Top 10: Maxi scooters 2019

Maxi scooters are more than just a big engine popped into a scooter frame. These are machines that offer more comfort, space and storage, as well as being better suited to longer distance rides thanks to better weather protection. In this Top 10, we’ve homed in on the maxi scooters that will get you there in the most comfort and the best value. Some require different licence categories than others, so check your entitlement and take a test ride before you buy.

Top 10: 125cc motorcycles | All our scooter review

1

Honda NSS300 Forza

Licence category A2

The latest incarnation of Honda’s NSS300 Forza is better in every respect than its predecessor. That’s not to say the previous one was anything other than excellent, but it tells you this new Forza is brilliant. A little shorter and lighter now, it also has a riding position that puts you further forward in the frame for better control. Sharper steering also helps here, so the Forza now enjoys agility that puts its right up alongside the BMW C400 X.

Further helping the Honda’s cause is the silky 279cc engine that makes any riding situation a joy. With a little care, you should see more than 200 miles per tank and reliability is a given thanks to the Big H badge. Plenty of kit is included in the price, encompassing an electrically adjusted screen, keyless ignition, traction control and more underseat storage than before. All in, this is a superb maxi scooter.

>> Read the Honda Forza 300 review

2

Kymco Xciting S 400 ABS

Licence category A2

Kymco is fast carving out a reputation for fantastic scooters at great prices and the Xciting S 400 ABS is the perfect example. Refined and improved over the Xciting 400, the S now comes with sharper looks, LED daytime running lights and Kymco’s NooDoe mobile app that links your smartphone to the scooter so you can use functions such as sat-nav.

Other features that set the S apart are its adjustable screen, parking brake, rider’s backrest and a motor that makes more power than most in this class. Together with the relaxed riding position and top drawer build quality, it turns the S into a machine ideal for all-year, all-round use that won’t break the bank to buy or run.

3

Suzuki Burgman 400

Licence category A2

The Suzuki Burgman 650 is considered by many to be the ultimate maxi scooter, but it’s only available to those with a full category A licence. If you’re on an A2 you’re restricted to the 400cc Burgman, which is less plush but, fortunately, almost as practical, with loads of storage space and a thickly padded seat.

Under the seat, there’s more than enough room for everything a rider might need, from a change of clothes to a work bag or even gear for a touring trip – and you can even keep your nav charged with a 12v socket. For an extra £500, you can get a Burgman 400Z, which includes a pillion backrest to make life easier for passengers.

4

Kymco AK550

Licence category A

The AK550 takes Kymco into direct competition with some of the priciest and plushest maxi scooters out there, including the Yamaha TMAX and BMW C650 GT. None of this fazes the AK550 as it’s fundamentally a very good machine. A little heavy when pushing it off the stand, that weight disappears on the move and the AK feels light on its tyres and nimble. The motor doesn’t have quite the punch of the Yamaha’s, but there are two riding modes – dry and wet – to help you out according to the conditions.

Kymco also loads up the AK550 with generous helpings of standard kit. The adjustable screen can be fiddly to move but works well once fixed in place and heated grips belt out the warmth on a chilly ride. Strong brakes, a well-padded seat and lots of storage, plus Kymco’s Noodoe smartphone connection, all make the AK550 a compelling package.

5

Piaggio MP3 Sport 500 HPE

Licence category A2

Piaggio isn’t messing about where the MP3 Sport 500 HPE is concerned. The 493cc single-cylinder engine puts out 44.2hp to bring it close to the A2 licence threshold and it shows in the way this bike scooter builds speed. It doesn’t feel especially fast off the mark, but it gains pace with ease, even two-up. It’s also very compliant over bumpy roads and the twin front tyres give excellent braking and cornering confidence in wet or dry conditions.

The width of the MP3 can take a little getting used to as most riders will only be able to get one foot on the deck at a standstill. Piaggio fits its Roll Lock for this reason, letting you fix the bike in the upright stance so you can just sit there until you pull away. With plenty of standard kit and storage, the MP3 Sport 500 HPE is pricey but warrants the cost with its quality and ride comfort.

>> Read our full review

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6

BMW C650 GT

Licence category A

Those who ride traditional motorcycles will question why anyone would spend almost £10,000 on a scooter. It’s a valid question – plenty of geared bikes are available with better performance for less money – but that misses the point. A scooter is meant to be an everyday tool that’s practical and user-friendly, rather than a weekend-only toy.

On that front the C 650 GT is great. It’s big, powerful and packed with useful touches like a power adjustable windscreen, blind spot alert and loads of storage. Quality is top notch too. In fact, you could use it as a touring bike at the weekend as well as a workhorse through the week. It is a lot of money, though. 

7

Yamaha XMAX 400

Licence category A2

We love the Yamaha TMAX 530, but the XMAX 400 gets our vote because it delivers most of its big brother’s thrills at a more affordable price. It’s also A2 licence-friendly and adds plenty of pep to any commute thanks to its slinky handling, helped by a wheelbase that’s 50mm shorter than a Suzuki Burgman 400’s. You also get two-position adjustable handlebars, five-step rear suspension pre-load and manually altered screen angle to fine-tune the riding experience.

It may be almost half the price of the TMAX, but the XMAX’s 395cc engine offers lots of performance and it responds faithfully to throttle inputs to make filtering easy. Twin front discs help here too and the Yamaha has a parking brake as standard.

8

Lexmoto Chieftain

Licence category A1

It may be the cheapest maxi scooter here and the one with the smallest engine, but dismiss the Lexmoto Chieftain at your peril. For starters, Lexmoto offers some great finance deals so almost anyone can afford this scooter, plus it comes with a good deal of kit. This includes linked brakes, digital dash display and loads of secure storage.

On the road, the Chieftain enjoys the feel of a larger machine because of its long wheelbase. This means the handling is a little lazier than most 125cc scooters, but we’ll take comfort over outright sprightliness for any commute or ride that lasts more than just a few miles. The 125cc engine does a sound job of powering the Chieftain, though two-up riding does show up its limitations compared to maxi scooters in the 300cc class.

9

Peugeot Satelis 400

Licence category A2

Peugeot hasn’t gone to town on the frills or extras with the Satelis, which is reflected in its keen pricing. It also shows up in some of the kit that Peugeot doesn’t have, such as ABS anti-locking or linked brakes. This isn’t as much of an issue as you might think as the brakes are very strong, but many riders will welcome these rider aids on slippery city streets.

Where the Satelis shows its mettle is in its performance and handling, which are both among the best in class. Acceleration is feisty when you make full use of the Peugeot’s 36bhp and it has the nimbleness to take full advantage of gaps in traffic. A comfortable seat and decent clocks further the appeal, but it would be good if Peugeot improved the equipment list just a bit.

10

BMW C400 X

Licence category A2

For anyone who values riding enjoyment above any other factor, the BMW C400 X puts a big tick in that box. The German firm has focused on making the X a little more compact and dynamic than most of its obvious mid-size rivals, so the riding position doesn’t have the feet-forward option many others provide. The upside is the C400 can perform a U-turn in even the tightest city street, feel very agile through traffic and nips down country lanes with supreme confidence.

A smooth engine and nifty acceleration make the C400 ideal for town use, but the low screen and firm suspension can make longer trips more arduous. We’d also like more storage under the seat, though you can stash a full-face helmet there when the BMW is parked up.