We took one for a ride last March. Nice scooter, but compared to the 650 (2002) that we have - less room under the seat - not as much room ON the seat - Not as much GO. Plusses - Electric centre stand, radio intercom , nice looking, handles as well as 650, stops as well, slightly rougher ride. All in all **** good scooter. Is on my list for later, as well as the Gilera Nexus 500 (keeping the burger unless they bring out a new the G-Strider) and the honda Griffon if it comes out. Coin toss, all are pretty good. Cheers from Tassie, Geoff
The current issue of Scooter Rider magazine has a full test of the Piaggio X9 Evolution 500 which they refer to as the "Mini-Mega-Maxi-Scooter". It just doesn't fit their normal definition of a Maxi Scooter. It is smaller, and has a shorter wheelbase than the other Maxi-Scooters. Due to it's smaller size, he recommends this scooter for mid sized folks, up to 5'8" or 6' tall. The windshield is adjustable to 3 positions. It has to be removed & reinstalled to change the height - about a 5 minute job. Despite its small size, storage space is ample - 2 helmets will fit under the seat. The tester loved the engine, transmission and suspension. He said that this scooter will accellerate from a stop with more zip than any other scooter he has ridden. Claimed top speed is 98 mph. Basically this machine is more "svelte" than a Burgman 400 or Majesty, with performance that approaches that of the Burgman 650.
I haven't seen or ridden one - just relaying the tester's impressions...
The Sooter Rider article briefly mentioned the ride computer, that I would guess is similar to what the Atlantic 500 has, but didn't mention anything about the electric center stand, or the radio/intercom that's offered in other markets. They're not mentioned on Piaggio's U.S.A. web page either.
Why anyone would need an electric centerstand with a scooter that size escapes me. I suppose if you are moving up from a 150cc scoot it would seem heavy. But it is certainly lighter than my AN650, which I find easy enough to put on its (non power assisted) centerstand.
At this point, I don't believe I'd care for the electric center stand either, but there are plenty who have said they've made the move to scooters because they don't have to throw a leg over them due to health or physical limitations, so I can see it's potential worth to them. Even if it's just for the sake of it's gadgetry, like electricly retracted mirrors on the Burgman, it's kind of neat. You know there would be people gathered around in the parking lot the first time somebody said, "look what this button does". Plus, given the number of folks looking to add radios and intercoms to their scoots, seems like Piaggio would have been wise to have been watching our group here when doing thier homework on the North American market.
Take a look at their dealer network. Few & far between if you need help on the road. Same problem with all the Italian bikes. I would love to have the Moto Guzi Nevada but the dealers are too far away & I have heard nothing but bad news about parts supply problems for all Italian bikes.
Any Vespa dealer should be able to get the parts. The problem (from what I've read online several places) is the the amount of time it takes the dealer to get them. Of course, a lot of cycle manufacturers are bad about parts supply. Even if you include all the Vespa dealers, you still have a rather small dealer network.
The January 2005 issue of Motorcyclist magazine included a very complimentary review of the Piaggio X9, and in the article it states that the X9 "... is sold and supported through Vespa boutiques (65 in all) in every major U.S. city."
Wish I could quote the entire article without risking the wrath of Motorcyclist magazine's copyright lawyers. Coming from a publication that appears to lean heavily on sport bike-riders for its readership, the review was downright open-minded.
I finally got to see the X-9 firsthand this weekend at the Dealer Expo. I must admit, I was pretty impressed, but it still is no Burgman. It needs a wider floorboard, longer seat, and more wind protection. But I wouldn't turn one down for a good deal. It was also decked out with factory top case and hard side bags...NICE. It would definately be second on my list as of right now.
I test rode the x9 500. My impressions from the test ride are, smooth ride, lot's of power "up to 70 mph before I realized it", and good protection from the elements. It is a tall scooter, over 30" seat height. But it's still not a Burgman especially not a 650.
I seem to recall that while I was researching my eventual Burgman purchase I learned that this scoot was on the verge of production when the factory invited media-rider types for an advance publicity-type peek and ride. Within a very short time (hours rather than days), these press-types discovered high-speed handling flaws in the X-9 so serious that they felt lucky to have survived their demo ride. (The culprit was eventually determined to be excessive frame-flex under extreme stresses.) This resulted in the whole program being delayed for many months, and I've also read on a bulletin-board somehwere that the Scarabeo 500 was put into production largely because Piaggio had its motor-line up and ready to run, but no scoot ready yet to install them in, and so sold the motors alone super-cheap to Aprilia (who was able to modify the Scarabeo platfrom quickly for a 500cc). Thus, Piaggio was able to minimize their losses, and Aprilia gained a product line for little investment.
Now, _all_ engineers miss things and make mistakes. It's the nature of the beast. But, assuming I have my facts straight (and if anyone finds out I'm wrong I'll pull this message down) I find overlooking such a major flaw to be pretty unforgivable. I mean, did they never even push the thing during testing? If not, why not? And if they missed _this_, how many other less-vital things did they fail to investigate?
Did they test-ride the X-9 _at all_?
My research settled one thing quickly. I'll _never_ own a Piaggio, because I'll never be able to bring myself to entrust my life to such a poor design staff.
The February '05 issue of Road Runner magazine has an article on the Piaggio X9 Evolution 500. If you can't find the magazine in the books store you can order the back issue online from Road Runner. The author of the article was impressed with the scooter.
Perhaps I can add a few words having owned and ridden two X9 500s before deciding to buy an AN650.
I should begin by saying that I am 6'7'' tall and weigh about 230 lbs. I've ridden bikes since the '70s and as 2003 neared its end, I found myself owning a Honda Pacific Coast (PC800), a BMW F650 CS and my beloved 1971 Moto Guzzi Nuovo Falcone 500 (Military).
I fancied doing some touring. Sadly, the otherwise delectable PC somehow didn't fit the bill - it had storage aplenty, excellent weather protection, shaft drive, proven reliability but appalling fuel range on a tankful. I also found that despite my height, my hips would hurt after continually cocking my leg over the saddle of both the PC and the CS. I realised that I'd need to try a step-through design, and was excited at the prospect of an auto box as well.
A new Honda dealership opened in my neighbourhood. They had a used SilverWing and a mint condition Piaggio X9 500 SL on their forecourt and the salesman graciously offered me the chance to spend a day carrying out a day's back-to-back riding comparison.
As my first maxi scooter experience, I was frankly flabbergasted by both vehicles. I chose to trade my PC800 for the 'Wing ....
Fast forward a couple of months.
I stumbled on the X9 Club website and found that this was a treasure trove of useful maxi scooter advice. I registered on their site and visited one of their dealerships where I bumped into Dave who - spookily - said that he was looking to trade his X9 500SL for an F650CS.
A straight swap later, I ended up owning both SilverWing and X9.
After a further four months of ownership, I realised that the X9 had become my 'weapon of choice' - it's so user-friendly. It's performance was staggering for a 460cc beast. It was very comfortable - even for me - and of course it was much more economical than the Swing. I also thought that it looked (looks) beautiful in a way that only the Italians seem to have mastered. For the record, it turned out to be totally reliable and looked like being my ride for years to come.
But fast forward another few weeks to May 2004.
The x9 Evo 500 had been launched with some subtle but significant improvements. I grasped the opportunity to trade both my SWing and the 500SL for the Evo and realised that I'd made one of the wisest choices of my riding career. It's such a good maxi scooter - trust me! It never let me down for the 7k miles we shared together during the next 8 months, and even took me and a friend on a round-Britain tour back in October, covering 2,100 miles in 6 days, and including the Lands End to John o' Groats Challenge via the long way (transversing the Peak District, Lake District, the Highlands, Great Glen (along the banks of Loch Ness) and up the East Coast of Scotland to Jo'G. It purred like a tiger, shrugging off appalling weather conditions, and still managed to be one of the fastest vehicles on the roads.
So why did I decide to trade it for an AN650?
Simple. Having tempted my wife back onto the pillion as riding partner, I was disappointed to discover (rather late in the day!) that the maximum load carrying capacity of the X9 is only 180 kg. One evening, I calculated that if my wife and I rode together naked, and took no luggage with us, we would still exceed this advisory figure. I then started to worry about invalidating insurance/warranty policies etc ... and began to shop around for something more meaty.
I collect 'Arnie' on March 1st and am very excited at the prospect.
But I miss 'Roxy' the X9 Evo 500. She was magnificent, but I was too bulky, so we had to part ....
Seriously, I know of a handful, of X9s that have made it across the Pond and the owners seem to be deliriously happy. If you ever get the chance to ride one, do so and enjoy the eager simplicity on offer.
Regarding the auto centre stand: 'one more thing to go wrong', as my old Dad would say, but you'd be surprised how useful this facility was when arriving on a heavily laden scooter at a diesel-contaminated fuel pump forecourt. Press the yellow button while astride the scoot and marvel at the gentle but effective ballet movement as the scoot settles itself - securely - onto its centre stand. Magic!
Oh, and using the auto facility is not compulsory. The stand works normally by foot-power well, and is probably the best balanced of all bikes I've ever come across once up there.
I hope that I've thrown a bit of light on X9 Evo 500 ownership. Were it not for my large build, I'd still be a happy X9 owner ...
... but then again, were it not for my large build I probably wouldn't have discovered the AN650 either :lol:
I just got an invitation in the mail from the Vespa dealer in Madison, WI, the closest one to me, and thought I'd pass it along. I'd bet other Piaggio/Vespa dealers are doing the same. They're calling the event the Piaggio X9 Evolution 500 Launch Party. It's Saturday, March 5 from 1 to 4 p.m. at 3234 University Avenue, which aparently is in the Shorewood Hills Shopping Center. I sure don't intend to get rid of my Burgman, but my wife is thinking of something larger than her Reflex and I'm always up for looking at new bikes. Plus, what the heck, there's going to be free refreshments! Anyway, just thought I'd pass it along as maybe others would like to drop by for a look too.
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