Piaggio BV350

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harps
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Joined: 06/05/2010

..carrying on from the BMW scooter posts, had a look, sit and chat at my local dealer in Hemel on a very rainy Saturday morning - no Demo available and the only one they had is already destined to go.....

* Easy to move on and off the stand
* relatively small at the front, (all but the smallest scooters look to me to 'extend' out back, but a nature of the engine at the back - coming from my gsxr600)
* comfy seat, the mid-way ridge seemed to be well placed
* enough room for my size 11s on the boards
* IMO looks a little more stylish than the sh300
* seems a good balance between my old Vespa GTS 200 and what look to be pretty large 400 and up, these days, as per the BMs.

Unless I can think of a good reason not to (no Demo allowed seems a little odd - was given a plausable reason, though ), in the next day or 2, then this will let me use the gixxer fun rather than commuting......

harps
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Joined: 06/05/2010
Re: Piaggio BV350

WOW!!

What an amazing way to commute into London !!

Now run in and it seems to be some kind of trick - cruises at 'M1 Car commuting' speeds, and then turns into a very mangeable twist and go once into the traffic.

Doesnt really overheat, massive 'boot' and does the journey on about 2/3s of the petrol of the gixxer 6. Probably could do better economy but....dont want to incriminate myself....

But also means i look forward to rifding the 'real' bike as it hasnt punished me all week on the commute.

I was advised to do this years ago by someone on RAT Spain trip, but until recently there was very little in the 'Super-Midde-weight' category to tempt...

gjw1992
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Joined: 05/04/2011
Re: Piaggio BV350

Hi harps - by M1 commuting speed, and assuming this was an unrestricted a-bahn instead, do you mean it's OK at 70 but could push it another 10 or so if need be. Or is it ok at closer to 80 with a little in hand?

And the Hemel dealer - that'd be Palmer's? Any good? Thinking of a Guzzi v7 - and as they're half way twixt MK and London on the rail line might be handy.

harps
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Joined: 06/05/2010
Re: Piaggio BV350

Hi, assuming on an unsrestricted autobahn, then I would say 80 with something in hand - On a recent trip to Germany I sat at 90 and only backed off to save fuel ;-). BTW I am just trying a Wunderlich screen extension which on its lowest setting seems to stop the slight helmet buffeting I was getting at anything over 30'ish. Yes it was Palmers in Hemel - so far so good - but they are closer to Rebourn than Hemel Centre (and therefore Railway!?). Cheers.

harps
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Joined: 06/05/2010
Re: Piaggio BV350

Okay, 7 thousand kilometers later: NO reliability issues and I have used it every day since May (except for two), in thunderstorms and yes some sun too!

No service yet (since I had running-in one), think it's up at 10K Kilometers.

The screen extension worked really well, but for autumn/winter I have purchased a Givi taller screen with hand coverage, but a little too tall, so used a jigsaw to cut it down but keep the hand protection (if that makes any sense?). The Givi screen does not have the same fit as the original and there is a little too much reflection on the inside of the screen, so I have used a strip of black duck tape on the top of the headlight glass (doesn't affect the forward light projection) - seems to work okay. Got a lot of these tips from a site called 'modernvespa.com' (no reflection issues mentioned on it though!)

Much better maneuverability than a bike and I have to keep reminding myself to go 'lateral' in dense/stationary traffic when I wouldn't bother on a bike.

Pretty smooth throttle control, no worse than my old Triumph Daytona, but perhaps not up to the old SV650S, gives your 'Abs' a workout as you are not leaning forward to counter the acceleration - is that a complaint?! lol

Doing 70 miles each day and not spending too much time over 80 lets me do 2 days for every tank full, so costing roughly £12.50 evey other day - better than £44 for the train for 2 days!!

Still great fun, and for me, the perfect way to get in to the City of London and still enjoy riding on a daily basis, but not be too jaded for a 'normal' bike at the weekend.

The bv350 is definitely larger than the sh300 and having seen a few of those up close , they would be too small for me in general and in substance on the faster bits - I am 6ft with a 33" inside leg and Size 11's (not much foot room on the sh).

But at the end of the day if don't like or can't like scooters then it's all rather academic - but I used to ride an SV650s all week and not want to see a bike through the weekend until Monday morning - not now. Lent it to my B.I.L. who rides big old Triumphs and he hated it - horses etc etc...

Cheers.

gjw1992
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Joined: 05/04/2011
Re: Piaggio BV350

Sounds perfect - the sh300 was fine for me as I'm just 5' 9". But that 10-20% extra power of the BV would've been welcome. And yes, upright scooters are the best around London town. I've actually now got a crossrunner - and jacked in both the sh300 and the car. Since working in London the car usage went from 26K a year to barely 500. And with the bike I wanted to restart touring. Sure a decent scooter would be fine - though maybe a laid back superscoot for big mileage. But the xrunner, especially with the deals, was perfect. So far tested it on a trip to Cologne for intermot. Terrific. If a little damp.

harps
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Joined: 06/05/2010
Re: Piaggio BV350

Hi,

It's taken a while to decide about posting again after Kevin's death....but a couple of failures on the BV350 scooter have happened that could have caused injury, so I thought it would be something I ought to highlight, and would have been something Kevin would have approved of....

First issue, 29/4/13, kilometer reading 15,400 - HT Lead cap failure; resulting in loss of power - engine died in middle lane - coasted to hard-shoulder on the M1 junc 6 going north - RAC temp fix (lots of electrical tape - which did the trick and was used to get me back in to london for the warranty work) and then fixed under warranty at my local-to-office in London Scooter shop.

Second Issue, 13/5/13, kilometer reading 16,471 - Coolant hose clip failure in traffic at Regents Park North entrance, so luckily slow moving and again required RAC to make a permanent fix at road-side. This problem seems to be that instead of using a jubilee clip to hold the coolant pipe at the end nearest the engine (i.e. right under the inspection hole beneath the seat), a simpler push-type clip was used and this gave way resulting in loss of coolant all over the back of the scoot.

Both of these could have resulted (perhaps indirectly) in a nasty incident but in both cases luck (or originally un-luck?!) has helped.

The HT lead head sounds like not fit-for-purpose so that is slightly annoying (hence warranty agreement), and the Clip is just being 'cheap' as there were other joints with jubilee clips in evidence in the engine bay, but not used on this one!

Anyway, if you have this model, please check these 2 components and upgrade them before they fail - contact me for the Piaggio scooter shop details if you need to convince anyone - the Clip could be done by anyone - and I could post a pic if that helps.

Interestingly the scoot shop after the first incident are saying that they are starting to see suspension failure on scooters dues to the state of the roads in and around central London!!

I guess with only a few of these around and being an early adopter I am helping(?!) endurance test them - 100 Kilometers a day in all weathers. Other than these failures all is good and still happy to use.

gjw1992
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Joined: 05/04/2011
Re: Piaggio BV350

It's worth keeping up the good work as long as can be done - so thanks for the post. It does reinforce a few prejudices about Italian bikes and Piaggio in particular - unfair, as everyone are prone to these types of fault. Certainly the sh300 had a recall due to stalling. But breakages due to cheapness/not fit for purpose are always a big concern, and unnecessary as a handful of failures on components like these that are peanuts even for quality must cost many times the initial savings.

And it's not like a near 300cc scooter *wasn't* supposed to be used so heavily - that's the whole point of getting one. Lots of distance for a good few years.

harps
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Joined: 06/05/2010
Re: Piaggio BV350

Made it to the big 20,000K service, rollers, belts (whatever) - with no further problems!

A lot of great things about this scooter, still really enjoying it fast enough for the M1 to London, and small enough to just go to the local station if I dont fancy the 35 mile commute (each way) in on any given day.

so summary of what has gone wrong in just over a year's worth of riding in all weathers:

1. headlight bulb (might have been my fault as I held the button down in the winter to get both high and low beam bulbs working at the same time, when in the darkest countryside)

2. HT lead - replaced under warranty

3. Coolant hose clip - let go in Regents Park and replaced with a jubilee clip.....

...and thats it!

Other 'Highlights' ;-)

* I've washed it about 3 times
* Fitted a larger GIVI screen - obtained from the EU
* Temp fit muffs for the really cold weather
* Been knocked over once at the local station car park, (minor panel, exhaust protector damage) someone creating 'space' for theirs
* fitted an enormous top box to double the 'boot' space - when required
* still on same tyres
* sold second car as I never use it!

Looking forward to the next 20K.....tempted by a Gilera 800 though !!!!

gjw1992
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Joined: 05/04/2011
Re: Piaggio BV350

Why the Gilera? Sounds too much like a bike to me - the chain drive is a concern. And why not a 500+ Japanese scooter or one of the BMWs? And these superscoots are a little less nimble than the sit up and beg stepthru. But the suoerscoots obviously have the comfort and capacity along with most of the urban commute convenience.

shuggiemac
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Joined: 23/11/2008
Re: Piaggio BV350

Chain drive on an 800cc scooter makes perfect sense - what is the concern?

gjw1992
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Joined: 05/04/2011
Re: Piaggio BV350

Just that it is a chain and needs maintenance - and especially on a scooter I'd hope for a belt and leave most of the checking and adjustment to a service. It's not quite a deal breaker for me, but a definite markdown.

And on a side note - nice group test of superscoots in MCN this week.

shuggiemac
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Joined: 23/11/2008
Re: Piaggio BV350

An old chestnut for me on here - chains :-) Maintenance is easy, bang on a Scottoiler and Robert's your mother's brother. Not a fan of belts personally but I can understand why people like them.

pittsy
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Joined: 06/08/2011
Re: Piaggio BV350

If the set up is anything like the bmw super scoot, then it should be fine. That one looks to be fully enclosed and has a constant centre distance. Perfect operating conditions, pretty much, I'd say?

harps
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Joined: 06/05/2010
Re: Piaggio BV350

Gilera 800? - speed and power! - were my fleeting thoughts.

Actually my Versys 1000 covers that, think I might just be getting lazy in my old age!!