What happens when a young scooter grows up watching too may MotoGP races? Well, if scooters actually did grow up, the Gilera Runner ST200 would be that young scooter in question. It definitely is a scooter with sporty intentions that belies the touring looks. The Gilera Runner line always had sporty intentions ever since it was introduced back in 1997. The current iteration continues the half bike – half scooter concept of the Runner line.
Taking the reins of a black Runner ST200 for a short span of time got me acquainted with this particular Italian job. At first glance, I quickly noticed the styling changes that were made to bring the Runner line to up to spec to today’s motorcycle styling trends. It was interesting how they were able to keep a few design cues from the older design. Overall look is that of a tourer with a healthy dose of sportiness thrown into the mix. It looks good tooling around the city as your daily commuter or travelling provincial road on out-of-town jaunts on weekends. When the urge for sport riding hits you, it still looks the part and can be menacing when viewed from the rear-view mirror of the vehicle in front. Once on the Runner ST200, I noticed the redesigned instrument panel that features a large dial for the tachometer and a LCD display next to it for the speedometer, fuel gauge and clock. Seat height seems to be on the tall side but it does give a nice commanding view of what is around you.
On my first twist of the throttle, I realized it was going to be an entertaining few days with the Runner ST200. The 198cc water-cooled Leader engine coupled to a full auto CVT makes for perky acceleration right from the get go. There is good power spread across the engine’s rev range that reaches a top end speed of around 120kph. Acceleration figures come to around 11-12 seconds to get to 100kph from a standstill. Going between part open throttle cruising to wide open throttle aggressive riding and back is seamless without any drama after that burst of adrenalin rush. All that momentum is competently tempered by disc brakes in the front and rear. Even from 3-digit speeds, the brakes did a very good job of hauling everything down to a stop. Modulating the brakes is easy with good feedback that front endos or locking the rear wheel on demand can be done without any drama. Now all that speed and stopping prowess will mean nothing if the suspension is not up to the task. And with the Runner ST200, the standard forks up front and dual coil over dampers in the back with adjustable preload are very much up to the task of soaking up the road imperfections while still providing good feedback for sport riding. The overall ride may be a little on the stiff side but it is a good compromise between sport and touring.
Since all good things come to an end, upon the return of the Runner ST200 to the MotoItalia Philippines’ warehouse, I am left with the impression that Gilera has hit their target for the Runner ST200. A good all-around scooter that you can go out and play with too. A sport touring scooter with a lot of emphasis on the sport part.
Engine: Single cylinder, SOHC, 4 valve, 4 stroke
Max Power: 19hp @ 8,750rpm
Max Torque: 1.75kgm @ 7,250rpm
Transmission: Full Auto CVT
Price: Php 319,000