Back in April 2016 we were in Italy for the launch of the brand new Piaggio Medley. It turned out to be one of our favourite 125s. Last week we were back out there for the launch of the updated 2020 version, so is it worth trading in your old model, or considering a Medley if you’re looking around for a decent 125?
Firstly, we really liked the Medley first time around, it made a great new high-spec 125 model for the Piaggio stable. We tested it again after the launch against one of its main competitors – the Honda PCX-125. It did very well against that top seller. The Medley has since sold 42,000 units around Europe, 900 of those were in the UK and last year we shifted 200. Unsurprisingly, most of those sold in the UK were in or around London.
Let’s see what’s new with the 2020 model…
i-GET version 2
Firstly, the liquid-cooled i-GET engine has received some serious refinements. A new cylinder head is one of the major components to receive some TLC. It has a new casting, the profile is altered to accommodate larger valves. The top end also features new lightweight rockers and the profile of the camshaft has been redesigned to optimise combustion. The engine also boasts a new piston and the combustion chamber has been revised. There’s a new injector, a 2mm larger throttle body, and visibly new air filter box, complete with Helmholtz resonator on the intake tube to further reduce noise. The exhaust is also new, it’s larger and looks different – the extra volume of the box actually decreases the volume of the exhaust note.
10,000km service intervals
Service intervals on the i-GET engines are at an impressive 10,000 km and the valves need checking at 20,000km – so servicing costs aren’t huge for most average users.
The new i-GET engine is designed to be quieter, more economical and has a boost in power. It’s up from 12.069bhp to 14.75bhp – taking it just below the permitted 125cc 15bhp limit. It also gains some extra torque, going up to 12Nm from 11.5Nm.
Piaggio claims it sips fuel at 41.5km/l using the WMTC testing cycle. Interestingly this engine is currently Euro 4, although a Euro 5 version will be introduced later in the year. What that means to the consumer is a possibility that power will be strangled in the Euro 5 model so it’s worth buying early before things change once again.
The current GTS 125 still uses the original i-GET motor but the second-generation engine will be rolled out to the GTS and other 125cc models in the Piaggio/Vespa range later on. Euro 5 will be mandatory from January 1st 2021 so it won’t be long before all manufacturers start the changeover.
The Medley may well have had a significant upgrade internally but externally it still looks like a Medley, which is just as well I suppose because it’s not at all bad looking for a commuter machine. The tweaks, nips and tucks have given the 2020 model a worthwhile overhaul. It looks neat, the styling is crisp (the extra detailing on the S version makes the biggest difference) and it’s very well finished. The Medley also gets new wheels, with a larger section rear tyre and Michelin City Grips (to replace the Maxxis of the original) improve the road holding and handling. Add all the new and uprated parts together and you’ll realise that this is more than just a minor update. It’s more like a major overhaul on an already very competent, feature packed 125.
Gone are the old analogue, chrome-trimmed instruments and in comes the latest LCD dash. It has a digital speedo, tacho, air temp, odometer, coolant temp, fuel gauge, average fuel consumption, various warning lights, top speed function and is clear and easy to read. In low light, or in the dark the dash is blue lit and looks pretty cool.
On the ‘S’ version the Piaggio MIA connectivity system (very similar to the GTS SuperTech) comes as standard and gives loads more info, turn by turn route guidance, the option to play music and receive calls using your intercom (or the dedicated Piaggio jet helmet with built-in communication). Unfortunately, the UK won’t be getting the S version so you’ll have to buy the MIA system separately. It’s a shame because the S looks pretty cool to me.
It’s almost four years since I last rode the Medley but it felt familiar from the off. It’s a compact scooter, the wheelbase feels quite short and it carries its weight nice and low down – partially thanks to the repositioned underfloor fuel tank and also that low-slung, engine-mounted radiator. It’s quiet, pulls away smoothly and it accelerates well. It can be ridden as a mild-mannered commuter or if you feel like enjoying yourself it actually feels quite sporty. Without riding them back to back I can’t be sure how much of an improvement the 2020 model is but on paper it looks good and on the road it performs well enough. Whether there’s an increase in top speed or not, I’m unsure as we didn’t get a chance to get them flat out on our test route but I’d imagine you’ll get close to a genuine 70mph.
We blasted through the mountains, giving us the chance to carve our way through switchbacks and fast flowing corners with a stunning backdrop – hills, sea and countryside. The Medley proved itself to be a worthy weapon for these roads. It handles very well, has loads of ground clearance and there’s enough torque to power it up the hills.
Genoa – Scooter City
We spent rush hour carving our way through the scooter-infested city of Genoa, it’s got more scooters than Rome or Milan and plenty of old Vespa PXs still in daily use. It was very busy but not at all congested, probably because two wheels are so evident around the city.
Female riders in abundance
Interestingly, the sheer number of female riders is very noticeable around this region. I’d say it’s probably 30% female, with well-dressed ladies heading to work, doing the shopping, or taking the kids to school. It’s a great culture, one us Brits could well do with emulating.
They’re not too worried about what they wear on the scooter, as long as they look cool – so short skirts and high boots are the norm – rather than heavy textiles and over trousers. Safety comes from riding experience and growing up in a culture where two wheels are the norm, rather than by wearing a multi-layered forcefield and high-viz vest. Having fun, saving time (and money) and being able to ride safely is much more important to the average Italian.
Revised Start & Stop
The scooter comes with a revised version of the Piaggio RISS – Regulator Inverted Start & Stop system to cut the engine automatically after a couple of seconds at tickover. The Start & Stop works via a brushless motor connected directly to the crankshaft. This means it’s silent, uses less power (and fuel) and kicks in quickly when you twist the throttle to restart the scooter.
You can switch the system off using a dedicated button on the right handlebar if you wish but to be honest there’s no real reason to. It starts pretty instantaneously as soon as you twist the throttle and the new version will keep the scooter running once it’s been reactivated, so you can get ready for a quicker getaway if you’re needing to out-accelerate something from a standstill where every millisecond may count. The Medley also has a tilt stop switch so the Start & Stop won’t work if the scooter is tipped over, or if the side stand is down.
Two capacities but not for the UK
Although the Medley is available in both 125cc and 150cc, and a choice of standard and sportier ‘S’ versions, the UK will only be getting the 125cc standard model, which is a shame. European journalists on the launch remarked how much more potent the 150cc model was (they wouldn’t give us a go though, the big bullies). As well as a few extra cc’s it also gains an extra 3Nm of useful torque.
If you’re reading this from elsewhere in Europe it’s well worth spending a few Euros extra to get the larger capacity, and if you’re getting the 150 you may as well go for the S model with sportier detailing and the Piaggio MIU as standard.
The Medley is great fun out in the twisties, its single beam steel frame is stiff, which helps it to hold the road very well. The scooter also has excellent ground clearance and the brakes are fantastic, as is the ABS. I used it a few times during our test ride. You can’t make the wheels lose traction under heavy braking, even if you try – so no skids! The ABS allows you to use the brakes hard in ‘normal’ use without the two-channel ABS spoiling the fun so charging around the mountains in a gang of Medley riders meant we could enjoy ourselves.
Storage for 2 full-face helmets
One big selling point for a scooter in this class is storage space. The Medley now boasts an even bigger underseat area that really can swallow two full-faced helmets (or one lid and a bag of shopping). It’s a very useful space. The scooter also has a glovebox behind the legshields complete with USB point for charging devices. There’s the obligatory fold-out bag hook and the rear grab rail can take a 36-litre colour matched topbox if you need extra carrying capacity. New rubber topped fold-out passenger footpegs add to the practicality. The accessories range includes a tall screen in clear or smoked options, anti-slip mats, lap cover, a handlebar lock and anti-theft alarm.
Piaggio have remastered the Medley for 2020. They’ve made a fantastic scooter even better without losing its identity. It’s an evolution rather than revolution but that’s no bad thing on what was already a very impressive 125cc commuter machine. It’s a competent, practical and feature-packed 125.
The Medley retails at £3299 and is available now at your local Piaggio dealer. Go and take a look up close and tell them SLUK sent you.
Words and video: Iggy
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2020 Piaggio Medley 125 specifications
Engine: 124.7cc single cylinder. 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 4-valves, SOHC
Engine type: New i-GET with Start & Stop
Power: 14.75 bhp @ 9000 rpm
Torque: 11.5nm @ 9000 rpm
Suspension: Telescopic front fork, rear single shock absorber, 5-position preload
Brakes: 260mm front disc, 240mm rear disc with two-channel ABS
Tyres: Front 100/80-16”, rear 120/70-14”
Seat height: 799mm
Dimensions: Wheelbase 1395mm
Fuel capacity: 7 litres
Colours: Bianco Luna (moon white), Nero Abisso (abyss black) and Blu Orione (orion blue)
/ S version also comes in Grigio Materia (matter grey) & Nero Meterora (meteor black)
Piaggio Medley gallery
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