A new scooter redefines what we have come to expect from scooters.
Story: Joshua Varghese
Photography: Sanjay Raikar
‘More speed, more power’ is something that always runs through my mind when I am riding most scooters. As convenient, easy, and fun as they are, they just lack the firepower to hold good speed or cover distances easily. Keeway, a Hungarian manufacturer, has stepped in to fill that void with two scooters, the Sixties 300i and the Vieste 300, and we got an opportunity to spend some time with the former.
Even before swinging a leg across the scooter, it was immediately evident that this one was in a class of its own. True to its name, the styling explicitly harks back to a bygone era and seems to have been inspired by a few iconic American classic cars. When was the last time we saw a fender ornament or a grille on a scooter? The generously proportioned bodywork at the rear completes the “big and beautiful” look, further amplified by the retro seats and unique tail-lamps. All these elements come together to form a package that is not just distinctly retro but also rather well-executed and such commitment is in short supply among mass-market products. There is simply no other scooter in the market today that stands out as much as this one does.
The Sixties 300i employs a digital-analogue instrument cluster that displays just the bare essentials in a crisp and clear format, the most modern element in its vicinity being the mobile phone charger. The seating position is comfortable thanks to the generously padded twin seats and there is ample leg-room as well, even for tall people. In addition to the seats and under-seat storage, some people use the floorboard too for storage but that will not work with this one. The Sixties’ 10-litre fuel tank’s filler cap is located in the floorboard, so that will not take a lot of weight. One may expect that to free up a lot of under-seat storage but that is not the case. Only the rider’s seat flips open and there is just enough space for a helmet in there.
Under the voluminous bodywork is a 278-cc, four-valve, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine that develops 18.7 hp and 22 Nm of peak torque. That may not seem like much at first glance but it does make the Sixties one of the most powerful scooters on sale in India. The engine sends out noticeable levels of oscillation and that translates into pronounced levels of vibration while the scooter is idling. However, all that is ironed out once in motion. The amount of travel at the throttle is something that needs getting used to but the scooter surges forward without a moment’s hesitation. The initial torque on offer makes this scooter engaging to ride right off the line and the way it gathered momentum was refreshing—maybe, even eye-opening—when compared to most scooters in the market today. It attains 60 km/h (indicated) from standstill quickly without skipping a beat and is easily capable of cruising at speeds close to 90 km/h (indicated), which opens the doors to many long-distance riding opportunities.
Even with a potent engine and a healthy distribution of torque, the Hungarian manufacturer needs to address the stiffly sprung suspension. This scooter’s ride quality over well-paved roads lives up to expectations but falls short on the ones with undulations and in our country, the former is scarce. On the bright side, the suspension set-up pays rich dividends when it comes to handling. The Sixties is nice and predictable and inspires enough confidence in one to tip it into a corner despite the scooter’s size and bulk. Riding through traffic is also similarly easy. Interestingly, the other scooter from Keeway, the Vieste 300, uses 13-inch wheels (while the Sixties uses 12-inch wheels) and I can’t help feeling that it would have improved the dynamics for this one too. Braking is managed by disc brakes at both ends and they do their job well, supplemented by dual-channel ABS.
The Keeway Sixties 300i is certainly something that scooter enthusiasts have wanted for a long time but given its price of Rs 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom), it is likely to grace the garages/driveways of only the affluent ones among them. That apart, it has what it takes to carve a niche for itself and set a new benchmark for scooters in India. Since Keeway and Benelli are owned by the same parent company, they will currently be using Benelli’s dealership network in the country.
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