Being a former R6 2C0 rider (until I was unceremoniously knocked off in June), scooters were always an anathama to me.
However I saw a preview of the upcoming Piaggio X10 and thought the scoot looked interesting, quite cute even with gizmos like ABS and traction control as standard. However I wrestled with the thought of the disctinct lack of pace as scooter would bring. Plus I was spoiled by the prodigious amounts of handling prowess that my R6 used to dole out.
I knew that with the insurance money from my R6 write off, I would have to elect for practical riding, which meant going for something like a scooter with commuting and under seat luggage capacity in mind. So with that had eyes for the Yamaha TMAX as it had that de riguer Yamaha build quality, and looked like it had style,and some gusto to boot!
On viewing the TMAX and X10 back to back at the dealer, it was clear that the X10 had the legs in the functionality stakes, what with its greater storage capacity, linked ABS braking, traction control (on a 330cc haha!), cigarette lighter port for a Sat Nav and a USB to charge your phone on the go. The X10 also wasn't a slouch in the design stakes. It had aesthetically pleasing lines, LED lights front and rear, plus all the handlebar controls lit up too! In the final analysis what though swung it for me was the simple economics of the matter. £5000 for the X10 beats hands down the £8700 Yamaha are asking for the TMAX - no contest!
So I brought an X10 at the end of July and what commenced was the start of my summer (what summer?) of love!
I immediately booked myself onto a Police riding course, and duly kept up with all the 1000cc + bikes also enrolled. My scoot got me through wind and rain swept greasy roads on an August day more akin to a freezing February. We were scratching at 70 mph (old bill present so could go no faster)and the X10 gave a great account of itself, whilst still being run in I might add! The Police so loved my scoot & its ability to perform in such hallowed company that they decided to use it as their photo mascot on their Facebook page.
In the commuting stakes, off the lights the scooter keeps up with the best of them and although I've never felt the need to go beyond 80 mph, It'll comfortably do more! It has a handy digital readout which is easy to read and with the mode button I have it set to show me my MPG which I calculate averages out at about 76 mpg.
Handling is (almost) a revelation spoilt only because I rode a hardcore, headbanging R6 for 6 years prior. The X10 comes shod with Michelin 2CT's as standard, with dual compound, grippy stuff on the edges so I worry not whilst at full tilt. It means that through the corners I have some SERIOUS mambo!!! To put it in context, this morning on the way to work I embarrassed a startled BMW K1300S rider who was pushing it on the large roundabout underneath the A40 westway when I rode around the outside of him at approx 60 mph.
This scoot is light for its enormous physical size, and is eminently chuckable. The riding position is comfortable and seat more relaxing than my armchair at home (seriously!) It has great brakes, although the levers are a little long, meaning that you have to consciously hold them near the ends to get maximum bite.
It goes up on its centre stand easily and I love the two facia mounted compartments which are handy to chuck your phones, wallet, other bits in without hassle.
The only (major) undoing on the scoot is its mirrors. Connected to the handlebars and far too wide apart, they are a disaster waiting to happen because cyclists, bikes and even cars disappear into the scoot's blind spot all so easily. It means that preceding every manouvre is a long look over my shoulder, which in itself is a bit dangerous because I end up looking backwards for ages.
The feelings I get with the X10 are reminiscent of the vibes I got when I received my spanking new 2006 R6, however I'm now 6 years older, but given the encouragement the X10 gives me to push its limits, none the more wiser!