What do you get when an ex-Formula One engineer decides to design a scooter? For a start, it’s not just any scooter—it's the Piper Moto J1.  

Founder John Piper (who, among other things, was an engineer with Williams, Benetton, and ProDrive) refers to it as a “super scooter.” In other circumstances, you could be forgiven for expecting those words to just be a bit of marketing hype. 

However, when you’re talking about a scoot that’s powered by a 690cc KTM LC4 Duke single-cylinder engine that makes a claimed 67 horsepower, it’s hard to imagine that scooter not being super. Other impressive claims include a zero to 60 time of 4 seconds flat, a top speed of 120 mph, a dry vehicle weight of 160 kilograms (about 352 pounds), and a perfect 50-50 weight distribution thanks to the mid-mounted engine positioning. 

Gallery: Piper Moto J1

That is, of course, not taking into account the J1’s elegant styling. It seats two, using two perfectly placed solo seats with one directly in front of the other. The shapes and lines are timeless, classic, and modern all at once—especially the ventilation ducts in the front fairing that surround the cockpit. The frame is tubular steel, and the bodywork is a carbon and epoxy woven composite that is pressure-cured. 

The J1 rolls on simple spoked wheels—but they’re 17-inch ones instead of smaller, 12- to 14-inch standard scooter tires. That should open up tire choices considerably when it comes time to put new rubber on.  

Top-spec components include a single Brembo four-piston, radial mount caliper up front with a 320mm brake disc, and a Brembo single piston floating caliper in the rear with a 240mm brake disc. Suspension consists of a 43mm upside down WP fork up front, along with a billet aluminum swingarm setup using a concentric spring and Exe-TC remote two-way damper reservoir in the rear.  

The Piper Moto J1 has a six-speed gearbox—and unlike most twist and go scooters in 2023, you can choose to shift it manually if you like. However, it’s not done via the usual hand-clutch and foot-shifter you may be used to, either. Instead, it’s fitted with an electronic shifter that’s activated with a finger switch on the handlebar. 

A prototype has been built, and if all goes well, there’s the possibility of a small run of Piper J1s being built. If you’re interested in learning more—or getting your name on the list for if and when it becomes available to purchase—we'll link the site in our Sources.

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