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Old 03-27-2011, 10:12 AM   #1
Cortez OP
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Cool2 An accidental and unnecessarily long 2011 Piaggio Beverly 300 review!

[A bit of background first.. scroll down if you'd like to read the review
itself, find the bolded header]


As the title says, just riding around town today I ended up checking
out a Duc 1000DS that I saw sitting at a local Piaggio dealership as
I've always liked that bike, but never had a chance to see one in person.

While I was eyeballing the lovely DS, I randomly mentioned to the salesman
that I was in the process of downsizing my 'fleet' to just a scooter
and that I wasn't sure what would fit best, knowing that the guy working
at the dealership has ridden a lot of bikes (and scoots) himself I figured
I could get some quality input.

I made an inquiry about the Piaggio Beverly (BV) 500 Cruiser which I
find interesing, but never had a chance to ride, but I enjoyed that
same Piaggio MASTER engine in a different package (Peugeot Satelis 500).

I loved the MASTER 400cc engine even more, but other then the ugly Piaggio
X-EVO 400 the 400cc engine isn't available (here atleast) in anything else.

I suggested that I wasn't sure if the 300cc class would suit me since it
would be a considerable drop in power from my current kwak (72 to 22hp),
and not a big step up from my 9hp scoot, which is also very light on it's
feet.

After a chat about my riding style and preferences, he suggested that I
would probably benefit even more from the lighter 300cc bikes compared to
the rather heavy BV500 for around town, and to find out if the 300cc was
powerful enough, he offered a brand spankin' new 2011 Beverly 300 for
a test ride!

Since my religion prohibits me from denying such an offer (I checked),
I had my helmet and gloves on before the key slided over the desk!

[The review!]

A quick photo OP while the bike warms up and I was in awe. The finishing
touches, attention to detail and overall quality and feel of.. well, everything
leaves nothing to be desired. The bike had more or less 200 miles on the
clock and I was ready to go.

From 2011 Piaggio Beverly 300


My test route took me just a few miles from the dealer and back, but
considering how many scoots and bikes I've already ridden, it was more
then enough to get a good feel for the all new 300.

First impression, still at the parking lot: "Wow, brakes work!"

Seating position is a bit ackward, I kept pushing my behind.. well behind..
but I found myself already leaning against the backrest.

Checking my reflection out at the showroom windows and I seem to be
sitting where I should be, and the scooter seems to be plenty big, but
I can't say I'm experiencing any more 'passanger space' then on my tiny
Kymco Agility 125, other then the handlebars clearing my knees without
problems even when standing still.

I DO fit in just fine, but considering I'm a rather average 5'11" and
about 190lbs, I was expecting more space, however I had the feeling
of sitting on the front tip of the seat for the whole ride. It's something
to get used to, not really an issue and I shouldn't have expected Yamaha
Majesty-like setup.

It does however feel smaller then the Peugeot Geopolis 400 which is
basically an older BV/Beverly 400 (which shares the longer wheelbase
with the BV500).

From 2011 Piaggio Beverly 300


Another quick note about the seat. It's not as comfy as it looks. I've read in
other reviews that the padding is rather thin due to supporting structures
inside the seat itself (something I won't get into) and that it's good for about
100 miles. I can confirm that, more or less. It's no better then the seat on
my Kawasaki ER6F/650R and it should be.

I was able to flatfoot with both feet, the seat is lower then on my Agility.

Geting a feel for the thing took 16 seconds on the parking lot, trying out the
brakes before geting into traffic told me that most people who had ridden it
didn't touch the front much, since the rear was broken in properly, and the
front was spongy and lacking some initial bite. Not a problem though, since
there was so much stopping power and just a tiny amount of squeeze was needed.
I was imidiately impressed, the brakes were clearly better (feel and feedback,
even the initial bite) then on my Kawasaki, and that's not the first time I've
found better brakes on a big scooter!

The next surprise was the engine.
I do believe this was my first ride on a Piaggio QUASAR 300 (actually 278cc) powered
scooter, and I've tried the older 200/250cc stuff on more then a few different
scoots/brands.

Short version? This engine is as good as it gets.

Bare in mind that I haven't tried the new Kymco 300cc (expecting a Downtown 300
test ride shortly) OR the Honda SH300i (not available here anyways, and too
expensive when available).

Long version? Oh, ok, damnit!

Can you say smooth? I won't get into more colorful adjectives and risk being called
'soft' (not that there's anything wrong with that! (c) Seinfeld) but it's electric smooth,
no vibrations WHAT-SO-EVER, or a huge amount less then the 400cc version which is already
as smooth as butter! The acceleration up to about 50mph is nothing short of impressive
for 'just' 22,5hp on a rather heavy scooter. It feels faster then any of the 250cc
scooters that I've ridden. Big surprise is that at 50-55mph, there's actually passing
power left, and that's something I didn't get from other 250cc scooters, at least not
in such a big amount. HOWEVER, I will point the finger at the CVT transmision now, since
I think THAT's the reason the scooter is so fast. Sure, the 300cc has a few torques more
(hello, Clarkson!) then the 250 version, but the CVT on this thing is lightning fast.

This thing goes through the ratios faster then any other scooter I've tried, something
like a dual clutch car transmision compared to a manual, AND it's always in the 'right gear'.

Thumbs up for the guys who setup this CVT, I just hope the Gilera Nexus 300 shares the
same setup.

I've had the scooter up to about 65-70mph, the engine noise was non-existent after about
20mph, it's super-quiet, and has a nice RAAAWWR when you press the loud pedal all the
way (Hmm, Clarkson again, sorry about that). Nice popping on decelaration too!

From 2011 Piaggio Beverly 300


Anyways, it's probably the most usable 300 (that's not really a 300) out there, but I do
wish it had more power and can't help comparing it to the Geopolis 400 with it's 32,7hp
which was considerably faster after about 40mph.

The suspension is rather stiff, also something I wasn't expecting. Don't expect a
soft, plush ride, this thing is tight and will corner when pushed, no doubt about that,
but I didn't want to try my luck with new tires on a borrowed bike. I found a few
40-50mph curves, the scooter is planted, safe, wants you to open it up early.

Oh yeah, the tires, my first ride on the Michelin City Grips which are all over the
place since they came out. I liked the Gold Standards they replace (some didn't), these
seem just as good, probably more quiet. I didn't try the lean angles, but the grip under
heavy braking was amazing. You CAN NOT go wrong with these!

The brakes are probably the best in the 300cc range too, I'll let you know if/when I
find something better.

Any issues?
Sure.

Other then the ackward seating position already mentioned, your feet are forced to be
rather wide apart, and you can't bring your knees together resulting in A LOT of wind
hiting them directly, and I can see that as an issue since I ride all-year round.

There's less wind protection on the legs/knees then my Agility, and I already
considered that one to be as bad as it gets in that regard.

Upper body wind protection without the windscreen is obviously very low, and the wind
hits you (me) a few inches below shoulder line, but at least the head is in clean
air. I can't stand wind turbulence. There's 2 different official Piaggio windscreens
so you're covered there. Also, there's a lot of draft around the elbows and air
going inside your sleeves, again an issue if you ride when it's cold outside.

Other then that, and wanting an extra 5hp, this thing is a perfect commuter/city
scooter with better suspension and brakes then some of the entry-level bikes I
tried up to twice the displacement.

I however confirmed that this thing isn't perfect for me as I'd like more power and
(a lot) more wind protection and comfort since I'd want to travel with the scooter
I get and I'm expecting to find all of the above in the Kymco Downtown 300i, but
I'll try to test ride the X-Evo and the Gilera Nexus before I decide on anything.

Yeah, I think I've covered everything.

P.S. I forgot to check the under-seat storage, which was tiny on previous versions
of BV250/300, but because of the smaller rear wheel (14" compared to 16" before)
it's supposed to have a lot more room then before.

P.P.S. Did I mention it was beautiful?
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:09 AM   #2
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I tested the downtown 300iI am 5,11 and i thought it was too craped for me and my wife at 5,7 did not like the small cocpit also. My.02
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:55 AM   #3
btcn
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Yep, I think you'll find the power just a little inadequate for your only bike. Its a great scooter, but it only tops about 78 MPH indicated, likely less by GPS.

I have heard of the downtown being slightly cramped, as DRAGON1 said, but other than that its supposed to be a pretty good scooter. Its a little slower at top speed than the Burgman 400 [About 87-90 MPH vs 105 MPH indicated] but its faster than the BV 300.

Don't worry, take your time and keep looking and you'll find the perfect scooter! If you are quick to buy, you'll end up with something you'll have regrets about, like to slow, to heavy, not enough protection, etc.
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:08 PM   #4
scooterspirit
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Wow, thanks for the great review, awesome. Will look forward to more as you compare.

The bit about your knees and wind protection and feet apart does give pause. I like the flat floor for a shopping bag, the center on the BV looks so angled that I worry how the juice and eggs might fair on the ride home.

I think I've seen extensions for the knee area. I guess you can make the seat different, but that seems so expensive. Still, absolutely lovely looking bike, like those the brakes too. Thanks again.
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:53 PM   #5
Cortez OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRAGON1 View Post
I tested the downtown 300iI am 5,11 and i thought it was too craped for me and my wife at 5,7 did not like the small cocpit also. My.02
I sat on one in the showroom and the size seemed fine..
Maybe I'll look into the BV 500s too..
Thanks for the reply!
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:56 PM   #6
Cortez OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btcn View Post
Yep, I think you'll find the power just a little inadequate for your only bike. Its a great scooter, but it only tops about 78 MPH indicated, likely less by GPS.

I have heard of the downtown being slightly cramped, as DRAGON1 said, but other than that its supposed to be a pretty good scooter. Its a little slower at top speed than the Burgman 400 [About 87-90 MPH vs 105 MPH indicated] but its faster than the BV 300.

Don't worry, take your time and keep looking and you'll find the perfect scooter! If you are quick to buy, you'll end up with something you'll have regrets about, like to slow, to heavy, not enough protection, etc.
I've worked at a scoot shop for 2 years and spent another 2 testing scoots
and bikes for a local newspaper so I've ridden a few or more bikes. I do
regret buying the ER6F, would probably be happier with the Versys now, but
I need to downsize because of financial problems..

I know the Downtown is rather slow for 30hp, but Burgman, SW, and Majesty
are not an option since they cost more then my Kawasaki here, and I can
get the Kymco under MSRP AND free work/dealer support as long as I own
it so Kymco is a logical choice.

Maybe even the Xciting 500Ri, but I know that it's too big and heavy for
daily city use.
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Old 03-27-2011, 01:00 PM   #7
Cortez OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooterspirit View Post
Wow, thanks for the great review, awesome. Will look forward to more as you compare.

The bit about your knees and wind protection and feet apart does give pause. I like the flat floor for a shopping bag, the center on the BV looks so angled that I worry how the juice and eggs might fair on the ride home.

I think I've seen extensions for the knee area. I guess you can make the seat different, but that seems so expensive. Still, absolutely lovely looking bike, like those the brakes too. Thanks again.
You're very welcome..

Hopefully there aren't too many spelling (and other) mistakes since english
isn't my 1st language (I've probably spoken english for 1h in my whole 30 year
lifetime).

No flat floor board here, and I'd miss that too, but I don't think it too big
of an issue.. I'd just find a shorter bag or use a backpack and put it on the
floor/hook it up and see how it goes. That's what I used to do with my
Peugeot Speedfight which had the same issue.. I used a backpack with
a hard floor/bottom and it worked fine.
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:24 PM   #8
lowbuckrider
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I've been spoiled by the Riva, I find the Aprilia, Paiggio and Vespa all lacking in the foot room.
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Old 03-28-2011, 03:55 AM   #9
ronnath
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cortez View Post

From 2011 Piaggio Beverly 300




P.S. I forgot to check the under-seat storage, which was tiny on previous versions
of BV250/300, but because of the smaller rear wheel (14" compared to 16" before)
it's supposed to have a lot more room then before.

?
i'm not at all surprised about the storage issue.

the beverly is clearly a member of the Piaggio/BV/Aprilia family. the styling differs little throughout the line.

i had an aprilia sportcity 250 for a couple years and the underseat storage was pathetic so a top box of some kind is almost mandatory.

that said, my SC was a very nice ride. build quality/engine/brakes were all top notch. a great little commuter for in-town and non-freeway/interstate travel.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:18 AM   #10
Cortez OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnath View Post
i'm not at all surprised about the storage issue.

the beverly is clearly a member of the Piaggio/BV/Aprilia family. the styling differs little throughout the line.

i had an aprilia sportcity 250 for a couple years and the underseat storage was pathetic so a top box of some kind is almost mandatory.

that said, my SC was a very nice ride. build quality/engine/brakes were all top notch. a great little commuter for in-town and non-freeway/interstate travel.
Last gen Beverly could fit a open face helmet only, now they say that you
can fit 2 of those and still have room for some more stuff, but I'm not sure
if a full face helmet would fit.

I didn't check since I'd fit a 46l (at least) topcase on anything I buy, even
if it was a Burgman. I'm used to topcases anyways.. got one on both my
kwak and my scoot.

The BV has a nice official Piaggio topcase which fits great:


Windscreen looks nice too.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:48 AM   #11
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The Duc..

I'm shocked no one asked for pics of the Ducati mentioned in the intro of
the review!



Uploaded with ImageShack.us


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Old 03-28-2011, 10:07 AM   #12
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Very nice looking scooter. The BV250 was on my short list when I was looking 2yrs back. The seating position didn't feel quite right,but I really liked the style. Then I went and test rode a Burgman 400. Much more comfortable for me,lots of under seat storage,handled great,good price. Bought the Burgman.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:25 AM   #13
Cortez OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emmettken View Post
Very nice looking scooter. The BV250 was on my short list when I was looking 2yrs back. The seating position didn't feel quite right,but I really liked the style. Then I went and test rode a Burgman 400. Much more comfortable for me,lots of under seat storage,handled great,good price. Bought the Burgman.
We seem to have similar preferences, but we probably don't have the same
scooter prices. The Burgman costs TWICE as much as the BV300 here (way
over $10k).

There's _one_ in my home town (of 130k people), and you can see a BV on
every corner.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:03 PM   #14
emmettken
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cortez View Post
We seem to have similar preferences, but we probably don't have the same
scooter prices. The Burgman costs TWICE as much as the BV300 here (way
over $10k).

There's _one_ in my home town (of 130k people), and you can see a BV on
every corner.
(way
over $10k). In the spring of 09 my new leftover 08 was $5938.00 out the door. 6% of that was sales tax.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:09 PM   #15
Cortez OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emmettken View Post
(way
over $10k). In the spring of 09 my new leftover 08 was $5938.00 out the door. 6% of that was sales tax.
Now imagine working for $600/month AND the bike prices that high.
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