An accidental and unnecessarily long 2011 Piaggio Beverly 300 review!

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by Cortez, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    [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?
    #1
  2. DRAGON1

    DRAGON1 Adventurer

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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
    #2
  3. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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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.
    #3
  4. scooterspirit

    scooterspirit Ilovekitty

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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.
    #4
  5. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    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!
    #5
  6. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    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.
    #6
  7. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    You're very welcome.. :D

    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.
    #7
  8. lowbuckrider

    lowbuckrider Been here awhile

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    I've been spoiled by the Riva, I find the Aprilia, Paiggio and Vespa all lacking in the foot room.
    #8
  9. ronnath

    ronnath Long timer

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    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.
    #9
  10. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    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:
    [​IMG]

    Windscreen looks nice too.
    #10
  11. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
    #11
  12. emmettken

    emmettken Long timer

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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. :D
    #12
  13. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    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. :D
    #13
  14. emmettken

    emmettken Long timer

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    (way
    over $10k).:yikes In the spring of 09 my new leftover 08 was $5938.00 out the door. 6% of that was sales tax.
    #14
  15. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    Now imagine working for $600/month AND the bike prices that high.
    #15
  16. kirkster70

    kirkster70 moto junkie

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    That Piaggio is a very nice looking scoot! Nice write-up as well!

    Are you saying that you bring home $600 a month? If so, you must be very good with your money.

    As far as the Duc goes, it will take you two months wages every 6,000 miles to do a valve service / belt replacement. That's the same reason I unloaded my Multistrada S. Way too cost prohibitive to actually put miles on. Beautiful to look at and listen to, though.
    #16
  17. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    Yeah, $600 is at the moment above average.
    I'm aware of the servicing costs, and there's only one dealer who'll do the
    maintainance here that's 200 miles (x2) away! :D

    You can probably see why I'm selling everything and looking for a scooter.
    Glad you liked the review, I enjoyed writing it, wish I co do that for a living..
    :norton
    #17
  18. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    Wow, $600 a MONTH? Yea, you must be extremely good with your cash to be able to make a living and have a bike! I completely understand why you only want one scooter now.

    Damn thats lots of money for the service on the Ducati as well! I always do my own maintenance, but I'd stress that for those!
    #18
  19. kirkster70

    kirkster70 moto junkie

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    You can replace the belts and adjust the valves yourself, but without a $10,000 Mathesis meter (that's what a Duc dealer told me it costs), you can not reset the ECU for the service on a fuel injected Duc. I believe the ignition retards itself a few degrees until reset. That makes it something you can't do at home.

    I would love to have another carbureted M900 Monster, but I'll never own another fuelie unless I hit the lottery. And since I don't play, that will never happen, either. :lol3
    #19
  20. robobiker

    robobiker NewRoundHere

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    The new Beverly 300 has just been released in the UK and I must say it is quite the most beautiful scooter I have ever seen, and is the only scooter I would happily exchange for my Vespa GTS providing the seat is comfortable.

    I would guess the engine is exactly the same as that used in the Vespa GTS 300 and if so, that is a peach of an engine, and by far the most flexible, quiet and responsive of all the available engines from any comparable scooter manufacturer. My local dealer/service garage tell me that they just refuse to work on Piaggio 400 or 500 machines because they are of poor quality and have multiple issues with wear, failures and electrical glitches unlike the much better built 250 and 300 engines.

    Interesting to see comments comparing with other scooters like the Burgman 400 which I own as well as the Vespa GTS. The Burgman is extremely "lumpy" and clumsy on intial take off and at low speeds, and only really matches the piaggio once you start approaching cruise speed.

    If the BV300 reaches 78 mph (85 indicated) that confirms it is set up exactly like the Vespa GTS 300 engine but I would guess that the BV might be a little more aerodynamically slippery than the Vespa, and a little more sure footed with its larger wheels.

    The Burgman will hit 90+ mph indicated with relative ease, but since this is illegal on most roads, and doesn't feel very comfortable, I am very tempted to sell both Vespa and Burgman and buy the Beverly, but I'm a bit concerned whether the springs are too stiff for town use over bumps and potholes.

    If the seat is a little thin at the front that will be probably because Piaggio tried to make more space underneath for the claimed two-helmet storage. This scooter will definitely need a top box, SH300-style, to be practical but I am hoping it won't spoil those fabulous looks too much.

    I'd be interested to hear more riding reviews of this beautiful machine.
    #20