2009 Piaggio BV Tourer 250

Text: Ken Freund • Photography: Scott Hirko

Smack dab in the middle of the scooter-displacement range, Piaggio's BV Tourer 250 blends the traits of the smaller, lightweight machines so popular in Europe and Asia with the bigger road-burners found in the US. First introduced in 2006, the BV250 is virtually unchanged for 2009 - a solid indication that it has been a good model.

Scooter sales in the United States have been booming of late, and as one of the world's largest manufacturers of scooters, Piaggio is well positioned to satisfy increased demand. Their corporate tent (holding the Vespa, Gilera and Derbi scooter brands, and Aprilia and Moto Guzzi motorcycles) certainly brings considerable research and development resources to the party, allowing the company to produce efficient, stylish and quality machines.

The BV250 gets its motivation from a spunky 244cc SOHC single-cylinder "motore" with a four-valve combustion chamber. The electronically fuel-injected engine is rated 22 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 14.9 ft-lbs of torque at 6,500 rpm. Piaggio refers to it as a QUASAR, for "QUArter-liter Smooth Augmented Range" - whatever that means. We do know that it is a quarter liter and it's quite smooth, but we'll have to get back with you on the "Augmented Range" part.

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) with automatic centrifugal clutch makes shifting a thing of the past, and a geared final drive carries the power to the rear wheel. This drivetrain is shared with Piaggio's unique three-wheeled MP3 250 scooter, but the BV250 is 122 pounds lighter, which translates into better acceleration and all-around performance.

The EFI has no manual cold-start controls and no neutral. The starting drill requires retraction of the sidestand, a squeeze of the brake lever, and pressure on the starter button. This model, unlike the MP3 500, has no parking brake either - so when the engine is off, the transmission permits the scooter to roll freely, and that means extra care must be taken about where it's parked or you may be running downhill after it yelling, "Oh no, Mister Bill!"

The engine springs to life almost instantly and is ready to go right away, with excellent drivability. We found that the BV250 will scoot away from in-town traffic with smooth, seamless acceleration from idle to redline. In acceleration from a stop, the engine purrs like a small outboard motor, picking up speed in a linear fashion free of gear changes. However, growing accustomed to the engine staying at one speed while the scooter seems to catch up to it, rather than going up through the gears, takes a while.

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For the complete article of the riding impression(s) and technical specifications, please purchase the May/June 2009 back issue.