PIAGGIO NRG 50 (1999 - on) Review
- Simple 50cc scooter is easy to ride
- 16-year-olds can run one with a CBT
- Ultra-low running costs
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Image is everything when you’re 16 – the Piaggio NRG 50 has it with race bike styling and graphics.
But it’s still a 50cc moped restricted to 30mph by law, so unless you’re old enough to derestrict, progress is painfully slow.
Launched way back in 1999, there have been a number of versions of the Piaggio NRG 50cc on sale over the years. The 2017-2020 version remained a great-value scoot for new riders, with a Euro4 two-stroke engine and electric fuel injection.
There's an online community for Piaggio bikes at the Piaggio Owners' Club.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Small wheels and cheap suspension make the NRG very nervous – you have to ride it for a while to adjust your input levels before it can be ridden smoothly. Bumps and holes upset it – the tiny wheels can’t ride over any kind of imperfections. It’s very nimble through traffic and easy to manoeuvre at low speed – ideal for the CBT.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The twist-and-go 50cc two-stroke does little more than propel the Piaggio NRG forward as slowly as the law dictates. The NRG 50 is as simple to ride as you'd expect, with no gears to worry about and brakes like a bicycle. It doesn't sound particularly interesting, but it'll get you a long way on not very much cash at all.
Derestricted the speedo will show 55mph plus – it’s a typically optimistic Italian gauge though, so real speed is around 45-50mph.
Reader Q&A - Piaggio NRG 50 losing power
First published 2011 by MCN
Q. My son's Piaggio NRG scooter has lost power. It used to do 50, now it does 26mph at 7000rpm. It does not sound the same as his mate’s NRG and when I took the exhaust off something is rattling around in it.
It’s had a new piston, rings and barrel and I have checked the reed valve. The new spark plug is also the right colour.
A. If there is 'something' rattling in the exhaust it is a fair bet that this is what is causing your problem. Two-stroke exhausts are shaped to use the sound pressure waves from combustion to suck out exhaust gases and pull in a fresh mixture.
If there’s carbon build up, or the baffles are loose that will send it out of tune like a dented trumpet at higher revs, so its performance will fall off as you describe.
You should be able to remove the baffles and find the cause of the rattle, and whilst the baffles are out you should remove the carbon build-up by blocking the end pipe and filling it with a caustic soda solution overnight, that includes the downpipe.
If after you have done this you find you still have the problem it will probably be crankcase seal failure.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Piaggio build quality is sub-par anyway – as one of the cheapest bikes in the range, the NRG is one of the most susceptible to abuse. The finish is cheap - the paint rubs through, alloy parts corrode and steel parts rust – the exhaust especially. Breakdowns aren’t unusual either. You’ll need the warranty.
Our Piaggio NRG 50 owners' reviews show mainly positive results, but there have been some mechanical issues along the way for some buyers.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Most teenagers treat the Piaggio NRG as a throwaway item – which in reality, they are. They’re not cheap, but there is a queue of teenagers ready to splash Dad’s cash on one, buying them solely on image. Be prepared to loose a big chunk of value as the condition deteriorates, and incentivised new bikes push the value out of used scoots.
Insurance and running costs should remain very low, as it costs a handful of pounds to fill up and isn't going to break the bank to keep moving.
It doesn’t have much – there’s a rev counter that serves no useful purpose on a twist and go, a clock, an underseat storage area that will take a full-face helmet and a hook to hang shopping bags on. It has upside down forks, but they’re crude and only for show.
|Engine type||Two-stroke, liquid-cooled single. CVT transmission.|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||6.5 litres|
|Front brake||220mm disc|
|Rear brake||175 mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70-13|
|Rear tyre size||140/60-13|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||33 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£21|
|Annual service cost||-|
4 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||4 bhp|
|Max torque||2.9 ft-lb|
|Top speed||31 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||56 miles|
Model history & versions
- Piaggio NRG Extreme – 1999-2002. Air-cooled sports scooter, looks dated now and its unlikely any still around will be in presentable condition.
- Piaggio NRG MC3 Air - 2002-2004. The second generation air-cooled NRG.
- Piaggio NRG MC3 - 2002-2004 – The liquid-cooled version is faster in full power form.
- Piaggio NRG 50 Power DD - 2004-2012
- Piaggio NRG 50 2017-2020
Piaggio NRG Silver Bullet – White/red special edition is mechanically unchanged.
Owners' reviews for the PIAGGIO NRG 50 (1999 - on)
6 owners have reviewed their PIAGGIO NRG 50 (1999 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
Despite what's been said in the official review, I've had an NRG Power DD since 2006 and think it's a great little scooter. It also hasn't broken down once. And it looks almost as good today as it did when I bought it. I'm not a neurotic washer and polisher either. Just an ordinary UK user who's quite lazy on the whole. The bike's been derestricted and can comfortably sit at 45mph provided the road is flat and there isn't too much headwind. I've had it up as fast as 60mph for short bursts. These speeds with nothing more than taking the washer out. No sports exhaust or anything else fancy. All bog-standard. Fuel economy is around 76mpg. I also have a YBR125 and PCX125, which are both four-strokes and only go slightly faster. Whereas I love the Piaggio for its amazing two-stroke sound and decidedly 1960s retro feel. All-in-all I can thoroughly recommend this scooter. Don't be put off by the official review.
I brought my piaggio nrg for £400 just to get to and from work/college back in march. It was brilliant to start off with but after about 4 months the oil pump broke which resulted in the piston seizing. After replacing the piston, barrel etc, I found that the carburetor and automatic choke were broken as well so i had to buy a whole new fuel system as the parts are not sold separate. I now have it back on the road after 2 months of fixing problems. Still a nice ped but after having to fix all the problems with it I have lost love for it
I brought my Piaggio NRG brand new in September with a 61 plate ready to start my new term of sixth form and as my first step into biking it’s been brilliant. In the past 4 months I have clocked up just over 1000 miles and it’s never failed me, a great sounding moped, much better than the other boys Peugeot speed fighters. I would recommend this bike to anyone looking for a sporty moped but wants to stand out from the speed fighter crowd.
Only had it for about a week and i love it thats all there is to say.
20/DEC/2009 I have owned my Piaggio NRG PureJet 50 (Injection) since new 2006,and i have nothing but absolute praise for this brilliant premium sports 50cc scooter from Piaggio. So far,i have covered 22000kms of complete reliability,and without the need to touch the engine,or anything else for that matter. It is as clean and powerful today as it was from just run in. The ride is on the firm side,but never uncomfortable,yet it always handles superbly. It takes corners with verve,and always seems to beg for more. It's floor mounted fuel tank,helps give an overall balance to the chassis that is sublime. The frame is stiff and tight,with almost motorbike quality,due to it's twin steel tube cradle frame. The overall feel is one of robust solidity,that feels like it will last forever. Big disc brakes on both front and rear,pull the bike up effortlessly from any speed,and always feel solid and safe. The build quality is outstanding,with high quality plastics,and flawless fit and finish. Full digital and analog instrumentation give all the information you could ask for,and special features like the remote opening of the helmet bay are always appreciated. Now the Injected performance...It's simply a blast to ride,with full de-restricted GPS tested performance of.... (0-50kph=7.2secs / 0-30m=4.5secs / Top speed=90kph@9000rpm). It sips fuel at a miserly 2.5L/100kms,and oil top-ups are at around 3000km intervals. The sound that comes from this brilliant engine and OEM sports reverse exhaust, is like that of a mini japanese sportsbike,and the throttle response is super crisp and precision perfect. Oh,and then their's the style of this beautiful Italian scooter...It's sportsbike derived,with classic genuine eye-catching Italian design details and proportion. Summing up...the Piaggio NRG PureJet may cost more then the average 50cc,because it is clearly a class above in build quality,performance,economy,clean running,handling,equipment,and style. The only other premium 50's that can compete with this very impressive bike,are the Aprilia SR50 Factory,and the Gilera Runner PureJet. My NRG still looks near new,and i think that speaks volumes about it's quality. It's simply a GREAT 50 to own.
i have the piaggio NRG i have had it for about half a year and its all ways in the work shop it wood be a good bike if it worked