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Reviewed: Piaggio Vespa
Driven May 2012
There’s something about these Italians, eh? They’ve got all we Indians aspire to, at least - style, power, presence and more style. And on that note, if you don’t already know it, allow me to announce the launch of the Vespa. Yup, it’s called just the Vespa. Caesar’s ghost, I hope they aren’t planning to run this model for the next decade...
It definitely looks the part - the overall effect is somewhere between handsome and beautiful, so neither sex will feel out of place while riding it. In any case, there is a handy palette of colours to choose from, should you feel the need to establish whether you belong to Mars or Venus.
However, falling in love with the Vespa due to its looks is like calling an Instagram photo a work of art. And that’s solely due to that insipid 125cc motor that hides behind those shapely rear panels. The single-cylinder unit makes 10bhp and 10.6Nm - no earth-shattering figures, these, but not bad either. However, I cannot figure out how the Vespa feels so slow. Until testing equipment is strapped on, I can’t be sure, but it feels like the slowest scooter in India right now. And part of the reason might be the that sorted suspension. Yeah, go figure.
The Vespa features traditional trailing arm front suspension and combined with the rear shock, it makes for a handling package that is miles better than anything we’ve had in India in the scooter segment. Ride quality is excellent, it handles with commendable poise and it’s more roomy than any of the other scooters we have here - good for those ‘above average build’ chaps like me. And girls too.
However, there’s a hitch. And it’s all down to the motor. For something that looks this good, the Vespa falls woefully short of backing it up with adequate power. And for this, they’re charging a considerable premium, seeing as it’s priced at Rs 66-odd-thousand, ex-showroom. But then again, if style takes precedence above all else in your life, you can’t go wrong with the Vespa.