Putting a helmet on your head was once a spiritual experience - you were entering the dome of silence and no-one and nothing was going to contact you until you turned the engine off at the destination. No more. The Piaggio X9 500 Maxi scooter comes with a sophisticated communications system that enables you to integrate your mobile phone, use the FM radio, and even transfer calls to your pillion passenger via the intercom. It's specifications are pretty impressive as a high tech motorcycle, so don't let the scooter bit fool you.
The liquid cooled, fuel injected 500cc four stroke single has a fully automatic CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission) which enables it to rocket the bike way past an imperial ton (163 kmh). Ideal for smaller and lighter riders thanks to its low seat height, it has overcome one of motorcycling's major ergonomic issues too - putting a bike on its centre-stand is probably the most challenging of all manoeuvres for a small rider and the X9 has a push-button electro-hydraulic centre stand which does the job for you.
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It's so space-age, it stands up against some fierce competition for high technology scooter design in the Suzuki Burgman and Benelli Adiva. We're getting one of these to play with for a week or two, so we'll tell you more about it in a few weeks.
If you just have to rush out and buy one, count on US$7,000 on the road.View gallery - 5 images