Top 10s

Top 10 maxiscooters under £3k

Surprisingly good bang for the buck

THE UK doesn’t really do scooters. For some reason, we’ve rejected the collective wisdom of our European cousins, who buy millions of the things. We like our two wheels with two feet involved, it seems. It’s a bit of a shame, because big scooters really are pretty handy machines, combining good performance and adequate riding dynamics with comfort and storage. While die-hard Sunday bikers and track riders won’t be swayed, these scoots are ideal as commuter-focused second bikes, or for people who want workhorses not toys.

For this Top 10, we've chosen 10 scooters that pack some punch, at a budget that doesn’t. Our base criteria are that they should be at least 250cc, to ensure comfortable motorway performance, and cost no more than £3,000 (above that, you enter 250cc motorcycle territory).

At this price point, we’re talking mostly about used metal, but fear not, this is not a selection of ‘cheap rustbuckets’. Our minimum standard is: bikes not older than three years, with no more than 12,000 miles on the clock – so not that far from new, really (and that’s not to say you can’t buy a brand new big scoot at this price!) – from trade sellers (yes, more expensive than a private sale, but with more peace of mind and often a limited warranty.

Click ‘next’ to see, in alphabetical order, our Top 10 sub-£3k maxiscooters.

Aprilia SportCity Cube 300

Aprilia SportCity Cube 300

INTRODUCED in 2008 with a capacity bump up from 250 and heavily revised styling, Aprilia’s SportCity Cube is a smart-looking, big-wheeled step-through design with brisk performance from its 22.5 bhp single, and impressive specs including twin front discs. Owners report 70-90mpg too!

We found more than one dealer offering unused, late-2012-model Cubes with discounts of £200 off the RRP of £3,195, as well low-mileage ex-demonstrator machines around the £2,750 mark.

Read Aprilia SportCity 300 owners’ reviews.

Gilera Nexus 300

Gilera Nexus 300

GILERAS have a reputation for being fast and furious, and the 278cc, 22.5 bhp Nexus lives up to expectations with an 85 mph top speed. The great-looking Italian scoot is also a competent handler and has decent underseat storage. It’s a bit on the thirsty side though, returning 50-60mpg.

The best example we found that met our criteria was a 2010 model with 11,800 miles for just £2,499. (And psst… if you don’t mind a Nexus that’s a couple of years older, you can get its 500cc sibling for another £400!)

Read Gilera Nexus 300 owners’ reviews.

Honda SH300i

Honda SH300i

THE SH300i is one of Big Red’s big sellers – in fact, it (and its smaller siblings) top the sales chart in Europe’s scooter mecca, Italy, where the European SH models are built as well.

It's not the snazziest looker around, but it’s stable (16-inch wheels), quick (27 bhp), spacious (35-litre top-box comes as standard), frugal with fuel (up to 90 mpg reported) and well-built. A handful of owners have raised an issue with older models where the engine cuts out at very low speed, but it seems an exception rather than the rule, as sales attest, and anyway our three-year age limit should take care of that.

Our best find was a 2010 model, with just 7,000 miles, for £2,995.

Read Honda SH300 owners’ reviews.

Piaggio Beverly 300

Piaggio Beverly 300

THE Beverly is one of those stylish scoots that appear to be made solely for use by hot Italian women, most likely the designer's muse. A few rakish, suit-wearing Italian men may also get away with it. The rest of us, well, we can always pretend to be swarthy models named Fabio or Alessandra. 

Back to the belissima Beverly. It's powered by a 278cc engine of similar heritage as the one in the Gilera Nexus (the brands are part of the same group after all), albeit in Piaggio-esque tune, so a touch less furious (80mph) and a touch more fuel-efficient (55-70mpg). It's quick, stable and comfortable enough to belong in this top ten, but really, with these curves, colours and materials, it's all about the style.

For three grand, you can buy a 2011 model Beverly with just 6,300 miles on the clock, and twelve quid change for fuel to get home. Via the espresso bar of course.

Add a Piaggio Beverly 300 owner's review.

Piaggio XEvo 400

Piaggio XEvo 400

The only 400 in this bunch, the X8’s successor is a ‘proper’ maxi-scooter, with smooth, near-100mph performance from its 33 bhp/28 lb-ft liquid-cooled single that justifies the twin front discs and belies the reported 65-80mpg economy. 

The 400’s not too common in the UK (its smaller capacity siblings are more prevalent), so buying choice may be relatively limited, but for our budget, we came across a 2010 model 10,700-miler for £2,999. 

Sym CityCom 300

Sym CityCom 300

SYM has been churning out scooters for a good few decades now, and the Taiwanese manufacturer has a wide range of competent and good-value machines to show for it. At this budget, a number of them crop up in the used market.

The CityCom 300 is a modern looking scoot with a 20.5 bhp, 262cc engine that pushes it to 80mph and delivers 70-90mpg. It's decently put together, and offers a comfortable and controlled ride thanks to its 16-inchers. You'd get a 2010 model with just 1,500 miles, or a 2011 model with 3,000 miles, for £2,999. 

Sym GTS300i Evo

Sym GTS300i Evo

CONTEMPORARY European styling makes Sym's GTS 300 Evo (also known as the Joymax 300) a strong contender. The 263cc engine has enough poke for most situations, and returns 80-85mpg too. Adjustable rear suspension and a plush seat with back support, strong lighting and a humongous storage area round off a value package. 

With depreciation taking more than a third off the current model's RRP of £4,299, a 2010 model that's clocked 9,000 miles is yours for £2,799.

Sym Voyager 250

Sym Voyager 250

ALSO sold as the Joymax 250 or GTS 250 in certain markets. Its 250cc mill is not going to set any roads on fire but it'll stay uncomplainingly in the left lane of the motorway. With high levels of comfort, good wind protection and sizeable storage, it's a practical machine. Ideal for urban use with the occasional A-road/motorway stint. 

Being a superseded (by the Joymax/GTS 300 Evo) model, the Voyager can be quite a bargain as a used buy - a 2011 example with less than 5,000 miles is on offer for £2,575.

Vespa GTS 300 Super

Vespa GTS 300 Super

The most traditional shape of this lot, with those classic flowing lines looking especially nifty in black. Vespa's range topper is a big, high-quality scoot, with a torquey 22 bhp engine and impressive ride and handling thanks to its steel body frame. Storage capacity and tank range are useable but not massive. 

While most newish GTS300s are a shade over our budget (and that indicates a hefty first year depreciation, as the bike's RRP is £4,099), if it's your lucky day (and it is, because you're reading this), £2,995 will buy you a 3,000-mile 2011 example. 

WK Jetmax 250

WK Jetmax 250

THE only other brand-new scoot in this top ten is from WK, the UK brand name of Chinese manufacturer CF Moto (which not only also sells China’s first 600cc motorcycle but is even entering the TT races!).

The 22 bhp, liquid-cooled single-cylinder Jetmax is a bit on the porky side at 200kg. But it’s £2,799 brand new, and though the jury's out on depreciation and resale values, it’s hard to argue with a pricetag like that, especially when you consider that the bike features twin front discs, storage for two full-face helmets [claimed], LCD instrument display and even an FM stereo, all bundled up in a two-year warranty. 

Add a WK Jetmax 250 owner’s review.

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