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Scooter Review

TGB R50X Review

So who says you need a style bypass to ride a 50?

JEREMY BOWDLER

The R50X looks blindingly fast standing still. Every detail catches your eye: the sharp front cowl, mirrored in the tailpiece grab-handles; clear-lensed indicators; stacked headlights; perforated footboards; racy red caliper and the race-style spannie exhaust. This is one hot-looking scooter, so it is no surprise that it is selling its socks off in the too-hot-to-be-retro category.

Forget for a minute that, being a 50 it can be used on a car licence in the applicable states; that an open-face lid fits beneath the seat; and that it has a locking luggage hook. Check the sporty bodywork and the full pillion seat. Visually it’s on par with the Bolwell G-Max, Peugeot Jet Force or Gilera Nexus, but it’s a 50. Sweet.Also impressive for what is essentially an entry-level, if not bare-bones budget, scooter is the dash. If you’ve missed the R50X’s sporty stance because you were blindfolded, one glimpse of the centrally- mounted tacho gives the game away.

A tacho on a scooter may be academic, but you can’t beat a big white-faced dial with a red needle that looks like it’ll swing to 12,000rpm! That’ll get the blood pumping. The downside is that the actual digital speedo is hard to read, with numbers not much larger than the clock beneath it.

At least the dash is comprehensive. The sporty nature is reflected in the choice of 13-inch wheels and some pretty serious rubber covering the rims. Disc brakes front and rear compete the package.

Of course, something as sporty looking as the R50X needs some performance if it is not merely to be a pretender. And here’s the rub. Again, the scooter is nominally limited to 50km/h for registration purposes.

In the interests of integrity, we took a partially derestricted version to a private test course and saw 73km/h on the clock, with more to come – which means the R50X sits at the performance end of the 50cc spectrum, once the (admittedly illegal from an ADR perspective) restrictions have been removed. That’s for the bureaucrats. I just like riding scooters.
And I liked riding the R50X. The 130/60- section rubber on the large wheels and the disc brakes encouraged me to ride the thing harder and harder each outing. It handles like a dream, with the suspension well tuned to the scooter.

Interestingly, there was a subsidiary suspension system – a pair of bump springs mounted on a pivoting plate (see the detail pic for more) – which took the shock out of any big hits from potholes and the like, allowing the normal suspension set-up to concentrate on keeping the wheels on the ground.

It worked, if anything, a little too well. Given the chassis performance, I kept wanting the 50 in a 125 or 150c version.

Unlike the USS Enterprise, I think it can take a little more, Captain.

On the other hand, having more chassis than engine allows you to explore the scooter’s performance in more safety than the other way around and so I concentrated on getting the throttle open earlier, holding it open longer and braking later – and that makes any trip go faster. Off the mark, there is a small weight penalty, with the quoted dry weight of 95kg almost 50 per cent more than, say Yamaha’s Jog. Different category, of course, so it’s not really a fair comparison – except when you’re staring down the barrel of a traffic-light GP start.

Despite the semi-enclosing bodywork, the R50X is generously sized and fitting two should be easy. And that’s a good thing, because with this parked outside, picking up a passenger has never been easier...

As published in TW SCOOTER MAGAZINE - 18/10/2006
Subscribe to Two Wheels Scooter magazine now!

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