Why buy it?
- Unique styling
- Peppy performance
- Decent ride quality
Why avoid it?
- Lacks features for the price
- Limited service reach
- Could get better brakes
Adishwar Auto Ride, the company that brought Benelli back to India, seems quite bullish about bringing international brands here. Apart from Zontes and Moto Morini, which will be introduced soon, the brand recently introduced Keeway Motors in the country. Now Keeway is a Chinese-owned Hungarian company with presence in a few other markets. And it is offering three products here.
One of which is this- the Sixties 300i. Quite an interesting-looking thing, isn’t it? We have been riding this for a couple of days in a quest to answer two simple questions- what is it, and why should you buy it?
Styling & Quality
Apart from the Vespas, which are the symbol of vintage style, there aren’t many scooters that are retro-inspired. True to its name, the Sixties 300i is inspired by old-school scooters. Its design, a combination of the iconic Lambretta and Vespas of yore, is highlighted by its low and stretched-out body. All of the lines are smoothened out and the edges slightly rounded, besides the headlamp cowl that derives inspiration from the Vespa GTS. Even the split seats have been designed in a way to exude retro appeal and are completed with a petite tail rack. What I personally liked are the tail lamps. Set vertically and illuminated with LED lighting, the tail lamps add character to the rear end of the Sixties 300i. However, the only eyesore to an otherwise tasteful design is the large moustache-like grille at the front that houses the circular turn indicators.
Now, what you see here is the Matte Grey colour option that adds a bit of modernity to the styling. You can also get the Sixties in white with maroon seats and a blue option with brown seats. That colour features chrome elements and even white wall tyres and is the most retro of the lot. With news of Lambretta launching new scooters long gone and Vespa not looking to launch its 300cc range in India anytime soon, the Sixties 300i is the only retro-style, big scooter you can buy in the country for a while. And for someone looking to stand out in a crowd, look no further than the nearest Keeway showroom.
Well, the Sixties 300 is impressive to look at not only on the skin of it but at a closer glance as well. The quality of plastics and components looks premium and feels nice, while the finish and fitment are top-notch. I even liked the attention to detail with the ‘Victoria’ logos on the instrument cluster, headlamp and front fender, while the marble-like floorboard pattern is a nice touch. The only grouse in an otherwise well-put together-package would be the switchgear that felt slightly rigid to operate.
Ergonomics & Comfort
As a scooter buyer, comfort and practicality are what you’d look for. While we will get to the latter in a bit, the seating triangle the Sixties 300i offers is spot on. It is upright with a wide handlebar and a natural foot position that does not require you to twist and turn in unusual ways. You also have enough legroom and space to move around or keep a bag of two. Then there is the seat. It offers ample cushioning and a large surface area to keep larger riders happy too. And it remains comfortable even after long hours of being stuck in traffic. Speaking of which, it could be a tad too wide for someone less than 5’7, so having both your feet on the ground could be a task. Nonetheless, the pillion seat is wide and accommodating, too, although a pair of sturdier footpegs would have added to the comfort levels.
Along with the seating ergonomics, the Sixties 300i offers decent ride quality. Using telescopic forks up front and a dual spring setup at the rear, the ride is manageable for the most part. While the rear can absorb the bumps and ruts in the road well, the front feels stiff on most patches and bridge joints but is nothing unnerveing.
Performance & Handling
But the most impressive aspect of the Keeway Sixties 300i is the performance it offers. And before I get into how it feels, let me read the spec sheet for you. So, the scooter is powered by a 278cc, single-cylinder engine that is fuel-injected and liquid-cooled and is capable of churning out 18.7bhp and 22Nm.
These numbers might not sound extraordinary, but the Sixties 300 is quick off the line. And mind you, this is despite its 146kg weight. The performance is consistent all the way to its top speed of 120kmph. Peppy enough and agile in slow-moving city traffic, even overtaking traffic at highway speeds requires no real thought as the scooter putters ahead without effort. What is even more impressive is how refined and vibe-free the motor feels, even though the abundance of vibes at idle would signify otherwise.
At its max, the engine never feels stressed. However, all of the performance seems exploitable, mainly in a straight line where it feels composed. On corners and twisties, the Sixties begins to feel unstable and wobbly, with the chunky Timsun tyres not offering much confidence in terms of grip either. What I would also wished for were better front brakes as the current setup started to fade just under 50kms of riding.
Features and Technology
Keeway has focused on making the Sixties 300i more of a retro-esque offering. And its short feature list proves that. You get full-LED lighting for the headlamp, tail lamp and turn signals. The instrumentation includes an analogue speedometer with a digital display that shows fuel and engine temperature levels, along with two trip meters and an odometer. You also get a dual-channel ABS as standard. But that’s about it. For a scooter that is priced close to Rs 4 lakh, the Keeway Sixties 300i does not offer any significantly useable or feel-good feature to justify its pricing.
On our test route, the Sixties 300i returned 27.4kmpl, which translates to a range of around 270km in a single full tank. For a scooter of this capacity that tips the scale at nearly 150kg and offers good performance, 27kmpl seems like a decent figure.
Should You Buy It?
This old-school Lambretta/Vespa design mix is undoubtedly a head-turner in a herd of futuristic-looking options. And there is no denying the fact that the Keeway Sixties 300 is a scooter you’d desire based on what it looks like. But if you keep the cosmetic aspect aside, the performance it packs and delivers is good enough to keep you entertained. It is quick, frugal and almost vibe-free, even at 120kmph. It also offers spacious and comfy seating ergos and the feel of riding a big scooter.
Although, in terms of the ride experience, there are a few things the Sixties 300 could do better. For starters, I wish its handling was nimble and it was easier to move around. Then there was the odd heat dissipation from the handlebar and the fading feel and feedback from the front brake in a little over 50kms.
When you get to the pricing, it’s a whole other mishmash. The Rs 3.70 lakh OTR Mumbai price it demands seems steep for a scooter that only has unique styling and peppy performance as its USP. Other than that, there’s not much value to justify the price, especially when its sibling - the Vieste 300 - offers features like keyless ignition and a larger fuel tank for the same money. Further, the lack of service network around the country isn’t assuring either.
But then, the only other option you have if you are looking for a large-capacity scooter is the BMW C400 GT. And that is priced at a whopping Rs 12 lakh, making the Sixties 300i look like an accessible pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, something you can consider only if you can overlook its seemingly minor flaws.
Photos by Kaustubh Gandhi