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Review: Vespa S

Driven June 2014

Review: Vespa S
It’s come to a point where people can’t imagine a gearless scooter being anything other than a Honda. The other day in the parking lot at a mall, we saw 10 scooters in a line. All of them were Hondas and most of them were different generations of the Activa.

When it comes to gearless scooters, even its rivals prefer taking the safer router and make their gearless product looks as Activa-ish as they can get away with. So in the sea of gearless, faceless scooters, the Vespa S is easily spotted in your average parking lot.

Vespa recently launched a second variant of its gearless scooter in India, expanding its range to three models. The Vespa S shares most of its components with the Vespa VX and LX, barring a few key styling features. The headlight has been changed from the round one on the VX to a simple square unit. That theme has been carried to the rear-view mirrors as well. The instrument cluster is different too. Disc brakes are standard and the alloys are blacked out. The looks are fresh, in a retro-cool way.

The 125cc engine is also the same, although we would have preferred a 150cc unit. It makes 10bhp and 10.6Nm, which is more than enough for your daily commute. We’ve been riding the Vespa S for a few days now, and it’s nothing special, just a hassle-free ride. Power is just about enough for overtaking, and on short stretches of the highway, it pulls along nicely at 50kph.

The seats are comfortable and like everything Vespa, it’s nicely designed. Riding position is stress-free, the only downside being the tunnel down the centre of the floorboard. This reduces the utility factor, when you need to carry say, a shopping bag or a carton on the floorboard. The suspension is nice, but on the stiffer side, which gives the scooter its sporty ride. But don’t expect much from the ‘S’ badging. The little 125cc motor does not like being pushed hard, which becomes evident after 60kph – as speed climbs, the engine sounds stressed and vibrations increase. Ride the Vespa S easy and you’ll manage 44kpl, which is decent for a motor this size.

If you’re looking for performance, you’re missing the point completely. The Vespa S, like the VX and the LX, is more about style. People will always give it a second look, they will come over and pose for a picture. Or give you the occasional thumbs up while you’re riding down the street. On the Vespa S, you’ll get attention that you won’t get from any other scooter. It’s simple, hassle-free and stylish; but being different from the crowd will set you back Rs 76,500 (ex-showroom, Mumbai). And that is just a tad too much to pay for style.

The numbers
Single-cylinder, 125cc petrol, 10bhp, 10.6Nm, 44kpl, Rs 76,500 (ex-Mumbai)

The verdict
If you want something that oozes style, the Vespa S presses all the right buttons. But it’s at a stiff premium over a similarly-specced scooter from the Japs.

Abhinav Mishra

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