Motorcycle City (WA) proprietor Gavin Robinson recently invited me to test their Beta Eikon 50cc scooter and to the surprise of a lot of people I jumped at the chance. Scooters, like anything with two wheels and an engine are great fun. I took the 50cc Eikon for 150 kilometres of commuting around Perth.
The two-stroke single performed quite well for it’s diminutive size. You may laugh, but the car drivers weren’t laughing when this little machine scooted away from the lights leaving them in their wake.
Around town scooters are king.
Lane splitting is legal in most states and you can take advantage of city traffic congestion on a small scoot like this to zip straight to the front of the lights, much to the chagrin of the cage drivers. It will never rip your arms out but it does scoot off the line quite well and will maintain a good 70kph in nearly all conditions. On a longer stretch 80kph can be maintained.
That performance not enough for you?
Then there is a whole swag of performance parts available from various European outlets that can turn this humble little scoot in to a wicked little terror. I have also sampled a full race spec version of the 50cc Beta scooter and was blown away. Top speeds were in excess of 110kph and the bike reared up on to the back wheel with a handful of throttle, no pulling on the bars required. I kid you not.
On any standard 50cc scooter a lot of time is spent with the throttle twisted hard against the stop. That doesn’t seem to worry the Eikon, liquid cooling ensures things never get too hot.
Starting is by the press of a button but should the battery call it a day there is a kick-start back up to keep you out of trouble.
Another user-friendly feature is the fact that the two-stroke is automatic blending with a large 1.3 litre reservoir for the two-stroke oil. The fuel tank holds 7.5 litres. The oil tank will only requiring filling once for every 5 tanks of fuel. A fuel gauge is provided to let you know when to fill up and a warning light indicates if your oil tank needs topping up. A very attractive speedo and temp’ gauge are also provided.
A large storage area can be found under the hinged seat which is opened by way of the ignition key. Also under the seat are the filler caps for both fuel and oil tanks. In the picture accompanying this article my backpack is in the compartment. Motorcycle style top-boxes are available for scooters such as the Eikon should you need to carry a lot of gear.
As with basically all scooters motivation is provided by way of an automatic variable drive unit, which means you simply twist the throttle and go. There is no conventional gearbox that needs prodding.
Why sell a 50cc model when there are much larger capacity scooters available?
Because in some states 16 year olds can legally obtain a licence to ride 50cc scooters on the road. I am amazed we don’t see 16 year olds scooting around the place more often, in mainland Europe it is all the rage with any self respecting kid having a scoot of their own. It wasn’t long after I turned 16 that I got myself a scooter as transport. While the old Motobecane I had provided me with plenty of lessons in minor mechanics and puncture repairs the fact remains that it gave me a freedom and independence that other kids of my age could only dream of. It was also my only way of getting to my first job as we had no public transport to speak of in my area.
Suspension on the Beta Eikon is by way of 32mm telescopic forks up front while a preload adjustable Paioli monoshock controls the rear. The suspension does not have a whole heap of travel and is definitely more tuned to the sporting end of the spectrum. No bush bashing on this baby but for quick street hustling everything works very well. The little machine is surprisingly stable on it’s fat little 140/60-13 rear Pirelli and 130/60-13 front.
Both brakes offer good feel and strength. You can even give the back brake a good heave on the handlebar situated lever to get the back end sliding in to a turn. But I never tried that, honest…..
Emergency stops are handled with style and composure. Just grab a big handful of both ends and the little Eikon is quite happy to leave black lines from front and rear, but in a controlled and sure-footed manner all the way to a total stop. Impressive is a good word to sum up the braking performance offered from the 190mm discs found at each end of the machine.
The seat is extremely well shaped and supportive. Firm, but with good high density padding. I did around 75 kilometres in one stretch without complaint, which is quite good for a scooter. Some manufacturers seem to think that an upright riding position magically means a rider is going to be comfortable. In my opinion that assumption is very wrong. The more upright the riding position the better designed the seat needs to be as all the bodyweight is supported on the seat rather than having the weight distributed between the bars and seat on a more sporting motorcycle.
At $4,500 on the road the Beta Eikon is not the cheapest 50cc scooter available but it is definitely one of the trickest. I am sure that price will be the sticking point for many though.[nggallery id=452]