Winding up the 12 scoots of Christmas is like shutting the door on your dreams. Everything that I’ve looked at in this piece I could easily ride and would probably enjoy greatly. Not as though that’s likely, but I’m OK with that. This time, I’m going to cover both ends of the Vespa and its parent company, Piaggio, scooter spectrum, the magnificent Vespa GTS 300 Super and the humble Piaggio Fly 150.
11. Vespa GTS 300 Super – The Vespa GTS 300 Super is the very top of the Vespa line-up, and is a truly capable scooter. It’s big, but it rides and handles very well; it’s expensive, but maintains it’s value and is durable. For some people, only a Vespa will do!
Styling: What can you say about classic Vespa styling? Sure, the GTS is a classic Vespa at about 165%, but all the cues popular in the old days are there in one form or another. It represents the pinnacle of the modern Vespa, and is the fastest and most technologically advanced Vespa ever, and it looks it.
Features: With fuel injection, liquid cooling and 278ccs of displacement, the Vespa GTS 300 Super is chock full of performance. With the rest of its long list of features, it will measure up to any luxury scooter out there. It offers big disc brakes front and rear, a glove box, advanced instrumentation and bags of style. Too bad that the GTS 300 section of the Vespa website is such a wreck, or else I’d be able to tell you what else you get for your money.
Target audience: For its cost (MSRP $6,100) the Vespa 300 Super aims high, and those able to afford it are either serious scooterists (often replacing a second car) or maybe are just people with a lot of money who like the idea of a big Vespa. I’m not running those people down, in fact, I thank them. I thank them because when they realize that riding a scooter isn’t the safest or easiest way of looking good, I and many other people like me will be there to take the scooter off their hands on the cheap (slightly cheaper, I guess, as modern Vespas do retain value). Seriously though, the GTS 300 Super is an amazing scooter, capable of true highway performance (80 mph) while looking fabulous. That it’s durable and reliable often don’t enter into the conversation, but rest assured that it is.
12. Piaggio Fly 150
The Fly is a tremendous value and it’s popular around the world. Although it offers plastic panels, it still represents a high quality scooter with the heart of a Vespa, but at a cut rate.
Styling: The Fly might be in need of an update, but it still looks like an Italian scooter. It looks modern, but without the sharp creases and bug-like details familiar on some Asian scooters. With its distinctive legshield and trim haunches, the Fly is reminiscent of it’s stablemate Vespa 150S but minus the metal body. It’s not recognizable as a Vespa, but it’s still a good-looking, usable, fun scooter. To my eye it looks simple and uncluttered, and that’s a style in itself.
Features: For the low cost of entry, the Fly doesn’t offer a lot of fanciness, but that’s also a benefit in its weight distribution that makes it so tossable. The Fly makes do with a carburetor on its Vespa-identical 150cc, air-cooled engine, but offers an adjustable rear shock, plentiful under seat storage, a trim passenger grab handle and a glovebox.
Target audience: This is the entry-level scooter in the 150cc class for Piaggio, so there’s a segmented group buying the Fly. It includes bargain hunters for sure (MSRP $2,899), but also new scooter riders who want a high quality scooter without the price tag of a new Vespa. It’s aspirational for the truly inexpensive scooter riders and for those in the know, and represents excellent value.
So there you have it, the 12 scoots of Christmas. Now, get some rest and let dreams of scooters dance in your heads!
Vespa and Piaggio scooters are available at: Scoot Around Town, TT Motorcycles, Vespa of Dearborn and Vespa of Brighton
What’s next: The 2010 scooter of the year