We’ve seen a steady stream of new models come out of Genuine Scooter Company over the past few years. One of the latest is a big wheel, modern-style scooter they’re calling the Venture. We got a chance to take the Venture 50 for a spin, and overall we liked what we found. Like any 50cc scooter, the Venture 50 is not a complicated scooter to understand, so we’re going to break it down simple.
The 2016 Genuine Venture 50 is available in four colors, and the MSRP is just $1,599. In terms of form factor, it’s similar in size and layout to the Kymco People.
The Venture 50 is powered by a 4T, liquid-cooled, 3-valve single based on the same architecture as the venerable Yamaha Zuma. Unrestricted, this engine produces 4.2 hp and 3.6 lb-ft of torque. For such a small engine, these outputs are respectable. Modders and scofflaws alike will be happy to know that when restricted to 2.0 hp, that restriction is a plug-in chip, and not a more complicated mechanical restriction*.
The Venture I rode was unrestricted, so I got to experience the Venture at full thrust. Like any 50cc scooter, acceleration feels glacial. This isn’t the Venture’s fault. It’s the fault of an engine class that, in my opinion, shouldn’t exist, but that’s a topic for another day. All I’ll say for now is that like performance nerds love to say, there is no replacement for displacement. Unrestricted, the Venture will do better than 40 mph, but it’ll still take a while to get there.
For all the Venture lacks in power, it at least makes a pleasant enough exhaust sound, and does get up and going eventually. Yet with all 6’3″ of me onboard, the poor Venture had to work for it. At stops, there was a noticeable amount of engine vibration typical of any thumper, except that on the Venture, this vibration seemed most concentrated in the seat. While not uncomfortable, it was definitely noticeable. This could have been specific to my particular bike, however.
Less noticeable on a test ride but important none-the-less, the Venture features key electronics and ignition component upgrades from Genuine’s network of high-quality Taiwanese suppliers. This bodes well for the bike’s reliability, serviceability, and parts availability in the long term. More on that later.
Handling and braking
Leaving behind the trappings and limitations of 50ccs, once the Venture is up to speed its actual riding character comes to light. Because of its 16″ front and 14″ rear wheels, the Venture has a very motorcycle-like feel in its riding dynamics. What I mean by that is that the Venture is very stable and well planted on the road the instant it starts rolling. The frame geometry on the Venture is pretty neutral. Steering is neither heavy nor light, and the Venture tracked very well into turns thanks not just to its wheel size and chassis geometry, but also to the sportier tires that come as standard.
Braking is beyond adequate and is supplied by a slotted front disk brake, and cross-drilled rear disk brake. Feel is even pretty good, which is unexpected on a 50cc scooter. This is due to a combination of well-matched master cylinders and Genuine’s choice to upgrade the Venture to stainless steel braided brake lines front and rear. This is just one of many improvements Genuine has made to the Venture over its original spec. More on that in a moment.
While the suspension setup is not particularly sophisticated or adjustable, it’s perfectly adequate to 50cc scooter duty. The bike stayed planted as I attempted to dodge Chicago potholes and soaked them up well enough when I failed. Most of all, the combination of big wheels and adequate suspension made the Venture feel easy to ride. While it still feels like a scooter in the broad sense, it definitely feels a lot less twitchy than its 10″ cousins.
Looks, fit and finish
What some may not realize about Genuine Scooter Company is that they are not a manufacturer. There is no Genuine factory cheerfully churning out scooters somewhere in Ohio, Taiwan or Shanghai. Instead what Genuine has done from even the early days of the Stella is identify good scooters abroad that aren’t being sold in the USA. They’ll then work with those manufacturers to import those scooters to America. Yet before that happens, Genuine works with those manufacturing partners to rigorously improve those scooters and make sure they’ll meet DOT, EPA and CARB standards. These improvements range from upgraded ignition and electronics components, to bespoke engine specs, to upgraded shocks, and almost always improvements to paint, fit and finish.
In the case of the Venture, those upgrades are significant. As previously mentioned, the Venture features front and rear disk brakes and stainless lines connecting them. It has upgraded ignition and electronics components. At a more aesthetic level, the Venture also features stainless steel hardware and anodized aluminum components throughout. These have replaced lower quality fasteners and cheap, ugly finishes on components across the bike. Certain items have been powder coated in new colors for better aesthetics. Most noticeably, the Venture’s paint finish looks fantastic. I dare say it’s as nice or nicer a finish than anything I’ve seen come out of PGO on Genuine’s behalf. All these little tweaks and upgrades really add up. In fact, at one point as I was touring Genuine’s R&D facility, there was an example of the scooter the Venture is based on, and I honestly didn’t recognize it as the same bike. It had to be pointed out to me and as soon as it was, the difference in quality was obvious.
Getting back to some of the Venture’s more nuts and bolts features, under-seat storage is typical of a scooter this size. An open-face helmet would fit beneath the seat, but only the smallest full-face helmets would. The team at Genuine told us that they opted for less dish in the underside of the seat in order to get the overall seat height down to an approachable 30.5″. The drawback is a small loss in under-seat storage. Yet while it might not fit big helmets, there’s still plenty of room in there for the average riding jacket or a couple bags of groceries.
Ergonomics on the Venture 50 are surprisingly spacious. In all the ways the Venture’s 50cc powerplant couldn’t easily accommodate all 6’3″ of me, the bike’s actual dimensions were very comfortable. Unlike many scooters, I could swing the handlebars from lock to lock without having to move my knees out of the way. The seat is adequately comfortable, even for someone my size, and two-up riding is certainly possible, provided you’re not in a hurry.
The grips, switches, gauges and other touch points on the Venture 50 feel good. Most importantly, they don’t feel cheap. Nothing about the Venture feels cheap, actually. The finishes are great. The details are nice. At just $1,599, if the Venture were any nicer, it’d simply have to be more expensive. This was our assessment of the Genuine G400C prototype when we rode it, so it’s nice to see that Genuine’s attention to detail isn’t just for their big, aspirational product launches. They’re taking the same level of care and attention to detail when it comes to smaller, less expensive bikes as well. The only think I’d ding it for in this area is the size of the Venture badges. They’re enormous. I don’t need to be able to read the model name from across the street.
While we only spent a few miles on the Venture for this first ride review, what was most obvious was all the care that was taken by Genuine’s product development team in bringing this bike to market with the right mix of upgrades and quality finishes. Add to that Genuine’s dealer network, 2-year warranty and roadside assistance programs, and the case for the 2016 Genuine Venture 50 starts to make itself. If a 50cc scooter is where your sights are set, then this bike should definitely be in your consideration set. Rumor has it a 125cc or 150cc version of the Venture might be in the works. We’re hoping that comes to fruition because this bike deserves more power. Regardless, if you’re looking at off-brand 50cc scooters in an effort to save a buck or two, consider paying only slightly more and getting yourself a real scooter. The Venture 50 definitely qualifies there.
*It’s up to you to follow your state and local laws when it comes to 50cc scooter power restriction.