2012 Piaggio Scooter Review
The Piaggio X10 500 is a technological force major with step-less electrically adjustable suspension, ABS, traction control and full multi media capability (PMP), which includes highly advanced engine read outs if you own an iPhone.
We tested the 350 version in Paris earlier this year, but with the 500 finally ready we have the full picture of Piaggio’s scooters…
It’s 30 degrees Celsius in Pontedera, home to Piaggio, and we fire up the most maxi of the latest Piaggio X10 range – the X10 500. This is Piaggio’s ultimate flagship scooter, and it has everything.
The features? Automatic transmission, ABS (it’s only a matter of pulling the brake levers to stop in any situation), traction control (enables safe crossing of slippery surfaces under full throttle), Piaggio Multimedia Platform (you will never get lost), and under the seat is plenty of storage space.
The Piaggio X10 500 has all you need, and a lot you probably don’t need. It’s fun taking a quick glimpse down on the iPhone provided by Piaggio for the launch and see torque figures in real time, but realistically you have to keep your eyes on the road rather than on the iPhone because it is mounted slightly too far towards the rider.
The multimedia platform communicates between your device and the X10 by way of Bluetooth, and the iPhone is connected to the battery for constant re-charge while on the move. For safety, the interaction functions are turned off while on the move.
Should you start running out of fuel, the GPS function will alert you to the nearest fuel station. And should abnormalities occur with the tires, the GPS will provide an alert along with information of the nearest Piaggio dealership (only with ABS/ASR).
The latest interface selected will be saved for when starting up the X10 again and should you have a habit of getting lost in a big city the iPhone with the Piaggio application will record exactly where you parked so that you can track back using the GPS.
Finally there’s also a general analysis feature for trouble shooting and you can tell the mechanic at your garage what needs doing rather than the other way around, which will save you valuable garage time.
The 760mm seat height is still just as comfortable as on the 350cc version, but on the 500 I can play around with suspension settings using just two buttons, one for softer and one for harder. Even while riding this feature can be used so should the road change from a fast motorway to lots of cornering and braking you can stiffen up the suspension settings and carry on. This is also a great feature for carrying a pillion passenger as you just change the settings when needed by way of buttons just next to the ignition key.
The X10 500 is slightly longer and heavier than the 350, so it needs the extra 8 horsepower and 14Nm of torque. The figures then read 41 horsepower @7,250rpm and 46Nm @5,250rpm. The 492cc single is a highly efficient engine. You can only notice the differences in exterior by looking at the 500’s bulkier round exhaust and different engine casings at the rear. Everything else is the same as on the 350.
Leaving the red lights in Pontedera, the 500 responds instantly with good acceleration and the torqueier engine keeps the momentum much better than the smaller capacity version. In town it’s also easy to notice the good turning radius even for such a long maxi scooter.
We got to ride the X10 500 in some gorgeous countryside in Tuscany and test the sporty side to the big X. The front feels a little bit vague when we’re going really fast but otherwise very good.
The rear suspension works really well and it’s a mono shock that can be electrically adjusted whilst on the move. I preferred the stiffer set up when going through the corners at speed and the more comfortable softer set up for cruising on the motorway or even going slowly in town. The electrically adjusted rear suspension is a great feature on the X10 500 Executive. The 500 is the only X10 with the mono shock at the rear and 41mm fork at the front (35mm on the 125-350)
The linked ABS brakes have both the power and safety that you need in different situations.
The Michelin tires have good grip helped by beefier suspension than the smaller X10 models. This enables a more controlled feel when braking really hard and I felt I could carry the X10 further into the corner with brakes applied.
We passed the beauty spot where you’ll find the red ring of Volterra marking the border between Pisa and Siena. Not only is the view stunning but the red ring sculpture sort of suits the X10 500 in symbolising constant communications in our brave new world. Piaggio calls its X10 500 Executive a moving living room and that’s a fairly good description.
2012 Piaggio X10 500 Scooter Conclusion
Piaggio will only offer the X10 500 in the Executive version which signifies its ABS/ASR capability. This means you have but no choice if you want the Piaggio flagship but I think this is OK because if you want to go the X10 budget way there’s a lot of features and enough power on tap also in a standard 350 or even the 125 version.
All in all it’s very difficult not to be impressed by the new PMP feature that we’ll also soon see in other Piaggio brands. Perhaps even in a full on Aprilia sports touring V4, who knows… Piaggio X10 500 Executive will certainly be an eye opener to a lot of people.
2012 Piaggio X10 500 Positives/Negatives:
+ High tech features that will take motorcycling and in this case scootering to new levels
+ Great torque developed from the large 492cc twin engine
+ Good suspension which places it above its smaller siblings in terms of handling
+ Electrically adjustable rear suspension
– Not the cheapest bad motor scooter in the world
– The PMP mounting bracket might be in the way when you want to push the scooter off the center stand and it’s position is not ideal for usage while riding
Photography: Matteo Cavadini