December 18, 2006 When Honda released the first mass-produced four-cylinder motorcycle in 1969, the 72 bhp CB750K caused a sensation due to its performance. The horsepower and capacity wars that followed have seen the capacity of production motorcycles raised to a staggering 2.3 litres and it seems that the scooter world is following suit with the announcement of the Gilera GP 800, an 850cc V-twin-engined scooter that will most likely become the the world’s fastest scooter when it hits showroom floors a year from now. Suzuki kicked off the maxiscooter craze in 1999 with its Burgman 400, then Yamaha followed with the 40 horsepower twin cylinder 500 T-Max in 2000, then Honda trumped that with the 50 bhp Silver Wing 600 twin then in 2002, Suzuki raised the bar further with the Burgman 650. As forecast earlier this year, Piaggio (which owns Gilera, Vespa, Moto Guzzi, Aprilia and Derbi) has been working on a new 850cc maxi scooter and the bike was shown publicly for the first time in Milan. The scooter will bear the Gilera name, with its 75bhp 90 degree V-twin motor giving it a top speed of more than 120mph. Perhaps even more significantly, the Aprilia engine comes straight from the new Aprilia Mana and features an advanced electronic transmission. A simple touch of the button on the handlebar and you enter into a completely different world. Three separate mappings for the totally automatic transmission and a sequential shift with 7 gears make it easy to find the best-adapted configuration for the riding conditions.
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