If you’re looking for an inexpensive, lightweight vehicle for riding around town or completing short errands, scooters are an excellent choice. If you want something with a bit more performance and versatility, you might want to consider a maxi-scooter instead. Maxi-scooters, or touring scooters, offer larger engines and typically better wind protection, making a good choice as an everyday commuter or for longer distance rides.
Maxi-scooters have larger engines than regular scooters, which is usually enough to make them viable for travelling on freeways. With larger engines, maxi-scooters typically have the engine mounted into the frame instead of the swingarm. As a result, maxi-scooters tend to have a step-over design whereas traditional scooters have a flat central footboard for a step-through design. Maxi-scooters also have larger front fairings for better wind protection, as well as more storage room, both in the fairing and under the seat.
Unfortunately, the maxi-scooter selection in the U.S. isn’t as large as it is in Europe, where the likes of the Yamaha TMax, Honda X-ADV and the recently announced Honda Forza 750 are offered. Still, there are several solid choices for those looking for a maxi-scooter. We compiled a list of some of the best maxi-scooter options available, with a wide range of displacement and pricing.
The Yamaha XMax checks off a lot of boxes for what people want in a maxi-scooter. With a 292cc four-valve SOHC Single that claims about 27 hp, the XMax is easily capable of highway speeds. The engine is also pretty efficient, too, with Yamaha claiming an impressive 75 mpg. Fill the 3.4 gallon tank, and you’re looking at a range of 255 miles.
The underseat storage area is big enough to fit two full-face helmets, and for smaller items like phones, there are two storage bays in the fairing, including one lockable bay with a 12V DC outlet.
The XMax offers sportier handling than most scooters, thanks to its large wheels (15 inches up front and 14 inches at the back) and a motorcycle-style fork that bolts to the steering stem at both the top and bottom triple tree clamps.
Other highlights include ABS, traction control, an adjustable handlebar, an adjustable windscreen, and a remote smart key.
The BMW C400X doesn’t look like a typical maxi-scooter, drawing styling influences from the F850GS, including its small beak and LED headlight. Those looking for a more traditional-looking maxi-scooter may prefer the C650GT, but there are several compelling reasons to consider a C400X instead, beyond the $4,200 price difference.
Sure, the C650GT offers a Parallel-Twin engine that claims 60 hp, but the 34 hp claimed by C400X’s 350cc Single is plenty for most people, especially as an urban commuter. The C400X also offers better fuel economy, claiming 67 mpg compared to the larger scoot’s claimed 51 mpg. The C400X is available with a connectivity package as an ex-factory option that adds a 6.5-inch TFT display and smartphone integration, which is surprisingly not offered for the C650GT.
The 15-inch front wheel is paired with a 35mm telescopic fork while dual struts suspend the 14-inch rear wheel. The braking system is also impressive for the C400X’s price point, with dual front discs, radially-mounted four-piston calipers, and braided brake lines as standard. You won’t see that on many motorcycles under $7,000, let alone scooters. ABS is also standard, as is traction control.
The C400X offers underseat storage, but it’s not as large as some other scooters on this list. The C400X uses BMW’s Flexcase system which expands to fit a full-face helmet, but only when it is parked as the bottom of the case will touch the rear wheel. That’s fine if you’re parking for a while, but you can’t make full use of the storage space when you’re ready to go again.
In some markets, BMW offers a C400GT which is a bit more conventional looking but also more expensive, but as of this writing, only the C400X is available in the U.S.
First introduced in 1999, the Suzuki Burgman is one of the earliest maxi-scooter models on the market, and it continues to be sold in the U.S. today. The most recent iteration is the Burgman 400, which was redesigned for the 2018 model year. The 400 slotted in nicely between Burgman 200 and Burgman 650 Executive, but it has since replaced the 650 as the largest member of the family.
With a 399cc Single, the Burgman 400 offers plenty of oomph as an urban commuter or, as John Burns can attest, for a short day trip. At 27.9 inches, the Burgman offers the lowest seat height among the scooters on this list, making it easier for shorter riders to straddle. The underseat storage holds 42 liters, enough for a helmet or two, while two front compartments offer additional room for smaller items.
Other features include dual front disc brakes, ABS, an automatic idle speed control, LED lighting, and comfortable passenger seating.
At $8,999, the AK 550 is one of the pricier maxi-scooters on the market, which may surprise some people as Kymco’s other scooters tend to be less expensive than offerings from competitors.
You get a lot of bang for your buck with the AK 550, however, with a 550cc DOHC eight-valve parallel-Twin engine, claiming 52.7 hp at 7500 rpm and 41 lb-ft. At 5500 rpm. The AK 550 is equipped with an inverted fork and dual radial-mount Brembo calipers, features you’re more likely to expect from motorcycles than scooters.
The AK 550 claims a dry weight of 462.9 pounds, but Kymco says it has the lowest center of gravity in its class and a near 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution, which should make that weight easier to handle.
Other features include two selectable ride modes, 15-inch wheels, smartphone connectivity, and full LED lighting.
Long before Yamaha introduced the Niken and the Tricity scooter, there was Piaggio and its three-wheeled MP3. And unlike the Tricity, the Piaggio MP3 Sport 500 is available here in the U.S.
With a pair of 13-inch wheels up front in a parallelogram linkage system, the Piaggio MP3 offers the added stability of an extra contact patch while still being able to lean into corners. For added safety, the MP3 boasts both ABS and traction control.
While Piaggio offers a smaller 300cc version in other markets, only the large MP3 Sport 500 is available in the U.S., powered by a 493cc Single claiming 38.8 hp at 7250 rpm and 33.6 lb-ft. at 5000 rpm. Of course, with the larger engine and the more complex front end, the MP3 Sport 500 is one of the heaviest scooters available, weighing in at a claimed 573 pounds.
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