The Scomadi 400 is a much talked about scooter among those who like traditional lines coupled with modern power. It’s been shown a few times, even taken on short test rides, in fact, myself and Sticky bagged the exclusive first road test last August (you can read about it here) but until now it has never been taken out for a real-world journey. That was until the nice folk at Scomadi allowed Andy Gillard from ScooterNova magazine to become the first journalist to take the prototype 400 for a good long proper test ride. Here’s how he got on…
First things first; this scooter is still very much a prototype. It is still at least a year away from production as I write, and as such the scooter you see here is little more than a show pony that has been made good for the road. To begin with, the final bodywork is likely to be made of pressed steel rather than plastic. The current chassis is unique to this motor, as are the forks, with the bodywork you see before you simply adapted from an older production Scomadi. The fuel tank is little more than a container that contains petrol with a manual fuel tap currently fitted.
The final production machine will also have a centre stand rather than the side stand on the prototype. Other features will include the regulatory rearview mirrors and other such items, but of course what we were evaluating during our time with the Scomadi 400 was how it performed in the real world rather than whether it had mirrors or if we could get our sandwiches stored inside the legshield glovebox.
The road trip includes a ride back home from Scomadi HQ in Lancashire before heading to the port of Hull, catching a ferry across to the Netherlands and then riding to the Scooterist Meltdown event in Germany. There the Austrian Scomadi importer, Sqooter, had a display stand and, together with British Scomadi dealer Wildcat Scooters, would be offering short test rides to interested parties.
By the time I was back home, I had clocked up over 1000 kilometres on the scooter, many of them with a pillion on board and luggage too. The perfect way to learn how customers can expect this scooter to perform when it enters production in 2019. The trip was also to provide some valuable R&D feedback for Scomadi themselves. Every mile ridden in different conditions provides vital information, allowing them to hone the product further.
The Power Source
From a personal point of view, like many I suppose, I have a soft spot for modern sports scooters. The 2-stroke Gilera Runner 180 broke the 125cc ceiling back in the 1990s for this class, and when 4-stroke engines started to take over in popularity, it was the Italians who did their best to keep things exciting. Aprilia gave us the Leonardo 250, Gilera the Nexus 250, Benelli the Velvet 250, and then the Velvet 400. That engine was a 383cc 4-stroke, liquid-cooled single cylinder produced by Morini Franco Motori spa, who also supplied it to Malaguti for their Madison maxi-scooter. Morini produced a number of scooter and motorcycle engines for various manufacturers, and had a relationship with Suzuki too. The engines in their first Burgman 400s were pretty much a longer version of the Morini 400 (or Morini’s was a shorter version of the Suzuki engine, depending on who drew the first blueprint I suppose).
Anyway, the Morini version of the engine is the one in this here Scomadi, because Scomadi have purchased the rights and tooling to produce these engines now themselves at their own factory. The motor in the prototype has a carburettor fitted complete with a manual choke, but the production Scomadi 400 will have fuel injection, potentially giving more performance and better fuel economy than the current prototype.
Add all this together with the minimal body styling of the Scomadi – compared to some modern scooters of similar engine capacity – and in my opinion, the 400 has the potential to be a proper sports scooter.
How fast is it mister?
Riding the Scomadi 400 prototype on long motorway journeys, holding it at full throttle with a load on board was the name of the game for a good part of this test, along with a pleasant mix of B-road fun and a bit of local commuting. The first thing noted was that it was surprisingly smooth, despite the PM Tuning exhaust which had a tone that suggested it would be a little harsher. It was also pretty comfortable two-up as well, despite the renowned wideness of the Scomadi range as a whole. The pillion reported it was easier on the back of the 400 with longer boards, than trying to reach for the foot-pegs on the back of a Vespa GTS. Neither of us reported any fatigue or discomfort throughout the entire journey. The Vespa of course is the obvious comparison with its classic lines and acclaimed performance. As it happened, our journey into Europe was alongside a couple of Vespa GTS scooters, a 250 and a 300, both with just a rider on board and their luggage. As you’d probably expect, the Scomadi 400, even with a pillion, had the legs away from a standing start – remember, even the Vespa GTS 300 has only 278cc to talk about. What really impressed one of my riding companions on a GTS however was the acceleration the Scomadi had at speed.
Cruising along in the middle lane at 65-70mph, overtaking from there on the 400 was noticeably easier and required less planning than my friend on his Vespa. Once he was up to 75mph for example, he tried to avoid having to slow down because it would take a while to get back up again. On the Scomadi however, it was far less of an issue. The top speed I recorded by the way was just over 143 km/h, which is nigh-on 90mph. This was enough to keep up with a Suzuki DRZ 400 motorcycle-engined scooter (also riding with a pillion) on the way, for short stints of the journey. Scomadi tell me that they are still working on the injection system and their aim is to have a genuine top speed a little higher still, on the final production scooters.
With regards to handling and suspension, the weather (we enjoyed strong winds, snow and heavy rain) didn’t give much opportunity to fully test the running gear, but the Scomadi 400 remained sure-footed while cornering, albeit I reckon they set their suspension up a little hard for daily use over our notoriously bumpy road surfaces.
As a prototype, there were a number of areas on the 400 that are far from being finalised, which meant making some allowances along the way. One of these was fuel; with the tank being baffle-less and of unknown capacity, as the level dropped riding full-throttle for long periods could induce starvation, necessitating a refuel earlier than planned. Mind you that of course was better than running out and pushing it! Regarding petrol consumption, it was on a par with the Vespa GTSs we were riding with, when ridden in a similar motorway style. Once again, the fuel-injected production scooter should see improvements in this area too.
So what do I reckon? If this is the style you like and you’re after something that will out perform a Vespa GTS 300, then the Scomadi 400 has the potential to be right up your alley. Granted there is no underseat storage and for those with a shorter inside leg it is a taller scooter to ride than Piaggio’s finest, but then that will all depend on how much you want it. The difference in top speed may not be a lot, but from the 1000 kilometres I’ve just ridden, having that little bit of extra acceleration too was the cherry on the cake. If you’re a long distance touring rider who currently favours another modern auto, then the Scomadi 400 has the potential to be a game-changer when it eventually arrives in the showrooms.
No production date has been set at the time of writing, although 2019 is what Scomadi are aiming for. In the meantime, development will continue both with the engine and running gear, but Scomadi have said they will keep us here at SLUK updated with their progress.
Words: Andy Gillard, images Andy & Iggy
Scomadi are currently working with a local manufacturer to develop some bespoke luggage for their scooters, as can be seen in some of these photographs. It consists of panniers as well as a large bag to go on the rack and a central tunnel bag.
The luggage is still at the prototype stage and not yet suitable for full use (no one wants to risk losing their pants on a German motorway!), but these early samples look very good indeed. Not only are they visually stylish but the quick-release securing system for the panniers is pretty trick too.
Good news for classic Lambrettas owners as well, because we reckon some of the range should also suit a few of your scooters too.
Scomadi 400 prototype
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