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Vespa with vooma!

2006-01-30 09:33

Brett Hamilton

We hit the town's confined spaces with all its morning glory: narrow streets, tight traffic, and dawdling drivers - a place where an errand becomes a mission.

On an R1 I would have been cursing the bike's 160 horses bucking like a trapped mustang.

The GT is more upright than downright.

It's only a scooter, but it out-runs and out-dives anything else on city streets: the perfect traffic terrorist.

The little 198cc motor pushes out 14 kW and has a top speed of just under 120km/h.

Low numbers when you look at bigger bikes, but consider that the GT weighs next to nothing.

Splitting the lanes, passing the myriad of caged drivers felt like cheating. Like taking the easy way out. That didn't stop me from saying, 'Goodbye traffic'. Next.

With a smile I wound my way up and over the rocky passes outside the city with the boiling kettle hum from the GT turning this mission into a pleasure.

The motor comes mated to a fully automatic transmission, making city riding a breeze.

Just twist the throttle, wait for the buzz from the bike and there you go. It takes twisty roads very well and can corner at surprising speeds.

Up front is a single 220mm disc brake, the same size as the one on the back.

What's nice about the bike's dimensions is the fact that you can use the brake whenever you like: before the corner, after the corner and even mid-corner.

Gone into a corner with too much speed? No worries, just scrub off some speed with no hassles from the front or rear.

The last thing you can do on a Vespa is get into a massive tank slapper or high side.

Back in town it's game on. Bounce up onto the sidewalk and make my way to the corner of a bustling café.

I swap my usual black coffee for an espresso.

That's what this bike's all about, really. Normal coffee steams in the morning as does a budget scooter, getting you from A to B. But an espresso just tastes better, doesn't it?


  • Engine: 198 cc, 4-stroke, single-cylinder. Fully automatic.
  • Power: 14 kW at 8 500 rpm.
  • Top speed: 119 km/h.
  • 0-100 km/h: Not really what this bike is about.
  • Fuel consumption: 37km per litre at 60km/h.
  • Brakes: Front: 220 mm discs, floating calliper with two pistons; Rear: 220 mm disc, calliper with two opposed pistons.
  • Suspension: Front: Single arm with dual acting hydraulic shock and co-axial spring; Rear: Twin dual shocks with adjustable pre-load.
  • Value added: Free roadside assistance.
  • Price: R46 500.

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