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Scooter Review

Piaggio XEvo 400 Review

Getting to know the XEvo on a one to one basis provides a little X factor.

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In my line of work its a pleasure now and then to get out of the office and stretch the legs. And being recently loaned the Piaggio XEvo 400, I thought it no better time to tackle the trip from Sydney to Canberra and return all in the one day. Being sunny the previous day it was depressing to see that the rains had returned and they looked set to stay for another one of those long Sydney rain spells we all love. All 700km's in the rain to be exact, with the worst meeting me on the approach either side of Lake George. I tell myself it's all for the good of getting to know this scooter on an intimate level.

You see I haven't spent a lot of time on maxi style scooters. Sales around Australia of this kind of scooter certainly reflect this as most people might opt for a motorcycle to do the daily commute or find a machine that can double into a weekend destination tool. Coming out of Sydney my initial thoughts turn to the 400 cc motor. Nice power delivery, not too many vibes and the ability to find the speed you want and stay there is an easy process. This thought was certainly accentuated as I headed onto the M5 motorway and took the XEvo up to freeway speeds. It processes its power in a nice fluid nature, plentiful yet certainly not lumpy and jerky as some large single cylinder scooters can find themselves.

The 2nd surprise of the day was how the long wheelbase of the XEvo handled the bump and grind of Sydney's arterial roads. Scooters like the XEvo tend to be more accustomed to the smooth blacktop surfaces of the freeways and not so much the suburban potholed roads that make up Sydney. But here is where that myth ends, maybe its the balance of weight between the lighter 400cc engine and chassis that makes the XEvo a nice place to be. Maybe its also the little things like the strong braking package or the "smaller than most" stature of this Maxi. 

But I digress, back to the freeway and past Campbelltown heading south towards the nation's capital. Revs build, speed limit is reached and that's where the XEvo is staying all day and its easy to keep a consistent visual speed through a set of easy to read gauges. All the gauges, trip meters, fuel, temp, speed and tacho are comprehensive and legible.  Speaking of fuel Canberra is easily reached from Sydney on the one tank with plenty left over. My guess is the range would be close to the 350 km mark.

What makes touring on the XEvo 400 an even nicer experience is the large rakish screen and huge mirrors that protect more than you would give them credit. As the relentless downpour continues I am certainly thankful that the bulk of the rain is deflected away from me and not onto me. Get the Evo up to speed and the frontal aerodynamics go to work and you understand a little more about the thought that has gone into the design of this scooter.

And as the Km's continue to roll beneath me a little sidetrack into the area Piaggio should declare "storage land".  I actually have all my computer and camera gear safe and dry underneath me and out of harms way. The storage although not deep is certainly sufficient to take a weeks worth of gear all without fuss. The boot that pops up at the back and operates off the key is just fantastic and once you get a taste of this convenience there's just no going back to underseat storage only. Post my Canberra affair I use the XEvo to get to and from the golf driving range by just sliding a few clubs through the boot and under the seat. Is there nothing I can't do on the XEvo? It even has room for two helmets but if you wish to use this for something else then how about the advantage of two helmet hooks just to press the issue even further!

So I digress again, but the rain doesn't stop till I return to Sydney and it's on my return that I contemplate and realise the XEvo really does make sense. Getting to and from Canberra that day was a breeze and although conditions were some of the worst I've seen the XEvo made the trip achievable. The seating position helps as with this maxi its quite easy to move your legs into a number of positions thus avoiding cramping over long periods in the saddle. The touring capability is far better then your average off the shelf bike and the storage capability of the Evo just gives this scooter a new dimension. The added bonus is that you can also use the Evo around town to do your daily errands or commute.

And that brings me to the conclusion of why don't we see more scooters like the XEvo on the road. This might be a mix of reasons like perceived value or that maxi scooter look which goes unnoticed by many. One sure thing is that the longer you spend on the XEvo the more you appreciate the usability of a scooter like this. I've loved my time on the Evo and for me it really has been a great all-rounder, its been more than capable of everything I've thrown its way. More or less, you could say that the XEvo provides pure all-round convenience.

The XEvo 400 is a good thing and on returning it to the importer, Peter Stevens, I must remember its back to borrowing the car to get to the driving range. says 



    • Storage                                                     
    • 400 a good match
    • Protection
    • Handling around town 
    • Smaller then most maxi scooters
    • Mr Convenience
    • Too much plastic?                           

    By Type
     Handling 08/10
     Quality of Finish
     Storage Options
     Dash / Gauges
     Seating 09/10
     Maintenance 08/10
     Function of Parts
     Technology 09/10
     Value for Money


     2nd Opinions from the Network

    Steve Laing - Ace Scooters, Joondalup ,WA

    In a market dominated by Japanese maxi's, the Piaggio XEvo 400 is a little bit different...

    The XEvo is the latest incarnation of Piaggio's very successful range of maxi-scooter.  Based on the X8, the XEvo is the "evolution" of this vehicle, featuring a number of improvements to the X8 format although these are largely superficial - fundamentally its the same machine.   Based on Piaggio's Master powerplant, this scooter is easily capable of freeway speeds, and handles a pillion with ease. 

    Huge underseat storage capable of two full face helmets, it's a highly versatile unit.  What makes it different from its Japanese counterparts, is its size - its just that bit smaller, with Piaggio marketing these as "compact maxi's". 

    The advantage of the more compact format is that whilst they retain they long-range cruising comfort, they are still relatively nimble in an urban environment - hardly surprising for a scooter originating from Italy with its mix of Autostrada's and tiny cobbled streets.


    RATING /10

    • Handling: 7 - solid and dependable.  Turns nicely into and out of corners.
    • Performance: 7 - great acceleration at high speeds and plenty of welly.  Like most big single cylinder vehicles it suffers from being quite "chuggy" at low speeds.
    • Quality of Finish: 9 - the Italians know all about styling, and the XEvo is no different.  Very nice indeed.
    • Storage Options: 10 - two full face helmets under the seat. I mean, how much more could you want?  And there's the option for a topbox to hold another two.  Its the pantechnicon of the scooter world.
    • Dash / Gauges: 8 - two big clear gauges.  One speedo, one rev counter.  Informative LCD display.
    • Seating: 8 - narrower than the X8, the seating is improved particularly for the pillion.  Slide your feet forward and you are in Easy Rider mode!
    • Maintenance: 9 - 10k service intervals.  All too simple.
    • Function of Parts: 8 - controls are well within reach and easy to use.  Remote opening of seat and boot with key.
    • Technology , EFI , LC: 9 - EFI and LC.  What more do you want? 
    • Value for Money: 8 - not inexpensive, but compared to the Japanese brands a veritable bargain!
           Total: 83/100

    Graham Marston - Scooters Scooters, Fortitude Valley Brisbane

    It’s time to jump aboard the good ship XEvo 400.  What a scooter we have here! For those of us who want to leave the everyday hum drum behind and head for the beauty of the Queensland landscape and beyond, this scooter will stand up and join you as a willing companion. The first thing that strikes you is the presence this scooter commands; it’s a great size, very modern in appearance and stature. Piaggio once again have designed a very elegant looking machine, in colours that flatter the purposeful lines well. It looks like it means business too and by that I mean NASDAQ rather than WWF.

    Once on-board you are treated well; it’s comfortable, the seat generous and plush, with the handlebars coming into reach easily. The dash cluster is one of my favourites, displaying in great clarity speed and rpm on the analogue dials, as well as a digital readout in the centre displaying engine temperature, digital clock, fuel level, even ambient temperature. It’s clear and nestled neatly behind the front windscreen. This screen provides great element protection, I noticed it disperses the wet well, but can be a bit of a wind break at higher speeds causing slight buffering to the scooter, all very controllable though. This screen, combined with the generous but not overly wide front fairing offer substantial rider protection from the elements. I like that on the longer runs.

    The machine has a 12 litre fuel tank with a 1.8 litre reserve so longer runs are not so daunting ,it puts you more in control of the journey. Underseat storage is generous, if a little shallow, however this is where the x evo pulls out its drawcard, and for me the best feature of this scooter. It has a boot or trunk at the back which flips up remotely via a button on your key, this function is also there for the seat latch too, but only on the 400 model. So, fully laden with the weeks groceries you can literally walk up to the parked scooter, hit your remote boot release button and underseat, and you’re in, very convenient indeed. Be sure to close both up with a firm slam though because the storage bay has its own interior light. The boot space is recessed deeper than the underseat area, so most helmets can stow away easily here.

    The XEvo 400 has a 4stroke liquid cooled engine providing a respectable 34 bhp at 7500 rpm. It hauls well too, pillion rides are a breeze.  I did find the engine a bit lumpy around town, but I was riding a brand new model which needed more time to bed in. The odd times I had a clear run in traffic proved to be a very decisive feeling; the power was there for me, moving forward with great strength. Seating  and ride position is relaxed but alert, you can stretch your legs easily on the footplate and enjoy lower back support on the seat with an ergonomic ridge in the seat. Passengers have the added luxury of a built in backrest on the rear grab rail, so both riders are pretty much in a comfort zone on the road.

    Combining well with the power and the comfort are the brakes, twin disc stoppers on the front and a single disc on the rear. They pull the xevo 400 up well and again there is that feeling of confidence. Halogen lights, nestled within beautifully designed light clusters provide great night vision; the rear lighting arrangement in particular is stylish and bold, surrounding the boot lid in a brilliant and economically designed way. Fuel access is between your feet, in the middle of the scooter, which is handy if you happen to have an overspill, and as usual a shopping bag hook is located just under the dash.

    It’s all here and again I suppose a reflection of what you pay for. The XEvo 400 is a road tourer first, offering great acceleration, and relaxing cruise speeds, but that’s not detracting from its urban commute uses too; remember it’s a liquid cooled fuel injected engine so noise, emissions and fuel economy are all top of the list of credentials. It’s naturally stylish but very practical, offering a lot more than just the daily run-around. Get on the open twisty roads yourself with her, you will smile.

    On the negatives, not really a fan of front windscreens but that’s me, I ride with a visor and full face helmet mostly and I did notice wind being thrown into my face from the windscreen. I am quite tall, so I rode peering over the windscreen. Be careful when you drag your feet across the centre console as you alight the scooter, it’s very easy to leave scuff marks on the black plastic bodywork. Be sure to virtually slam the rear boot closed in order for it to stay closed. Fixed wind mirrors on the front of the scooter, turn with the main bulk of the vehicle rather than with you on the handlebar, just takes a bit of getting used to really that’s all.

    RATING /10 

    By Type
     Handling 09/10
     Quality of Finish
     Storage Options
     Dash / Gauges
     Seating 10/10
     Maintenance 08/10
     Function of Parts
     Technology 08/10
     Value for Money

    published 26/06/2009


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