Turning up at Holt Motorcycles, Alex and I were greeted with the rather shiny brand new AJS Modena and Cadwell Clubman staring at us as we drove down the entrance road. Admittedly the Modena stood out far more thanks to the bright orange paintwork, while the Cadwell Clubman's classic black & gold still looked glorious just far less dazzling.
The AJS Modena clearly has strong 60’s styling, reminiscent of a certain popular Italian wasp. The body of the Modena is mostly plastic though which makes this little scooter extremely light and nimble while also keeping the price very low.
OK, so out of all the Modena colourway options orange was probably my least favourite, however, there are some pretty awesome ones available, with red and the limited-edition grey looking pretty damn nice in my opinion! It is fair to say there is definitely a colourway option for everyone, even a bit of two tone if that's your thing!
When it comes to looks I think AJS have done a cracking job with the Modena. Take a look at budget friendly retro scooters and I think you will struggle to find one sub £2k that'll look anywhere near as good as the Modena. It has that authentic Italian styling that is adored and respected by many and all for £1659.99!
For all bar the limited-edition grey version the Modena comes with chrome luggage racks at front and rear as standard along with a few other chrome accents and white wall tyres so it really adds to that vintage aesthetic of the Modena. Show a photo of a Modena to someone and at first glance most would think it's a vintage machine.
The Modena does pack some modern tech too with led indicators at the front and rear along with a large circle LED brake light to rear.
Overall when it comes to the looks department, I rather like the styling of the AJS Modena it has definitely been a scooter I’ve become fonder of the longer we had it and I found it really quite charming.
Luggage & Storage
The chrome front and rear luggage racks which I mentioned earlier can handle up to 5kg a piece and will most likely come in handy, especially for those rally goers! Underseat storage is rather minimal, so not enough for a helmet, but still a decent little storage space.
To give the rider further storage though, AJS have given you a side compartment too, though not massive combined with the under seat storage it does give some nice small storage options!
The 125cc air cooled motor in the Modena kicks out 7hp, so it has plenty for around town and roads up to 40-45mph, but is lacking at the top end. I wouldn't expect to get much faster than 55mph and it might take a little while to get there - but chances are you'll be having so much fun riding the Modena that you probably won't care too much about the top speed.
From my point of view it would be great to see a special edition with more powerful 125cc motor in the Modena, one producing 9+ horsepower would be an absolute blast or maybe a special edition 200cc with metal body work hhmmmmm…. But that is just me being really picky, and to be honest you are not really going to be needing much top end if you are using a scooter around urban roads.
It might not be very powerful, but that GY6 125cc motor is rather smooth and comfortable, so really adds to that fun experience the Modena offers.
Braking & suspension
So, you’ve read this far, and you know the AJS Modena is light and small, so when it comes to braking and suspension bear this all in mind! You are greeted with two shiny brake discs, one at the front and one at the rear, now due to the small size wheels (10”) on the scooter the discs are not huge but then again you are not going to confuse the Modena with an R1 in regards to performance so the brakes fitted as standard are more than enough to bring you to a safe halt - I had plenty of confidence in their ability when riding out and about in a mixture of environments from around town to small country lanes. This retro styled scooter also comes with a combined braking system as standard to meet good ol’ euro 4 regulations.
The suspension is typical for a scooter of this size, so does a decent job on the normal roads you find around towns and cities, when you get to rougher roads though expect to feel it a little bit more – but that is the nature small wheeled scooters. I found the Modena to be quite a pleasant ride to be honest!
Dash and switchgear
The switch gear and dash on the Modena is rather clean and minimal which is stylish and fits in great with the vintage look of the scoot. I couldn't help keep looking down every now and again admiring the switch gear and dash while I was riding it.
All the switchgear felt good and worked as it should, very tidy not much to say – spot on job by AJS here.
The Modena has captured the hearts of many it would seem, as just a quick search on Facebook will show a few really popular Modena Owners clubs and groups in the UK – so it appears to be becoming a modern-day scooter of the masses with quite the fan club.
In typical retro scooter fashion, there are plenty of parts and accessories available to really make a Modena scooter your own, so ideal for mods and scooter rally enthusiasts too. We've definitely seen a few Modenas at the rallies Lexham attend throughout the year!
On the road
The Modena weighs in at just 95kg, so it is very light, this is extremely noticeable especially on the front end along with those small 10” wheels. I was slightly concerned before I got to ride the Modena with just how light that front end was, but I didn't need to be concerned at all, though do expect slight creaking from the front plastics. You'll soon get used to that front end feeling as light as a feather, and really start enjoying the ride and love how nimble this scooter is. The more you ride it the more you start to understand what the Modena is all about.
Go on an adventure on urban and even rural roads and you will love how much fun it is riding the Modena. Unsurprisingly manoeuvrability is very light and easy, and along with that rather smooth GY6 fuel injected motor the riding experience is quite a fun one. With a standard 125 Modena you are not going to be keeping up with traffic on 60mph or 70mph roads, but given it's size does remain rather stable and it won't have you panicking. Do be aware due to the light-weight nature of the Modena, you are rather open to gusts of wind etc wanting to sail you off course, so that is something to bear in mind.
It is worth noting that the fuel tank capacity is 4.6litres, but with fuel economy estimated to be a rather impressive 99mpg, you'll be going 80-100miles between filling up.
Everything about the Modena tells you that is has been designed with towns in mind, and it will excel on the daily commute or popping to the shops while looking stylish at the same time.
Did I enjoy my time test riding the Modena? Yes, I most definitely did. The Modena isn’t trying to act like something it isn’t. It is budget friendly, it won’t pull up many trees but what it offers is an affordable stylish ride full nostalgia and character at a very decent price tag.
Yes, it is slightly down on power with 7hp, but with those small wheels and the lightweight nature of the Modena it is very flickable and scootering around is a lot of fun. With LML folding and the Vespa PX not being made anymore the Modena really does fill that void well. If you are looking at modern day scooter complimented with full retro looks then the Modena really does put itself in the shop window. I certainly enjoyed my time riding the Modena and was really gutted giving this little beauty back. I can definitely see why they have such a following - didn't scooters originally become popular as they were stylish and affordable for the masses?
The Modena new with 2 years parts and labour warranty is available from £1659.99
|Model Name||AJS Modena|
|Max Speed||55 MPH|
|Engine||125cc single cylinder, air cooled, 4 stroke|
|Start Type||Electric & kick|
|Front Brake||Single disc|
|Rear Brake||Single disc|
|Front Suspension||Trailing link forks|
|Rear Suspension||Swing arm|
|Stand||Centre and Side Stand|
|Warranty||2 Years Parts and Labour|
|Price (correct at time of article)||£1,659.99|