It brings the retro back and how!
Scooters in India are received as a budget-friendly means for quick city commuting. However, there exists a niche sect of petrolheads that yearn for scooters with more oomph, as potent as a motorcycle, but convenient. Till recently, their options extended to the Aprilia SR 160 and Yamaha Aerox 155 (BMW C 400 GT for the very well-heeled ones amongst us). They now have two more premium options in the form of the Sixties 300i and Vieste 300. Bringing them in is Keeway, a bikemaker with Hungarian roots but a sister company to Benelli. We are riding the retro-themed Sixties 300i. Let us delve into it then.
It looks fantastic, doesn’t it? The Keeway Sixties 300i in matte grey appeals to me like a gothic phantasm. I am sold on two aspects - its low-slung appearance and retro styling whose elements remind me of the euphoric Woodstock and roll-film Kodak camera times. The apron carries a vintage grille with edgy vane styling and a red mesh underneath and is flanked by circular turn indicators with clever detailing. The fender utilises black trim and sports a hood ornament that reminded me of Gargoyle statues in Batman comics.
As for the polygonic headlight, all applause for the ‘X’ DRL design and the bright luminescence it carries. The old school, round, blacked-out rear view mirrors and the sort of balloon grips finish adding to the rest of the front. Checking out this gorgeous scooter further, the vintage-styled ribbed seats and the louvred vents on the side panels are both a nice touch as are the twin LED strips running parallel on the rear fender. The tail lamp on top seems overdone though and in my opinion, messes with the clean line. I like the paint finish and switchgear quality which feels premium.
The riding posture is upright with a tall handlebar and an elevated platform running down the centre of the floorboard which also houses a 10-litre fuel tank. It feels like riding an old-school scooter, a maxi-size version of it. The split rider seat sits low at 790mm and is aptly wide to cushion your thighs. The pillion seat is well cushioned too, but missing out on a rear grabrail given the vintage-focused styling. Instead, you get a low luggage rack.
Despite its vintage outlook, the Sixties gets modern bits like a digital-analogue instrument console. Given the price point, it does miss out on modern convenience aspects such as a Bluetooth-enabled turn-by-turn navigation feature or even a brake lever lock.
As for convenience, the remote fuel lid sits flat on the floorboard while the seat lock while the front half of the seat opens up to a storage space roomy enough for a small backpack but not a full-face helmet.
En route to Lavasa, I briefly opened up the scooter on the highway. It is a 278cc scooter with four valves after all. Acceleration is impressive and the speedometer tries hard to keep up with the riding speed. The single-cylinder liquid-cooled fuel-injected engine produces 18.7PS and 22Nm and helps the 146kg scooter reach north of 80kmph with ease.
The motor is quick to rev and offers a broad spread of torque with an impressive low-end grunt. I had motorcyclists gawking every time we overtook them at speed in the city. While the scooter does vibrate it idle, on the move, it smoothens out quite impressively. It sounds good too.
The Sixties can be a daily commuter and owing to its low centre of gravity, feel light on the move but you have to be mindful in traffic given its 1,390mm long wheelbase. The chassis and wide 120-section tyres offer stellar stability at high speeds and corners too! The Timson tyres shod on 12-inch rims offer fantastic grip in the dry and work well in the wet.
Anchoring duties are performed by Nissin and assisted by dual-channel ABS inspires confidence when things get unnerving. We did get to test the brakes on the rain-kissed ghat roads and to sum it up, the ABS intervention is pretty good.
While it handles well, the tradeoff is a stiff ride especially at slow speeds and on rumble strips. That said, it is not as jarring as early Aprilia scooters though. Also, given the low-slung stance, ground clearance is low at 140mm, and I did scrape off the underbelly on uneven speed breakers.
The starting price of Rs 2.99 lakh ex-showroom is a significant premium especially when you consider other niche and more powerful motorcycling alternatives. The two selling points of this scooter are its eye-catching looks and killer performance, having no direct rivals in this segment. The Keeway Sixties 300i is for the dyed-in-the-wool scooter connoisseur or if you are looking to stand apart from the crowd and performance but at the same time not miss out on the convenience of an automatic.