2016 - 2017 Genuine Scooters Buddy Kick
A Fuel-Injected Scooter In The Buddy Familyby Allyn Hinton, on
Chicago, Illinois-based Genuine Scooter Company added to its Buddy lineup back in 2016 with the fuel-injected Buddy Kick. The Kick brings a definite Euro flavor to the table with a clean and efficient, fuel-injected powerplant that cranks out almost two-horsepower more than the existing Buddy 125 and all-around disc brakes for increased stop to match the enriched go. While many of Genuine’s imports come from Kanpur, India-based manufacturer LML, this ride is actually manufactured by PGO Scooters under the Motive Power Industry banner in Taiwan. PGO serves as an Italian connection of sorts due to its decade-long affiliation with Piaggio from ’72 to ’82, and this relationship shows in overall look of the Kick. Looks are important, but so is what’s under the hood so let’s get started.
Continue reading for my review of the Genuine Scooters Buddy Kick.
2016 - 2017 Genuine Scooters Buddy Kick
Top Speed:60 mph
It’s easy to see the Italian influence in the shape of the legguard and the enclosed handlebars that encapsulate the headlight and instrument panel on this little scooter. The instrumentation covers the usual bases with an analog speedometer and digital display that covers the tachometer and trip-meter metrics. A host of idiot-lights take care of what remains.
Inside the legguard we find the ignition switch and a cupholder that looks to be mainly useless along with a grocery hook to hang a bag and take advantage of that flush-deck step-through. The sides of the cupholder open up into a kangaroo pocket that could fit a few small possibles but anything in there would be vulnerable to the weather, so whatever you stash in there, make sure you take it with you.
An old-fashioned bench seat covers a dry-storage compartment, and while the factory stops short of publishing the volume, it’s safe to say you probably won’t be getting two full-face helmets in there. A simple, chromed oh-shit handle finishes the saddle above molded-in turn signals and a somewhat uninspired tail light that, admittedly, is very visible when viewed in profile. The quarter-panels carry the suggestion of the classic look without actually carrying the voluptuous curves of the genuine article, but it’s enough to lend it an Old-World flavor.
A motorcycle-like set of stems support the front end with non-adjustable hydraulic damping, and I for one prefer to see that as opposed to the single-sided, aircraft landing gear setup Piaggio favors on some of their scooters. Front and rear hydraulic disc brakes slow the 10-inch wheels for a definite upgrade over the old drum-style binders, and the factory kept it simple with a total disregard for ABS or linked-brake systems of any sort.
As always, a swing-mount drive system uses the engine and transmission as stressed units to form part of the swingarm, and the rear suspension bears the only ride-quality adjustment with a variable spring preload feature. The suspension pushes the wheelbase out to a compact 49-inches long with a 28.5-inch seat height, so it’s a pretty inseam-friendly ride overall, especially with its full step-through and narrow build.
Although the Kick is technically in the Buddy family, it is in name only. This is one acorn that fell from the tree and rolled down the hill. It shares little with the rest of the range and the engine is no exception. Performance is pretty good overall with 11.1-horsepower at 8,500 RPM and 7.7 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 that turns in a top speed around 60 mph at an approximate 100 mpg. Naturally, actual results will vary depending on elevation, riding style and how much you had for lunch that day.
The power comes from the four-cycle, air-cooled thumper. A four-valve head opens up to efficiently feed and clear the combustion chamber with electronic fuel injection to manage the induction. Nearly square in its proportions, the 54 mm bore and 54.5 mm stroke gives us a total displacement of 124.5 cc. As you’d expect, the ubiquitous continuously-variable transmission turns up to manage the gear ratios for twist-and-go operation.
You can get the Genuine article (see what I did there?) for $3,199 MSRP. This gets you the Kick in four possible colors to include white, Glossy Titanium, a very tropical Turquoise and my personal favorite, Tangerine. Also included in the price is the two-year unlimited mileage warranty.
Since the Buddy Kick has ties, however tenuous, to Piaggio, I wanted to see how it stacks up to the real McCoy so I picked the Liberty S 150 for my head-to-head. Piaggio downplayed the classic design just a skosh in favor of a more contemporary approach that gives the Liberty a certain elegance. As you’d imagine, Piaggio scores higher in the fit-and-finish department; not to suggest that the Buddy is poorly made, but Piaggio’s well-deserved reputation for quality is tough for anyone to compete against. The Liberty’s saddle comes with a hard bevel toward the front so the rider has less bulk between his or her legs and is more comfortable both when seated and standing.
Piaggio keeps up the pressure with a 16-inch front hoop and 14-inch rear against the 10-inch donuts on the Kick, and while both offer all-around hydraulic disc brakes, Piaggio alone brings the ABS to the table.
Both sport electronic fuel injection, but Piaggio packs in more cubes for a total of 155 cc with a concurrent increase in power to the tune of 12.9-horsepower and 9.6 pound-feet of torque. Top speeds and fuel efficiency are in the same ballpark at around 60 mph and 100-ish mpg, but obviously the Liberty will find the top edge of the envelope sooner with that extra power.
Normally, one would expect a Piaggio-made product to top the chart at the checkout, so you can be forgiven if you thought that would be the case here. The Liberty S 150 rolls for exactly one Benjamin less than the Genuine Buddy Kick. That doesn’t bode well for Genuine or the Kick in any market that has both models readily available.
My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “Yeah, the Liberty kind of beat the Hell out of the Kick, but that doesn’t make the Kick a bad ride. While all of the Liberty’s advantages are desirable, none are really big deal breakers in my opinion. Of course, I don’t have to ride it every day either...”
"As with a lot of scooters, the speedometer is off about 5 mph. so when it shows 60 mph, you’re really going about 55 mph. That being said, the Buddy Kick doesn’t really want to go that fast. It will, but it feels like there’s nothing left to give, so cruising at that speed is labored. Below that, the Kick gives a nice ride and throttle response is good, so at residential and business zone speeds, you’re golden."
|Engine||124.5cc 4-Stroke Air Cooled|
|Tire Size||F: 10" R: 10"|
|Braking||Front and Rear Hydraulic Disc|
|Dry Weight||235 lbs|
|Top Speed||60+ MPH|
|Warranty||2-year / unlimited-mile|
|Colors||Glossy Titanium, Tangerine, Turquoise, White|
See our review of the Piaggio Liberty->art177338].