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Top 5 2020 scooters for commuting

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Scooters are the perfect commuting machines – at least most of the time. Affordable, cheap to run, easy to ride and often with decent luggage provision they’re cheaper than public transport, cut through traffic better than a car and can easily carry everything you need for a day at work. No wonder they’re the go-to vehicle for delivery riders and couriers.

What’s more, there are no so many different types available, there’s now a scooter to suit all requirements and budgets. Got a long daily commute involving motorways? No problem. The latest generation, larger-engined ‘super-scoot’ is what you need. Operating on a budget and without a full motorcycle licence? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of brilliant 125cc scoots available. Or want something stylish to be a ‘cool kid around town’ – there’s plenty that’ll fit the bill here, too.

But which should you go for – and what do you get? To help you choose we’ve split the scooter segment into five different types: the most affordable twist ‘n’ go 50 for 16-year-olds heading out on the road for the first time when price – and the peace of mind that comes with a new machine’s warranty – are most important of all; the best-selling 125/A1 class machine, which can be ridden by anyone over 17 with a provisional licence and a CBT certificate; the latest and most accessible ‘leaning three-wheeler’, for those nervous about two-wheelers on slippery roads; the most stylish of the classic city scoots and, finally, the biggest and most luxurious ‘maxi-scoot’ of them all and the one that really is effectively a ‘two-wheeled car’.
1. Lexmoto Echo 50 – the cheapest new 50
Autotrader’s ‘Best AM’ class machine in 2017 remains, at £1099.99 (as we write) the most affordable new AM class scooter (ie available to 16-year-olds) and remains a best seller – for good reason. Yes, there are others around at a similar price, but none still, in our view, offer quite the same blend of decent quality and performance, reasonable dealer network and snazzy sports styling. If your ‘commute’, as, say, a student, is into college there’s no easier, more stylish and more affordable way of doing it – Lexmoto’s current finance deal starts at just £21.20 a month! Yes, it’s built down to a price and fit, finish and equipment can’t match the far plusher (and more pricey) offerings from the likes of Honda. But the Echo delivers the basics for something, let’s face it, most will run for less than a year, and all with the peace of mind of a one year warranty.

Search for a Lexmoto Echo 50 here.
Lexmoto Echo 50 – the cheapest new 50
2. Honda PCX125 – the best seller
If you’re 17+ but don’t have a full motorcycle licence, you’re still able to ride a 125cc/A1 class scooter as long as you have a licence with provisional motorcycle entitlement and have undertaken Compulsory Basic Training (CBT). As a result, 125cc scooters are very popular and there’s a huge choice available, ranging from sports-styled scoots, to larger, luxury ‘maxi-scooters. All are easy as pie to ride (although if you’re worried about size and weight go and check a few out at a dealers first), generally produce around 15bhp and are capable of around 70mph and should also return well in excess of 100mpg. The most popular in the UK, as it has been since being originally introduced back in 2010, is Honda’s PCX125 ¬ and again, it’s not hard to see why: Being a Honda it has a great reputation for quality and reliability; Honda’s dealer network is second to none; it’s nicely styled and equipped including LED lights and a pioneering (on a scoot) ‘idle stop' system, which helps the liquid-cooled four-stroke deliver an impressive, claimed 133mpg. But best of all it manages that perfect compromise between sports style and commuting practicality in an affordable (currently £2999) and easy-to-ride package – it’s the scooter that ticks all the boxes.

Search for a Honda PCX125 here.
Honda PCX125 – the best seller
3. Vespa GTS 125/300 – the cool one
When most non-enthusiasts think ‘scooter’ you can guarantee it’s the Vespa GTS that’ll spring to mind. This classy, retro-styled icon was inspired by the style of the classic Italian Vespas of the 1950s and ‘60s but brought bang up to date with modern technology, convenience and luxury. Ride one of these and you’ll not only have an effective city commuter, you’ll be turning heads and be the envy of your friends everywhere you go. It’s available in two capacities starting at 125cc, so you can ride it on ‘L’ plates if necessary, but otherwise the style, ride and equipment are identical. They’re all hugely popular with trendy city types and are a doddle to ride but are better suited to city rides than longer journeys. Quality and equipment is good, too, but with new prices of even the 125 starting at over £5000 they’re certainly not cheap. For those that can afford it, however, the Vespa GTS is the coolest modern scooter of all.

Search for a Vespa GTS 125/300 here.
Vespa GTS 125/300 – the cool one
4. Yamaha Tricity 125 – the 3-wheeler one
Yamaha Tricity 125 – the 3-wheeler one
There’s been an upsurge in leaning ‘three-wheeled’ motorcycles and scooters in recent years, most popularly with scooters such as Piaggio’s MP3 family and most dramatically in motorcycles with Yamaha’s radical, MT-09-based Niken. The theory behind all is delivering added security and reassurance, particularly to new or less confident riders, by having two front wheels, and therefore extra grip, which lean and steer via sophisticated suspension systems. Italian giant Piaggio paved the way with its revolutionary MP3 but with the latest versions available in the UK starting at £6999 before climbing to £9149 and only being available now in 300, 350 and 500cc forms, Yamaha’s new 125cc Tricity, at just £4024, is far more relevant for most commuters. It has a lot going for it, too, if you’re only commuting short distances. Sure it might not be exactly fast, nor have the cheapness and frugality of more conventional offerings, but it’s more reassuring than most bikes or scoots and far cheaper and traffic-busting than a car!

Search for a Yamaha Tricity 125 here.
Yamaha Tricity 125 – the 3-wheeler one
5. Yamaha TMAX 540 – the luxury one
With the recent demise of Suzuki’s simply humungous Burgman 650 super-scoot, Yamaha’s class-leading and pioneering TMAX now stands out even more clearly as the best of not just the Japanese super-scoots, but probably of the whole class. Originally launched way back in 2001 in 500cc form, the sporty, twin-cylinder quickly set a benchmark for the new breed of larger capacity maxi or ‘super-scoots’ thanks to its 100mph performance, impressive handling but also luxurious comfort and easy, ‘twist ‘n’ go’ practicality. Updated successively since, for 2020 its capacity has grown again to 560cc which, along with other internal changes, helps boost peak power by 3.5% and torque by 6% while also making it Euro5 compliant. New bodywork not only gives it a fresh look but improves comfort, especially for the passenger. There’s now two switchable riding modes; LED lights all round, a fancy new monotone TFT dash; keyless operation and even a clever, lockable centre stand to help deter thieves. If you want the fastest, flashiest, most effective commuting scooter around, this is it – albeit, starting at over £10,000, at a hell of a price!

Search for a Yamaha TMAX 540 here.
Yamaha TMAX 540 – the luxury one

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