REVIEW: 2021 Royal Alloy TG250 – riding <em>la dolce vita</em>, RM19,800, made in Thailand, all classic scooter style

You’re wanting a scooter for around the taman use, maybe the daily commute but the styling of the Japanese and Taiwanese scooters in Malaysia leaves you a little cold, shall we say. In which case, the retro-styled (and you’re not going to get much more retro than this) 2021 Royal Alloy TG250, priced at RM19,800 ex-showroom, RM20,945 on-the-road excluding insurance, might fit into your lifestyle.

We use the word lifestyle advisedly, as many retro motorcycles and scooters tend to be about looks and style as opposed to performance. This is borne out by the popularity of two-wheelers harking back to an era fifty years ago, enjoying a popularity amongst a segment of the Malaysian riding population.

Nothing wrong with the classic motorcycle or scooter, of course. If done well, like the Kawasaki Z900RS or Triumph Street Twin, you get a capable motorcycle with all the modern conveniences and, unfortunately, a modern day price tag.

REVIEW: 2021 Royal Alloy TG250 – riding <em>la dolce vita</em>, RM19,800, made in Thailand, all classic scooter style

But scooters are a different kettle of fish. The typical Japanese scooter comes loaded with technology plus the convenience of huge underseat storage in the case of the Yamaha X-Max 250 or for some, the looks of a much bigger two-wheeler like the Honda ADV150.

The Royal Alloy TG250, on the other hand, doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is. But is what it is enough to survive Malaysian roads and traffic and at the same time make the rider irresistibly attractive to the opposite sex? For that is what, at the core of it, two-wheelers are about.

REVIEW: 2021 Royal Alloy TG250 – riding <em>la dolce vita</em>, RM19,800, made in Thailand, all classic scooter style

When we were invited to take the TG250 out for review, we wondered how a classic looking scooter like this would fare against the more modern scooters we’ve ridden, including what is probably its direct rival in this market segment, the Vespa 300 GTS. At the first approach, the Royal Alloy TG250 resembles very strongly a Lambretta from the 1960s.

While there is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing about the Royal Alloy name and how it came to be, this is not the concern of this review, or the reviewer. Suffice it to say, the Royal Alloy brand is headquartered in the UK, where it sells a selection of 125, 200 and 250 scooters with engine and chassis manufacturing and assembly taking place in Thailand.

Coming back to the TG250, the longish body nacelle is right out of the Lambretta design book, along with the cowl and headlight nacelle. The flat floorboard, bathtub front fender and broad front cowl, with the addition of the parcel grid behind the one-piece bench seat, all serve to evoke a time of beehive hairdos, Wayfarers and Capri pants.

Thus, in the looks department, the TG250 ticks all the boxes for what a classic scooter is supposed to look like. What we did find is the TG250 definitely attracted attention wherever it went, most noticeably from the ladies.

Probably something to do with its non-aggressive looks and two-tone mid-century modern paintwork which, we must admit, did make the TG250 easy on the eyes. In the words of a female friend, “quite Insta-worthy,” and we assume it could mean that it is very photogenic and frame a nice Instagram post, for a scooter.

Getting on the TG250, we were struck by the seat height. Or rather, the fact the TG250 doesn’t have cutouts on the left and right in the floorboards like modern scooters do to let the shorter rider get their feet down flat.

REVIEW: 2021 Royal Alloy TG250 – riding <em>la dolce vita</em>, RM19,800, made in Thailand, all classic scooter style

All very old school here, with a straight fore-and-aft flat floorboard and bringing the TG250 to a stop means getting ready to put one or the other foot down if you have a short inseam. As standard, the TG250 comes with a “low seat” with padding thinned for the rider.

This helped in some respects but we wondered what riding comfort might be when in the saddle for longer stints. There is a “King and Queen” seat available as an option for those who might wish for a taller seating position or more padding.

Astride the TG250, seating position is very traditional, in the Italian scooter style. The seating position is very upright and the floorboard space is adequate to suit both tall and short riders. Trying for a foot forward position though, was a little odd as the typical Japanese scooter has a “footrest” for this, while with the TG250, the author struggled to find a comfortable position due to a damaged left leg and right ankle.

To no matter, as there is, as mentioned, enough space for almost any rider to seat themselves comfortably. Inside the cockpit, the TG250 carries a TFT-LCD full-colour screen, displaying all the necessary information a rider needs and as part of the TG250’s fit out, Bluetooth connectivity is provided, albeit on the basic side, displaying information such as incoming calls and messages with the rider still having to reach for the phone.

Thumbing the starter button, there was a pleasant surprise as the TG250 fired to life with a very typical two-stroke scooter engine sound. Or close enough to bring back memories of riding a buddy’s Vespa PX150 in high school, with a touch of that two-stroke “ding-ding-ding” sound from the end can.

It isn’t quite that authentic, obviously, just a little artful engineering in the exhaust end can but it does add to the scooter image. Setting off, the TG250 behaves much like a modern scooter should, rolling as it does on 12-inch wheels at both ends.

REVIEW: 2021 Royal Alloy TG250 – riding <em>la dolce vita</em>, RM19,800, made in Thailand, all classic scooter style

As we wound the CVT box up, power from the single-cylinder, 244 cc, liquid-cooled mill was delivered quickly. The TG 250 is no slouch in acceleration, which makes shooting off from traffic lights while city riding a breeze, with the 21.3 hp and 21 Nm of torque ensuring that.

Handling wise, the TG250 is quite nimble, and quite at home dicing it up with GrabFood riders. One particular rider was quite taken by surprise when he tried racing the author coming out of the toll plaza, the TG250 kicking its heels up smartly and leaving his Y-Suku in the dust.

Changing direction only required a light touch at the handlebars and there was never a feeling of having to “over control” the scooter, where the author preferred to let the TG250 take the lead and provided a little guidance, as it were. In and around the city, this worked well, and slicing through the KL traffic was quite easily done with no stress.

Out on the open highway though, things were very slightly different. The TG250 would bring us up to about 10% above the speed limit and run out of puff. Well, that’s not quite right, the engine had a little more to give, we could feel it in the throttle response.

The limiting factor is the CVT gearbox, with the TG250 coming from the factory designed to do just about 130 km/h and no more. We wouldn’t really worry about it since the aftermarket scooter boys in Thailand are absolute geniuses when it comes to things like this and we fully expect to see a selection of OEM accessories for the TG250 in due course. Just be mindful of the warranty.

At speed, on the open highway, keeping it at just about 120 km/h, the TG250 was quite pleasant to ride, and we could easily consider getting one for the weekend away rides where the pace is not rushed. There was time enough to sit up and smell the roses, take in the sights and generally make a relaxed ride out of it, as opposed to the usual “formation flying” the author’s rides with his buddies shape up to be.

REVIEW: 2021 Royal Alloy TG250 – riding <em>la dolce vita</em>, RM19,800, made in Thailand, all classic scooter style

Which kind of brings us back to the seat on the TG250. For short rides in and around town, we never noticed it but travelling a little further afield, or as much as one can travel in these times of movement restrictions, we did notice the padding wearing a little thin. So, it has got to be one or the other, a thin seat fitted as standard where you get your feet down comfortably (for shorter riders) or a full padded seat. Pay your money and make your choice.

In the braking department, things were quite acceptable, with the hydraulic single disc brakes front and rear equipped with Bosch ABS. We found braking feel to be quite linear and even while hauling the TG250 down from highway speeds, things remained on an even keel.

This will be confidence inspiring for newer riders, and rest assured, grabbing a fistful of brake will not have you ending up on your ear. Braking and handling performance was helped by the standard equipment Pirelli Angel Scooter tyres, which gave very good feedback and allowed to TG250 to be flung around corners with abandon.

During cornering, we did get some fairly good lean angles around sharp turns and the limiting factor was the centre stand which touched down even though we knew the TG250 was capable of much more. But no matter, take it as a given the TG250 will go around corners in a grin inducing fashion, giving the rider good feedback while doing so.

Overall the quality of build for the TG250 was of a high standard, with the all metal body giving a sense of sturdy construction. We did consider stripping the bodywork off the TG250, and hopefully will get the chance to do so one of these days, but decided to leave well enough alone.

Thought has gone into the design of the TG250 though, with the Royal Alloy name and “RA” shield found all over the place, including the brake callipers. This indicates a certain seriousness in the brand from the principal, we think, and from conversations held, we believe that there is a serious amount of investment in the brand.

REVIEW: 2021 Royal Alloy TG250 – riding <em>la dolce vita</em>, RM19,800, made in Thailand, all classic scooter style

That’s the good stuff, but what about the bad stuff? In the case of the TG250, the biggest shortcoming for the author is the lack of underseat storage. Never mind that the Vespa 300 GTS, something of a rival in this class, has storage space that can’t even hold a full-face helmet, at least there is something.

But. again, in the traditional scooter design language, the fuel tank, all 10.5 litres of it, sits under the seat, which is lifted up by the press of a button. From our time with the TG250, we got well over 230 kms of travel, which does, we dare say, put the TG250 well ahead of its class.

You do get some storage space in the form of a glove box inside the front cowl where a parcel hook for your teh tarik ikat tepi is also found. Containing a USB charging port, the box is nicely compartmentalised with a pocket for the rider’s smartphone to stop it rattling around, and a smaller cubby for holding things like road tax and house keys.

No 500 ml bottle of water though, there wasn’t enough depth or height in the compartment for that. There is also a luggage rack at the back of the TG250, though the suitable Royal Alloy leather bag is not as yet available (but it is available for the TG200) and we were told Royal Alloy has been working with Givi to make suitable racks and boxes available soon.

The other issue we had was with vibration, which built steadily as engine revs climbed to the peak and the TG250 reached its maximum road speed. Closing the throttle a touch toned things down a bit but what we did notice was as we rode the TG250 more and more, the vibration was less and less intrusive, perhaps a case of familiarity breeding comfort.

REVIEW: 2021 Royal Alloy TG250 – riding <em>la dolce vita</em>, RM19,800, made in Thailand, all classic scooter style

So, who needs a Royal Alloy TG250, priced at RM19,800? For one, the TG250 does make a nice and stylish daily commuter, lack of underseat storage notwithstanding. Adding a suitable rear rack and box will take care of that issue, really, even if it doesn’t quite fit the looks.

For the hipster types amongst you, the rear rack will hold all manner of leather or canvas bags, perhaps more in keeping with the image of the happy-go-lucky travelling scooter rider. New riders, as well as those more experienced, will appreciate the ease of use of the TG250 as well as the nimble handling and large fuel tank.