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march 11, 2010 - Scarabeo

Scarabeo, a history of successes

In 1990 the Aprilia design laboratories created a high wheeled scooter which shaped the course of the next decade with its original design and outstanding commercial success.
Presented to the public for the first time in September 1993 in the 50 cc version, Scarabeo has gradually increased its engine capacity and widened its range to become a highly versatile scooter which has adapted to the mobility requirements of increasingly more complex and sophisticated customers.

Today, the Scarabeo family is one of the most numerous on the market and able to cater for a wide variety of needs. From 1993 to the present day, a full range has been created which is constantly updated from a design, technical, engine and performance point of view and at the peak of its success consists of a total of 7 different models:

·SCARABEO 50 Street
·SCARABEO 50 4Valvole
·SCARABEO 125 i.e. 
·SCARABEO 200 i.e.  
·SCARABEO 500 i.e.

The idea of a “City Bike“ was conceived in Aprilia in 1990; it was an idea that was gradually transformed, sketch after sketch, into a vehicle that was completely different from any other made before, with high wheels and unusual bodywork: while everyone else was adopting futuristic, extreme, pointed lines, Aprilia opted for the soft, rounded lines of a classical look.
The designers were apprehensive about presenting on the market a vehicle with such revolutionary lines, so much so that they decided to give it the name of Scarabeo, which had already brought Aprilia luck at the beginning of 1970s for an original and successful “scrambler/cross” with a small engine capacity.

Completely unexpectedly, Scarabeo became a trend-setter, an inspiration for everyone and started a real "Scarabeo Mania" that has led to the production of over 750,000 Scarabeo scooters to date.
The key to success is a mixture of elements that make Scarabeo the only one of its kind. Whether the “small”, ageless 50 cc or the 500 cc flagship, Scarabeo offers its customers a unique way to get around. In addition to the safety guaranteed by its high wheels and perfect chassis, Scarabeo riders combine the unique opportunity of experiencing urban mobility with timeless style and personality which never goes out of fashion.

A unique example of Italian style and technology that has been able to win a place in the history of two-wheel mobility in a short space of time.

The 1970s
The first vehicle called Scarabeo is created in Aprilia in January 1970. However, it was not the same scooter that we know today but a distant predecessor, a 50 cc motocross bike. The name, taken from the ancient Egyptian culture, lived up to expectations: Scarabeo became the lucky forefather of a series of off-road vehicles with a number of different engines that are produced until 1974.  

This was the beginning of a long, tiring design path that leads to the development of the Scarabeo as it is conceived today.
The title of the research project that created the unique high wheeled scooter was surprisingly simple: “S tudy for a City Bike”. Scarabeo is therefore the result of development of a project that owes a great deal to the motorcycling culture.  
The first sketch, dated 4 November 1990, clearly shows all the motorcycle features: central tunnel, wide section wheel, and even – in that first study – a single arm front fork.

Giuseppe Ricciuti, designer of all the Scarabeos, created two projects, the first one still inspired by an intermediate version of the original city bike, with traditional suspension, smaller section wheels and a central tunnel. The second one was more compact, the tunnel was removed and it included wheels with a smaller section and larger diameter. Two more versions were created from this base, one inspired by an elegant but slightly retro style, the other more contemporary. The first prevailed and on 18 May 1992, a maquette was presented, from which unrivalled commercial success would begin.
At this point, an engineering project began that would keep the technical team busy for roughly one year. Scarabeo is the first Aprilia vehicle on which computer was used extensively in its technical development.

In September, the first Scarabeo produced in Noale was unveiled at the International Cycling and Motorcycling Exhibition.  
Scarabeo immediately became a best seller, a fashion statement across all ages thanks to its amazingly efficient technical features: Scarabeo was a light, easy to handle, safe, high wheeled scooter (a real innovation at the time), with ridiculously low fuel consumption that was perfect for city riding.

1994 - 1998
In this period the Scarabeo project dominated the market. In addition to the wide range of new colours, there were also new technical developments, not the least of which was the rear disc brake. Scarabeo was one of the first high wheeled scooters to fit disc brakes, a sure sign that one of the most classical scooters was also attentive to safety and technology.

 Following on from the 50 cc., the 125 and 150 cc models were developed at the end of the 1990s. 
Scarabeo evolved with the times. It was a response to the growing need for space and the need to share rediscovered freedom with a passenger on a vehicle that could replace cars even over medium-range distances as well as Aprilia's answer to constant growth in the market of vehicles with engines larger than 50 cc. Since it was presented in Lisbon, with its distinctive personality, the “Scarabeone” also made its mark immediately. 

The Scarabeo family was enriched with new models and technologies: the new 4-stroke engines, the 100 and 200 cc. versions, the revolutionary DITECH engine with very low emission rates and the 4-stroke 50. The pursuit of elegant and environmentally-friendly urban mobility had now become a distinctive feature of the Scarabeo.

The Scarabeo 125/200 GT version was born: medium windshield, built-in hand guards, new concept front cowls, two-tone colour combinations.

10 years had now passed since the creation of the Scarabeo and in those ten years, the Scarabeo had continued to be an icon of its time.  
The demand for mobility had evolved. 
The scooter had gone from being a simple commuting tool to playing a major part in the organisation of free time. 
New lines and new concepts were developed by the Aprilia design laboratory. The Scarabeo 500 came to light and truly represented the touring class. From the city centre to the outskirts, from home to the open road for a trip out of town, from the road to the motorway for a proper journey: flexibility was an intrinsic part of the Scarabeo 500 and in 2004 the ABS version was also introduced.
Compared with its 1993 forerunner the engine capacity increased considerably, the engine went from 2 to 4-stroke and the line was much more distinctive and inspired by models that had made two-wheel history, such as the Moto Guzzi Galletto. With its excellent engine and chassis performance, high wheels and bags, the Scarabeo 500 was the most “grand touring” scooter that had ever come out of Noale.

In 2004 a move from the Rotax 200 cc engine to the Piaggio 250 cc engine confirmed the full technical maturity of the Scarabeo. The arrival of the new engine led to an upgrade of the entire vehicle as could be seen in the new design that made it so different from the 200 version. 
Scarabeo established itself as a flexible scooter, agile for about-town use and practical for touring or transport needs. It skilfully played the role of those products that in accordance with classic stylistic features, are a benchmark for anyone seeking a sombre, contemporary style. 
Scarabeo, which was by this time a historic Aprilia vehicle, a product that had reached the threshold of 70,000 units per year and boasted at least a dozen attempts to copy it, celebrated a total of 250,000 units (over 50 cc) sold world-wide. A new, original 50 cc graphic version was also created called “Graphic”.

A very important year for the Scarabeo in which major work was carried out on the whole range. This was the year in which the “small” versions of the Scarabeo, the originals that started Scarabeo Mania, were restyled. New restyled elements and modifications in every division renewed its appearance without modifying its image. The “Street” versions of the scooter were created with 125 and 200 cc engines and the new 500 arrived, more compact and slender for better around-town riding. The “flagship” version received a new 400 cc engine with lower insurance costs that could be driven by young people with an A2 class licence.

The 250 ie version was created, featuring the same elegance as its 500 cc older brother, and the new Scarabeo 125/200s arrived: their simplicity and compact size meant a return to the origins. Once again, a uniquely styled product with a variety of standard equipment. 

Two new models were added to the Scarabeo range: Scarabeo 50 4 Valve and Scarabeo 300 Special.
Scarabeo 50 4 Valve had an entirely new beating heart: technological, powerful and refined. A small masterpiece of engineering that, with its state-of-the-art solutions, offered power which was at the top of its field. 
Four valve timing and the fluid dynamic efficiency of the head had brought incredible benefits in terms of engine speed and performance, which were now on a par with a two stroke engine.
The Scarabeo 300 Special was the natural completion of the Scarabeo range, a totally modern engine capacity for a timeless scooter which, in this configuration, offers that extra touch of sportiness and dynamism that is much appreciated by the more dynamic rider. The perfect compromise between engine performance, compactness, agility and riding pleasure. All this was highlighted, as always, by carefully designed graphics.

Scarabeo 50/100/125/200 entered the 2010 season with the new Net version, a combination of Scarabeo timeless style and modern technology. The Net came in a modern, hi-tech pearl white tint, a perfect match for the comfortable metallic grey saddle with a new texture. The back rest applied on the standard top box in the same shade of colour as the vehicle was just one example of its absolutely top quality materials. Scarabeo Net reflected the youthful and unmistakable style with the added benefits of first-rate details like the helmet with dedicated graphics, fitted with built-in Bluetooth so the rider would be connected with all of the gadgets young people today can't live without: mobile phone, MP3 player and GPS navigator, in total safety.

In this period, the significant reduction of the two-wheel market forced a rationalisation of the wide range, with the iconic model par excellence remaining on the price list, the 50 cc in the 2 and 4-stroke versions.
The Scarabeo “small body”, in both engine versions, benefited from a common aesthetic styling. The front shield, elegantly colour coded to match the saddle; the front mudguard and the tail earned brand new and more modern traits, whereas the front and rear light clusters were fitted with LED technology. The truly distinctive mark of the Scarabeo, the one that has characterised it since it first appeared on the scene, is the oval design that now resumed its role as protagonist, reinterpreted in a more modern key. The oval marks the mask, re-establishing its prominence on the sides, increasing in proportion - and therefore in emphasis - on the general aesthetics of the Scarabeo. Even the lights recall this characteristic Scarabeo shape, contributing to its strong characterisation.
The oval theme was also implemented in defining the wheel rim style which increased its overall aesthetic impact on the Scarabeo due to its larger size. The peculiarity of the design - five spokes for the 50 2T version and seven spokes for the 4T engines - uses the oval as a decisive aesthetic element.