Italjet get serious with radical 58bhp Dragster 559 Twin

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Scooters don’t usually grab much attention, especially when they’re still in the prototype stage. But then scooters don’t usually have 550cc twin cylinder engines producing nearly 60bhp, feature a six-speed transmission, or come developed with the aid of ex-MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso.

Enter the striking Italjet Dragster 559 Twin, which was unveiled at the recent Eicma tradeshow in Milan, featuring styling that looks like the lovechild of a Ducati Panigale and Bimota Tesi.

“With the Dragster 559 Twin, we have created an unprecedented, revolutionary, and unique vehicle in the world of two-wheelers,” Massimo Tartarini, President, and CEO of Italjet said. “We drew inspiration from the world of sports motorcycles to create a vehicle that combines the fun of riding a motorcycle with the typical lightness and agility of a scooter.

Italjet Dragster 559 Twin front

“The Dragster 559 Twin marks a new chapter in the history of two-wheelers and once again confirms us as a brand that never conforms to the normal stereotypes but creates new, unimaginable market segments.”

The Italian firm, originally best known in the ‘60s and ‘70s for their small-wheeled kid’s bikes, revolutionised scooters in 1995 with their first Dragster – a sports 125 with a patented, forkless, ‘RADD’ front suspension, tubular steel space frame, and the styling to match. It proved such a hit over 70,000 were sold in sizes from 50 to 180cc.

That concept was revived in 2018 by a new incarnation of the company headed by Massimo Tartarini, son of original founder Leopoldo. Although keeping the hub-centre steering and style of the original, the revived models now came in 125 and 200cc four-stroke forms.

Italjet Dragster 559 Twin rear

And now they’re getting bigger – and madder – still. During the show, Italjet unveiled a new Dragster 300 which goes on sale next year and, even more radically, this new Dragster 559 Twin which, although still only a concept, Italjet say is in ‘final prototype’ form and scheduled to be on sale by the end of 2024.

It’s based on the Dragster 500GP concept shown at EICMA in 2022 and was designed at the Italjet Design Centre in Bologna, Italy. It’s powered by a new, 550cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, eight-valve parallel twin, which has been produced by Chinese brand Zongshen. Last year’s 500GP concept used a motor from CFMoto, with the brand previously toying with six possible engines.

This motor produces a claimed 58.33bhp at 8500rpm and 40.6lbft at 6500rpm, with both comparing favourably to the 47bhp and 41.08lbft of Yamaha’s class-leading 562cc TMAX Tech Max. An A2 compliant version is also on the cards, however neither will have the ease of use or practicality of the twin cylinder Yamaha.

Italjet Dragster 559 Twin engine

Further separating the 559 from the £13,807 TMAX is the manual six-speed transmission – a feature that some may argue defeats the object of the easy-going scooter class.

As before, there’s a tubular steel space frame, 15inch wheels and monoshock rear, although one big difference is the use of 48mm inverted forks in place of the traditional RADD hub design.

Prices and availability are yet to be confirmed; however the incoming Dragster 300 will set you back €6999 – or around £6056.