Vespa vs. Japanese scooters?
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Addicted
Vespa PX 177 Settantesimo, Vespa GTS Super 300 HPE
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Wed May 22, 2019 10:20 pm quote
Smaug wrote:
Bobo wrote:
Get a PX. Will never let you down. And if it does you can fix it yourself on the side of the road. As for Ducati, learn to service it yourself or open a separate savings account to pay for it.
You've got to like the style. I'm meh on the PX styling.

With no built-in storage and a manual transmission, I don't see the point. Might as well have a small motorcycle. Something like a Honda Monkey.
Well many do like its style which is why it remained unchanged in appearance from the 70s up to 2016. Can't think of any other scooter which has achieved similar longevity. Shifting with your hand and foot are different experiences also.
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2016 Vespa GTS300ie abs/asr/ess Settantesimo '70'
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Wed May 22, 2019 10:36 pm quote
Re: Vespa vs. Japanese scooters?
Smaug wrote:
I thought sure this would have been discussed, but I didn't find a thread when I searched for it.

I did find one about vs. Chinese, but that's different.

To those of you have owned both, please give some honest and complete feedback on the following areas:

- Fit and finish
- Long-term reliability
- Acceleration
- Ride quality
- Fuel economy
- Overall satisfaction with ownership
- Parts prices
- Ease of self-servicing (assuming moderate mechanical skill)

In cars, I'm not really in any danger of being able to afford a premium Italian one. For scooters? Maybe. I read a lot of good things about Vespa, but part of me feels like some of it is brand pride and fandom.

For example, it's common with a Japanese bike to read: "never a problem." For Vespas, I more often see that it is "trouble free, except that one time the xx went out and stranded me"

What has your experience been?
You are really asking "how long is a piece of string"!

Rather than asking a generalised question like this you need to be making a more specific comparison between actual models of scooter, eg: Suzuki Burgman 400 with a GTS Vespa.

My experience here in the harsh UK riding environment is that modern Vespa's match the Japanese bikes really well for fit & finish and reliability. My GTS is proving completely reliable. My GTS300 is 2.5yrs old now and hasn't missed a beat. It looks brand new and has near 13,000 miles on the clock. Yeah, I know...not many miles yet but I've had issues. The engines are good for 100,000 miles if you run them on proper motorcycle oil, not car or diesel oil.

On the other hand, I've mostly owned Japanese bikes throughout my life (49yrs of riding) and mostly, these have been ok too.

It's simply a case of making your choice & paying the money!
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Wed May 22, 2019 10:48 pm quote
Parts
Not biting.

Bill x
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GT200 & GTS250 & NC750X & Royal Enfield Pegasus
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Wed May 22, 2019 11:27 pm quote
Motovista wrote:
Nobody buys a Vespa because it's practical transportation.
I did and I was really pleased with mine. It was comfortable, fairly quick through traffic, it had storage. Most of all though, it made me smile each time I rode it. Getting a thermoscud rain covering made it into the perfect commuter for me. I was quite happy with my 2003 GT200 but then the GTS250 came out and I had the money so I decided to keep the GT as a backup. I'd still be riding them both if it wasn't for the security situation here in London. Hopefully in the future things will change.
breaknwind wrote:
In the 150cc class there's no denying the SH. 16HP stock, 11,000 miles rear tire life, top speed(68mph to 80deg f, 75mph above 80deg f), 90 mpg in the city and 70 mpg when WOT. The speedo is spot on. Two screws and one plastic panel will allow enough access to do a full top end replacement.
I once thought I wanted a GT200 until I test drove one. Oops, did I say that out loud
The specs for the SH300 are even better. It's just when you see them in the flesh that it all gets a bit disappointing.
johnymoore wrote:
Well many do like its style which is why it remained unchanged in appearance from the 70s up to 2016. Can't think of any other scooter which has achieved similar longevity.
The Honda Cub was first produced in 1958 and is still in production! I'm fairly sure the Enfield Bullet has the longest production run of any PTW though, the current model came out in 1948, they made a few changes to it recently to pass regulations etc but otherwise it's the same bike.
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Wed May 22, 2019 11:32 pm quote
Bill Dog wrote:
I'm staying away from this one.
If the temptation is just too great just pm a friendly moderator asking them to eject you. I think you know the routine.
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Thu May 23, 2019 7:46 am quote
Hey, Smaug. I saw the discussion you started on the BS site. About a year and a half ago, I became "Vespa curious." I liked what I saw with the new ones, but didn't care for the dealers I visited; I started looking around for a used GTS.

If you recall from the BS site, we truly enjoy our Honda PCXes. Bought new, they have been very reliable, perform better than I expected, and have modern styling (that I appreciate).

I considered a GTS to get a bit more top end speed. What I didn't expect: it is actually a better fit for my size (5'9", 190). Better wind protection (especially with a Laminar Lip installed on the mid-size windshield). The PCX has more under seat storage, so I added a top case to the Vespa. I was surprised that a 3/4 helmet or modular FF wouldn't fit under the seat of the Vespa.

The PCX is faster off the line, but the GTS quickly catches (and passes) it. With a set of City Grips front and rear on the Vespa, it feels more stable at highway speeds (60 to 65) than the PCX. The Vespa is more stable in a cross wind.

I have grown to really like the style of the Vespa. Those 12" wheels, that I wasn't sure about at first, are absolutely no issue. Moving each around in the driveway, the PCX is definitely less effort, although neither is a problem. I think the additional weight of the Vespa is also a part of what makes it feel more stable on the highway. PCX (not so different from your Smax) is 13.5 hp and 289 pounds. The GTS is 22 hp and 350 pounds. The GTS "feels" bigger.

If I had come across a friendly dealer (like AF1) sooner, I would have bought a new GTS. As it is, my older 250 GTSie suits me fine. I added a Corbin seat, the Laminar Lip, top case, phone and camera mounts, and a dual USB connection. I would ride this scoot anywhere.

From a maintenance perspective, each has its own peculiarities: having to remove all the plastic on the PCX is a pain in the butt (especially when checking valves). The fuel filler under the seat of the Vespa is a less elegant design than the fuel filler door on the PCX. The PCX uses regular gas, the Vespa likes premium. The PCX gets consistently over 100mpg, the Vespa gets 70 to 80 mpg. Pulling hard into a headwind, I have seen as low as 64mpg.

Both are good scoots. I cannot say that the Japanese design/quality/reliability is better than the Italian, but they certainly approach design differently. This Vespa is my first Italian bike, but I have owned a bunch of Japanese bikes, Harleys, Goldwings (which I consider a US design), and BMWs over the years. I guess I have certain expectations with the Japanese bikes, and didn't know what to expect with the Vespa.

When riding the PCXes together, we often have people talk to us in parking lots, even at stop lights. I guess we look "harmless" as a riding couple on two scoots. I don't get that same response when riding the PCX by myself. The Vespa gets comments whether riding by myself or with my wife (on her own scoot).

For full disclosure, my wife is not a fan of the Vespa. On the times we have swapped bikes, she is much happier on the PCX. She would consider a BV if she was looking for a bigger scoot, but has some interest in the newest version of the Forza if it ever makes it to the US.

Should you buy a Vespa? Yeah, if it speaks to you. And if it does, don't expect it to make "engineering" sense. But there are plenty of good options out there, from some quality manufacturers. There IS something about the panache' of a Vespa, though.
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Thu May 23, 2019 8:49 am quote
What do you think of the Yamaha Tricity? ----> https://video-magazine.it/moto/XUscyWLe1MI.mp4
Addicted
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Thu May 23, 2019 10:17 am quote
robinm wrote:
johnymoore wrote:
Well many do like its style which is why it remained unchanged in appearance from the 70s up to 2016. Can't think of any other scooter which has achieved similar longevity.
The Honda Cub was first produced in 1958 and is still in production! I'm fairly sure the Enfield Bullet has the longest production run of any PTW though, the current model came out in 1948, they made a few changes to it recently to pass regulations etc but otherwise it's the same bike.
I said scooter
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Thu May 23, 2019 3:01 pm quote
robinm wrote:
- Overall satisfaction with ownership
Italy beats Japan hands down. Most Japanese bikes have the personality of a fridge freezer.
No offence, but you have been riding the wrong Japanese bikes then. And the Enfied reminds me of an old harley or even a P series Vespa - lots of "personality", but lacking in comfort .
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Thu May 23, 2019 11:30 pm quote
johnymoore wrote:
I said scooter
I always thought the Super Cub was a scooter but looking on the web it is referred to as a motorcycle. I'll admit I find it a bit hard to understand why though. So what's the difference then between something like a Super Cub and the P200? I'm genuinely interested.
Tierney wrote:
robinm wrote:
- Overall satisfaction with ownership
Italy beats Japan hands down. Most Japanese bikes have the personality of a fridge freezer.
No offence, but you have been riding the wrong Japanese bikes then. And the Enfied reminds me of an old harley or even a P series Vespa - lots of "personality", but lacking in comfort .
Surely satisfaction with ownership has more to do with bike personality than comfort? It's obviously a very subjective thing but none of the Japanese bikes I've owned have been all that endearing. They've all been well made and functional (excepting a VN750 I once had) but none of them made much of an impression on me. I have had the same fridge in my kitchen for the last 20 years, it's worked perfectly but I have no idea what make it is. I feel the same way about 95% of Japanese bikes. Obviously if someone wants to give me an RC30 then that might change.

If you just quoted the wrong bit and meant comfort rather than satisfaction then again I'd say it's subjective. My Japanese bikes were all fairly good comfort wise though none had adjustable seating etc like my BMW GS. The most comfortable bike of any sort I've ever owned would be a toss up between the Guzzi California and the the GT 200 - both suited me perfectly.
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Fri May 24, 2019 12:53 am quote
robinm wrote:
johnymoore wrote:
I said scooter
I always thought the Super Cub was a scooter but looking on the web it is referred to as a motorcycle. I'll admit I find it a bit hard to understand why though. So what's the difference then between something like a Super Cub and the P200? I'm genuinely interested.
Tierney wrote:
robinm wrote:
- Overall satisfaction with ownership
Italy beats Japan hands down. Most Japanese bikes have the personality of a fridge freezer.
No offence, but you have been riding the wrong Japanese bikes then. And the Enfied reminds me of an old harley or even a P series Vespa - lots of "personality", but lacking in comfort .
Surely satisfaction with ownership has more to do with bike personality than comfort? It's obviously a very subjective thing but none of the Japanese bikes I've owned have been all that endearing. They've all been well made and functional (excepting a VN750 I once had) but none of them made much of an impression on me. I have had the same fridge in my kitchen for the last 20 years, it's worked perfectly but I have no idea what make it is. I feel the same way about 95% of Japanese bikes. Obviously if someone wants to give me an RC30 then that might change.

If you just quoted the wrong bit and meant comfort rather than satisfaction then again I'd say it's subjective. My Japanese bikes were all fairly good comfort wise though none had adjustable seating etc like my BMW GS. The most comfortable bike of any sort I've ever owned would be a toss up between the Guzzi California and the the GT 200 - both suited me perfectly.
Highly subjective, but couldn't help immediately thinking of my late VanVan - talk about personality, comfortability (...mmm...that was a sofa, not a seat...) and quality (a real made in Japan bike, just incredible level of fit and finish)....

This beats even the original Honda Monkey 50cc that I had for crashing about ... still the only "bike" I've regret selling, hard to explain by anything else than it really touched some weird fun factor neurons....

I liked Vespa too, but as said, all are different animals.

IMG_20190524_114528.jpg

Molto Verboso
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Fri May 24, 2019 2:04 am quote
" Scooters are, in my opinion, simply harder to work on than motorcycles. They sacrifice ease of service for smooth exteriors. The Japanese scooters have a lot of "tupperware" covering everything that has to be removed to get to the engine and electrics, and to do basic service. The body panels have little tabs that tend to break if you repeatedly take the bodywork off. My Majesty had two air filters, on opposite sides of the swingarm, that were a pain to service. Its battery was hidden in the tailcone, and changing lightbulbs required removing a lot of plastic."

Thing is, I have a Piaggio X10, and that has exactly the same issue as the one described above. And that scooter was made in Italy....

Graham
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Fri May 24, 2019 4:12 am quote
The problem is the production systems, Piaggio has always built metal scooters with supporting body and has moved to modern maxi scooters with the Exagon 125 - 150 and the Gilera then ...
Unfortunately they were tied to fastening and design systems now outdated, so they had to inspire (copy?) Those existing on the scooter sector (not Vespa) that were different. Even today Piaggio has problems fixing the bodywork well due to an old mentality in which modern techniques and old techniques come together, such as fixing some plastic parts with self-tapping screws where the vibrations would require floating fittings; It is very difficult for me to express these typically technical concepts but know that I have been interested in motorcycles and scooters for more than fifty years and I have some experience.
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Fri May 24, 2019 4:23 am quote
RRider wrote:
Highly subjective, but couldn't help immediately thinking of my late VanVan - talk about personality, comfortability
Agree with you on the VanVan, I even looked at one myself when living in Geneva but it just felt a little too small for me.
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Fri May 24, 2019 4:29 am quote
znomit wrote:
Bill Dog wrote:
I'm staying away from this one.
If the temptation is just too great just pm a friendly moderator asking them to eject you. I think you know the routine.
I ask you, where's the sport in doing that?
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Fri May 24, 2019 5:02 am quote
Gag
Puts own hand over own mouth.

Bill x
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Fri May 24, 2019 12:13 pm quote
Italian vs Japanese
I first want to complement Bill Dog on his self control. I expect he is
standing and slamming the door open and closed on his hand to distract him
from answering this email thread.

I love my Vespa. Japanese cars/motorcycles/scooters are superior from a
quality standpoint. Further, they have impacted improved quality moves by most all brands.

Just like Sgt Friday on Drag Net, "Just the facts please".

Bob Copeland
Minnesota
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Fri May 24, 2019 12:24 pm quote
Blue
Lights cigarette, puts hands in pockets, whistles and walks away.

Bill x
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Fri May 24, 2019 2:56 pm quote
I just registered here, but been here many times to read about Vespa, I really appreciate the input.
My honda got me back on 2 wheels after 30+ year hiatus from riding, some 10 years ago now.
I've been banging around on a Big Ruckus, and have recently, have the desire to add a machine to my pole building, again why I came here to hear from owners, riders, lovers and haters.
And, I'm sorry to admit, totally ignorant of Vespa, but their personality keeps my eye scanning for them to look at up close like.
Since I'm an old fat guy, I'm looking in the 250cc to 300 cc range, not sure about style, and will seek a used one.
Thanks again for your time to replies.
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Sun May 26, 2019 10:58 am quote
Huge
Why Hodna didn't sell the big Ruckus in Europe I'll never know.

Such a great bike with bullet proof internals.

Bill x
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Sun May 26, 2019 11:03 am quote
Re: Huge
Bill Dog wrote:
Why Hodna didn't sell the big Ruckus in Europe I'll never know.

Such a great bike with bullet proof internals.
Agreed. I'm pretty sure I'd have bought one.
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Sun May 26, 2019 11:10 am quote
Monster
Quirky but so good looking.

Once in a while the Japanese throw out something totally bonkers then decide not to make it any more.

Nissan Figaro, Hodna Ruckus, Subaru SVX.

Bill x
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Sun May 26, 2019 11:35 am quote
Wow that self restraint trait is really overrated, 7-8 responses later.

Euro and Jap bikes are both built exquisitely imho.

When clients ask I tell them all exactly that, simple. I actually have owned a Ruckus for years.

SDG
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Sun May 26, 2019 11:49 am quote
Bill Dog wrote:
Why Hodna didn't sell the big Ruckus in Europe I'll never know.
The small Ruckus looked fantastic but the large Ruckus had the sort of looks only a mother could love.
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Sun May 26, 2019 11:53 am quote
Honda Helix ... but who would have said that the plastic box would revolutionize the scooter industry. We are in this forum not only thanks to the Vespa.
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Sun May 26, 2019 11:56 am quote
See
Love is blind Robin.

Just ask Debbie Mcgee.

Smiles.

Bill x
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Sun May 26, 2019 12:21 pm quote
Re: Huge
Bill Dog wrote:
Why Hodna didn't sell the big Ruckus in Europe I'll never know.

Such a great bike with bullet proof internals.

Bill x
I had one for a year but gave it up for a lengthy reason. It had people coming up to me all the time to ask about it. BUT. No storage and VERY heavy. One day I went for a ride with me on the BR and my lightweight wife on her Rebel. Can you say buried, smoked, left in the dust? I didn't know how slow it accelerated until then.

As a curiosity it was a charmer. As a machine it was pretty sluggish. And it cost $2000 more than the Rebel when new.
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Sun May 26, 2019 12:31 pm quote
Not
I'm guessing that they weren't cheap to build which is why they cost a premium.

Do you ever regret selling it ?

Bill x
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Sun May 26, 2019 12:32 pm quote
I think if they just followed the smaller Ruckus design but just made it slightly larger with a 200cc+ engine and had various "fun" options (surf board holder, extra fuel, builders tools, folding ladder, seat for 3) then they could have a winner. I loved the minimalist style of the small version but it just cried out for a larger engine and perhaps a larger frame for those of us that can only just remember our teenage years.
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Sun May 26, 2019 12:38 pm quote
Up
Correct me if I'm wrong but I've often thought that Hodna's designs often come out 3 to 5 years ahead of time which is why the Ruckus probably didn't sell well initially and the Civic seems to spend a lot of time sitting on forecourts waiting for it's time to come.

What say you ?

Bill x
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Sun May 26, 2019 12:50 pm quote
Throw
Do the Helix and the Ruckus share the same or at least a similar engine ?

Them both being 250's and all that ?

There was one during the Cannonball that had 100,000 miles on it.

The Helix that is.

Bill x
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Sun May 26, 2019 1:01 pm quote
Up
I have the feeling that the Yamaha Majesty took much of it's design queues from the Helix.

The Burgman just looks fat and awkward to me but their owners seem to love them.

Well, apart from cdwise of course.

Bill x
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Sun May 26, 2019 1:54 pm quote
Tops Out
Talking of Yamaha there's always the T-Max 530 to consider because lets face it it's pretty much set the standard when it comes to Maxi-Scoots and the only thing that comes close is a product that doesn't even come from Japan.

Yes the Yamaha is a bit pricey but if you've ever ridden one you'll know why it's above and beyond everything else in that bracket.

Those of you who like to compare and contrast might be interested in this -
https://scooterlab.uk/the-2018-kymco-ak550-v-tmax-road-test-2/

It's a pretty fair review.

Bill x
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Sun May 26, 2019 2:09 pm quote
Re: Not
Bill Dog wrote:
I'm guessing that they weren't cheap to build which is why they cost a premium.

Do you ever regret selling it ?

Bill x
Not really. It weighed a ton and was slow. It had the same horizontal cylinder engine as the Reflex. The Helix had a vertical cylinder.

To put it in perspective after it was gone I replaced it with a Chinese Helix clone. Even as a Chinese scooter, it has a lot more storage, is more comfortable and has excellent wind protection. Valve adjustments and service are easier too.
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Sun May 26, 2019 2:11 pm quote
Total
What was the make of the clone ?

Was it lighter and therefore faster ?

Bill x
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Sun May 26, 2019 3:50 pm quote
Re: Total
Bill Dog wrote:
What was the make of the clone ?

Was it lighter and therefore faster ?

Bill x
CF Moto made the Helix clone. Still see them on Craigslist occasionally.
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Sun May 26, 2019 4:04 pm quote
Re: Throw
Bill Dog wrote:
Do the Helix and the Ruckus share the same or at least a similar engine ?

Them both being 250's and all that ?

There was one during the Cannonball that had 100,000 miles on it.

The Helix that is.

Bill x
My understanding is that the Reflex is the Honda that Big Ruckus shares components with. Over on ADVRider there is a thread on cutting the Big Ruckus sluggishness which if I recall correctly invoices using Reflex rollers instead of the stock.

FWIW, there are others who aren't enamored with the Burgman. Good scoot but doesn't fit me, too boat like.
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Sun May 26, 2019 5:00 pm quote
Re: Total
Bill Dog wrote:
What was the make of the clone ?

Was it lighter and therefore faster ?

Bill x
It's hard to tell. I would say they were close enough in weight that there was little difference. Since they have different engines my impression is that the Helix clone seems a bit peppier. Possibly because the Helix engine has an over square (stroke shorter than bore) motor. They both have long wheelbases so "flick ability" is not on the menu. My seventy pound lighter 250 Nighthawk is much better in that department.
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Sun May 26, 2019 8:46 pm quote
Muscle
The Hodna Forza 300 is supposed to be pretty good but it does have rather an uncomfortable seat.

I'm with cdwise on the the Burgman. Very capable but fat and podgy.

Bill x
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Sun May 26, 2019 10:08 pm quote
Szuuki Gemma 250 is probably one of the most interesting Japanese bikes we never saw in the US.
The Helix stayed on in the US because Honda continued making 1986 scooters they could sell cheap to developing countries, Piaggio (Honda helped Piaggio modernize their assembly lines and sold them Helix engines for the Piaggio Hexagon) and the US Market for 20 years, or about ten years past their prime, then Honda sold the tooling to the Chinese, who are still cranking them out. The Helix had a bit of a cult following in Japan, which led to the Big Ruckus, Yamaha Morphous and the Suzuki Gemma. The Morphous came and went about the time the Gemma came out.
The small Ruckus was an easy bike for Honda because it shares the same frame and engine design with the Metropolitan, so they were relatively cheap to produce and bring out. You take the plastics off a Metropolitan, bolt on the tubing, extend the variator case enough to stick a big tire on, and you have a Ruckus. A big ruckus seemed a natural hit. It did fairly well in Japan but bringing the big ruckus here was another example of Honda guessing wrong about the US scooter market. It looks like something we would love, they brought it here, and four years after they stopped selling them, they were still gathering dust in showrooms. The Elite 250 was a horizontal engine that was short lived. The Reflex and the Big Ruck share an engine, but in the Reflex it had a variator with two different roller weights and two different track lengths that was a really bad idea.

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