2012 Piaggio X10 500 Executive Review
The Piaggio flagship advances the scooter state of the art
The Piaggio X10 500 is a technological tour de force, with stepless electrically adjustable suspension, ABS, traction control and full multimedia capability (PMP), including highly advanced engine readouts if you own an iPhone. We tested the 350cc version in Paris earlier this year, but now we’re testing the 500 to complete the full picture.
It’s a hot day in Pontedera, home to Piaggio, and we fire up the most maxi of the latest Piaggio X10 scooter range, the X10 500, Piaggio’s flagship. Being a scooter, the transmission is automatic. And equipped with standard ABS, braking is simply a matter of pulling the brake levers to stop in any situation. Traction control enables safe crossing of slippery surfaces under full throttle, and with the Piaggio Multimedia Platform features enabled, you’ll never get lost. Under the seat is plenty of storage space.
The Piaggio X10 500 has all you need and a lot you probably don’t need yet anyway. It’s fun taking a quick glimpse down on the iPhone provided by Piaggio for the launch and see torque figures in real time, but, realistically, you have to keep your eyes on the road rather than on the iPhone because it is mounted slightly too close to the rider.
The multimedia platform communicates between your device and the X10 by way of Bluetooth, and the iPhone is connected to the battery for constant re-charge whilst on the move. For safety the interaction functions are turned off whilst on the move.
Should you start running out of fuel the GPS function will alert you to the nearest fuel station, and should abnormalities occur with the tires, the scooter sends an alert along with information of the nearest Piaggio dealership (only with ABS/ASR). The last interface selected will be saved for when starting up the X10 again, and should you have a habit of getting lost in a big city, the iPhone with the Piaggio application will record exactly where you parked so that you can track back using the GPS.
Finally there’s also a general analysis feature for troubleshooting, so now you can tell the mechanic at your garage what needs doing rather than the other way around, which will save you valuable garage time.
The 29.9-inch seat height is still just as comfortable as on the 350cc version, but on the 500 I can play around with suspension settings using just two buttons, one for softer and one for harder. Even whilst riding this feature can be used, so should the road change from a fast motorway to lots of cornering and braking, you can stiffen up the suspension settings and carry on. This is also a great feature for carrying a pillion passenger as you just change the settings when needed by way of buttons next to the ignition key.
The X10 500 is slightly longer and heavier than the 350 so it needs its extra 8 horsepower and 14Nm of torque. The figures then read 41 horsepower at 7250 rpm and 46Nm at 5250 rpm. The 492cc Single is an efficient, twin-spark engine. You can spot the 500 by its bulkier round exhaust and different engine casings at the rear. Everything else is the same as on the 350.
Leaving the red lights in Pontedera, the 500 responds instantly with good acceleration, and the torqueier engine keeps the momentum much better than the smaller-capacity version. In town it’s also easy to notice the good turning radius for such a long maxi scooter.
We got to ride the X10 500 in some gorgeous countryside in Tuscany to test the sporty side of the big X. The front feels a little bit vague when we’re going really fast but otherwise very good. The monoshock rear suspension works really well and can be electrically adjusted whilst on the move. The stiffer setup works better when going through the corners at speed, while the more comfortable, softer setup is good for cruising on the motorway or even going slowly in town. The electrically adjusted rear suspension is a great feature on the X10 500 Executive. The 500 is the only X10 with the monoshock at the rear and 41mm fork at the front (35mm on the 125cc to 350cc versions).
The linked ABS brakes have both the power and safety that you need in various situations. The Michelin tires have good grip helped by beefier suspension than the smaller X10 models. This enables a more controlled feel when braking really hard, and I felt I could carry the X10 further into the corner with brakes applied.
We passed the beauty spot where you’ll find the red ring of Volterra marking the border between Pisa and Siena. Not only is the view stunning, but the red ring sculpture sort of suits the X10 500 in symbolising constant communications in our brave new world. Piaggio calls its X10 500 Executive a moving living room, and that’s a fairly good description.
Piaggio will only offer the X10 500 in the Executive version which signifies its ABS/ASR capability. This means you have but no choice if you want the Piaggio flagship, but I think this is okay because if you want to go the X10 budget way there’s a lot of features and enough power on tap also in a standard 350 or even the 125 version.
All in all it’s very difficult not to be impressed by the new PMP feature that we’ll also soon see in other Piaggio brands. Piaggio’s X10 500 Executive will certainly be an eye opener to a lot of people. As of this moment, Piaggio USA has no confirmed plan to import the X10 500 to our shores. The single-cylinder BV Tourer 500 is currently the largest scooter in Piaggio’s North American lineup.
|Mini Shootout: 2012 Piaggio X10 500 vs. Aprilia SRV 850 ABS/ATC|
Both the Aprilia SRV850 and Piaggio X10 350 had launches earlier this year, but the SRV 850 has since had both ABS brakes and traction control added to the package. It was obvious straight away that the Piaggio X10 500 had a bit more grunt than the 350cc version I tested in Paris. It’s also a bit heavier and slightly longer.
Whilst the X10 500 is a luxury maxi scooter, the SRV 850 ABS/ATC is a sporty super scooter with handling closer to that of a motorcycle. The SRV850 ABS/ATC is heavier but also features a more solid front end in particular that allows for more aggressive corner entries. The Aprilia SRV850 ABS/ATC also has a lot more horsepower on tap, and its V-Twin engine puts an emphasis on oomph rather than outright horsepower. The X10's single-cylinder engine is no slouch either when it comes to torque, and as such they are both perfect for scootering in which you need the variable drive to give instant acceleration from the word go.
The X10 500 takes high-tech scootering and touring to a new level with its iPhone capabilities, including readouts from the engine never before seen on any motorcycle let alone scooter! Being able to read the exact level of horsepower or torque whilst accelerating is unprecedented and, whilst I’m not sure how useful it will be, I’m mighty impressed by the capability.
Should you leave the X10 500 in a new city somewhere and forget where you parked the iPhone will record the GPS location when powered down. The SRV850 on the other hand is more rudimentarily fitted but now it does have both ABS brakes and ATC (Aprilia Traction Control) which will take you safer over wet surfaces and should you venture on to a gravel road there’s no sudden surprises from the rear wheel spinning up.
Of the two, the X10 500 is the more practical proper maxi scooter choice and probably the one to have, but on the other hand if you want the Hayabusa of scootering, the SRV850 is the choice.