Coming from a traditional scooter background and after a brief spell on a Vespa GTS, a maxi scooter is a big change for Gary Hipkiss. Here’s his thoughts on his Piaggio X10 500.
My new scooter delivered and sparkling in the sun, I’d waited over a month for it but here it was, mine at last. I first took a liking to these ‘X’ machines when my friend Chevy bought one and told me all about its good points, so now I was about to find out for myself.
I will point out at this point I have always been a Lammy or Vespa man and at many points since the seventies have had a variety of scoots in my back garden. As those of you who know me will testify. From weird things like a Zundapp Bella to a Capri scooter and I’ve never been without a scooter or stopped riding one since ‘79.
In my last accident I shattered my wrist in many places, so found it difficult to change gear over the past few years as the pain increased, so last year I bought a GTS 250. It was the best move I had made up until now.
I thought it would be a good idea to read the manual before setting out on my first ride but if you’re like me that will last all of 20 minutes – if you can last that long. I got bored after the third page and reluctantly skipped through what seemed like 150 more, so I decided to put my gear on and go for a ride. I gave my daughter a ring (who lives 90 miles away) and said see you soon… I hope.
These Piaggio X10 machines look to be a foot longer, not much wider and slightly lower than my GTS, (seat wise) and the seat is extra wide for comfort. I had made a good deal with the shop I bought it from and got them to drop a grand off the asking price so I also asked them to fit the heated grips and colour coded top box.
Both feet forward
Getting on the scoot for the first time and thinking I knew it all I started it up and pulled away heading to the garage to fill it up. The two flashing lights (ABS and ASR) went off after 8 miles an hour had been reached, which is what the guy delivering it had said. Paying attention to the road and not wanting to trash this nice new shiny scooter I never really paid much attention to the clocks. Until I pulled up at garage that is.
Fascinated with all the buttons and many lights and especially the mode button, after filling up I started to press things. It took me 20 minutes to put the clock back right so I left it alone after that. I started it up again and made my way to the A46 heading south, and instantly took advantage of the leg position, feet forward up in the legshield, sitting back relaxing letting the X10 do its thing.
This was my first insight into how much Piaggio had put into the design and ergonomics of this machine. Not only does an X10 ride with all you would expect from the design teams years of experience but the comfort was out of this world. I have never felt so comfortable in over 35 years of scootering and the way the wind just skimmed over me and the way it handled in the wind at speed gave me the feeling I was riding a bike. But saying that, it was as if I was on my GTS with 60% more performance and road holding, plus added comfort and style.
Yes already I was impressed. After reaching my destination I checked the fuel level and looked around the scooter for anything loose (of course there was nothing to worry about). I still had plenty of fuel and all seemed fine, the tyres had also begun to lose that shine and look more able to grip for the test I would do on the way home.
Seeing the light
Fully refreshed and saying my goodbyes to my daughter I headed back to the M5, by now it was dark and traffic was medium to heavy in places. As soon as I hit the motorway the fog started to thicken, but another first, the lights pierced the fog on the road and was visible for a greater distance than my other scoots were capable of, the new lighting system and design were living up to the claims Piaggio had put in their sales pitch.
Getting more confident and still trying to run it in but increasing speed every so often to test the cruising potential and stability of the X10 the temperature had dropped from 10 to 4 degrees. My fingers were tingling so I hit the heated grips at 50% and soon my hands were toasty. When I finally got home I was well impressed with the performance so far.
Test 2 started the following day with members of the Newark Scooter Riders tagging along and enjoying the ride. First I used the button to adjust the rear suspension, no more spanners – just press that button, next get my passenger kitted out and sitting comfortably. Then off we went, bends, country roads, bumps – holes included, hills we did it all.
Day 3 was comparing it to the Vespa GTS. Why you may ask, well simple. I thought my GTS was the bee’s knees since I bought it and was impressed with its performance to VWD days in St Tropez, Spain, Andorra and then Paddy Smith’s in the South of France, a 3000-mile round trip with no complaints except a sore butt. So for my own benefit I needed to know what else was going to impress me. Fully loaded my GTS did what I expected, but the X10 when fully loaded and carrying a passenger, I was overwhelmed with its handling, and still with comfort and great performance.
So here is my run down of all I found. Styling is sleek and it looks good, the front end does look a bit like a motorbike, but it’s still a step through and is lighter than I was expecting. It’s roomy, so carrying a passenger is like being on your own, you wouldn’t know they were there. I could have packed enough gear on it and in it to have had a months touring holiday.
Whatever I’d done so far, it did without any faults or disappointment. The lighting system is amazing, the braking system perfect, top box you have to see for yourself with its locking and removal system – first class. Riding comfort is the best I have ever had on a scoot and when you start getting old enough to feel the aches and pains it makes you wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.
Is it a scooter?
Bad parts as yet I cannot find any, apart from the odd comment about ‘it ain’t a scooter because it don’t look like a Vespa’. But as anyone with an ounce of brain knows, scooters come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. What is a scooter supposed to look like anyway? Last thing to be said is if you haven’t tried one of these yet go for a test ride. You won’t be sorry.
Words and photos: Gary L Hipkiss
Additional photos: Piaggio
X10 discontinued for 2017
If you like the look of the X10 and would like to own one you’d better be quick. The model hasn’t been made Euro 4 compliant and has been discontinued from the Piaggio range. That’s the reason why Gary managed to get such a good deal on his 500.
There will still be the odd one left in dealers though, so shop around and you could get a good deal, they also come up quite often on the used market and make a good used buy.
New Piaggio maxi for 2017?
Dropping the only real maxi scooter from the Piaggio range leaves quite a gap. If you want something from Piaggio it’s a choice of the Beverly 350 or an MP3 500. Incidentally the Beverly and MP3 both use the same 350/500 engines as the X10 amd have been brought up to Euro 4 spec. Does the X10’s demise mean Piaggio have something new for us in 2017? Let’s hope so…
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