Covered Scooter Week: The Benelli Adiva

Thu, Jun 30, 2005


Yes, this is an old article and NO, you can’t get this scooter in the US. I just wanted to reprint it since it is covered scooter week and I’m going to try to stuff as many covered scooter reviews in as I can. Enjoy!

Telegraph | Motoring | Going topless – it’s your choice: ”

(Filed: 03/08/2002)

Built to compete with the BMW C1, the Benelli Adiva has gone one better with a removable roof. It will protect you from the elements, but not accidents, as Paul Blezard reports

The scooter with a roof might be a rare breed – but Benelli has gone one scarcer by producing a model with a detachable lid. Yet within this tiny, esoteric market sector, populated by a handful of grey imports and BMW’s well-publicised C1, the Adiva is pitched at an entirely different kind of buyer.

Benelli Adiva
Cosy: the Benelli Adiva is a practical short-distance commuter scooter. Just don’t buy one to go two-up touring unless your pillion is small and friendly, or inflatable

The most important difference between the C1, which has not been a success for BMW and will be dropped within two years, and the Adiva is that the Benelli is no safer than a conventional scooter, nor is it claimed to be. The C1 is a safety cell on two wheels and its roof is an integral part of that; it also happens to help stave off the weather. The Adiva’s sole aim is to protect you from the elements, not accidents.

The Adiva has several advantages over the C1 because it was not restricted by such tight design constraints and is therefore more versatile. The roof can be removed, folded away into its own “boot” or re-erected in barely any more time than it takes to read this sentence. It can also carry a pillion snugly inside, rather than leaving them exposed, C1-style, to a possible drenching. The Adiva is a tight squeeze mind, especially with the roof up, and you need to be well acquainted with your passenger if planning to travel any distance. If you’re not, you soon will be.

Instrument panel

The Benelli is a bit short of power in 125cc guise, however, especially if you have a pillion. It uses the same air-cooled, four-stroke Piaggio engine as the hugely popular Vespa ET4 but is 75lb heavier. Ridden solo around town the Adiva gets off the mark reasonably well, but on the open road it runs out of puff at about 55mph and can struggle to stay above 50 against a headwind. The Rotax-powered C1 is significantly quicker, despite weighing 120lb more.

The 150cc version of the Adiva is noticeably punchier, although it’s still no faster than a 125cc C1. The bigger Benelli is only £100 more expensive than its 125cc sibling but £400 less than a basic C1; its extra 25cc are well worth it, but you must have a full motorcycle licence to ride one.

As a learner-legal machine the smaller Benelli comes into its own, however, and novices will find it much less intimidating than a C1. I know several riders who found the top-heavy BMW hard to cope with, but felt that the light, low Adiva was no more difficult to ride than a conventional scooter, especially if they began in al fresco mode. Once you have gained confidence without the roof, it is a only small step acclimatising to life with it.

The Adiva’s agility has a price, however. Being twitchier than a C1 and more sensitive to sidewinds, it requires confident handling to keep it under control. It also bangs and rattles over potholes while its front suspension and brakes are merely adequate, and not as good as the BMW’s.


As for that roof, the Adiva does a better job of keeping rain off a rider’s top half while the C1 does a better job in the leg region. BMW’s laminated glass screen will also last longer than Benelli’s, which is made of toughened plastic. Neither machine will keep you completely dry in a downpour if you’re wearing only a business suit, but both offer much more weather protection than traditional two-wheelers.

The Adiva has a few foibles, however. The capacious 2.8cu ft “boot” is tricky to shut, while the bike’s mirrors are much wider and more difficult to adjust than they should be. It also lacks any kind of rider backrest, which ought to be essential if you want to adopt the laid-back, feet-forward riding position that the machine’s long, low layout encourages. I once rode the Adiva leaning back on my briefcase and mused that a blow-up doll might have worked better, although I didn’t have the nerve to put this to the test.

It might not have the BMW C1′s crash protection but the Benelli Adiva is a more practical commuter scooter. At less than £3,000 on the road it represents great value for money. Just don’t buy one to go two-up touring unless your pillion is small and friendly, or inflatable…

Benelli Adiva 125

Price/availability: £2,899 on the road. On sale now. Contact Three Cross: 01202 823344.

Engine/transmission: 124cc, single-cylinder four-stroke with two valves; 12bhp at 7,750rpm, 7.4lb ft of torque at 6,500rpm. Fully automatic constantly variable transmission (CVT), V-belt final drive.

Performance: top speed 60mph, average fuel consumption 65mpg.

Come rain, you’ll shine

Fellow motorcyclists giggled uncontrollably at the sight of the Adiva and you could sense their scornful glances at the traffic-light grand prix. When it rained, however, it was a different story and even dispatch riders paddled up and asked how much it cost.

In everything but a downpour the roof keeps your torso dry and the efficient windscreen wiper allowed perfect vision until the plastic screen started to scratch. Although the roof panel is removable, the open-air benefits are negligible and we tended to keep it in place. As an urban commuter, the 125cc Adiva is more than adequate. Where the permanently roofed BMW C1 is a heavier (and safer) machine, the Adiva belies its bulky appearance, being light and easy to carve through stationary traffic – although the mirrors protrude vulnerably. The huge boot carries a change of clothing, a couple of helmets and a briefcase, but it leaks and the floppy lid is a swine to open and close.

On the open road, however, the Adiva hasn’t the power to keep up – on two wheels you need a 70-80mph capability to stay out of the way of trucks and cars. The lightweight machine is also susceptible to side winds and the draught from passing lorries. Even upgrading to the 150cc version (for which you need a full motorcycle licence) doesn’t altogether solve this problem – the machine needs at least a 250cc engine to become a practical long-distance commuter.

Andrew English

And if you want even MORE pictures and info on the Benelli, check out this piece from Gizmag:
Benelli Car-Bike Hybrid offers best of both worlds

Leave a Reply