The Epitome Of The Retro-Styled Scooter

When it comes to building a retro-looking scooter, it’s hard to beat the classic Italian design, a fact not lost on Lance evidenced by its Havana Classic scooter family. The range covers the 50 cc, 125 cc, and the new-in-2017 200 cc brackets, which is a huge footprint in terms of price ranges and possible uses. There’s everything here from a campus runabout to a highway-capable commuter if you have the nerves for it, and all of it bears that timeless design that seems to have reached perfection in, oh, about 1959. I always love rides with this look and this little import sports plenty of that retro vibe that seems to appeal to the hipster crowd especially.

Continue reading for my review of the Lance Havana Classic 50, 125, and 200i.

  • 2017 - 2018 Lance Havana Classic
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    169 cc
  • Top Speed:
    65 mph
  • Price:
    2699
  • Price:

Design

2017 - 2018 Lance Havana Classic
- image 759538
There isn't much of a butt-bump to speak of on the seat, but there is just enough shape to prevent a tall rider from comfortably sliding back for more legroom.

Okay, so there’s really no point in ignoring it; the Lance Havana Classic is pretty much a rebranded SYM Fiddle III. Sure, the Fiddle sports recessed turn signals with built-in DRL, but I find the rest of the unit to be near-mirror images, and it’s the similarity to the old-school rides that matters most of all here, anyway.

Motorcycle-style forks hold the front wheel with a clamp-mount front fender ahead of the semi-dome leg fairing. An all-in-one handlebar fairing and headlamp housing tidies up the control column with a nice, large instrument panel that displays speed and fuel status with an odometer and trip meter as well.

This isn’t quite the same panel as the Fiddle, but again, the overall shape is close enough, and the difference too slight to call it a completely different machine just based on that. Smooth and clean, the inner legguard provides a highway-peg foot position that flows directly into the full step-through with its completely flush deck. Flip-out footpegs and a chrome grab rail complete the passenger’s kit along with the full-width pillion seat that grows from the back of the tapered rider’s bench. There isn’t much of a butt-bump to speak of, but there is just enough shape to prevent a tall rider from comfortably sliding back for more legroom.

A 30-inch seat height makes it easy for even short riders to deploy their training wheels, and the taper at the front edge prevents the saddle from biting into the thighs, which would rob the rider of the benefit of a short saddle height. The rear panels sweep aft in a gentle arc that tapers off to a chrome-capped point at the rear fender. Taillight and turn signals alike are slapped on almost as an afterthought, but that’s how they looked back in the day, right? All-in-all a classic, compact little ride with plenty of the retro charm we all love so much.

Chassis

2017 - 2018 Lance Havana Classic
- image 759544
The 50 and 125 are old-school with rear drum brakes, but the 200i has discs front and rear as well as combined brake system.

The tubular-steel underframe keeps the assembly strong without relying on the body panels to supply any of the load-bearing structure. Telescopic forks mount the 12-inch front wheel with a monoshock in back to tame the motion of the swing-mount drive unit. One of the few details that sets the 200i apart from the 50 and 125 cc variants lies in the rear wheel. The 200i mounts a matching 12-inch wheel in back while the two smaller rides downsize to a 10-inch wheel in back. That isn’t all, either. The 200i runs a 190 mm disc up front while the lower range siblings get a 180 mm disc. Old-fashioned drum brakes slow the smaller models, but the 200i sports a 220 mm rear disc with a Combined-Brake System that applies a portion of the rear-brake pressure to the front brakes for balanced, and hopefully safer, braking action.

Model: Havana Classic 50 Havana Classic 125 Havana Classic 200i
Frame: High Strength Steel High Strength Steel High Strength Steel
Front Suspension: Telescopic Fork Telescopic Fork Telescopic Fork
Rear Suspension: Unit Swing Unit Swing Unit Swing
Front Brakes: Disc (180 mm) Disc (180 mm) Disc (190 mm) with Sport Style Wave Rotor and CBS-Combined Braking System
Rear Brakes: Drum (110 mm) Drum (130 mm) Disc (220 mm) with CBS-Combined Braking System
Front Tire: 110/70 - 12 110/70 - 12 110/70 - 12
Rear Tire: 3.5 - 10 3.5 - 10 120/70 - 12
Wheel: Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum

Drivetrain

2017 - 2018 Lance Havana Classic
- image 759542
The 200i boasts a top speed of 65-plus mph, which is fast enough to cover the bases in most areas short of the superslab.

We have three separate models here that obviously carry different sized engines, so let’s start with the similarities. The one-lung thumper configuration is in full effect across the board, and they all come with simple and light air-cooling systems to remove waste heat. As usual, a centrifugal clutch and Continuously Variable Transmission transmits power to the rear wheel for effortless operation, and the bores on all three receive the Ceramic Coating Cylinder Technology that’s meant to deliver long life and reduced wear over the old-style, press-in sleeve.

Now for some differences. The 49 cc junior member of the family runs an 11.8-to-1 compression ratio with 1.56 pounds of grunt at 6,500 rpm, and 1.9 horsepower wound out to 8,500 rpm. It comes limited to 30 mph and is appropriate for young riders, or traversing controlled areas such as large campuses.

In the middle we have the 124.6 cc plant with a milder, 9.6-to-1 compression ratio and a decidedly warmer performance envelope that pushes up to 6.14 pound-feet at 6,500 rpm and 8.38 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. Wound up all the way, the 125 cc model will see speeds up to 59 mph, and thus is theoretically capable of negotiating most urban areas, but will have little n the way of “reserve” if a big boost is needed to clear a problem.

Unlike the smaller two, the 200i utilizes an electronic fuel-injection system and a mid-range compression ratio of 10.2-to-1. The factory rates the output at 9.21 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm with 11.8 horsepower on tap at 7,500 rpm for a top speed of 65-plus mph, and that is fast enough to cover the bases in most areas short of the superslab.

Model: Havana Classic 50 Havana Classic 125 Havana Classic 200i
Engine: 4 Stroke Single Cylinder with Ceramic Coating Cylinder Technology 4 Stroke Single Cylinder with Ceramic Coating Cylinder Technology 4-Stroke (EFI) Electronic Fuel Injection Engine (OHC) with Ceramic-Coated Cylinder
Displacement: 49 cc 124.6 cc 169 cc
Compression Ratio: 11.8:1 9.6:1 10.2±0.2 :1
Horsepower: 1.9 HP - 8500 RPM 8.38 HP - 7500 RPM 11.8 hp - 7500 RPM
Max Torque: 1.56 lb/ft - 6500 RPM 6.14 lb/ft - 6500 RPM 9.21 lb/ft - 5500 RPM
Cooling System: Air Cooled Air Cooled Air Cooled
Transmission: C.V.T. C.V.T. C.V.T.
Clutch: Centrifugal Type Centrifugal Type Auto Centrifugal Type
Drive: Belt Belt Belt

Price

2017 - 2018 Lance Havana Classic
- image 759541
Truly a bargain-shopper's special, the Havana Classics run from $1,799 up to $2,699.

Truly a bargain-shopper’s special, the Havana 50 rolls for $1,799, while the mid-size 125 costs a mere $200 more. I suppose that’s more important in areas with stratified licensing procedures. It’s more straightforward here in the States, and I imagine the 50 won’t get much play here. At the top of the range we have the 200i at only $2,699, so unless your budget is strapped or you have some other reason to go with a lower-displacement unit, the 200i definitely gives the most bang for your buck.

Model: Havana Classic 50 Havana Classic 125 Havana Classic 200i
Warranty: 24 Months Limited Warranty 24 Months Limited Warranty 24 Months Limited Warranty
Colors: Butterscotch Yellow, Arctic White, Ruby Red, Midnight Black & Sky Blue Butterscotch Yellow, Arctic White, Ruby Red, Midnight Black & Sky Blue Matte White, Matte Black, Matte Chocolate
Price: $1,799 $1,999 $2,699

Competitor

2015 - 2018 Vespa Primavera
- image 728266
2017 - 2018 Lance Havana Classic
- image 759547
The Italian brand is going to carry more of that classic look, but in this case Vespa only wins that particular race by a nose.

As a close-enough competitor, I found the Vespa Primavera to be the best competitor that came to mind that I could be sure wasn’t a [SYM-mot5286] re-brand of any sort. Yeah, I know there are more out there, but let’s go with this. Obviously, the Italian brand is going to carry more of that classic look, but in this case Vespa only wins that particular race by a nose.

Vespa keeps the front a bit cleaner with recessed turn signals similar to the Fiddle III, but clutters up the step-through with a tunnel that interrupts the nice, flat deck. As usual, the front suspension on the Primavera consists of a trailing link and coil-over shock as opposed to the telescopic forks on the Havana. Not much of a gain, but the one-side front wheel mount is admittedly kinda cool. Vespa powers the Primavera with its 154.8 cc engine that drives the scoot up to 61 mph, just a hair shy of the claimed 65-plus from the 169 cc Havana Classic 200i. Price wise, Lance beats the heck outta the Piaggio product with a $2,699 sticker versus the almost-snobbish $5,099 tag on the Primavera. And in the end you really have to ask yourself if the name and status of the Vespa justifies the crushing price tag? Methinks the Havana Classic fares pretty well in this contest.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “Another Italian copycat, but hey, who better to copy, am I right? I can see these small rides being more popular in Europe, Asia or in tight urban areas in the U.S., but not such a hot ticket in more open areas with faster speed limits. Can’t help but feel most American buyers will probably look for more cubes in the engine department, but the price is hard to beat, and that will have an impact I’m sure.”

She Said

"This really is a decent scooter for the price. Lest folks be wary of the Lance name, remember that it’s a rebranded SYM scooter and SYM was in partnership with Honda to make engines for Honda’s 150s. They’re a Taiwanese company, so folks who are uptight about "made in China’ labels can relax."

Specifications

Model: Havana Classic 50 Havana Classic 125 Havana Classic 200i
Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4 Stroke Single Cylinder with Ceramic Coating Cylinder Technology 4 Stroke Single Cylinder with Ceramic Coating Cylinder Technology 4-Stroke (EFI) Electronic Fuel Injection Engine (OHC) with Ceramic-Coated Cylinder
Displacement: 49 cc 124.6 cc 169 cc
Compression Ratio: 11.8:1 9.6:1 10.2±0.2 :1
Horsepower: 1.9 HP - 8500 RPM 8.38 HP - 7500 RPM 11.8 hp - 7500 RPM
Max Torque: 1.56 lb/ft - 6500 RPM 6.14 lb/ft - 6500 RPM 9.21 lb/ft - 5500 RPM
Cooling System: Air Cooled Air Cooled Air Cooled
Transmission: C.V.T. C.V.T. C.V.T.
Clutch: Centrifugal Type Centrifugal Type Auto Centrifugal Type
Drive: Belt Belt Belt
Electricals:
Starter: Electrical Starter Electrical Starter Electrical Starter
Ignition: CDI CDI ECU
Spark Plug: Torch A7RC Torch A7RC CR7HSA
Battery Capacity: 12V 6Ah (closed type, maintenance-free) 12V 6Ah (closed type, maintenance-free) 12V 8.6Ah (Closed Type, Maintenance-Free Battery)
Chassis:
Frame: High Strength Steel High Strength Steel High Strength Steel
Front Suspension: Telescopic Fork Telescopic Fork Telescopic Fork
Rear Suspension: Unit Swing Unit Swing Unit Swing
Front Brakes: Disc (180 mm) Disc (180 mm) Disc (190 mm) with Sport Style Wave Rotor and CBS-Combined Braking System
Rear Brakes: Drum (110 mm) Drum (130 mm) Disc (220 mm) with CBS-Combined Braking System
Front Tires: 110/70 - 12 110/70 - 12 110/70 - 12
Rear Tires: 3.5 - 10 3.5 - 10 120/70 - 152
Wheel: Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Dimensions & Capacities:
Weight Capacity: 333 Lbs 333 Lbs 333 Lbs
Net Weight: 220 lbs 220 lbs 231.48 Lbs
Fuel: Unleaded (90 octane or higher) Unleaded (90 octane or higher) Unleaded (90 octane or higher)
Fuel Capacity: 1.18 Gallons 1.18 Gallons 1.37 Gallons
Ground Clearance: 7.5 in 7.5 in 7.5 in
Length: 76.37 in 76.37 in 76.37 in
Width: 34.25 in 34.25 in 34.25 in
Height: 44.88 in 44.88 in 44.88 in
Seat Height: 30 in 30 in 30 in
Wheelbase: 51.57 in 51.57 in 1.57 in
Details:
Age Recommendation: 16+ 16+ 16+
Top Speed: 30 mph (restricted) 59 mph 65+ mph
MPG: 117 MPG 90 MPG 89 MPG
Government Certifications: EPA & DOT Approved, C.A.R.B. Approved for CA EPA & DOT Approved, C.A.R.B. Approved for CA EPA & DOT Approved, C.A.R.B. Approved for CA
Warranty: 24 Months Limited Warranty 24 Months Limited Warranty 24 Months Limited Warranty
Colors: Butterscotch Yellow, Arctic White, Ruby Red, Midnight Black & Sky Blue Butterscotch Yellow, Arctic White, Ruby Red, Midnight Black & Sky Blue Matte White, Matte Black, Matte Chocolate
Price: $1,799 $1,999 $2,699

References

Vespa Primavera

2015 - 2018 Vespa Primavera
- image 728267

See our review of theVespa Primavera.

SYM Fiddle III

2015 - 2018 SYM Fiddle III 200i
- image 710400

See our review of the SYM Fiddle III 200i.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: lancepowersports.com, vespausa.com, alliancepowersports.com

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