BMX bicycles got kids doing stunts years ago and now a new generation of teens are discovering that doing various tricks on 50cc scooters is a whole load of fun too.
The Gilera Ice 50 offers a lean, stripped down, urban transport solution for someone who wants more than a `happy shopper´ on wheels. It´s that bit tougher than your average 50cc `rev `n´ go´ machine, as Ole Dele found out in London.
Old school scooters like Vespas and Lambrettas, weren´t designed to be wheelied, stoppied or madly thrown about and nor, really, was first production attempt at a true streetwise scooter, the Yamaha ‘B-Wizz´. It took the arrival of the Piaggio Typhoon, and the Italjet Dragster, for the manufacturers to excite the market about stuntastic 50cc scooters.
More recently Yamaha stuck their neck out, introducing the first purpose built stunt machine, with the Slider 50 ( also called MBK Stunt in some EU markets ) last year and now from Gilera there comes the ICE 50 – and it´s taking no prisoners.
The single most striking feature of the ICE is its ‘AXE´ frame made from pressed steel and designed to look as sharp as it is strong. For the frame, which doubles up as an oil reservoir, Gilera quote torsional and flexural figures of 400% above average, meaning you´d have to body slam it off a twenty storey tower block to do it any serious damage.
The rest of the chassis is pretty eye-catching too and hangs off the frame nicely, with the normally extravagant fairing plastic reduced to a minimal frontispiece (housing just the lights), a seat unit, mudguards, a special splashguard to hold on the number plate and that´s about it. It all uses about as much plastic as your American Express card.
Storage space is equally as spartan. There´s a little cubbyhole at the front, that flips open when you press the key into the ignition and is big enough to hold a can of Red Bull plus a Snickers, but there´s not enough room for a fag packet, let alone a helmet under the seat. Gilera do provide a helmet hook if you feel brave enough to leave your lid with the bike in full view of the scallys but I´d rather not risk it thank you.
The obvious competitor to the ICE is the aforementioned Slider/Stunt, bearing a similar design concept. Like the ICE it claims to be an urban street/stunt machine, has minimal bodywork and uses plastic abrasion pads at likely impact points.
I lobbed the ICE (too many Shredded Wheat) and there was hardly any damage – Brilliant! It looked like nothing had been touched which uncannily included those protective blocks. The front corners on both sides of the footboard were scraped a bit though, so maybe a couple of extra scratch pads could find a purpose down there.
The MBK/Yamaha is smaller, lighter, and the Italians haven´t gone so far with the manufactured customising bits and bobs as the Japanese, who seem to have a parts and accessories book for the Slider/Stunt the size of telephone directory, but maybe they´re just cooling their heels to see the target market´s reaction to the bike first.
At the Gilera´s heart beats the same environmentally friendly, catalysed, Hi-PER2 engine that powers the Piaggio NRG Mc3, only it´s the water cooled version in the Piaggio. It´s a strong performer in the NRG, responsive, quick accelerating and agile and regardless of its cooling, it bites in the Gilera too.
The unit we rode was restricted to 30mph but got up to its optimum speed as quick as you like and was certainly fast enough for a rider to sit at the front at the traffic lights without the peril of being squished by lairy milkmen in turbo charged milk floats.
Add to this a pair of trick looking, 30mm upside down forks at the front and a single, 4-way adjustable, hydraulic, rear shock with co-axial coil spring at the back, both of which give you 80mm of play. Plus a 200mm hydraulic stainless steel front disc and a 110mm rear drum combo which are as sharp as Graham Norton´s wit, and you´d have to be near to comatose not to want to hook it up at every pull-off and endo at every stop line.
The cockpit is as simple as they come, the central focus being the large LCD. It doesn´t show anything more remarkable than the speedo, mileometer, fuel level etc. and doesn´t need to, after all this ‘ped isn´t about speed. You only need to read the insightful and holy words “Be sure to ride safely, defensively and within the limits of the law and your abilities,” in the owners manual, to know what this scoot is really for.
But don´t let these hooligan credentials fool you because as stunningly gorgeous as the ICE is and as naked as it is, it´s still got some practical ability. For a 50cc it has plenty of legroom for taller riders, with a good seat height of 780mm. It´s exceptionally well balanced whipping in and out of traffic or dawdling at kerb crawling speeds, has clear lights and is such a looker nobody will hit you because they´ll be too busy gawking at you. Plus, it´s fully recyclable and only costs £1,499.
Get Gilera motorbike insurance for the ICE.
|Engine||Hi-PER2, forced air-cooled, two stroke, single cylinder|
|Chassis||Visible ´Axe´ with tubes and pressed steel elements|
|Front suspension||Hydraulic telescopic fork|
|Rear suspension||4-way adjustable hydraulic single damper with co-axial coil spring|
|Front brake||Hydraulic, stainless steel 200mm disc|
|Rear brake||110mm drum|
|Wheel rims||3×10, aluminium alloy|
|Top speed||Max. speed 30mph restricted|
|Fuel capacity||Fuel tank 6 litres|
|Oil tank||1.6 litres|
|Current price||Price; £1,499 OTR|