As cool as a scooter can be

It's not the urban revolution Gilera would have you believe, but the Runner has style

The stars of the show were the athletes from Urban Freeflow, practitioners of the unique form of inner-city gymnastics known as freestyle parkour. Before we got near the scooters, Ben, Blue and Sticky gave a heart-stopping display of cat-leaps, precision jumps and rolls.

The point of all this, apparently, was that Urban Freeflow have perfected an exhilarating new way of travelling through a city and so, you guessed it, has Gilera. I was supposed to be convinced that the acrobatic courage of three young athletes would be mirrored in the new range of 50cc and 125cc Runner scooters.

Take the words "credulity", "stretched" and "breaking point" and rearrange them to create a phrase PR people never want to hear. By the time I was introduced to a 15horsepower 125cc Runner, my natural cynicism was fully alert.

But Runners are not aimed at comfortable middle-aged motorcyclists who possess unrestricted licences and can afford 1100cc superbikes. They are meant for teenagers with attitude. I met one at a park in Bermondsey. "Is that the new Gilera?" he asked "Cool. Where'd ya get it?" When I explained that I was test-riding it for The Independent, he proposed a deal. Since it did not belong to me he wondered if I'd mind turning my back while he pinched it.

Is that a recommendation? In this market it is probably the best one you can get. The upside is that the Runner is technically good, too. Gilera calls it "a scooter with the soul of a motorcycle". It is not complete fantasy: the top-heavy, hornet-shaped front end and tapered tail push the rider into a crouch vaguely approaching the posture needed to ride a sports bike.

There are three models in the new range; fuel-injected and carburettor versions of the 16-year- old- learner legal two-stroke 50cc, and the VX 125, which has a four-stroke power plant. All are liquid-cooled.

The 50cc models use upside-down front forks and a rear mono-shock. The 125cc has conventional forks and twin hydraulic shock absorbers at the back. Gilera claims quicker acceleration and sharper braking than their competitors, combined with low fuel consumption and emissions.

The VX 125 has the oomph to compete in London traffic. Pick-up is as near to instant as I have experienced and progress up to 50mph is smooth and brisk. But the best enhancement, common to all three models, is the new, large, lightweight alloy wheels. The Runner's front end now hosts a six-spoke 14in wheel and takes a genuinely sporty 120/70 tyre. The 13in 140/70 rear gives a real sense of security. The outcome is good handling and plenty of potential for the sort of stunt-riding young scooter fans so enjoy - in the safe privacy of deserted car parks, of course.

Of the two 50cc versions, my preference was for the simplicity of the Runner SP with its carburettor-fed engine, but the difference was marginal. The fuel-injected Purejet version is even better for the environment and offers quicker acceleration (5.5 seconds to cover 30m from standstill against 6.2 seconds). My advice is to ride both and choose according to feel.

The Runner is a scooter, not a revolution in the art of urban transport. But its sharp contours, signature Gilera headlight, in which twin lamps are covered by a single transparent sheet, and ultra-sleek profile do make it very pretty. The back-lit analogue-digital instrument panel is as comprehensive as any available at this level in the market.

All three Runners are fun. They cannot leap between buildings, but locating the fuel tank under the central tunnel helps to create a low centre of gravity. And that, combined with a rigid tubular steel frame, makes for excellent agility and precise handling. The Runners will be available from September.

Specifications

Model: Runner VX 125

Engine: Single cylinder, liquid-cooled 4-stroke Piaggio Leader 124cc

Brakes: front 240mm disc, rear 220mm disc

Fuel capacity: 8.7 litres

Running weight: 135kg

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Life and Style
The spring/summer 2015 Louis Vuitton show for Paris Fashion Week
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Associate Recrutiment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

    Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

    £120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

    PMLD Teacher

    Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

    Day In a Page

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?