Take a ride on Piaggio’s new X10 and you have to wonder how much more you’re really getting with the latest batch of high-profile GT scooters. BMW’s C650 GT, which costs double the X10′s £4,999, while the Suzuki Burgman and Yamaha T-Max both cost more than £8,000. Yet around town the X10′s little 330cc engine offers as much performance as most riders will need, with equipment levels just as good or better than the more costly alternatives.
In many ways it betters them: scooter buyers tend to look for decent storage space and the Piaggio certainly delivers with its 52 litre underseat area, enough for a couple of full face helmets. There are also three compartments in the fairing panel, adding up to a lot more than anything else but the Burgman.
Economy matters, too, and while Piaggio still has no figures for the X10, the same engine in the Beverly (yes, there’s a scooter called Beverly…) is claimed to return 85mpg, suggesting real-world riding on the heavier X10 will give you at least 70mpg, even around town. Crucially, it’ll be significantly better than those larger capacity GT scooters.
It’s the same when it comes to maintenance. Not only is the X10′s engine a less demanding single-cylinder, the major service intervals are 12,000 miles, wider apart than any of the opposition.
Equipment levels are impressive, including a sophisticated braking system linking front and rear and backed up by ABS, as well as a less obviously useful traction control system. That smacks of doing something because you can – the traction control uses the ABS wheel sensors and the engine management to control power when needed, so in reality it amounts to nothing more than some extra software. But I’ve never found wheelspin a problem on any scooter, including much more powerful ones than the X10.
It’s clear you gain financially, so what do you lose? In terms of style and quality, nothing. In fact the Piaggio trumps all but the Yamaha in this respect. It’s not only very well put together, with a solid, confidence-inspiring feel, it’s the best looking scooter of its type available today. The lines are sweeping, elegant and perfectly defined by a chrome strip which points at the front before curving up the full length of the machine: Italian design at its best, especially as it comes with neat detailing such as backlit switchgear – wholly unnecessary but rather cool nevertheless. The ergonomics are fine, with good comfort and wind protection, and it’s spacious even two-up. Only the too-narrow field of view in the mirrors irritates.
The comparison with scooters twice the price is valid in aother areas, too. The motor is smooth and punchy, especially away from stationary and at lower town speeds, and the handling is secure and stable. Yet due to the X10′s light weight – at 432lb it’s 120lb (a slender passenger) less than the big GTs – its power-to-weight ratio is not substantially worse and in reality it’s just as quick in urban riding. But it’s still £1,500 less than a more obvious rival, Yamaha’s heftily priced Majesty 400.
The smaller engine means that its 85mph top speed is barely adequate to have something in reserve for motorway riding, even without inclines or headwinds. But if that’s unlikely to feature in your riding, you could end up paying a lot more money for a larger capacity scooter with performance that you’ll probably rarely use. In this light, the X10 makes a great deal of sense indeed.
PRICE/ON SALE £4,999/now
POWER/TORQUE 33bhp @ 8,250rpm/24lb ft @ 6,000rpm
TOP SPEED 85mph
FUEL TANK/RANGE 3.4 gallons/250 miles
VERDICT Outstanding looks backed up by excellent comfort, huge storage space, strong performance and low running costs, all at a very reasonable price
TELEGRAPH RATING Five out of five
Suzuki Burgman 400, £5,515
The main rival in terms of comfort and luggage space, but a version with ABS is £1,000 pricier. The ride quality isn’t quite as good as the X10′s and performance lacks the punch of the Piaggio, but it’s well made.
Yamaha T-Max, £8,870
More performance than the X10, although you’ll only really notice at higher speeds. For regular out-of-town riding the bigger capacity engine is worth the extra. The handling is good but storage space inadequate.
Kymco Downtown 300i, £3,999
Not quite as classy or well made as the X10, but a serious rival. It’s a little down on power but it’s lighter, with good handling and equipment. It also looks good, it’s economical and has a two-year warranty.
Review taken from The Telegraph and written by Kevin Ash