[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. <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Q-Yp0fGBMLmBJbdL-5sIBQ?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_5FekUVulZ64/TY9sk4P0i_I/AAAAAAAAJWU/E-Z6Ht3Dgwo/s400/26032011_Beverly300_2011%40Duo2.jpg" height="301" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/dbauernf/2011PiaggioBeverly300?feat=embedwebsite">2011 Piaggio Beverly 300</a></td></tr></table> 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). <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/pOSWnnA816XuAkj4NCrVsw?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_5FekUVulZ64/TY9sk_4sTUI/AAAAAAAAJWY/Kd82A8WGxGU/s400/26032011_Beverly300_2011%40Duo1.jpg" height="301" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/dbauernf/2011PiaggioBeverly300?feat=embedwebsite">2011 Piaggio Beverly 300</a></td></tr></table> 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! <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/dGmw-DkfLWdTwXYJwtnt0g?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_5FekUVulZ64/TY9sghMCksI/AAAAAAAAJWQ/bLajClP9BMs/s400/26032011_Beverly300_2011%40Duo3.jpg" height="301" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/dbauernf/2011PiaggioBeverly300?feat=embedwebsite">2011 Piaggio Beverly 300</a></td></tr></table> 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?