retromania '80 '90 the golden era of scooters


the golden era of scooters

Vaporwave aesthetics, retro wave suggestions, minimal lines. The watchword is nostalgia.The aesthetics of the '80s and '90s have completely swept us off our feet, all without limits of age or gender.
The icons of those years, including fashion, music, movies, TV series and style icons, still fascinate not only those who experienced them first hand, but also and especially the younger generations.
In the world of motors, the period between 1980 and the beginning of the 1990s was the one that marked the boom of the cinquantini, the 50 cc mopeds.
The Piaggio Sì, the Malaguti Fifty, the Aprilia SR are just some of the mopeds that obsessed 14-year-old motor enthusiasts of the time.Scooters of every colour and shape came on the market: from those with a more urban style to those with off-road lines.
For this reason we do not want to draw up a proper ranking of the best-loved scooters - that would be impossible - but to list here some of the models that have now become legendary.
Yamaha MBK BoosterProduced by the Japanese manufacturer since 1988, it was also distributed in Europe as the MBK Booster and it is under this name that we Europeans know it.
The MBK Booster was marketed in Silky White and Blue (called Silky White) from 1990 to 1991, and Silky White and Red (called Raspberry Red) from 1991 to 1992. It was characterised by having high, knobbly wheels, and in fact the original idea was for a high-wheeled scooter suitable for the beach, hence the abbreviation 'BW' for 'Big Wheels'.
If the moped received a lukewarm reception initially, the reception at the 1989 Paris show was different; production was thus moved to the French factory of what was then Motobécane, which became MBK Europe after being bought by Yamaha.In 2010, again under the name 'BW's', a 125 cm³ model was presented with a totally different mechanical layout: a new four-stroke engine. In 2018, production was stopped due to poor sales.
Malaguti Phantom F12Presented at the Milan motor show in October 1993, the Malaguti Phantom was produced by the Italian manufacturer from 1993 to 2011.
Also thanks to a very well characterised aesthetics, with a front end and elusive, eye-catching lines inspired by aeroplanes, it is one of the most dreamed of and admired scooters of the 1990s.
In its first ten years of production, over 350,000 units were sold, and to celebrate the milestone in 2003, the special 'Capirex' version was presented with graphics inspired by the Ducati Desmosedici ridden by Loris Capirossi in MotoGP.
It is equipped with air cooling, a disc brake at the front and a drum brake at the rear, and a dashboard with three dials containing the odometer, petrol level and clock.
Piaggio SìThe scooter par excellence. Light, practical and easy to handle, the Piaggio Sì, produced since 1978, marks the era of "simple" mopeds.
Its mechanics are based on the classic single-cylinder 2T 50 cc engine with 1.5 bhp at 4,500 rpm, a refinement of the engine that already equips all Piaggio's high-wheel mopeds. Its more evolved chassis, in Piaggio's intentions, serves to conquer not so much the younger public as the more mature clientele, who see two-wheelers as a valid alternative to the car. This is why the Sì has a telescopic front fork and a cantilever-type suspension with hydraulic shock absorber for the rear.In all, eight versions of the Sì were launched on the market in 1979: variants with spoked wheels or alloy wheels; those with a single saddle and luggage rack or a long two-seater saddle. Of these, four had the speed variator with a price range from 323 to 377 thousand liras.
Malaguti Fifty TopProduced from 1974 until 1997 by Malaguti based in San Lazzaro di Savena, the Fifty belongs to the group of so-called "tuboni" (big tubes), among which it is one of the most successful models.Its latest evolution dates back to 1994, the year when it was marketed in the characteristic burgundy colourway with grey and shocking yellow sketches. It is distinguished from its predecessor by a complete fairing and rich instrumentation, while the Morini engine combined with a four-speed gearbox and large seat complete the picture of one of the most successful scooters ever.By law the Fifty is sold with a 1.5 hp and 45 km/h limit; even if unlocked (with consequent loss of warranty and with use limited to the track) the engine delivers more power in the rpm range between 6000 and 10500 rpm.
Aprilia SRIn 1992 Aprilia paved the way for the sports scooter concept.
With tyres, sporty suspension, and a more powerful engine than other 50 cm³ mopeds, the Aprilia SR 50 proves to be faster and more agile than most competitors. By 2004, sales exceeded 800,000 units and by the 1990s it was an exception in the moped world, oriented towards motorbike trends.
The technical solutions used in the first series of the Aprilia SR are avant-garde and borrowed right from the motorbike world: from the front disc brake to the tele-hydraulic fork, passing on to the electric or kick starter, up to the colours and lines of the fairings similar to those of the 125cc and 250cc championships, such as the Max Biaggi and Romboni versions, inspired by their respective racing RSs.
Production for the European market ends at the end of 2020 due to the entry into force of the Euro 5 standard from January 2021 and the difficulties with homologation of the now old two-stroke engine.

The 1980s and 1990s were also times of modifications, the period when people found themselves talking about serpentine mufflers, 75cc cylinder heads, replacing rollers and clutches to modify their machine and push it to the max, or removing throttles to exploit the engine's potential to the full. Some improvise as mechanics and make the modifications with friends, others take the scooter to their trusted mechanic.
In conclusion, whatever the lines, whatever the colours, whatever the performance, mopeds were and are synonymous with youth and carefreeness, summer, friendship and freedom. And after all, what could be more nostalgic than all this?
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