The Ferrari of scooters ?
Relaxing a bit, the Italians have finally released their anti Tmax with the GP 800! Equipped with the same V-twin as the Mana, the new Gilera is the most powerful scooter on the market and wants to open a new era: that of hyper scooters ….
It is enough to browse the streets of the big cities or the balance sheets of the motorcycle market on Site to be convinced: since 2001 in France, "maxi scooter" rhymes with "Tmax"…
Thus, in a few years, the Yamaha scooter has forged a solid image of the ultimate maxi scooter, both sporty and classy (read and).
But now, in Italy too we know how to produce both classy scooters and sporty motorcycles at will … The secret of success, in trying to compete with the Tmax, was therefore to combine these two products in one … And so in November 2007, on the occasion of the EICMA Show in Milan (read), Piaggio, via its sports brand Gilera, presented its GP 800 to us. !
"The hyper scooter, a new concept represented by the Gilera GP 800, is the first scooter to really connect with the motorcycle. It combines the performance of a motorcycle (75 hp, 850 cc, 200 km / h) and the advantages of a scooter (protection, automation, helmet box, etc.)", summed up for Site Jean-Philippe Dauviau, Marketing Director of Piaggio France, during our annual market review (read).
Exit therefore the term "maxi scooter" which applies to the Nexus 500 – also available from Gilera -, the Piaggio X8 400 (read), the Honda Silver Wing 600, the Suzuki Burgman 650 but also and especially the Yamaha Tmax 500 … Because according to Piaggio, the GP 800 evolves in another court: that of "hyper scoots".
The choice of weapons…
|Equipped with the same 839cc V-twin, the Gilera GP 800 scooter and the Aprilia Mana roadster (read) offer two different types of transmissions … "The GP 800 has a classic roller variator system: as you accelerate, the variator opens with centrifugal force and lengthens the transmission.", explains Jean-Philippe Dauviau,"while the Mana always has a variable-speed transmission but driven by an electric motor. It is this motor which electronically manages the distance between the variator flanges. This is how we have speeds corresponding to the programmed drive blocking positions. In automatic mode, the electric motor opens the drive according to the acceleration".|
Level look, however, the GP 800 does not revolutionize the family of scooters. Compared to its "little brother" Nexus, we can even consider that it imposes less: the lines of the last Gilera are much less sharp, therefore less "sporty" and more "GT", especially seen from the front.
"The GP 800 already asserts a sporty design, but it must remain versatile, protective and comfortable. It approaches the bike through performance, but it must retain as many advantages as possible associated with the scooter: protection, storage, "relaxed" riding position, etc..", warns Jean-Philippe Dauviau.
"Finally, the Nexus plays in a category "sports" which does not gather a majority of the votes. Scooters are not looking for a vehicle that is too "racing", they are very pragmatic and rational", continues the French manager.
It is in particular the optics of the GP 800 which lacks "aggressiveness", although it was attributed during its presentation a little air of Hayabusa … Are we to understand that the new Gilera is more focused on GT rather than GP ?
"Indeed, the GP 800 is more GT in its concept than racing", confirms to Site the marketing director of Piaggio France, because"such a too radical positioning would not make sense. The name GP 800 evokes above all the unique performances in the category of maxi scooters".
On the other hand, seen from three-quarter rear, the GP 800 gains in allure: the triangular sides of the apron stand out advantageously, the central beam (at floor level) gives an idea of the size of the engine hidden therein and the part rear of the scooter, drawn in a single stroke, ends with particularly successful LED rear lights.
The tifosi will have also noted the resemblance which links this double fire to those of certain Ferraris (the F430, for example) … From there to nickname the GP 800 the "Ferrari" of scooters, there is only a … Site test to perform !
Finally, if you are on the left of this hyper scooter, you can admire the double exhaust, in the purest "Grand Prix 2-stroke" style..
On the right, the view is less pleasant: the plastic protections weigh down the swingarm and the crown of the chain is too massive…
Because contrary to what was initially announced, Gilera chose to equip his scooter – which, like the Tmax, has a variator integrated into the motor – with a chain and not a belt. A somewhat hazardous choice for a two-wheeler supposed to limit the hassle of its user as much as possible !
"The prototype was fitted with a belt, but Piaggio was not willing to take any chances. In the end, the chain was a simple and proven way that bikers are used to", explains Jean-Philippe Dauviau.
Color level, the metallic black of our test model is sober, but its reflections effectively underline the design of the body. Also available, red is dapper and will attract more attention. This metallic paint is however darker than it appears in the manufacturer’s photos: nothing to do, in the end, with Ferrari or Ducati red !
By continuing the turn of the owner, the Italian touch remains largely present. Starting with the dashboard that the GP 800 shares with its “cousin” Fuoco (read). The only difference: while the maximum speed displayed on the 500 is 180 km / h, that of the 800 is 220 km / h…
As often on the Italian cars, we feel the engineers full of good intentions: the indicators are well integrated, the oil level indicator on the right of the engine crankcase is clearly visible, the trunk is equipped with lighting and a 12V socket … But the finish still sins on some points !
It is noted for example that the protective pads of the "floor" can be easily dislodged. And more annoying, the very first models delivered had problems of oozing at the level of a clamp of a hose of the cooling circuit..
So to our great astonishment – and after 200 km of testing without the slightest hitch – our test GP 800 began to feel hot: "a smell of piss !", slices a passer-by little carried on the charms of the mechanics. An unpleasant smell, therefore, to which was even added a very fine white smoke emanating from behind the engine !
"Some GP 800 had an assembly fault in one of the cooling hoses", Piaggio France will then tell us:"the original crimped hose clamp could loosen when hot, but this defect has been corrected on the assembly lines. Vehicles with this defect are modified by dealers, technical information has been disseminated to the network on this subject.".
Finally, urban and peri-urban users will regret the total absence of storage compartments, usually housed under the handlebars and allowing to store papers, laptop, PDA, payment cards, parking, etc..
The observation is hardly more brilliant under the saddle, since the trunk is content to accommodate a single helmet: a full size small at most … Even a classic backpack will not find its place. !
In addition, the engine being very cramped under the fairing and despite the large radiator placed behind the wheel, the temperature in the trunk tends to increase quickly. We will therefore avoid shopping at Picard’s, but we will warm up our gloves or jacket in winter. !
On the other hand, as on the Peugeot Satelis or the Piaggio MP3 (read and), we will appreciate the fact of being able to operate the opening of this small trunk via the remote control of the key, without having to insert the latter into the contactor. It’s a gadget, but you quickly get a taste !
When getting on the GP 800, the pilot realizes that this machine is located halfway between the motorcycle and the scooter: do we have to pass the leg between the apron and the saddle – like on a scooter ‘- or over the saddle – like on a motorcycle ?
In view of the traces left by the boots, we will quickly end up adopting the second method !
Once installed, we realize that the width of the saddle – much more than its height, limited to 790 mm – prevents the shortest on legs from touching the ground serenely. Even if for the majority of drivers, access to the ground is easy.
Before starting the engine – whose "V-Twin" architecture is recalled on the pot – we take the time to adjust the spacing of the two brake levers: a good point for the GP 800, which some sports cars do not benefit from. not even !
Another device whose position must be checked before setting off: the parking brake! Placed in front of the pilot’s right knee, the handbrake activates a second caliper on the 260 mm rear disc and perfectly immobilizes the Gilera and its 235 kg dry.
Finally, we can switch on the ignition and wake up the twin cylinder which cubes exactly 839.3 cc, more than a MotoGP engine! Even if the soundtrack question, the GP 800 is in no way different from other maxi scooters: at idle, it’s more like a peaceful trawler than the hyper scooter makes one think….
Except that at the first gasp, we quickly reformulated our comparison: the GP 800 immediately turns into a speedboat! At first, even bikers will be impressed, because we have never felt such acceleration on a scooter..
Admittedly, the maximum power of 75 horsepower available at 7250 rpm is rarely reached, since the variator itself limits excessive revs. But by properly squeezing the handle, you easily reach 5750 rpm … and their corresponding 76.4 Nm of torque !
The result is therefore a "0 to 100 km / h" scanned in less than 6 seconds – to your transponders for more precise data! -, or a performance amply sufficient to calmly face the peripherals and have fun on small departmental … unlike the sluggish 125cc 4-stroke !
We note the same efficiency in terms of times, since the engine speed hardly ever drops below 3,500 rpm. A strong point that does not penalize the consumption of the scooter: with its 18.5 liters of tank (including 3 liters of reserve), the GP 800 has allowed us to cross the bar of 300 km of autonomy..
Nervous at will, the GP 800 gets rid of everything that rolls – with the exception of the bikers in a hurry! – and can claim to be the fastest scooter … Until the Japanese respond with a hyper scooter decked out with a 1000cc ?
However, be careful not to be surprised by the enthusiasm – that’s the right word – of this Italian hyper scoot: fans of the 125 scooter who have recently obtained their A license will have to be careful and seasoned pilots will have to think twice. times before opening wide on dirty coating…
Likewise, when it comes to catching the brakes, application is essential! In normal driving, the "elementary" double sliding pistons which bite the two 300 mm front discs are both flexible and powerful: up to the engine’s capacities and the pilot’s expectations, in short.
But in the event of emergency braking, the greatest vigilance is required, in the rain as in the dry! The front wheel quickly locks up and the rear brake, which lacks progressiveness, requires some thoroughness. One last point to underline as it is, on a scooter, to manage the slippage of the rear wheel using its buttocks – even wedged against the small backrest !
We can only deplore the absence of an ABS system, oh so useful on this type of machine used daily on routes known by heart, during which the pilot’s attention may weaken….
"An ABS version was considered at launch, but to date it has not been confirmed", explains Piaggio France.
Because despite its weight (235 kg dry), its wheelbase (1593 mm) and its size, the GP 800 ultimately lends itself well to city trips !
At very low speed, the stability is surprising and maneuvers are facilitated by a low center of gravity and an honest turning radius. The mirrors, admittedly small, offer a good view of what is happening behind you.
However, two other caveats are added to the false note concerning the insufficient storage volume, which limit the efficiency of the GP 800 in urban areas: the Gilera hyper scooter does not have a warning, yet very useful for driving – calmly! – between the lines, and its crutching on the central is not the easiest…
In terms of driving positions, they range from very reassuring – straight as an "i", you dominate the traffic – to extremely comfortable – with the feet propped up on the apron, it feels like a good old custom !
And it is in this last position that we appreciate the most the choice made on the compromise comfort – sport of the suspensions..
Corresponding to its look ultimately very wise, the suspensions of the GP 800 offer a very good damping on bumpy streets and bumpy roads..
The lumbars are pleasantly spared and there is hardly that by pushing the scooter in its last entrenchments that one notices a slight lack of rigor on the part of the rear axle.
Still, on small roads, the new Gilera accepts to ride at a sustained pace: with its large wheels (16 inches at the front and 15 at the rear), its powerful engine and front brake, this hyper scooter offers great performance..
The front axle does not call for any negative criticism and it is only a slightly low ground clearance which will calm the ardor of the pilot. Obviously, the GP 800 does not enjoy the same agility or the same precision as a Supersport, but with a little experience and physics, you can achieve an astonishing pace on your handlebars..
On expressways, it is just as efficient: as its meter predicted, the GP 800 can blithely exceed the 140 km / h of use on the motorway. We then discover that the bubble – electric, please! – fulfills its function correctly: with the additional 5 cm in the high position, you can easily isolate your helmet from the eddies while the stream of air rushing between the bubble and the fairing limits the air pressure in the back.
As a duo, passenger comfort is unfortunately limited in terms of the calves by the width of the fairing. For the rest, no surprise: as for the pilot, the saddle remains wide and comfortable and the grab handles are well positioned..
Priced at 9,450 euros, the Gilera GP 800 charges a bit for its 75 horsepower and engine performance. But it is true that neither the Peugeot Satelis 500 (and its 37.4 hp), nor the Yamaha Tmax (43.5 hp), nor the Suzuki Silverwing 600 (50.3 hp) or Burgman 650 (55 hp) do not play in the same category…
Watch out for "Scoot Jacking"…
|Place de la Concorde, Paris, 9:30 am: a guy in R1200GS stops near me at the traffic lights and starts a conversation. Very quickly, the friendly biker slips me: "There are two guys on your right … they’re for you"… A little disconcerted, I think for a moment of a challenge over 400 m DA … Turning around, I see, posted on a Majesty 400, two individuals looking sinister but almost … I thank my "guardian angel" and decides not to start when the light turns green: the guys don’t take off either! I don’t move … they don’t move. I still don’t move … they still don’t move No! They are indeed "for me" … or rather for my GP 800! It is only after several long seconds, tired by the horns of motorists – and impressed by my fixed and threatening gaze?! – that the two bastards trace straight ahead, while I veer surreptitiously to the left….|
And the fact of being the only "hyper scooter" on the market visibly helps to pass the pill, since since its release in January, no less than 532 copies of the GP 800 have already been registered in France (figures including the month of June ).
In the end, the GP 800 actually turns out to be "the hyphen"between the scooter and the motorcycle promised by Gilera. Provided with the performance of a motorcycle and the protection and automation of the scooter, it nevertheless sins at the level of the helmet compartment. A Ferrari air of scooters, in a way…
The GP 800 would also benefit from being equipped with a belt, an ABS, a warning and a storage compartment, or even a speed camera warning device as this scooter is effective! Assets with which it will adorn itself when the Japanese in turn take over the new hyper scooter market? Case to follow on Site … Stay connected !
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