If one were to look over the scooters reviewed on this website, one would not see very many 50cc machines. This may strike one as odd given that a LARGE number of 50cc scooters are sold throughout the USA. Generally speaking, this is because in many states a 50cc scooter enjoys special licensing and parking privileges. One may not need a motorcycle endorsement, one may be permitted to park in bicycle racks, one’s college campus may allow free parking and so forth. Hmmph. I’m over 30 years past college age, I don’t work or live in a place that is parking challenged, and at 220 pounds (possibly a bit more) these machines just don’t do it for me. That DOES NOT mean there aren’t some wonderful 50cc scooters in the market, it’s just not what I typically ride.
Here in Minnesota, a scooter of 50cc or less, 2 horsepower at the wheel and a top speed of 30 MPH on a level road can qualify as a moped. Minnesota will give you (OK, not “give” but it’s very reasonably priced) a license plate that says M-O-P-E-D on it. Minnesota will NOT require you to have a motorcycle endorsement to operate the scooter, just a valid driver’s license or special permit (for 15 year olds). You will enjoy free parking in many bicycle racks (though not all). If you attend the University of Minnesota, showing up at the Transportation & Safety building with your driver’s license, your moped license plate and your moped VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) will get you a free sticker allowing you to park for free in designated moped areas on campus. This can save you (or your parents) considerable college expenses in the form of car parking costs. For a lot of people, a moped-designated scooter is a wonderful thing and we’re going to take a look at one of only two currently available new big-wheeled moped-scooter. (The Lance Soho is the other)
The Genuine Venture 50 is brought to you by the same people that give us the WONDERFUL Buddy 50 and RoughHouse moped-legal scooters. Genuine Scooter Company has a well-deserved reputation for supporting their products. The Venture 50 is new for 2016 and is the least expensive of the Genuine 50cc stable.
I picked up the Venture from Bob at Scooterville in Minneapolis and headed right down to Shell station at Franklin and Riverside to top off the tank with non-oxygenated fuel and begin my fuel economy tests.
Speedometer Reading/Speed/Fuel Economy
The Venture has mirrors with a pass-through bolt mounting as opposed to the base of the mirror assembly being threaded. Luckily, the receiving end of the mirror mount sat high enough for me to easily fit a RAM mount just under the mirror. With a GPS unit installed I started testing. The speedometer reads about 10% optimistic. That is to say when the speedometer indicates 33 MPH, the scooter is actually going 30 MPH. This is right in the normal range as very nearly all the scooters we test are optimistic. The odometer was nearly spot on indicating 11.1 miles over a GPS verified 11 mile ride. Top speed, hmmmm, that depends. The Venture had been de-restricted by the good folks at Scooterville for this test, so 30 MPH wasn’t necessarily the top end. Here’s the bad news – with me piloting the Venture (again, that’s a 220 pound load) the best I saw on a level road was 34 MPH. Climbing a grade (west-bound on Larpenteur between Rice Street and Dale Street for those who are interested) the fastest speed I could hold was 22 MPH. Yes, that’s uphill with quite a load. My long-suffering wife Beverly (115 pounds soaking wet) saw a GPS verified top speed of 40 MPH and was able to hold just over 30 MPH up a relatively steep hill. How fast you can go on the Venture is going to depend on how big you are. Fuel economy was a very good 92 MPG. That’s with me riding the scooter most of the time and NOT being especially gentle. A 100 – 150 pound rider will very likely see 100 MPG or even better.
The Venture 50 is manufactured in China for Genuine. The Genuine Buddy and RoughHouse are manufactured in Taiwan. Frankly, Genuine couldn’t get the price down to $1,599 without Chinese sourcing. The Buddy 50 and RoughHouse are $1,999. The Venture is powered by a four-stroke 49.3cc liquid-cooled single cylinder that is fed by a carburetor. Power gets to the rear wheel via an automatic CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission. A telescopic fork handles the front suspension while a swing arm with a single shock takes care of the rear. There are disc brakes front AND rear, and the Venture rides on a 100/80-16 inch front tire and a 120/70 – 14 inch rear. The fuel tank holds 1.8 gallons. Here I will step away from the specifications provided by Genuine in favour of what I found myself. They aren’t terribly different. I got a vehicle weight of 235 pounds with fluids as compared to Genuine’s 218 pounds dry. My wheelbase measurement was 56 inches. Genuine lists the seat height as 29.5 inches while I found it to be nearly 31 inches. Genuine offers a terrific warranty program that runs for two years. Excellent support at this price point.
If you’ve read previous reviews here and are looking for the chart showing a comparison with competing scooters, there isn’t one. The only other big-wheeled moped-legal scooter I could come up with is the Lance Soho and you can read my review HERE of that machine.
The control configuration is standard for a modern automatic scooter – the left hand controls the rear brake, turn signals, high and low beam headlight and horn. The right hand controls the throttle, front brake, engine kill switch and electric starter. There’s a bonus on the right-hand side with a four-way light switch above the engine kill switch. This allows the turn signals to act as emergency flashers. To start the scooter, just turn the ignition key to the on position, grab a brake lever, and press the starter button. The Venture fired up instantly every time, hot or cold. It’s a little cold-blooded needing a couple of minutes when cold to settle into a smooth idle. The three-pod dash cluster is nicely laid out, easy to read, and indicates miles and not kilometers. The speedometer/odometer is located in the center with a fuel gauge to the left and a temperature gauge to the right (remember, this is a liquid-cooled scooter). There are three small lights for turn signal and high beam indicators.
There is a helmet/bag hook on the front that was strong enough to hold the handles of two cloth grocery bags securely. The underseat storage is fairly large and I was able to cram a lot in there though not my melon-head (XXL) full-face helmet. I was able to get a three-quarter helmet in there. Native hauling capacity is what one carries under the seat, bungeed to the rear portion of the seat, resting on the floorboard between one’s legs, or on one’s body in the form of a messenger bag or backpack. That’s just a grab rail, not a luggage rack on the back of the Venture. A rear luggage rack is available as an optional accessory. The seat latch release is located on the port side rear of the scooter and operates with the same key as the ignition. The fuel filler cap is located under the seat.
As I mentioned earlier, I am too old, big and generally curmudgeonly to be the target rider for a Genuine Venture 50. That being said, all my riding issues with the Venture stem from trying to move 220 pounds with a four-stroke 50cc engine. Handling, braking and ergonomics are quite good on the Venture. Big wheels are a wonderful thing on a scooter when it comes to stability and facing the often rough road conditions of urban riding. Big wheels help soak up road irregularities and in combination with longer-than-I-expected suspension travel the Venture minimized a lot of potholes. The ride felt yielding without being overly soft. With disc brakes front and rear, one would expect strong deceleration from a scooter as relatively light as the Venture. During the first few miles of riding, the rear brake felt weaker than I expected, but this was short lived. Perhaps there was some coating on the disc that wore off. The brakes were easy to modulate and I didn’t experience any fade. Acceleration was slow with me riding and just adequate with Bev riding. There’s really no place in the power curve that offers anything other than minimal acceleration. From a stop, getting back to speed after braking, or trying to pass another vehicle – all are going to be slow even with a light-weight rider. If one is looking for both 50cc and some sort of acceleration then one should be looking at a 2-stroke from Genuine such as the Buddy or RoughHouse.
If acceleration is so lacking, why even consider a 4-stroke 50? Fuel economy for one, and in the case of the Venture, ergonomics. Remember how I mentioned the discrepancy between Genuine’s seat height specification and what I measured? Once one is actually sitting on the scooter, the functional seat height IS lower. Even light-weight Bev had no problem flat-footing the Venture at stops and she’s certainly no place near “bottoming out” the suspension. The seat is long enough for just about anyone to find a comfortable position. I had a very tall friend (6′ 8″) take a spin on the Venture and he came back surprised at how comfortable it was. Everyone who rode the Venture also seemed to find the position of the hand controls to be just right. So though one might not be briskly whisked from point to point on the Venture, at least one is likely to be quite comfortable during the aforementioned whisking.
Everything worked as it should on the Venture. Lighting was sufficient both day and night and all the controls engaged and disengaged properly.
Fit & Finish
Compared with many other scooters manufactured in China, the Venture has good fit and finish. Component quality certainly appears to be SEVERAL notches above what I’ve seen on other Chinese scooters. Is it as well put together as a Genuine Buddy? No, but the Buddy costs at least 20% more than the Venture. Certain 50cc scooters from Japanese brands can be 35% pricier, and those scooters aren’t built in Japan. The difference may not even be all that obvious. The underside of cast parts, like the grab rail, are pretty rough on the Venture. That’s not something most people would ever notice. The integrated front turn signal housings (non-functional on the US model) have sharp edges and aren’t very well fastened to the body. I found these sorts of things during a close inspection and I was looking for them.
The overall good fit and finish contribute to making the Venture a good buy and a great value. I didn’t see anything in the components or assembly of the Venture that would lead me to believe it will be something other than reliable and durable.
I was more impressed with the Genuine Venture 50 than one might gather from this review. A 4-stroke moped-legal 50cc scooter is just not something that is going to move my mass around to my satisfaction. The build quality is good for it’s class, fuel economy is very good and ergonomics are outstanding. If you want big wheels and you need a moped-legal machine, the Venture presents you with a great value for the money invested.
Once again, a big THANK YOU to Bob Hedstom and Scooterville for facilitating this review.