Exclusive: Hands-on With the Genuine Hooligan 170i

New models are few and far between in the scooter world. The R&D costs are significant. The logistics are complicated. Meeting regulatory standards can be challenging to say the least. Yet with all those hurdles in place, Genuine Scooter Company has brought something not just new, but interesting to the scooter market for 2014: The Hooligan 170i.

We had an opportunity recently to go hands-on with the latest Genuine two-wheeler, and what we found was surprisingly compelling. While the cat’s been out of the bag for a while now in terms of the Hooligan’s existence, there are definitely some misconceptions out there. Misconceptions the folks at Genuine were more than happy to clear up.

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Myths busted

Firstly, this is not a Roughhouse 50 with a bigger drive-train installed. Not so. The Hooligan’s dimensions dwarf the Roughhouse. In fact, lined up tire to tire, the Roughhouse ends where the Hooligan’s pillion seat begins. The overall footprint of the Hooligan 170i looks more like a 250-class scooter, actually.

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Secondly, the Hooligan is not simply a re-badged PGO xHot. The Hooligan is actually a combination of components pulled from their Taiwanese manufacturing partners at PGO. The Hooligan starts with the PGO Libra chassis, and then includes a handful of components from the xHot. Under the proverbial hood, the Hooligan is the bottom end and extended swing arm from the Blur 150, with the top end and fuel system out of the Buddy 170i.

While this sounds a bit mish-mash at first, the Hooligan 170i doesn’t feel thrown together in the slightest. If anything, because this bike has been assembled from components hand-picked by Genuine to work together as a cohesive package, the Hooligan 170 feels more put together than most of the other PGO bikes in the Genuine lineup. In particular, since this machine has been put together specifically for the American market, there are a number of details that set it apart from its European and Asian counterparts.

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A focus on utility

While Vespa is currently focused on sculpted design and technology in machines like the 946 and the Sprint, Genuine has focused the Hooligan 170i on more day-to-day utility. The Hooligan 170i has two key features that set it apart from every other scooter on the market right now.

The first is a downright cavernous under-seat storage. Scooterists have stuff to haul. We’ve got gear to haul. At the very least most of us want somewhere to stuff our riding jacket whenever we arrive at the office. The under-seat storage on the Hooligan 170i is one of the largest I’ve seen on any scooter.

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The second, and perhaps cleverest practical feature of the Hooligan 170i is a set of hooks on the perimeter of the foot boards. Their purpose? Tie down points for a standard moto cargo net. This turns the Hooligan 170i’s ample foot boards into yet more cargo space. We’ve all hauled something between our feet, now you can do so with a much higher degree of safety. Pretty clever.

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Built for two

The Hooligan 170i’s size is no accident. In particular, Genuine had pillions in mind when it put PGO parts together to form this machine. The extended wheelbase and big seat are designed specifically for people who want to ride together.

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The whole package

Genuine has worked closely with both PGO and LML over the years to Americanize their offerings for this market. Yet the Hooligan 170i represents something very interesting from Genuine Scooter Company: a scooter created entirely to their specifications. Yes, it’s from the LEGO set of PGO’s current mechanical tooling, but it’s a scooter built from a uniquely Genuine point of view. While it’s certainly not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, the Hooligan 170i won’t be mistaken for anything else out there. The styling is certainly aimed squarely at the Yamaha Zuma crowd, yet when compared to the big Zuma, the 125, the Hooligan 170i is certainly a more compelling package.

What about the ride? Stay tuned. We’ll have riding impressions for you next.

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