The Piaggio BV 350ie SportTouring is the highest performance and most technically advanced tall-wheeled scooter on the market. See how we rate it.
Peter Dixon - Introduction and overview.
If I was asked to sum the BV up in one word I would say, "confidence". Personified it would be the alpha male of scooters, the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson combined with James Bond. The BV350 is solid, strong, stylish without trying too hard (to me anyway) and able to tackle every road condition you throw at with ease. The BV is the perfect scooter for the rider who wants a competent city scooter with the added freedom of being able to go for a long-weekend ride. If you were to choose one scooter to do everything, the BV350 would be somewhere at the top of the list.
Working in scooterland I've seen a broad cross-section of buyers. From the executive commuter who won't compromise on quality or safety, to the motorbike rider who wants a commuter with the power and features of their "big bike". Secretly they love the practicality of a scooter. The BV could be seen as the ultimate step up from a smaller scooter or a side step for motorcyclists who want a more practical all-purpose ride.
As for performance, the 330cc motor is awesome. An abundance of power for both city and freeway work. At 177 kg's, the BV's weight provides solid road holding without taking away from its agility in CBD gridlock. It's a larger bodied scooter that retains the appeal of being narrow enough to filter (something that can be lost on bigger bodied maxi's). Yet, the BV is still big enough to travel long distances comfortably.
Piaggio's ASR traction control allows you to punch off the lights without the rear wheel wanting to dance and the ABS braking pulls you up quickly after getting up to speed (which doesn't take long at all). I even battled Sydney's recent storm conditions with confidence, the kind of confidence that only traction control and ABS can give you in the wet.
The 13 litre tank between your feet keeps the centre of gravity low for greater stability. Ergonomically I found the BV a great fit but the backrest does make you sit fairly upright. For those with longer legs you may feel a little cramped. Otherwise the seating position is quite comfortable and the whole finish of the scooter is as you'd expect from a premium Italian built Piaggio.
My initial concerns with this scooter were that it may have an identity crisis, is it a city slicker or a maxi? The BV helped me smash my pre-conception. The BV might be a larger scooter but it's versatility, power and safety options will not only suit the experienced but also those looking for a scooter they can grow into and never out of. I would put this scooter in the premium class on both features, quality and finish and at $8690 + ORC you are getting a "jack of all trades scooter", and a true long-term partner.
Definitely worth checking out and if you're taking it for a test ride, ask your Piaggio dealer if you can take it that little bit further. This this one scooter that's sure to grow on you the further you ride.
The team at Scootersales.com.au took the BV out on the open road. Read what they had to say below.
Pete Gailey - Resident Test Pilot
I was excited to put my leg over the BV350 for a week, do some pics and form some thoughts. "Watch your licence on this one" - Allen said as he handed me the keys. After running about on smaller 125cc machines I was itching for some more grunt, and boy does the BV have this in spades.
It's a larger, more solid scooter, 16" front wheel, 14" rear, ABS brakes, it’s thin and tall. Similar to Aprilia's Scarabeo with a big single headlight at the front, good underseat storage, enormous glovebox with a 12V power outlet and fat tyres. It's a solid well made piece of machinery, designed for town or freeway. I have to confess of never being fond of the style, but the more I ride it, the less I care.
As a long term Vespa GTS250 owner and true Quasar "fanboy" I'd been waiting to see if this new 350 (actually 330cc) was as good as what I was hearing, and yes, the BV350 takes off like a scalded cat. This engine produces similar power to the old Master 400, is fantastic off the lights and has heaps of acceleration with the twist of the throttle at any speed. It feels far more powerful than any 250/300 Quasar ever could. Piaggio has really hit the nail on the head with this new engine and it makes the Beverly a real weapon around town.
They call the BV350 a Sports Tourer and after riding
it for only a couple of days, I had little doubt the BV will perform
both of these roles easily. I was really looking forward to taking it out on
the open road and seeing what it is was capable of.
Sunday comes around and I take the BV350 for a run onto some country roads in the company of BMW's C650GT and Yamaha's TMAX 530. The BV had impressed me around town with its feisty acceleration, big wheels and good brakes but I hadn't had the chance to wind it out on the freeway or push it hard into tight twisties or better still, test it out on patch-worked C-grade roads.
The BV is certainly quick enough to ride in the fast lane, has plenty up its sleeve for quick overtakes, never slows down on the big hills. I was easily passing 140 km/h with lots to spare. The big wheels and the weight of the BV made it feel very stable at freeway speeds and I felt that it would ride all day at 120 km/h. There was some buffeting over the screen but at no time did I find it extreme.
On to the Old Pacific Highway after some earlier rain, I was still exercising caution but thankful I had both ASR and ABS. Once dry and with a good surface the BV handled well and I was able to stick to the tail of the larger capacity maxis. Through bumpier C-grade corners and the BV finds itself getting a little flustered.
There's an excellent road between Maroota and Windsor and this is where the Beverly fell into the zone. I was finally able to lean it hard and fast though some great corners, impressed with how well it stuck. It drops in well, keeps a stable line and has plenty of acceleration to power out.
We headed back to town via Berowra Waters. The ride all up was 250 km's over all sorts of roads and conditions and the fuel warning light was just coming on. When I refuelled it took 8.84 litres which worked out at about 29 km/l. Considering the spirited riding, I thought that was pretty damn economical.
This is a solid, well made quality scooter that sits both slim and tall. With that brilliant 330cc engine, the BV has plenty of poke, it's very quick through the traffic and can sit in the fast lane with ease. It's fun in the twisties but can be challenged when the roads gets C-grade rough. With its big wheels, ABS brakes and ASR (traction control), the BV makes a great all-rounder.
As a die-hard Quasar fan I was really excited about this new engine, it certainly is a quantum leap forward and didn't disappoint.
Brad - the long-term BV350 owner.
Pete's right about the motor, it really is a cracker and the stand-out feature of the scooter. It works perfectly out of the box and after 14,000 km's on mine, there's no change in performance and yes Pete - this consistent delivery of power does keep going well beyond 140 km/h (in controlled conditions of course!).
Comfort is my only issue with the BV350. It does have those big wheels, but the suspension will have you feeling the bumps on some of Sydney's poorer surfaced roads. The pay-off is great handling on better road surfaces, the BV doesn't wallow around sweepers like some other scooters with similar architecture.
Whilst the BV350 is very capable of keeping up with the other high performance Maxi scooters, the city and urban freeways are its natural habitat. It filters as well as anything, and is that quick off the mark that pretty much anything else will need to break the law to get past you.
For the money I think there's nothing better at cutting a path across the Anzac bridge every morning. The tight handling and that perfectly tuned engine/transmission make the BV350 a real weapon, it's huge amounts of fun.
Another interesting thing about this engine is the low maintenance factor - 10,000 kilometre service intervals and belt and rollers at 20,000.
The traction control is effective in the wet for sure, in the dry it can get triggered over rougher surfaces. I generally turn it off in the dry and back on in the wet. You know it's off or on by the bright orange light on the dashboard. The ABS works great and pulls up quickly in both the wet and dry. Quote that!
You won't be disappointed with this package from Piaggio. From my experience I would call it the ultimate in premium scooter commuting. Safe, responsive and reliable. Definitely a scooter worth upgrading too.