World exclusive Scomadi TT200 | ROAD TEST
Scomadi’s TT125 is now on sale with a fuel-injected, fan-cooled 125cc motor meeting Euro-4 specification. Performance of these 2-valve machines will always be modest. Thankfully, for those who demand a little bit more, there are some TT200s on the way to be sold as ‘dealer specials’ ahead of the model’s official launch.
Thai me up
Scomadi may be a scooter brand born in Britain, but apart from a few hand-built carbon-fibre, or custom painted specials – powered by Piaggio engines – production has always taken place in Asia.
After an acrimonious divorce from their previous production partner in China, Scomadi have now set up shop with new partners in Thailand, but unsurprisingly much of the 2018 selling season was lost while the new Thai factory re-tooled and started production completely from scratch.
What doesn’t seem to be lacking is any desire to improve their products in terms of ride quality and feel. Probably the biggest step up in terms of perception is a move away from the ABS injection-moulded plastic of the Turismo Leggera (TL) models to pressed steel legshields, running boards and side panels on the TT. In addition, the main headset of the new model is also cast aluminium rather than tubular steel with bolt-on plastic parts.
If these manufacturing methods ring any bells, that’s because they are the same as Innocenti used in the 1960s for the Lambretta models which Scomadi was indisputably inspired by.
Switching to metal bodywork offers a real improvement in terms of feel and perception; this is no longer ‘just another soul-less plastic scooter’ like the many millions produced in Asia each year. However, you don’t get a premium feel without some penalty. Switching to steel bodywork and an alloy headset has increased production costs compared to plastic and also added 8kg to the overall weight of a Scomadi.
If the changes to the TT were purely in material, and you couldn’t tell the difference once paint was applied, then adding 8kg would seem a little counter-intuitive. However, there’s a lot more to the TT than just the advantage of being able to decorate it with fridge magnets. One of the greatest criticisms of the original Scomadi styling was how wide the TL side panels were compared to a Lambretta.
In the TT rendition, not only have Scomadi restyled the metal pressing to look vaguely like that of the SX150 model, but they’ve also slimmed the rear of the panel as much as possible while still allowing clearance for the Aprilia-based engine and PM Tuning-designed lozenge-shaped exhaust. Slimmer panels make for a scooter that won’t splay your legs as much as the original wider TL did, making it more accessible to shorter riders. These new panels both look more retro, but also suit 2-tone paintwork.
Further modifications are designed with practicality in mind. There’s now an incoming air vent in the bodywork below the front of the seat. Similarly at the rear of the seat ahead of the rack there is now a vented grille. Both of these modifications are aimed at creating an air flow under the bodywork to remove trapped hot air.
The TT also comes with a peculiar headset design which is half-rectangular and half ‘thruppeny-bit’. Inside this sits a clear digital LCD speedo and dash and a new headlight with distinctive LED daytime marker lights on each side.
Type of Proto
My demo scooter was the first Scomadi TT200 to come into Europe and as such is in pre-production specification. This example had independent braking but legislative requirements for Euro-4 mean that those on sale will be fitted with an ABS system; which will also increase the overall weight. The other oddity of this particular machine was the centre-stand which looked unnecessarily tall and took a fair bit of force to operate. This has already been corrected on the production TT125 models which are on sale.
This scooter was also fitted with a few parts that Scomadi are testing for possible inclusion in a forthcoming Accessories catalogue; most notable a humped Racing Seat and also some rather posh CNC brake master cylinders.
As an early pre-production model, I was willing to forgive the odd bodywork rattle; which I eventually located as the door of the legshield toolbox.
The biggest change to the ride of the Turismo Technica Scomadis is a new fork and suspension design which they are calling ‘Plushride”. Essentially all they’ve done is shorten the fork link to put the pivot point closer to the shock. This effectively increases the force on the suspension offering a softer ride. The shorter links are housed in forks with a reduced ‘boot’ shape at the bottom which looks slightly unusual to those familiar with the old Lambretta style.
Anyone who has experienced the old Scomadi forks – with front suspension so hard that light-weight Thai customers complained – will be pleasantly surprised at the increased compliance of the new front end. On my first test ride the shocks weren’t correctly preloaded leaving the scooter-riding nose-down and twitchier than I’d like. However with the front shock pre-load wound-up to specification the TT handled as I remembered – firmer and sportier than a comparable Vespa.
What potential owners will still find is that the TT sits much higher than a traditional Lambretta so those with a short inside leg measurement are still advised to try before they buy.
This was the first time I’ve ridden a totally stock Scomadi 200 engine. It’s a water-cooled 4-valve motor based on an old Rotax/Aprilia design that was originally found in scooters like the BMW C1 and the early Aprilia Leonardo. It makes respectable power (18.3hp @ 8,250rpm) by revving higher than the latest breed of mid-capacity automatics.
The box-fresh motor pulled away more gently than I remember, signalling that there are probably performance improvements to be had by adjusting the roller weights or changing the variator.
Once into its stride the Scomadi 200 is fun to ride, with a feeling of hitting a ‘second wind’ above 50mph. The best speed I saw on the digital speedo was 72mph, but it feels like there will be plenty more on offer once the engine is run-in.
Sadly, I got no opportunity to ride the 7hp 125kg 125cc version, but those figures alone should tell you not to expect too much in the way of performance. Many of the Chinese plastic scooters powered by similar 2-valve fan-cooled engines will weigh less than 100kg. As such, having style and metal bodywork not only costs in terms of purchase price, but also acceleration.
Who is it for?
The Scomadi TT200 fits the bill of someone who wants the styling and feel of a traditional Lambretta without the associated ownership aggravation of the real thing. With the TT you get mid-60s styling along with conveniences like modern hydraulic braking, electric start and indicators. A two-stroke oil jug and dirty fingernails are not an ownership requirement.
The difference with the TT compared to the earlier plastic Scomadis is in refinement. With steel bodywork, the scooter feels more solid. The ride is less harsh and with slightly wider handlebars the whole machine seems a bit roomier. It still doesn’t feel as comfortable or refined as a Vespa GTS for example, but Scomadi are moving in the right direction.
Speaking of ‘Who is it for’, it is also worth noting that Scomadi recently announced a licensing deal to produce a limited edition batch of machines sanctioned by rock gods The Who.
Here’s the rub. At the moment Scomadi are still waiting for the TT200 to pass Euro-4 approval so it isn’t possible to mass import for Europe until the paperwork is completed. However, plans are afoot to import a small batch to prepare as ‘dealer specials’ and to subject these to Single Vehicle type-Approval (SVA) on a per machine basis. These are expected to go on sale in 2019 priced at, £4299 standard colours, £4399 dual colours (plus OTR costs)
If you are desperate for a Scomadi TT and still in possession of L-plates then you’ll find the 125cc version is already available in Scomadi dealers across the UK, priced around £3,369 OTR.
Contact: Scomadi UK
Words and photos: Sticky
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