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Chunky, funky, pricey - but fun

2011-11-01 07:07


NIGHT FLIGHT: Which is something the Gilera 800 can do - 0-160km/h in 10sec and on to 200km/h - with the groceries aboard.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer GILERA
Model GP 800 Maxi-scooter
Engine 839cc V-twin
Power 56kW
Transmission Constantly variable
Zero To Hundred Five seconds (est)
Top Speed 200km/h+
Fuel Tank 16 litres
Price R130 000
I desperately wanted to like the “twist ‘n go” Gilera GP800 maxi-scooter that came our way about a week ago. With its 839cc, twin-cylinder motorcycle engine it should have been a hoot to ride.

Especially with its really useful scooter-type frame. Hang on just a mo — this wee beastie weighs in at 235 kg…

Perhaps in Rome and other parts of Italy and Europe maxi-scooters are simply the bee’s knees to own and be seen on. Unfortunately, by the time all the import duties have been paid for entry into South Africa, the cost of the Gilera in the picture above pushes the ticket price up to a stratospheric R130 000!


Yes, it’s probably a very good commuter, and yes, it can accommodate a week’s groceries in the vast “boot” below the seat, and once again yes: one could probably get home for lunch in about 30 seconds if there was a fire.

One thing’s for sure, though: unless you meet a Bugatti Veyron at the traffic lights, nothing, simply nothing on four wheels is going to pull away quicker from the Gilera. Zero to 160km takes only 10 seconds(!), and then there’s the potential of a top speed in the region of 210km/h to give everyone a fright.

Trouble is, it’s horrible to ride. It’s even heavier than a BMW 1200GS… I know that because I dropped one once while negotiating ‘Die Hel’ - Gamkaskloof - and had to wait for another journo to help.

Can you imagine the embarrassment trying to pick up what purports to be simply a scooter (albeit one with an extraordinary wheelbase of 1593 mm) in, say, the car park at Canal Walk in front of all those teeny boppers.

The Gilera 800 is unwieldy - as if the centre of balance is somehow in the wrong place. The adjustable windscreen is certainly useful; it re-directs the bugs aiming directly for you on to very expensive sports cars trying to keep up with you…


Thankfully, it’s easy to rein in them wild horses via the Brembo three-disc set-up. Trouble is, after all this, it is a still only a scooter with small wheels. And that’s my point.

By way of comparison, a well-known Japanese motorcycle manufacturer in this past month launched a “full-sized” motorcycle with a similar-sized engine to that of the Gilera while also boasting brilliant brakes along with a three-piece luggage set that’ll take a month’s shopping, nogal, for R114 000.
OK, I know all about the “horses for courses” scenario, so let’s say the “twist ’n go’ GP800 isn’t for me, and leave it at that. But you, dear reader, might just want to know more about Gilera’s super-scoot.

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