2017 Genuine Scooters Venture
A Big 16-Inch Wheel Gives Awesome Handlingby Allyn Hinton, on
Genuine Scooters expands its footprint with its brand-new “Venture” model. The 50 cc mill comes restricted to a 30 mph top speed with a 100-plus mpg efficiency rating. All-around disc brakes slow the abnormally large (for a scooter) 16-inch front tire and 14-inch rear. On top of all that, we have a thoroughly modern look that closely follows the classic scooter design elements while adding just the right amount of progressive body design. The Chicago-based company has publicly stated that its mission in life is to “bring a better scooter to the U.S.,” and the Venture is the latest attempt to do just that.
Continue reading for my review of the Genuine Scooter Company Venture.
2017 Genuine Scooters Venture
Top Speed:30 mph
The Venture leads the way with its largest asset; a 16-inch front wheel. Not only does that lend a certain beefiness to the front end, but it also improves the handling far beyond what you get with 10- or 12-inch wheels. A tripletree-mount mudguard rides just below the nose of the fairing for an almost adventure-bike look. The rest of the fairing is pretty clean with naught but a V-shaped louvered vent and molded-in turn signals to break up the entry.
Up top, the classic Italian handlebar enclosure keeps the control area clean and the headlamp contained. This is a nice touch that shows an appreciation for the early scoots. A full step-through leaves us with a flush deck and unimpeded mounting and dismounting, and of course, it gives me my favorite ’tween-feet storage area.
Seat height is reasonable at 29.5-inches tall, and the seat gives shorter riders a break with a tapered shape that prevents the seat from interfering with the rider’s thighs in the feet-down position. The saddle forms a nice butt bucket for the pilot with a short rise to the pillion seat that comes complete with a grab rail around the back.
Instrumentation is simple with only a speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge and battery monitor set in three analog dials, and a pair of turn-signal indicators. I really like the analog sweep gauges, but I know I’m ever more in the minority nowadays.
The sub-frame section peters out at a point with molded-in lights that fit right into the flow of the design, and this is kept clean by setting the tag holder and reflectors down on the skinny rear mudguard. All-in-all a very clean ride with just enough swoop in the lines to make it interesting to look at, but it is toward the small end of the spectrum and I gotta say tall riders are not going to be very comfortable.
Official info is sparse, but what we seem to have here is a combination of underframe support with some stressed-skin bracing built in. This is what allows that nice, flat step-through deck to exist in the first place, so I’m all for it. The front end rides on motorcycle-like hydraulic forks with a twin-pot caliper to slow the 16-inch, cast-alloy rim, and Genuine left the drum brakes in the history books where they belong and threw a hydraulic disc on the 14-inch rear tire as well. No ABS or brake linking action here, just straight-up brakeage.
A coil-over monoshock supports the rear end and dampens the motion of the swing-mount drivetrain, but like the front end, it comes with fixed preload and damping values. Yeah, in other words you can forget about tuning up to handle the weight of “that one friend” that always wants to ride, but I do recommend that you read up on the weight restrictions in your owner’s manual and don’t forget that fuel and cargo weight count toward that total.
At 49.3 cc, the Venture’s mill qualifies for the under-50 cc category. This means that in many areas, the Venture can be operated without a motorcycle license or insurance, but you’d better check your local laws before buying for that reason. As you’d expect, it has a liquid-cooled thumper on propulsion duties, and this one runs a three-valve head to control the flow.
Equally unsurprising is the continuously-variable transmission that provides twist-and-go operation with no need for a manual clutch or gear shift mechanism. A centrifugal clutch connects engine power to the variable-ratio transmission and the rear wheel. While the stock Venture comes restricted to a 30 mph top speed, I have it on good authority that if you take the restrictor off, you can get something around mid-forties from it. Enough for the highway? Forget about it, but it may make trips around town less fraught. Of course, I’m not advocating that you do that; just sayin’ that folks have done it. Check laws in your area to uncover the legalities of doing so.
These are budget-minded rides with a $1,599 sticker and a two-year, unlimited-mile warranty. The Venture comes shot in your choice of Glossy Titanium, White, Tangerine, and Turquoise, so you get a little variety on the palette.
Small-displacement rides with big wheels aren’t as common as the small-wheel variety, but the Soho 50 from Lance seems to fit the bill nicely. Maybe even a little bit better than “nicely” in fact, since the Soho mounts 16-inch wheels all the way around where the Venture subs in a 14-incher in the back.
The front fairings are only marginally different, and both carry a high-mount front mudguard. Full step-throughs are a constant across the board, but the Soho seems to skimp a bit with a somewhat less-refined saddle though both sport the usual under-seat dry storage. Genuine picks up a win in the chassis gear with all-around hydraulic discs while the Lance ride still uses a mechanical drum brake, but they run neck and neck with similar vanilla suspension components.
Engines are likewise similar in size, but where Genuine uses a water-jacketed engine, Lance sticks to good old-fashioned air cooling. I realize that arguments can be made either way, but for an urban commuter I would insist on liquid cooling, me. Since both come restricted to 30 mph, I won’t delve into the tedium of power numbers but instead suffice to say that they will both get up to that artificially limited max with enthusiasm.
In spite of the simpler engine, Lance rolls its Soho for $1,799, a couple of Benjamins more than the Genuine Scooters Venture, but hardly a deal breaker. For me, the lack of liquid-cooling was enough to sink the Soho. One thing Lance did get right was the color selection; the Soho 50 comes in half-a-dozen colors to include the fetching Butterscotch Yellow and Sky Blue hues.
My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “I like some of the colors, but no matter how you shoot it, it’s too small for me. I mean, I could probably cram myself behind the bars for a few minutes, but I’d have to make sure that nobody I knew saw me! In all fairness, it isn’t unattractive, it’s just a small frikkin’ scooter!”
"My husband is such a two-wheel snob, but he is right about one thing. These little scooters are a bit too small for him to be comfortable. I am fine with it, being height-challenged that I am. I really like the handling you get with the big 16-inch wheel, but don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s a 50 cc scooter. At urban traffic speeds, around the neighborhood or around campus, you’ll be fine; but heading out onto the highway is to be avoided."
|Engine:||49.3cc 4-Stroke Liquid Cooled|
|Braking:||Front and Rear Hydraulic Disc|
|Tire Size:||F: 16" R: 14"|
|Dry Weight:||218 lbs|
|Top Speed:||30 MPH|
|Warranty:||2-year / unlimited-mile|
|Colors:||Glossy Titanium, Tangerine, Turquoise, White|