The world’s only twin cylinder 125cc class scooter, the Italjet is also one of the coolest styled machines on the market. Superbly engineered too, it is a scooter which many bikers can identify with, as sharp handling and dynamite brakes bring out the boy racer in anyone who rides it…
Although the Italjet Formula 125 has to be restricted for the UK market, it´s still one of the raciest scooters ever made, as Roland Brown recalls from the F125 launch back in 1997 at Imola.
Italjet found the perfect location to launch the world´s only twin-cylinder scooter in 1997, the Italian firm hired the famous Imola racetrack to let the Formula 125 show its class.
The tasty twin acquitted itself well on the demanding grand prix circuit, too – even though I spent much of every lap with the throttle wide open, wishing for more speed.
The Formula´s top speed of about 70mph makes it a match for the fastest 125cc scooters and it could have been even faster.
When Italjet´s engineers began designing a twin-cylinder super-scooter several years ago, they planned to outpower all single-cylinder opposition. But changes to international licensing laws in recent years have led to the 114cc watercooled unit being detuned to a learner-friendly 13bhp, killing some of its speed.
One of importer´s Italjet UK´s first moves will be to develop an inexpensive tuning kit that will release the twin´s full potential. “Adding an extra 5bhp should be easy, and won´t affect the warranty,” says Italjet UK´s Vigen Virtevanian.”
The Formula´s controls are conventional scooter stuff: both brakes are hand-operated, and there´s a centrifugal clutch. To go, you simply hit the starter button and wind open the throttle.
Performance is nippy by scooter standards. The Italjet is fast enough to whizz past most town traffic with ease and unlike slower scooters, its appeal won´t end at the city limits.
The Formula´s style is mixed with practicality, too. The dual-seat is big and comfy, the pillion gets a good solid grab-rail, and the lined compartment under the lockable seat holds a full-face helmet.
On the track the tiny 11in front wheel inevitably made for twitchy steering, not helped by the engine´s position, which puts much of the bike´s 100kg of weight onto the back wheel.
At more typical scooter speeds the Italjet works fine. Its front suspension has 20mm more travel than the Formula 50´s similar set-up, giving a smooth ride, and has a better turning circle too.
Michelin´s Dexter tyres grip reasonably well, and the Formula´s front and rear disc brakes had plenty of bite.
My verdict? With its sharp styling, high-tech chassis and general air of quality, the Italjet is as good to look at as it is enjoyable to ride. The best scooters combine practicality with style and the Formula 125 has heaps of both.
At around £3200 the Formula will cost several hundred pounds more than rival single-cylinder scooters such as Piaggio´s Hexagon or Aprilia´s Leonardo. The twin is a unique bike that stands out from the scooter crowd but it needs that tuned engine to justify its high price.
Get Italjet motorbike insurance for the Formula 125.
Engine two-stroke parallel twin
Claimed power (bhp) 13bhp @ 7500rpm
Compression ratio 13:1
Transmission centrifugal clutch
Front tyre 120/70 x 11in Michelin Dexter
Rear tyre 130/70 x 12in Michelin Dexter
Front suspension SIS (Sistema Independente di Sterzo) hub-centre system, single Paioli shock, 110mm travel Adjustments preload
Rear suspension single Paioli shock, 90mm travel Adjustments preload
Front brake 175mm disc with opposed-piston caliper
Rear brake 175mm disc with opposed-piston caliper
Top speed 70 mph
Fuel capacity 10 litres
Current price £3,200