Scooter of the Year Winner: BMW C650 GT
By Evans Brasfield
The accolades keep rolling in! Last year, the BMW won the scooter MOBO with the C650GT. This year the GT topped the heap in our Uber Scooter Shootout by besting the other competitors in 10 of the 12 scoring categories. That’s dominance.
So, no one should be surprised that the BMW C650GT retains its title as Best Scooter for 2014. There’s a lot to love. First, there’s the class-leading claimed 60 hp and 49 ft.-lb. from its 647cc parallel-Twin, which is plenty of oomph to easily exceed legal highway speeds. The C650GT also carries 4.2 gallons of go-juice to keep the party going for over 200 miles.
When four lanes drops down to two, becoming serpentine, the Beemer displays remarkable handling characteristics. The taut-for-a-scooter suspension combines with a performance-minded chassis to give seemingly boundless ground clearance. The 15-inch wheels offer quick steering while never feeling twitchy at speed. Strong ABS brakes complete the performance package.
While the 31.7-in. seat height may put off some shorter riders, the GT’s accommodations are luxurious. The feet-forward riding position is roomy even for folks in the six-foot range, while an electrically adjustable windshield can be tuned to suit the rider’s height and weather conditions. Winglets at the base of that windscreen appreciably increase the airflow on hot days. Optional heated grips and seat (for both rider and passenger) for an additional $605 make the BMW a great choice for a cold-weather commuter.
Like all good scooters, the BMW C650GT features plenty of storage – a whopping 40 liters of stuff can be carried under the seat, while a bin in the fairing holds small items that need quick access. A 12-volt outlet for charging accessories resides in the left fairing compartment.
Yes, it costs a pretty penny ($9,990), but the GT’s high levels of comfort and performance exceeds what we thought possible from a scooter. The GT’s far-ranging capabilities not only make it our favorite scooter, it’s also a viable alternative to a “proper” motorcycle.
Honorable Mention: Honda PCX150
By John Burns
There’s a fine line between clever and stupid when it comes to urban scooters, and the Honda PCX150 nicely straddles it. Too big sort of defeats the whole purpose of the thing, which is to be able to squeeze through places where rats leave greaseprints. Too small and underpowered, and you can easily fall prey to the blonde rodents driving the huge SUVs. A good scooter’s got to be able to scurry, it’s got to be able to squeeze a gallon of gas, it’s got to be cheap. And it’s got to be ready to go when you are. Nobody wants a dirty, high-maintenance scooter anymore.
Say hello to the PCX150. It sells for $3,449, packs a 153cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected Single that’ll get it up close to 70 mph, weighs less than 300 pounds, and many owners report upward of 90 mpg. Updates for 2015 include fresh new bodywork and dual headlights, a new instrument panel, and friction-reducing engine modifications that may yield even better fuel mileage. With its larger fuel tank (2.1 gallons), we’re talking a range of 180 miles or more between fill-ups. The PCX has also got great underseat storage that’ll swallow a full-face helmet and then some, a glovebox for your linty Chapstick and spare change, and a 12-volt outlet to keep your devices charged.
Furthermore, the PCX is reasonably sporty, with 14-inch wheels, a stiff chassis, linked brakes and good suspension at both ends. If lots of your runs are short ones, a PCX in the pits will save you money and make your life more enjoyable at the same time. The right-sized PCX150 lowers your carbon footprint, not your expectations.