The new LML 200 - AÂ four-stroke Star from the East
By: Web Editor
Almost 10 years after EU regulations forced Piaggio to cease production of the venerable Vespa PX200, a new scooter enters the market that could well plug the gap many feel has been left by the Italian stallion. It’s not from Tuscany however, but Kanpur in India.
Of course there has been the range of Vespa GTs since the demise of the PX200, from 125 and 200 up to the latest 300, but to many they’re not quite the same. And so we find ourselves at LML, an Indian manufacturer whose scooters were originally Italian designs and come to the UK via a company named LML Italia. It’s all looking good, hey folks?
The problem with the old PX200 is similar to the one which has affected the whole of the motorcycle and scooter world – its rather old two-stroke engine didn’t meet stringent new European laws on emissions. Add to this manufacturing giant Honda’s attitude to two-strokes (like Bagpuss when it stopped making them, so others followed) and the consumer’s preference for four-stroke engines, and so further development of our beloved two-stroke engine hasn’t really happened.
But while the scooter evolved in the more affluent European markets to the higher capacity automatics we see today, in India the geared scooter still reigned supreme. A 150cc four-speed machine was for many years deemed the ideal compromise between power and fuel consumption there, and before it became an issue on these shores, a four-stroke alternative was being produced for the local market.
Scootering readers with good memories may recall our August 1999 edition where we tested a Bajaj Legend and TVS Suzuki Spectra AX, both four-stroke geared scooters. Even Honda produced one for a while, the Eterno, which aped the classic Vespa in both style and with its handlebar operated four-speed gear changer.
The market in India has changed of late however, with ever more affluent customers looking to the West for inspiration. Motorbikes are the growing market, as are cars (although as one local journalist said, they have gridlock now with everyone on two wheels, what will happen when they can afford four?). Suzuki and Honda didn’t stay long in the geared scooter market, and Bajaj too ended its production of geared scooters in 2009, a history that can be traced back to a collaboration with Piaggio in the late 1950s. This left LML as the only manufacturer in India, still producing a geared scooter.
The LML Star 200 4t is a child of Europe in more ways that one. While the factory in India developed its 125cc and 150cc 4-stroke Star scooters for both local and export markets – where customers require good torque and low fuel consumption – it was LML Italia reporting back to the Indian factory that gave birth to a 200cc version.
The Star 200 4t was first displayed to the public at the Milan Show in November 2010, and while it’s arrival in Europe has been delayed by a few months, Scootering magazine was invited to Italy for an exclusive road test of a pre-production version of this new scooter.
The 200cc model has a capacity of 199.89cc, 2 valve SOHC (single overhead camshaft), a 20mm carburettor, four gears, runs on 3.50 x 10 tyres, has a disc brake up front, an Escort damper and is, naturally, air-cooled. It has been suggested that a fuel injected version will arrive in 2012, but we’ll have to wait and see on that.
Claimed power is 8.6kW (which is just shy of 12hp in English), with torque quoted as 14.5Nm @ 4250rpm. Figures for fuel consumption are in the region of 50km per litre, but that may change when the final production models arrive. So, it all looks good on paper, but what’s it like on the road?
• Read the full article in Scootering magazine - August 2011!