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Long term test Gilera Fuoco 500 : 1 year, 10 000km

lundi 16 mars 2009 , par

The Gilera Fuoco 500 on a long term test, it’s an exceptionnal scooter.


I live in Paris and I ride 35km a day to get to work. It’s mainly highway. The choice of a scooter to run this distance was almost obvious. It requires 20 to 30 mn, door to door. If I go by metro, it takes 50-60mn, transportation time only.

Gilera Fuoco Face

Pourquoi le Fuoco ?

Before the Gilera Fuoco 500 I had a X9, 500cc too. So it was something natural to have the Fuoco. Nevertheless, I tried some other maxiscooters. Some were too old, some others were too powerfull...

So, for me the Gilera Fuoco was the one for me. Perhaps, attraction of innovation and paradox. Three wheels for a two wheels, it’s not common.

I installed a Gilera windscreen because the original one is only for symbol and protects nothing but the dashboard. I also installed a top box, 48liters. To easily contain two helmets as the underseat storage is so small and not straight shape.

Gilera Fuoco Coffre


Compared with my old X9, Piaggio did some miracles with the Master Engine. Master is for Multi-valve Advanced Super Torque Engine.

The engine of the Gilera Fuoco 500 is still a 500cc but Piaggio equipped the Master with a double ignition and this second plug makes all the difference. The engine is more powerfull at low rpm and the Gilera Fuoco 500 is almost as powerfull as a twin cylinder. I have to precise “almost”. It is just missing the consistency and softness of a twin. But this new engine kept the same specifications as the old one and specially, a ragor character between 7000 and 8000rpm, the red zone.

From this point of view, the Gilera Fuoco 500 is completely different from the Piaggio 400cc. The 400cc is more linear, flat for sensations. Here with the Gilera Fuoco 500, sensations are preserved. And fun too.

Gilera Fuoco Arrière

Red zone is at 8000rpm but due to the shape and the weight, it is difficult to reach it. At such a rpm, the speedometer shows a little higher than 165km/h. It is about 10km/h less than the X9.

One regret for the engine. At low speed, it is difficult to have a precise proportioning of the right handle. The power of the engine arrives rather quickly and without progressivity. From this point of view, the Peugeot Satelis 500cc is more efficient. This last winter, I could have tested on snow and glaze. Some rear sliding reminded me how safe are the front wheels.


Front wheels

It is partly due to this axle that I choose the Fuoco. And effectively, no surprise. The front axle will disappointed no one of the three wheels users. It’s a nex pleasure or riding and new sensations. All the Mp3 LT or not will agree with me.

First of all, we have to get used to the fact that if a front wheel goes over a hole on the road, the rear wheel will not. It is something normal because the rear wheel is exactly in the middle of the two front ones.

The other good point is that road imperfections are completely erased with the two front wheels. Potholes, craters, nothing affects the Fuoco. It is simply brilliant !

Gilera Fuoco Gauche

And, at last, the main, and most important thing is the braking. With a doubled contact surface, the braking of the Fuoco Gilera 500 is incredible. I had to brake strongly and on the contrary of a “traditional” scooter where the front wheel would be blocked, with the Fuoco the strength is shared on the two wheels. So, the effort can be stronger. For the moment, I haven’t yet tested the limit of the braking and don’t really want to know how far I can go before the wheels are blocked.

Therefore, between riding and braking, we can have a feeling of riding safe and let’s say serenity.

Rear wheel

If the front wheels are exceptional, the rear one is classical. Finally, the contrast between the front and the rear is impressive and the rear wheel reminds the driver he is riding a two wheels and might fall.

In fact, the rear suspension is stiff. And as the seat is also stiff, the rear axle will leave nobody satisfied. Especially the co-pilote who will blame that footrests are too small. It is not a piece of wood but as I drove again an X9, I can say that the Gilera suspension is missing marrowy.

I also have to speak about the brakes that harm the general pleasure of riding the Gilera Fuoco 500.

Gilera Fuoco Train arrière

Rear brake is also stiff. I mean it is missing progressivity and is very quickly blocking the rear wheel. So if ever you have to brake on wet road, beware of that point and gently cherish the left handle.

So, instead of having a 60-40% brake, I rather have a 80-20% brake front and rear. I only use the rear brake to finish a braking, when I arrive at a traffic light for instance.

Except these points, riding the Gilera Fuoco 500 is a real pleasure. Long distances are allowed despite that even with the extra windscreen, the wind is reported on the helmet of the driver. It is missing 3-5cm to be really efficient.

During a while I planned changing the slope on the windscreen but finally, I did nothing.

For night riding, lenticular lights are one of the best lights among actual scooters. Before on the X9, I had a cyclopean light and with the Fuoco, the two lights are really efficient. Compared with the X9, it’ night and day. And cars make confusion with bikes !


This system is made to block the scooter in the position it is.

For my daily use, I put the Fuoco on the central stand. It is very easy, much more than with the X9. I do not use the roll-lock system that much.

The reason is that I had some surprises. Among the surprises I had, as the button to block and unblock is just over the starting button, one morning, as I certainly was not really awaken, instead of pressing the start button, I press the unblock button. Morning surprise to handle the 200kg of the Fuoco. Morning wake-up with a wave of adrenalin. Never believe those who say scooter rider are lazy and muscle less !

Another surprise was on a rainy day. I wanted to block the Fuoco for not to put out a leg. I’d better not do that. As there is a delay when you press the roll-lock button, this delay is enough for you to change position and balance. So when the Fuoco is locked, you are not necessary on the vertical, more often bended. You have to be careful when unlock the system !

And to finish about the roll-lock system, there are some securities for this system such as the detection of a weight on the seat. It avoids the scooter to run away with nobody on it. It’s a pretty good idea but unfortunately, with y 60kg, I am not heavy enough for the system to detect me. If ever I want to start, I have to let me fall down rather heavily. Graceless rider, that’s what I am now.

The very best point for this system is when you have to move the Gilera Fuoco 500, engine off. Roll-lock blocked, you just have to push and pull the scooter without having to maintain it on balance.

Protection - driving cab

As already said, the original windscreen is too short. I installed a longer one.

Despite a seated position not foot forward, the protection is Ok. There is only for feet that the protection is limited. It is mainly due to the fact that the central pontoon is rather big.

On the dashboard, everything is easy to read. No reflection on the windsreen, of course. If I had to critic something, it would be the mirrors. They are fixed on the handle and small. I would have preferred them fixed on the body and a little further. It would ease to look back. But actually, the mirrors are small but at least, there is no vibration.

Maintenance - Cost

On road, with a 12 liter tanker, you will have to fill it before you get tired because of the distance.

At high speed, my average consumption is 5.2l/100km. My lowest is 3.17l/100 during a ride and the highest is 6.6l on highway, at full speed.

Gilera Fuoco Droite

As the tanker is only 12 liters, that means I can ride for 180km with a full one. At such a distance, I am just starting the red zone which starts after ten liters. It remains two liters to ride 50km.

Actually, I had two maintenance. The first one was at 5000km. It was a simple drain, a check out of brakes. At 8000km, I had to change the rear tire. It cost 152€ in September 2008. It is now a Pirelli Diablo. The tire is harder than a Michelin or a Dunlop, so it is supposed to last longer. And apparently it does.

The last maintenance is the most expensive because I had to change the belt ; A belt costs 160€. The total of this maintenance was 410€, including rolls.

The actual total of maintenance is 1247€, not including insurance and cost the machine itself.

Par kilometer, the charge is 0.125€.

Item Montant € TTC
Révision 5000 km 152
Pneu Diablo 122
Révison 10000km 411
Consommation essence 562
Total 1247
Soit un coût au km de 0,1247

For cleaning, as the Fuoco doesn’t have so many plastic, it is easy to wash and clean.

There is one thing not so well done. It is the gasoline trap door. The shape make that water and dust get cumulated on the angles. After a while, these two angles are white.

For me, it is time to clean my Fuoco.

Gilera Fuoco Trappe

To conclude, the Gilera Fuoco 500 is a good machine for daily ride and the cost is really affordable.

There is just the maximum speed. 10 km/h additional would have turned the Fuoco to perfection.

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