The Liberty is Piaggio’s well established but often overlooked high-wheeled commuter scooter, a stylish workhorse with larger than average wheels to aid stability. Big-wheeled scooters are slowly but surely catching on with conservative Brits and those extra inches make all the difference to the quality of the ride when compared to more traditional 10” scooter wheels of old.
As a model the Piaggio Liberty has been around since 1997, so there are plenty of used scooters on the market, in fact you can pick a 2006 Liberty S (like the one pictured) up for around £1100. Over the years it has sold over 800,000 units and is available in two capacities in the UK, 50 and 125. The 125cc is powered by Piaggios excellent four stroke, single cylinder LEADER engine (upgraded to the nippier and more economical 3-valve lump in 2013). It’s good for a tad over 60mph and the relatively lightweight scooter accelerates fairly well too. On the road, larger wheels really make a difference to the riding experience. Sunken grates, potholes, lumps and bumps can all be ridden over with relative comfort and confidence compared to a scooter with traditional sized hoops fitted. As an experienced rider this may not be too much of a selling point but to somebody who’s not too sure about taking the plunge and getting out on a scooter for the first time a large wheeled machine is a definite advantage and will quickly help them to settle in. Add the faultless auto transmission of a modern auto, a clean, reliable and low maintenance four stroke engine, excellent fuel economy, spot on build quality - not to mention the style and practicality of a scooter and a machine like the Liberty 125 is sure to win over quite a few prospective customers who are looking for a commuter machine with a bit of class.
One disadvantage with big wheeled scooters is their lack of storage space, the wheels eat up quite a bit of room under the seat so don’t expect to get a full face helmet in there, you will manage to get an open face lid in though and there’s still more storage than you’d get on a bike (the redesigned 2013 3V gets an extra two litres of storage space thanks to a repositioned battery). There’s also a handy glovebox at the front of the scooter and Piaggio also list some useful optional extras, including a top box with a 33 litre capacity, leg covers and a tall screen. Talking of security the 125cc Liberty is also fitted with an engine immobiliser, which is always a welcome addition.
The Liberty has a nice relaxed riding position which makes the scooter a comfortable option and it comes with flip out pegs and a rear spoiler, which also doubles as a passenger grab rail. A neat but basic dash gives the usual warning lights and it also houses the speedo, a fuel gauge and a digital clock. All in all the Liberty is a great little runabout, it’s good to ride and it does the job it’s meant to do very well.
Tech Specs. Liberty 125
Engine: 124cc, single cylinder, 4 stroke Piaggio LEADER
Max Power: 10bhp @ 8,000rpm
Front suspension: Front hydraulic fork, rear mono shock
Front brake: 220 mm disc, rear 140mm drum
Wheels: Front, 90/80-16” (15” on 3V model) , rear 110/80-14”
Seat height: 805 mm
Dry weight: 108 kg
Fuel capacity: 6 litres (includes 1 litre of reserve)
Price: £2371 (new), 50cc £2021
Frugal engine, good around town
Storage space is limited
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Two upgraded models and a brand new one form Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom range for 2016 and all three were unveiled this week in Barcelona. Bike Social was on the scene to have a ride on each too.
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