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Fast Maxi Scooters

July 2nd, 2013

Maxi scooters are often looked at as heavy cumbersome machines designed for touring or long distance journeys offering maximum comfort and fuel economy. This may have been the original concept but in the last decade manufacturers have seen new potential for these large scooters releasing powerful sporty versions offering almost sports bike handling.

The idea of a step through scooter to some motorcycle enthusiasts is not an option, people often laugh when a scooter is referred to as fast or enjoyable to ride. However the reality is that a sports maxi scooter can offer the thrills and excitement of sports bikes but with many more practical features making every day riding especially in built up areas much easier. The other advantage that is often over looked by your average motorcyclist is that auto scooters have no gears and by using a CVT transmission experience more peak power to the rear wheel for longer periods of time.

Compare this to a geared bike where you have a reduced time period where the engines full power is used, not to mention the time it takes to change gear also having an effect on acceleration.

By no means should you be thinking that a scooter is out right faster than some big capacity sports bikes because they’re not, well at least not at the moment but you will be pleasantly surprised by the acceleration and speeds of some of the models shown in this article. Twist and Go fun with a power delivery that is easy to access and work with.
Below are a few of the maxi scooters available that could be an alternative to that Kawasaki ER6 you keep considering for your commute to work, or the BMW GS you and your wife are planning a road trip on…….

Aprilia SRV850

The SRV 850 was released in 2012 as the world’s most powerful production scooter yet. With 76 BHP being produced from the 839cc V-Twin engine, a top speed of 126 mph and claimed 0-60 time in the low 5 second band it certainly doesn’t lack in the power department. Although this is all very impressive on paper, in actual fact it’s not the quickest maxi off the mark due to its weight, but once moving the SRV 850 will give many motorcycles and scooters a view of its rear tail lens. 30 – 55 mph takes just 2.9 seconds and 55 – 85 mph just 4.52 seconds, these sorts of speeds will embarrass most hot hatches on the road.

So why aren’t the roads filled with SRV 850’s you ask? Well it’s all well and good having the speed, but the idea of a fun two wheeled machine is it needs to be confidence inspiring with a planted feel to aid in good corner speeds and handling. Although Aprilia claim the SRV has sports bike handling unfortunately it really doesn’t. It feels almost unfinished with iffy suspension and a lack of feel which doesn’t inspire confidence to even some of the most competent riders.

The other down side to the SRV 850 which could possibly have delayed sales is that they have focused so much on performance and design that they have forgot that a maxi scooter needs to remain practical. With no glove box and only space for one helmet under the seat the storage capacity is instantly beaten by its rivals as is the fact it has no ABS, a fixed screen and very little instrumental equipment. The SRV 850 is pretty much a tweaked Gilera GP 800 with a little extra power; although the RSV inspired styling from Aprilia will win you over when comparing the two. The instantly responding V-twin motorcycle engine always reacts when you need it pulling to some impressive speeds, but if you want a true sports bike like feel, the Yamaha T-max is definitely the one we would choose….

BMW C600 Sport

The BMW C600 sport genuinely is a sporty scooter, with sharp handling and a claimed 108 mph top speed it’s very capable on the common B road. The 647cc parallel twin cylinder engine produces 60 HP and 48 ft lb’s of torque not to mention a throaty roar. The engine is actually produced for BMW by Kymco although BMW do state that it’s to their specifications and quality standards. The ride is extremely nimble and sure footed and can often at times lead to you forgetting you’re on a scooter. The brakes are more than enough as is the damping of the suspension.

As you would expect the BMW is extremely well equipped with ABS, manually adjustable screen, two small glove boxes, an extendable under seat making space for two full sized helmets and much more. If you opt for the “high line” option you also get a heated seat and grips, and LED day time running lights which help out when riding in winter.

So the C600 Sport ticks all the boxes in terms of sportiness and practicality, but this does come at a price of almost 10K. The styling is very appealing but as owners of the C600 have said, the way the panels fit together etc are not up to scratch of a 10K scooter or what you’d expect from BMW.

Yamaha T-Max 530

The Yamaha T-Max is the flag ship scooter that started the whole “sport” maxi scooter scene. It’s the closest thing you can get to true sports bike handling where a scooter is concerned. Capable of touring, commuting or simply blasting down a B road as good as or better than many middle weight conventional bikes.

The latest 530cc model has an extra 30cc than the previous 500cc version with many lighter components resulting in a 3 HP increase giving a total of 46.5 HP and an extra 10% of torque at 39.2 ft lb. It’s certainly not the fastest with an average 0-60 of around 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 110 mph but it makes up for it everywhere else.

Once you get to grips with the feel of the T-Max you will understand why it’s regarded as one of the best handling scooters available. This is partly thanks to its aluminium ladder frame, 43mm forks and die cast aluminium swing arm. Reviews from MCN magazine quote “the T-Max isn’t just surprisingly good down a twisty back lane, its staggeringly good”, bearing in mind MCN have ridden everything on two wheels you could think of. Italy host a maxi scooter cup which has grids full of tuned up T-Max’s, take a look at the picture below:

Equipment wise the T-Max is pretty average, ABS is an optional extra and the under seat will only store one helmet and your jacket. The front screen is adjustable however needs to be done with tools and takes a few minutes. Although the storage and gadgets aren’t quite as good as some of the rivals the T-max still proves to be one of the most liked and the best all round maxi scoot on the market.

There are many maxi scooter available on the market to suit most needs although the three mentioned above are the “sportiest”. You may be a diehard motorcycle fan who will never consider the purchase of a scooter, but we recommend taking a trip down to your local dealer for a test ride, you may find yourself walking out with more than a brochure……