New Vespa 125: Exclusive Road Test
The legendary Vespa scooter is back and how! Running an advanced 3-valve 125cc engine under the gorgeous retro-styled bodywork, the new scooter has been assigned the task of kick-starting the premium scooter segment and it looks all set to get the job done in style
This magnetism is even more telling when you straddle the scooter, especially in the Indian landscape. The large and flat saddle of the Vespa offers plenty of room and comfort and can easily accommodate two adults with ease. The analogue instrument console up front offers the regular tell-tale lights, speedometer, fuel meter as well as a digital clock and all the information is displayed in a highly legible manner with a nice white background to the console that gives it a classy look.
The front storage bay, which opens at a gentle push of the ignition key slot, is the roomiest in its class and can easily hold a water bottle, a pair of sunglasses, tool box and other accessories. The Italian touch, with its emphasis on clean and tidy design lines, is evident in the manner the finest details have been drawn out on the Vespa. For instance, the hook to hang bags has been cleverly incorporated within the seat itself in order to keep the floorboard area clean and uncluttered.
Similarly, even the lock for the under-seat storage has been mounted directly on to the seat instead of punching a hole in the body panel and making it an eyesore. This evidently shows the level of attention to detail and thought put into the design elements of the Vespa. Overall the scooter looks flawless and unblemished with aesthetic lines and excellent styling. But on closer inspection the Vespa did have a few panel gaps and some poorly welded joints, but since the scooter handed to us was a test mule, we are certain that these glitches will be ironed out on the final production model as there is a lot riding on the Vespa brand, globally.
Thumb the starter button and the 125cc 4-stroke air-cooled 3-valve single-cylinder engine oozes energy and a raspy note, informing that this is not a slouch but a runner. And so it was, as we found out in our tests – touching the 60km/h mark from standstill in just 8.1 seconds and recording a top speed of 98.4km/h with still some juice left, the Vespa surely impressed us. Fed by a Keihin carburettor instead of fuel injection as found on the internationally popular LX125, the Indian version lacks no grunt and offers creamy smooth throttle response translating into a joyful riding experience.
However, the talking point is not the scooter’s straight line performance but its mid-range grunt which makes riding around clogged city streets entertaining and fatigue-free, thanks to the hi-tech 3-valve head that makes for clean and efficient combustion resulting in a smooth and consistent flow of power and torque. I got a chance to ride the Vespa scooter through some really narrow bylanes of Baramati town near the Vespa plant and the experience was truly invigorating and instantly re-instilled my faith in the functionality and practicality that scooters bring.
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