Since its unveiling at the International Motorcycle Exhibition (EICMA) in Milan last fall, the Piaggio Beverly Sport Touring 350 has been one of the most highly-anticipated and talked about new scooter models for 2012. The Beverly (known as the BV in the US) line has historically comprised quality large displacement models, but it’s never generated this degree of buzz and excitement. The hype is understandable. The restyled BV 350 is the launchpad for a new Piaggio 33hp 350cc engine and redesigned automatic transmission utilizing a multiplate we clutch. For the laymen, this means a smaller, more efficient engine with the power of a larger one and a smoother transmission requiring much less maintenance than existing designs. The service intervals for the new model are roughly three times longer than current BVs.
The new model (which is replacing all BV models for 2012) was included in dealer order forms at the beginning of the year, with an expected delivery date of April or May. A recent Piaggio email response to a customer query stated Spring 2012. However, a bureaucratic snag could delay delivery.
As of this now, the BV 350 has yet to be certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for sale in the Golden State. California has very specific emissions and related engineering requirements for all vehicles. Any new engine or design must go through exhaustive testing, then a sometimes lengthy certification process. (New engines are sometimes subject to heavier scrutiny.) CARB’s closed-door bureaucracy often means manufacturers have only a tenuous inkling of when certification may come—and these inklings are often wrong.
In the past, other manufacturers have released models outside California while awaiting CARB approval. SYM’s Honda Cub clone, the Symba, was available for two years in 49 states before CARB approved it for sale in California and its Fiddle model was delayed by almost a year. Others have opted to avoid CARB certification by not selling a model in California at all: the original Genuine Stella 2-stroke, Suzuki’s TU 250 motorcycle and Vespa’s millennial PX 2-stroke. However, Piaggio/Vespa has never released a model intended for nationwide sale without CARB certification.
One possible ray of sunshine: A number of Piaggio’s motorcycle models were certified earlier this week. The BV 350 could be next in line. We can only hope, as we’re eager to test ride this promising new scooter.