2012 125cc Scooter Shootout [Video]
Three different takes on economical transportation
Look around any college parking lot or downtown metropolitan area and scooters will be littered throughout the landscape. The red-headed stepchild of motorcycledom, scooters are a viable alternative for those looking to escape the costs of car ownership or those who would prefer not to take public transit. The cost of ownership is low, fuel mileage is high and the amount of storage space available is typically generous.
Three leading models that embody all three traits are the Honda PCX, Piaggio Typhoon 125 and the Yamaha Zuma 125. We’ve covered all three before, but never have we ridden them side-by-side-by-side. On paper, all three scoots appear rather similar: all have comparable engine displacements, all use Constantly Variable Transmissions – eliminating the need to shift – all deliver impressive MPG figures, and (perhaps most importantly), all but one have space under the seat for two six-packs and a box of wine.
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In reality all three own distinct differences, many of which even took us by surprise. We picked scooters in the 125cc category because this engine category is well suited to the needs (and pocketbooks) of college students and urban city dwellers. Being under 150cc, however, none of these scooters are legal for freeway use.
Our panel of riders for this test include E-i-C Duke, who stands at the same 5-foot, 8 inches as I do. Content Editor Tom Roderick, who, at 185 pounds and 6-feet tall, represents the long-legged of the group. We subjected each scooter to its intended environment — urban city commuting — while also taking the off-road-capable Piaggio and Yamaha onto some dirt roads for a little fun off the beaten path. At the end we tallied up mpg figures, compared storage compartments and mulled over our subjective riding impressions to come up with our winner.
Here, we present each scooter in ascending order according to price, starting with the Piaggio.