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2014 Genuine Hooligan 170i: What’s in a name?

June 18, 2014
Genuine Hooligan 170i

Genuine’s Hooligan 170i is designed to be USED (Orin O’Neill photos)

If you’re a regular viewer of Craigslist’s scooters for sale, you’ve probably noticed how many of those scoots have been ridden infrequently, or hardly at all. But then a lot of those scooters don’t seem to lend themselves to day-in, day-out use. Genuine’s Hooligan 170i, OTOH, is very much the exception to that scooter rule.

While Genuine’s other modern scooter offerings are pretty much unchanged for U.S. consumption (except for the names… Buddy is probably a better choice for North America than BuBu), the Hooligan is built specifically for North America from various items in the PGO parts bin (if you really wanna know which parts, click here).

Not only is it unique to North America, the Hooligan looks tough enough for life on the mean streets of Chicago’s South Side, or Seattle’s Capitol Hill. No worries if it gets knocked over, just pick it up and go. Plastic body panels are much more resistant to damage, after all; the matte black or matte green bodywork of the Hooligan seems particularly so.

Hooligan rear suspension and exhaust

As you can see, everything else is beefy, too. Big honkin’ disc brakes on both ends, twin rear spring/shocks, and a suspension arm that looks carved from a solid block of… something.

Hooligan front view

The Hooligan is not a Roughhouse with a bigger engine; it’s bigger than pictures would suggest, almost the size of a Vespa GTS. Its 12-inch wheels can traverse cratered and heaved pavement much more comfortably than smaller ones, and offer many, many options for replacement tires. The Hooligan’s 12-inchers are shod with Maxxis semi-slick tires.

My favorite feature is the hooks on the outer edges of the floorboard, which are where you attach the included cargo net. This is the sort of thing that makes life easy for people who use scooters. What’s more, a recent email from Scooterworks showed a color-matched top case for the Hooligan that’s not only usefully large, it doesn’t make the bike look, uh, dorky.

On the road, you’ll be super-comfy on the Hooligan’s ample seat, and so will your passenger. However, your full-face helmet is just a skosh too tall for the underseat storage bin to allow the seat to close; otherwise it fits fine. Not to worry, there’s so much space in there, you can carry all kinds of other stuff. Oh, and the cable? That’s for connecting a battery tender. Yet another sign people who use their scooters were on Genuine’s mind.

Helmet in underseat bin

The fuel-injected 170cc engine (shared with the Buddy 170i) has ample power. Carrying passengers or stuff, and/or climbing hilly streets is no prob. The extra cc’s get you extra top speed, which means there’s no reason to avoid freeways.

But the name. For gosh sakes, of all the names they could’ve given it, WHY Hooligan?

Yes, I’m the first to admit I’m a voice in the wilderness on this subject. In the U.S. of A., vehicles with two wheels and an engine are mostly thought of as a component of a lifestyle. Even the ones without an engine—when was the last time you saw someone riding a bicycle dressed in standard business attire? Or plain ol’ casual clothes?

I realize lots of scooter riders want to be hooligans, or at least give that impression. But most people, uh, don’t.

Which means the non-hooligans out there might completely miss the utility, durability and practicality the Hooligan brings to the table. Because they don’t want to be hooligans.

A recent article featuring several rather cool motorcycles not available in the U.S. said pretty much the same thing. Many of the featured bikes were not available because the notion of a motorcycle as nothing more than transportation is completely foreign to most Americans. And the industry shows no inclination to try to change that perception.

Tacked=on blinker

Like many other scooters, the places the designers wanted to mount the blinkers are too close together for North America, so the Hooligan rocks tacked-on blinkers. At least they’re LEDs… on both ends. And mounted on flexible rubber stalks, so if the bike falls over the blinkers might survive intact.

Don’t get me wrong, I like this scooter. A lot. Not just enough to recommend highly, enough that I’d seriously consider writing a check for one of my very own. But when taking delivery, I would be sure to have a putty knife with me. The nameplates would simply have to go. Favicon

Many thanks to Garrett at Vespa Lynnwood for the test ride!

Plus: Designed to be USED, not to mention knocked over and ridden on crappy pavement.

Minus: Surely they could’ve called it something besides “Hooligan.”

The details

MSRP: $3,399
Built in: Taiwan
Construction: Tubular steel frame with attached plastic body panels
Curb weight: 278 lbs (126 kg)
Length: 73.6 in (1869 mm)
Width: 27.95 in (710 mm)
Wheelbase: 50.6 in (1285 mm)
Seat height: 30.75 in (781 mm)
Front susp: Telescopic fork
Rear susp: Swing arm w/dual hydraulic dampers & coil springs
Front brake: Hydraulic disc
Rear brake: Hydraulic disc
Front tire: 120/70-12
Rear tire: 130/70-12
Engine: 168.9cc air-cooled, single-cylinder 4-stroke with EFI and electronic ignition
Transmission:  Continuously variable with centrifugal dry clutch
Power/torque: N/A
  1. harlin harris permalink
    June 19, 2014 10:53 am

    How. fast. does. it run ?

  2. June 19, 2014 12:20 pm

    Genuine claims their usual “60+” mph top speed. I have no reason to doubt that, though I am not able to do anything like an instrrumented test. And the scooter was brand-new, with almost no miles on it, so time and mileage will loosen it up, making for a slight increase in performance.

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