2012 Piaggio X10 350i Scooter | Review

Piaggio X10: The new Italian Maxi GT flagship

Piaggio’s new X10 350i scooter has the lines of an Italian supermodel’s legs, and journalists got the VIP treatment at a suave scooter launch based at the Italian Embassy in Paris, no less.

The Piaggio X10 is the famed scooter producer’s new flagship model, and it’s aimed at a grown up market that knows how to appreciate everyday comforts.

Rain was expected in Paris on my riding day, so I packed my Gore-Tex jacket in the 52-litre capacity lit underseat storage compartment. The compartment will take one full faced helmet at the front and an open faced helmet at the back, but it’s not quite big enough for two full faced lids as the rear compartment isn’t deep enough.

Under the front console Piaggio has added three glove compartments, the left one housing a USB plug and a 12volt power socket. Just above these compartments Piaggio has added the buttons for ASR (Acceleration Slip Regulation traction control), hazard lights, seat lock and fuel cap lock. The speedometer console includes a central LCD screen with plenty of info flanked by two analogue clocks showing speed and revs.

The seat is both comfy and spacious with an adjustable lower back rest for the rider. Taking off from the embassy I learned how to appreciate the tall windscreen straight away as there was a drizzle in the air. It was easy to get complete wind protection without crouching down too much.

The new Piaggio 350cc single cylinder four-stroke engine produces a max power of 33 horsepower and 24 ft. lbs. of torque. The big 500cc version has eight horsepower more and electronic rear suspension adjustment, but this wasn’t ready yet for our Paris test session.

The X10 350i also has a ECO mode, which reduces horsepower with the purpose of reducing fuel consumption. I never bothered actually testing the ECO mode but it will make the X10 just slightly faster than the 15 horsepower 125 version, according to reports. I can see this being a cruel tool for an owner lending out their X10 to a friend.

With Piaggio being the mother ship for high-tech Aprilia, there’s been some transfer of traction control technology to a GT scooter for the first time. The ASR traction control isn’t APRC, but more a rudimentary version of what’s offered in Aprilia’s Dorsoduro models.

The ASR is simply the ignition being retarded once rear wheel slip is being censored and gradually released to full performance as grip increases. It’s not the fastest traction control system, but sufficient for the 33-horsepower X10. On my Paris test there were plenty of rear wheel slip over white zebra crossings and wet roads, and I found the traction control to be quite obtrusive, but not so much so that I wanted to turn ASR off.

Leaving the many busy traffic-light crossings in Paris, the X10 350 provided all the flexibility needed to stay way ahead of other traffic. The small engine responds well from the word go and the new CVT variable transmission is as seamless as it should be. The suspension works well and is comfortable in most situations but the rear struggled a bit over some of the cobbled streets in Paris.

On open motorways the X10 350i will do a claimed 87 mph top speed and the 3.96-gallon fuel tank can achieve a claimed range of 250 miles before fill-up is needed. The service intervals are 20,000 kilometres (oil every 10K) and very little need doing in comparison with a motorcycle making servicing cheap.

With a double set of 280mm discs at the front and a 240mm disc at the back, there’s plenty of stopping power (it features a linked ABS set up). The X10 Executive (ASR+ABS included – Pearl white exclusive paint job) version weights a claimed 440 lbs., four of those additional because of the ABS system.

Should you wish to take a pillion passenger the X10 have a lot on offer such as the storage capacity, a long 32.28-inch well padded seat, large grab rails and spacious footboards (39.37-inches long).

The rider seat height is 29.9 inches, while the pillion can enjoy a 4.29-inch advantage enabling a good view of the surroundings or the Eiffel tower if in Paris like me.

The front of the new Piaggio X10 is quite extravagant and houses a triple headlamp where the middle is a LED running light. There is no doubt about the maxi part in the 10.

2012 Piaggio X10 Maxi Scooter Conclusion

Carefree in the city is pretty much what the Piaggio X10 was designed for, and that’s exactly what I found it to be after my day in the saddle. At standstill there are some vibrations from the engine reaching the handle bars, but that’s pretty much my only niggle along with rear rebound damping that some times were overwhelmed by the cobble streets.

The brakes are great, and the ABS and ASR makes the X10 one of the safest maxi scooters currently offered. The comfort level is very high, and the 350cc single cylinder engine performs like a bigger engine with near perfect transmission.

2012 Piaggio X10 Maxi Scooter Positives/Negatives:

+ Brakes and traction control makes the X10 safe in crazy city traffic
+ Great engine where the 350 adheres to the less is more principle
+ Comfortable and practical as few
+ Reasonably priced and particularly as you’ll probably find you don’t need a 600cc scooter when 350 is enough

– Vibrations at stand still
– Rear shock doesn’t always follow the pace over uneven surfaces

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).