Vespa, an iconic brand in scooter segment, a 66 year old brand in the history of automobile. It has made its mark in more than 200 Hollywood movies. Vespa was also used by French army in the war of 1956. Is it enough to define Vespa brand? We can write an essay on the history attached with the brand Vespa. Definitely, the Vespa brand and its manufacturer are not new to India
As we know that the first Vespa was launched in India by Bajaj Auto in 1960. The license agreement between Bajaj Auto and Piaggio was ended in 1971. Piaggio reentered in India in 1983 partnering with LML Motors which lasted till 1999. This is the third time Piaggio and Vespa are entering in Indian market. However, this time Piaggio has made solo entry and it is aiming to cater India’s lifestyle oriented people.
With the launch of Hero Honda CD100 in 1984 and Hero Honda Splendor in 1994, the era of motorcycle begun in the India. The change was so strong that top two scooter manufacturer Bajaj Auto and LML were out of business of scooters. While, Bajaj Auto has transformed itself in motorcycle manufacture, LML is doing geared scooter on very limited basis today. Though the era of geared scooter has ended, gearless scooter demand is growing at brisk pack. Last year demand for gearless scooter segment has grown in excess of 30% and it is expected to grow continuously at higher rate due to its utility, increased woman participation in work and household use.
With the increasing share of gearless scooter in total two wheeler sales, there is now need of stylish and life style oriented gearless scooter. Piaggio has sensed the market opportunity and it is the sole reason of entering in India at this point of time. So what has been offered by Piaggio in terms of Vespa brand to this new segment? Let’s have a look.
Engine and Transmission
Vespa is powered by 125cc, 4 stroke, 3 valve, single cylinder, air cooled engine. The engine can generate maximum power of 10 bhp @ 7,500 rpm and maximum torque of 10.6Nm @ 6,000 rpm. The power and torque figure are highest among the scooters available in India. The transmission is handled by CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission). The engine has equipped with modern technologies such as Variable Spark timing management, MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensing. Apart from this, it has high efficiency media air intake filters for clean air to engine. The engine has high compression ratio of 10.6 for increased power and torque. The engine is powerful yet fuel efficient. Vespa’s engine sound is unique and it feels like a geared scooter engine sound.
Vespa Performance, Fuel Efficiency and Top Speed:
The engine feels punchy while initial acceleration. It’s a quick scooter which takes around 8-9 seconds for 0-60 run and achieves top speed of 100KM/hour. Vespa has ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 62 KMPL. However, the showroom guy intended a fuel efficiency of 45- 50KMPL in city ride conditions and around 55-60 KMPL fuel efficiency in highway ride conditions. This is something which has impressed me. The scooter is not lacking on the fuel efficiency front despite of excellent performance figures for gearless scooter.
What is so special about the Vespa’s chassis. Vespa has monocoque full steel body construction. It is something which we saw on old age geared scooter. The entire chassis is a single piece steel body which is unique now a day. It also has been a signature feature on the Vespa since 1946. The monocoque chassis provides great strength and rigidity.
Apart from this the link spring mechanism between the engine and frame provides adequate balance and high speed stability. Vespa has designed this scooter chassis adequately which gives confident sharp turn. The scooter weighs just 114 Kg and weight distribution is adequate so that you can easily stand it up. It also has auto return stand feature (optional) which automatically return the side stand in case you forgot to do so.
Vespa has got bigger brakes for effective braking. The front has got 150mm drum brake and the rear has got 140mm drum brake. Vespa has designed the shear point on the brake handle’s end portion in order to keep handles intact in case of fall. Braking is effective and adequate. However while riding it feels that you need to press the brake lever hard to activate braking. The braking is adequate however it is not that much good like we see on Honda Activa. What missing is a disc brake on front which Vespa has in other countries (possibly stored for future upgrade)
The front has got single sided trailing arm front suspension which comes with antidive characteristics. The rear has got dual effect hydraulic shock absorber. Suspensions are working fine and offers jerk free riding.
Vespa comes with nylogrip tyres.. It has 3 spoke, stain finish alloy wheels with the rim size of 90/100-10. The road grip of tyres is firm and makes the scooter stable in the wet conditions.
Electricals and instrument panel:
Vespa comes with 12V, 5Ah low maintenance battery (Now a day’s standard for gearless scooter). The front headlight is powered by 35 watt halogen with multi focal view. The headlight offers adequate visibility in night. The instrument panel has electric clock along with speedometer, fuel gauge, side indicators and high beam indicators. The switchgears are top notch quality but finishing is average. The horn sound is good enough to catch your ears.
Vespa is most stylish scooter available in India. It has got stylish headlamp, tail lamp and LED indicators. Apart from this it’s sleek body design and color scheme catches eye of anyone. The chrome element is visible everywhere starting from the signature Vespa chrome grill to tail light chrome appliqué. Moreover Vespa also offers unique accessories which can further enhance the style factor of the scooter. Apart from this it has its own brand heritage history which provides enough brand value to this scooter.
Vespa Ride and Handling:
The riding quality of Vespa is entirely different then what you feel on other scooter like Activa and Access 125. It feels like powerful geared scooter. The scooter has width of 690mm (20 mm less than Honda Activa) which is very suitable for Indian conditions. It makes the judgment factor much better especially for girls. It has wheelbase of 1290mm which is mostly highest in scooter and ensures stability while cornering. Handling is good enough. However, I am not that much impressed with the handling quality of Vespa.
Vespa Storage Capacity:
Vespa offers adequate under seat storage capacity of 15 Kg (16.5 liters) which is good enough for a full size helmet and other stuffs. You can also remove the under seat dickey and do some regular maintenance of engine. The front also offers good amount of storage for small things. You don’t need to pay extra for front glove box as it comes standard. You can open all the storage with just a single key and key lock which is now becoming standard.
Other features in Piaggio Vespa:
The leather seat has enough padding but looks like semi-finished. I feel that a leather seat cover requires for its final finishing touch. The footrest for pillion has been integrated in middle panel itself (a side ladies footrest comes optional). Paint quality is of top notch quality and it impressed me. There are six color options available in Vespa Monte Bianco, Nero Volcano, Giallo Lime, Rosso Dragon, Rosso Chianti and Midnight Blue. There are other optional accessories like met, helmet and side guards.
Vespa Scooter Price and availability in India
Vespa has been priced in a premium scooter segment. In fact Vespa is pioneering premium scooter segment in India. The scooter has been priced Rs. 66,661 in Pune. In Ahmedabad it has ex-showroom price of around 72,000 and on road price cost Rs. 77,000 without accessories. The scooter on rider price with other accessories is around Rs. 80,000 in Ahmedabad. The delivery has already started in Ahmedabad and it commands around 15 days to 30 days waiting now.
Vespa has been purposefully priced in premium segment to discourage fuel efficient and cost effective buyer. It is made for lifestyle oriented youth and people. The good thing about the scooter is its performance, fuel efficiency and style factor. On the other hand the handling qualities and braking department has scope of improvement (What we hope in next upgrade). It has been priced at a very high premium to other gearless scooter available in India, but that is not a concern considering the target buyers.
Overall, a very good gearless scooter from Vespa in premium segment and it will surely have a good number of buyers in the absence of competition.
Vespa 2012 Technical Specifications
- Displacement: 125cc
- Engine: 125cc, 4 Stroke
- Maximum Power: 10.06 Bhp @ 7500 rpm
- Maximum Torque: 10.6 Nm @ 6000 rpm
- Cooling Type: Air Cooling
- Chassis Type: Monocoque steel high rigidity structure
- Length: 1770.00 mm
- Width: 690.00 mm
- Height: 1140.00 mm
- Weight: 114.00 kg
- Fuel Tank: 8.00 ltrs
- Wheelbase: 1290.00 mm
- Headlamp: Multi-focal with 35w halogen
- Battery Type: Low Maintenance
- Battery Voltage: 12V
- Battery Capacity: 5ah
- Horn: Dual
- Wheel Type: Alloys
- Wheel Size: 90/100-10 53J mm
- Colors: Red, Orange, Blue, Silver, Yellow
More Vespa Scooter 2012 Images: Vespa Black