grill cut-outs on the rear feature just like the more powerful 300 versions. The seat gets white piping and the racy stripes signify the Super model designation. The GTS also gets blacked-out headlight, flashy polished rims and the new front grill treatment.

    The one piece metal chassis is exactly as per larger capacity models and shares all the same dimensions. The 150 Super also shares things like wheel size and dual rear shocks are a substantial bonus for this capacity. Front suspension goes without the Slide upgrade - as seen on the latest facelift models - and the dash retains the older style black analogue unit. Brakes are disc front and rear, again just like the 300.  

    The theory behind the 150 is for those that find the Prima or Sprint too small, they’ll immediately gravitate towards the larger bodied GTS 150 Super. The size and extra leg room will be welcomed. The 150 is around 20 kilos heavier than Prima or 20 kilos lighter than GTS 300. The 150 can be pushed around easily, parking is a breeze and placing the Super on its centre stand is simple. Some may find the seat height an issue, at 800mm - it will be tippy-toes for many.

     

    The 154cc engine is the same as seen in the small framed Primavera or Sprint. The large body or 20 extra kilos do have a slight impact on initial acceleration though we know this engine is a capable performer and it does well to mask the additional weight of the larger body. The 150 loves cruising on 80 to 90 km/h and top speed is a touch over 110. The GTS 150 will sit comfortably on 100. The Super is more than capable for around town and even short motorway jaunts are an option.

    Handling is typical Vespa and the large frame is a perfect match for the lighter engine. The GTS makes easy work of road irregularities and everything feels solid and sure-footed. The GTS does well holding chosen lines through corners and things never become flustered. The Super even handled the odd two-up occasion, so doubling a pillion need not be a second thought.

    There are multiple storage options. Smaller items like wallet and keys in the front glovebox. The electronic push-button on the leg shield allows instant access to the storage area. It's not that deep but still very handy with the addition of two helmet hooks. The seat bucket is easily removed for easy access to the engine. Not forgetting the shopping bag hook that utilises the spare room in the footwell area - you’ll use this daily.

     

    Conclusion

    Vespa Australia have priced the 150 Super just above the smaller framed Sprint ($6690 MLP). The GTS is aimed directly at those wanting to perform local commutes, yet they’d prefer the extra legroom over the small framed range. The GTS 150 benefits from its handsome ‘Super’ looks and this will drive many to purchase on this basis alone. The initial purchase price and low yearly registration costs will help. Fuel usage might also come into the equation as the 9 litre tank, as shared with the 300, takes an eternity to empty.   

    The GTS 150 Super is a model in its own right with enough features and benefits to offer an alternative. Enough power for city situations, nice handling, manageable weight and the load of up-spec running gear it inherits from the larger 300 version. It also comes with those “Super” looks and it’s available in a choice of 3 colours - Red, White and Matt Grey.

    If Prima or Sprint feel a little small, do not pass go, just move directly to the GTS 150 Super.  

    For local dealers see http://piaggio.com.au/dealers/

     

     

     

     

     

    3V 150 Sprint or GTS 150 Super ?

  • Vespa 946 Bellissima Official Release

     

    Official Australian press release for the Vespa 946 Bellissima. Only 40 units available this December.

    Vespa Australia



    Official 946 Bellissima Press Release  

    The 2nd edition of the exclusive 946 Vespa, titled 'Bellissima', will be available to a select few this December. The hand crafted model, limited to less than 40 examples in Australia, is an exquisite reflection of the beloved Italian brand.

    Trailing the demand left by the 1st edition, 'Ricardo Italiano', the first of the highly sought after 946 'Bellissima' models was priority shipped to the Australian launch at the Melbourne Moto Expo, revealed by Vespa's Asia Pacific Managing Director Nicolai Simone in late November.

    The 946 model is hand crafted once annually in very limited numbers at Vespa's Pontedera factory in Italy by their most skilled craftsmen and is more a fine work of industrial art sculptured by 21st century technology. The hand built beauties are then released exclusively as a fashion collection featuring 2 shades in unique styling not to be repeated. The 2014 'Bellissima' will be available in two striking colours, Metallic Blue with grey trim & Metallic Silver with red trim.

    A considered purchase of aspiration for not only the scooter riders amongst us but the collectors alike, the 946 echoes the ethos of 'Vespa', a freedom and expression of life.

    The release of the 946 'Bellissima' is the crowning jewel in a new Vespa line up which has seen a complete upgrade of the full range in 2014. The success of which has seen Vespa sales in Australia alone improve over 15%. The 946 will retail exclusively through the Vespa dealer network at a price of $12,990 and with so few examples built, it is expected to sell out quickly.

    Find a Vespa Dealer

     

     

  • Suzuki Burgman 200 Review

     

    The Burgman is one of only a handful of scooters to be released this year. Lucky for us the new Suzuki Burgman 200 is a cracker.

    Allen Drysdale

     



    Allen Drysdale - Introduction and overview.


    The Suzuki Burgman is one of only a handful of new scooters to be released in Australia this year. Actually, along with the Burgman 200, Suzuki will be adding the 113cc Address early next year. Suzuki is increasing its presence on the lower capacity side of things, dropping the Burgman 400 and keeping the 650.

    As you keep reading the thoughts of riders below, experienced or otherwise, you’ll notice one thing. They all really like the Burgman, and it’s not hard to see why, excellent ergonomics, extraordinary power from just 200cc’s and an underseat storage area that will have you gazing into the bay for minutes after opening the seat for the first time.

    Size can be deceptive, whilst the rear of the scooter gives the impression of bulkiness, the riding impression quickly reverses that observation. When up and rolling the Burgman feels slim and agile, combine this with ample perky power and the Burgman feels fun. An enthusiastic twist of the throttle will have revs immediately at 7000 - 8000 rpm, at this stage the Burgman is racing forward. The chassis can be pushed and pushed until low hanging parts start to scrape, at this stage you really know you're riding.

    The Burgman is a unique machine on the Australian market and Suzuki have priced it at just over 6 grand. It’s smaller than any 300 class Maxi yet offers similar performance. Whilst feeling small, the chassis design makes you think its Maxi large. Candidates for the Burgman would include those after a quality commuter with ample power, more than enough to confidently reach the the city limits and beyond. Easy reach to the bars, easy reach to the ground and executive levels of storage and refinement.

    We thought we'd take a new approach with the Burgman. We wanted as many thoughts and views from as many riders as we could find with varying levels of experience. Take a look at the user reviews below and for a more technical overview, have a read of Ian’s thoughts into what makes the Burgman 200 so special.

    Verdict

    As new scooters go, the Burgman 200 is very, very impressive. There are scooters you can easily recommend, ones that you know will provide years of happiness and fulfilment. The Burgman 200 is one such scooter.

    We often use the term "If you could only own one scooter". In the case of the Burgman 200 it's true, owning a Burgman would be a no-brainer. Good one Suzuki for bringing this one to Australia.

    Links 

     

     
    Elliot - Experienced thoughts.

    Having seen the announcements and specifications for the Burgman 200, it was one scoot that I was eager to try. And bless it’s rockin’ shocks, my positive expectations were not displaced.

    It’s a well built machine, nothing out of place and so well endowed, something that will provide the rider with many years of service. The screen for me afforded good clean airflow at all speeds. The mirrors gave an adequate view of what is beside and behind you. The instrumentation is well laid out, clear and provides all the information you would most probably ever want. There is storage everywhere with small and big glove boxes in traditional Burgman style, and for this class of scooter, a huge amount of storage under the comfortable and capacious seat. Lifting the seat for the first time is truly an OMG moment. Controls fall easily to hand, it was just so easy to get on and ride.

    The performance of the 200cc engine is surprising. It’ll whisk you away from the lights far into the clean space ahead of the traffic that is now disappearing in the mirrors. Suzuki have done a marvellous job in matching the output of the engine to the trim weight of a very sturdy chassis. Out on the open road at expressway speeds it was always sure footed and free of any vices. Sailing through sweepers at speed it tracked true without a hint of raggedy behaviour. The brakes are just as well engineered as the rest of the scoot, providing the great feel and stopping performance I expect from more upmarket machines. The all-round quality of the handling is of a standard that only few scooters are able to attain.

    It’s a small scooter for my size, so the only reservation I have that it’s not for the taller rider. My 5’10” frame would be getting close to the maximum as far as being comfortable in the saddle and leaving adequate leg space. Pillions do get a huge and what appears to be a very comfy pew to survey the skyline from. For the shorter rider it would be an ideal and manageable fit.

    Verdict

    This scoot will offer up endless smiles and its fair share of whoots and chuckles. Good job Suzuki, very impressed and highly recommended.


    Pete Gailey - He Rides in his sleep.

    The whole concept of a 200cc Burgman didn't sound all that appealing to me at first. The Idea of creating a 200cc Burgman seemed strange, let’s just say I was sceptical at best.



    The Burgman 200 is a mini-maxi, not a full sized Maxi like the 650. It’s compact, light, has a low seat and a very low centre of gravity. Plus it has a cracking motor and unbelievable storage. All these things combine to making the Burgman a very useful weapon in the urban environment. But I wanted to see how the 200 would hold up out on the open road in some larger capacity company. 



    We took it for an all day - 500 kilometre ride, on fast country roads in the company of some big bikes and a C650 BMW. The Burgman 200 turned out to be more than adequate, actually it was exceptional. I don’t know how Suzuki got this 200 cc machine to perform like any other 300, but the engine turned out to be a gem with a 9,500 redline, plenty of low down torque and a cruising speed being well past legal. The mini Burgman was competitive with the rest of the group and on more than a few occasions it took the lead ride.

    Every 200 kilometres I’d fill the tank with around 6 litres of 95ron. Braking was great, as was the suspension, the Burgman sticking like glue when ridden fast through the tight stuff. Along the famous Putty Rd, the Burgman reminded me of Aprilia’s SR MAX 300. Only on long sweeping bumpy corners at well past legal speeds did it feel compromised, and as soon as the tarmac improved, the Burgman was back in the frame. The things I asked of the Burgman were way beyond its design scope, yet in true quality scooter spirit, the little 200 took it all in its stride and handled everything I could throw at it. I wouldn’t have any hesitation in riding this scooter between capital cities.

    Back in town and this is what the Burgman is designed for - it’s exceptional, with excellent balance and a feisty takeoff, it cuts up the gridlock with ease and possesses a fast change of direction. Taking it shopping? It’s unbelievable how much will fit under the seat.

    For a bit over $6,000 ride away, Suzuki have really come up with a winner here and I’m having trouble figuring out what could beat it in the value v's performance equation. The only negative and something I didn’t like was that my knees were sitting up high and I’m not a fan of riding with my feet forward. 

    Verdict

    The Burgman is an exceptional mid-capacity scooter that punches way above its weight and loves to be ridden hard. I’m giving the Suzuki Burgman UH200 nine shooting stars.

     


    James - Bikes are normally my thing.

    Easily surpassed expectations


    As the Suzuki's Burgman 200 pumped away with no regard for human life, I was surprised that a scooter could possibly be so right and work so well, kind of made me happy. Having never ridden a scooter before, I'm thinking I was lucky that the Burgman 200 would be my first.

    In the hands of a more experienced scooter pilot, the Burgman 200 punched along at a seemingly impossible pace. All the time looking like it was doing it easy, with full composure.

    Verdict

    It was enough to change my outlook on scooters and definitely spark an interest to the point where I now smile every time I see one. All in all, I would highly recommend a ride on the new Burgman 200, if nothing else, it'll make you smile.

     


    Alicia - New Rider - City commuter

    When I first heard noises that I might be lucky enough to take the new Burgman 200 for a spin, I took a quick look at the Burgman 200 promo video and was struck by the bloke who effortlessly placed his metal briefcase sideways into the underseat storage. Suffice to say my interest had been piqued and I was ready to volunteer for a worthy cause.

    First I should point out a bit about me and my scooter-riding style so you can place these views in context. My usual ride is a (lovely) Vespa GT200, I live in the inner city, most of my journeys are less than 5 km’s… and I’m 165cm short.

    So as soon as I stepped over the floorboards of the handsome-looking Burgman 200 I was pleasantly surprised to find that for the first time ever I could plant both feet on the ground whilst simultaneously holding the scooter properly upright. Normally I’m on tippy-toes, or the balls of my feet, or angled to one side – which earns the Burgman 200 a big tick before I’d even started the engine.

    As soon I took off I felt safe on this scooter. It glides over speed bumps and handles corners really, really well (forgivingly, even). So with that fine start I thought the Burgman and I could brave the Sydney Harbour Bridge wind buffeting challenge together (you know it: ride over the bridge, without literally hanging on for dear life) - which the Burgman passed with flying colours. After researching properly, I realise these handling features are because the Burgman 200 has the excellent combination of telescopic front forks, rear twin shock absorbers and the windscreen was tested in a wind tunnel with a view to minimise driver fatigue from wind buffeting. (Did I mention that I felt very safe on this scooter, yes?)



    The other areas where this scooter really packs a punch is in the brakes department. I had another first on the Burgman 200, which was to simultaneously ride downhill, indicate to change lanes and hit the brakes on approach to a red traffic light without breaking a sweat (boom boom) or thinking I was going to fling myself over the handlebars. I don’t know enough about brakes to be able to confidently know what I mean when I say the Burgman has a 240mm front disc with 2-piston caliper and a 240mm rear disc with single piston caliper - but I will tell you they are both incredibly responsive and effective, and I can’t ask for more than that.

    Next it might be worth talking about the engine and acceleration. Again, excuse the lack of technical speak, but this was a very responsive, grunty engine that leapt off from the lights and had no trouble at all flying up to 80 or 90 km/h on big hills. In fact, this engine performance would leave my Vespa for dust and I can say as a previous owner of a gutsy 250cc scooter, that the engine on the Burgman definitely feels more like 300cc’s.

    The dashboard also shows you the fuel consumption at all times and has an ‘eco drive’ light which comes on to indicate when you’re riding in a fuel efficient manner. Whilst I was in the riding seat, average fuel consumption was 30 km/L, which multiplied by the 10.5L fuel tank capacity means (with my typical use) I’d probably only have to visit the petrol station quarterly. Mind you, put that fuel tank capacity and fuel consumption together with the incredible storage on this thing and you’ve got something that would make a fantastic touring scooter. The Burgman would also be ideal for longer-distance commuting.

    Which brings me to talk about the storage. Yes, that underseat storage container is real, it’s huge and can fit two helmets. It’s 41 litres. To put this in context, my everyday backpack has a 13 litre capacity so I could fit three of them in there and would still have been OK. There’s also a very generous glovebox, with a port that you can use to… wait for it… charge your phone! There’s also another little compartment that can be used for sunglasses etc.

    It’s light (161 kilos), manoeuvrable, and together with the passenger grab bars, it's a dream to park on the street.

    I was very impressed, if you couldn’t already tell. However, this little pocket rocket is not without a few nitpicks, some of which might be attributed to ‘operator error’:

    • The trade off of a low-to-the-ground scooter is that… you’re low-to-the-ground. I became used to it pretty quickly, but it does feel a bit odd at first.
    • I had great difficulty replacing the fuel cap. Yes, I’d unlocked it in a dark location, but it took me a long time to work out how to get it back on.
    • Once I accidentally parked the scooter with the ignition turned to ‘lights on’ instead of ‘steering wheel lock’ position. That’s a rookie lesson that I’m sure I’d learn from this mistake very quickly!


    And these are really tiny improvements, but:

    • It would have been great to have a seat popping button on the handlebars (which I’d use at least twice per journey) in preference to the high beam flash (which I’d never use).
    • Even with the ginormous storage, two little helmet hooks and a shopping bag hook are always appreciated – you never know when you’re going to want to keep something else hidden under the seat.
    • For times when the Burgman might be parked in the dark, it would be wonderful to have any markings on the scooter (like the ignition) in fluoro paint. The same goes for the alignment arrow on the fuel tank.


    As you can see – these are really very minor blips in an otherwise very impressive scooter.


    Verdict


    It’s really bloody good! The Burgman 200 is a top scooter for the money and has a lot to offer city folk like me, as well as commuters, tourers and new riders. Well worth a look-see.

     

    Tamzin - First impressions count.

    Well, when the Burgman 200 pulled into our Maroota meeting point, I thought, 'look at this little city slicker'. With its small - compact - modern style, I did wonder how it would take to the demands of our long sweeping and rough at times roads we were riding on.

    When I mounted onto/into the spacious and very comfortable seat, I noticed how perfect the height was for a shorty like me. I also noticed the enormous amount of storage space under the seat, that's also very important for a gal like me. When I turned on the ignition, the instrumentation lit up and my attention was drawn to the Economy indicator. That's a novel idea I thought.

    Starting off I initially thought the Burgman 200 was in need of a little more power, however, the transmission was very smooth and before I knew it I was scooting along at 110 km/h easily. Even for its 200 cc’s, it was very capable of keeping up with bigger scooters and motorcycles. It remained a comfortable ride and handled my 100 kilometre trip with ease. I found the windshield was great when travelling up to 80 km/h, but after that it wasn’t really suited for my height.

    The Burgman's floor boards impressed me, as I could choose between riding positions. At one point I placed my feet out a little in front of me, in a cruising kind of style that I found this relaxed and comfortable.

    Verdict

    If you don’t need large motorcycle-type performance and would prefer economical riding with great comfort and ease of control and operation, this is it. Whether it's city commuting or a little country riding thrown in, it's a thumbs up for the Burgman 200 from me.

    The good stuff:

    Seat height and reach to handlebars for smaller people, handling and comfort at low or higher speeds, under seat space, varied foot positioning and the Economy indicator.

    The not so good stuff:


    A little less lag at take off and the windshield could have been higher for me.

     


    Ian - Technical Overview

    The opportunity to test a new scooter is something I was looking forward too. When the Burgman 200 arrived for review I was apprehensive – a Maxi with just 200cc…that’ll need all the ducks lined up in a row to have any chance of making the cut. I’m very happy to report that the little Burgman had no trouble impressing anybody that rode it… In this section it'll be my job to report on the technical side of the Burgman.

    Let’s talk about what makes up this scooter – the cycle parts. The Burgman 200 is new to Australia this year. Known as the UH200, the Burgman is a conventional twist-and-go scooter. The package is cleverly designed to combine quality components, great storage and refreshing performance whilst maintaining outstanding fuel economy. An all up weight of 161 kg's is certainly an early indicator to this machines performance and economy.

     


    The Burgman 200 presents very well. The plastic components of the bodywork are made with excellent fit. The paint has been applied with consistent colour depth and near perfect surface finish. The instrument panel contains a full gauge set with large speedo & tacho, fuel and water temperature displays as well as trip computer function. The only thing missing is an ambient temp display. Also fitted are quality handlebar switches, mirrors and brake levers. I found them well designed with a tapered shape to accommodate riders one and all. Lifting the seat revealed a huge luggage space, capable of holding 2 full faced helmets or better yet a slab of beer and a bag of ice, just the thing for those weekends away. Talking of storage, the fold-down glove box is big enough to swallow those spare gloves, phones and water bottles for those long rides. A DC power outlet in the glove box will allow on the move charging of your mobile devices. Additionally a third coin box with lid is located on the right hand side of the dash. Styling is like a scaled down 650 Burgman.


    Now to the mechanicals. The scooter runs a conventional automatic CVT transmission. Rather than being revolutionary, here's a proven design as used in millions of machines. Looking at the Burgman 200 spare parts list I found the transmission has a six roller variator with attached cooling fan, ribbed drive belt and a dry three shoe clutch. Interestingly I noticed the design of the contra spring. Normally the ends of the contra spring are ground flat whilst the 200 has at both ends a short stub turned at 90°. Certainly during my test ride the clutch and CVT felt great, keeping the engine in its sweet spot. Perhaps the only failing is some engine grumble when off-load at under 5000 rpm. At 5500 rpm and beyond, the engine is silky smooth.

    Whilst talking engine – again nothing revolutionary here – a chain driven SOHC drives a four valve head with port fuel injection. I found a photograph on Suzuki’s website showing a cutaway view of the engine port. The port is tapered narrower after the throttle plate, this then opens up and divides into two for the dual inlet valves. The tapering causes the air to speed up causing a ram effect, while the opening allows the air to expand causing some cooling and greater density – it's an efficient design. Valve adjustment is by adjustment screw and locknut so no shims are required. This point means easy and cheaper servicing in the future.


    So on to servicing. The engine uses the same paper cartridge oil filter as the Burgman 400. Both the oil filter and the sump plug are accessible without removing any bodywork. Oil capacity is 1200 ml. The air filter is similar style to many conventional scooters and contains a pre-filter and main paper element. Six screws and again no body work removal see the air filter open for service. The CVT has an air filter located behind an access panel and the whole transmission cover is accessible without encumbrance. Up front on the left hand side of the dash is a small removable cover. Here is located the radiator cap and coolant overflow tank for easy inspection.

    The battery is located low down under the left hand foot well; remove the foot well rubber pad and two screws to remove the access cover. Just below the front of the seat is a small plastic panel retained by two plastic rivet clips. Likely to be the only plastic part needed to be removed and this gains access to the spark plug. On the whole this should be a cheap scooter to own and maintain, no labour time is required to remove and fit bits of bodywork like on some other Maxi's.

    Well what’s left? – Chassis parts. The scooter rides on a 13” front wheel with a single disc rotor and dual piston slider caliper. The front struts are normal scooter pattern half-length conventional damper rod struts of 33mm diameter. The spring rate and damping seemed spot on. The rear wheel is a 12” with disc and sliding caliper. Rear suspension is dual conventional spring over damper shocks. Again their performance seemed well sorted for this application.



    The 200 has a fairly large ridge running down the foot well preventing a flat floor. However again from looking at the spare parts diagram I see the frame has 4 triangulated tubes coming off the head stem forming a strong and rigid backbone. This was evident on my test ride with the 200 being stable in bumpy turns without any head shake often evident on some scooters. The brakes worked well however it was fairly easy to lock the rear under one of my emergency brake tests. Would like to see an ABS version at some stage.

    Verdict

    In summary I found the Burgman 200 a treat and most of all - a surprise. It was refreshing to find a smaller capacity machine with such nice features and inclusions. On my ride I found the scooter to be stable, spirited and easy to ride. Quality and robust components and the promise of easy maintenance and economical ownership make this scooter a must ride for those looking for a fantastic all-rounder.



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