New Vespa - sensible but sporty
BELLY LAUGH: I spotted this sign outside a Toronto Vespa dealership a couple of years ago. I don’t think they were referring to tummy-ache – rather the potential fuel figures for one of their Italian machines! Image: DAVE FALL
Author: DAVE FALL
My pal Bob has a Harley-Davidson but often as not I see him riding his beloved scooter. He owns a couple of cars, too, but tells me there’s no way he can manage without his scooter, parking being the way it is, even in his quiet Cape Town street.
But that’s the rub with owning a scoot: if you need something from the shops, or maybe run a couple of errands – or even nipping across town – you simply can’t do it quicker or more economically any other way.
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Most times you don’t even have to don a hefty jacket or worry about pulling on a pair of waterproof trousers, or wearing of bike boots, because the scooter’s built-in leg shields offer superb weather protection.
True, helmets still have to be worn by law, but can be of the lightweight variety (but please make sure they have SABS accreditation).
My reasons for mentioning the above is to let you know about the latest Vespa scooter to hit the South African market, the 150cc LX3-V, that sells for R52 950.
Yes, I know there are scooters that are considerably cheaper, but if you want one that lasts and lasts and will always give good service it always pays to buy the best. I first encountered the brand in the mid-1960's and travelled the length and breadth of England virtually 52 weeks of the year come rain or shine. That particular 125cc machine was already 15 years old but never let me down.
Fast forward to 2012 (and very nearly 2013) and the LX 3-V has three-valve technology to give it some real zip. The single-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled gem of an engine has a single overhead cam and electronic fuel-injection - all of which means you can simply ride it and enjoy the scenery, thanks to seamless automatic transmission… twist the throttle and away you go!
With its 8.2-litre fuel tank, it’ll cost less than a R100 for a fortnight’s riding.
Vespa these days is under the control of the giant Piaggio Group which identified three-valve technology as the most effective solution for optimising induction flow, reducing friction and increasing efficiency – especially in running costs.
(A recent Vespa road-test bike allowed me to run about for nearly a week before I needed a tankful.)
All the creature comforts you could wish for are in place: electric start, disc brakes and storage space (including for your crash helmet when you shop), under the seat and in the front luggage carrier.
Call your nearest Vespa dealer for more details.
*Don’t ever be tempted to ride without wearing gloves – no matter how short the journey.
Vespa LX 3-V 150cc
Engine: Single-cylinder, air-cooled
Power: 9.5kW at 7500rpm
Torque: 12.8Nm at 6250rpm
0-100km/h: 12 sec (Est.)
Top speed: 125km/h (Est.)
Tank capacity: 8.2 litres
Seat height: 785mm
Kerb weight: 111kg
Brakes: (F) disc (R) drum
Final drive: automatic
Priced from R52 950