Piaggio Vespa LX125 Review
Bike tested: 2012 Piaggio Vespa LX125
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 78,299/-
Piaggio’s latest product in India needs no introduction. After all, it’s called the Vespa. The iconic Vespa has come back to India, for the third time but this time in the hands of the parent company, Piaggio. The scooter market is growing and all the other scooter manufacturers are refreshing their scooter portfolio to deal with this opportunity. We try to find out if the Piaggio Vespa has what it takes to fight this competition, in terms of offering a good package. So wear your purple pants, blood red t-shirts, bright shoes, style your hair, order pasta and listen to some opera before you start reading this.
Styling – The Italians are obsessed with styling and they leave no stone unturned when it comes to automobiles as well. The Vespa LX125 looks fantastic with an overall retro look and the clean timeless design, unlike the busy design seen on most Japanese counterparts. The key styling elements include the round shaped headlight, round rear view mirrors, compact looking rear, swooping body lines and the bulge at the side which goes all the way to the rear. This bulge joins the indicators and the side body with the Vespa monogram and reflector, which are perfectly placed.
Generous use of chrome is seen everywhere on the Vespa LX125 whether it’s the head light, the tail light, the grab bar or the heat shield. The end of the handle grip and the front mudguard also has a chrome garnish with the Vespa emblem embossed on it. This was there in previous generations of the Vespa as well. The silver finish brake levers add glitter to the styling package. The design of the alloy wheels is a relief, while most scooters have blunt design (TVS Wego aside), the alloys here have a triangular shape which seamlessly flows with the overall design.
Instrument Cluster and Switch Gear – All though, the whole design is retro, the speedometer has a modern touch to it, which is thanks to the carbon-finish background with the speedometer placed in the middle. The fonts and the layout are simplistic yet stylish. The dials are marked all the way to 120 km/h which for a scooter is strange. With Vespa and Piaggio emblem accompanying the dials, there is a digital clock on the speedometer and buttons to adjust the time. This clock is always on, even when you turn off the Vespa LX125, which doesn’t make sense. The dials glow up when using parking light or the main headlight. There is the usual solitary indicator for left and right and high beam. Illuminated switch gear is sorely missed at this price point.
Ergonomics – The seating position is upright and you sit noticeably higher than any other scooter but there are no issues of feet not reaching the ground. Sitting position is not comfortable at first, but you will get used to the position. The seat is flat and the pillion part is not elevated. It is very soft and comfortable for long journeys. Switch gear falls into the hand perfectly but it is bit different to operate. While most other scooters have switch that ‘slides’ to operate, the switchgear on the Vespa needs to be clicked.
The rear view mirrors do a fantastic job and provide a clear view of what is behind despite being designed with ‘form over function mantra’. Even big sized people will have no complains. Side stand is hard to deploy and it won’t go back with one touch. A feature, in fact a necessity (for elderly) sorely missed. Foot rest for the pillion is placed very far from the seating position and there is no place for female pillion to rest their feet while sitting sideways. A powerful horn for a scooter is a welcome thought and huge under-seat storage is best in class. Glove box has decent space and opens when the key is pushed.
Performance and Gearbox – Start the 125cc motor and it comes to life with unprecedented vibrations. RVM’s, and other parts vigorously vibrate until you reach 25 km/h. Performance of the Vespa LX125 is as good as it looks, splendid! The 125cc engine producing 10 PS of power at 7500 RPM and a juicy torque of 10.6 Nm coming from 3-valve, 4-stroke motor makes it a stonker of an engine. Low end torque is good and 0 to 40 km/h is dealt at decent pace. But after 45 km/h, the 3-valve engine is at its best. The Vespa pulls very strongly and the acceleration is on par with the bikes of the same category.
Mid range is astonishing, 60 to 80 km/h is dealt in a matter of seconds and it pulls all the way to the magic number ‘100’ on the speedometer. This is a genuine 100 km/h+ scooter which will munch miles with ease thanks to the 8.5-litre fuel tank. It will also give you a smile when you refill the tank because this is the most fuel–efficient scooter we have ever tested. When driven sanely, it will return figures of 45 km/l which is quite frankly very efficient for what performance this motors offers. Cruising in this scooter is effortless with very little wind blast even at high speeds. The throttle has no feel while cruising which makes it effortless to drive through long journeys.
Ride, Handling and Braking – Ride quality of the Piaggio Vespa is very plush, it absorbs the biggest pot holes and craters to our imperfect roads without any fuss. No matter how the road surface is, you won’t be thrown away nor will your bones hurt. While the ride quality is so good, the handling is not so good. The chassis is stiff but the soft suspension setup, the single sided front suspension and the puny 90 x 100 x 10 tyres don’t make it a ‘sporty handling scooter’.
The Vespa LX125 is very nimble in the city and has a short u-turn radius. The scooter doesn’t like high speed maneuvering or taking sweepers at high speeds because tyres lose grip quickly. High speed stability would have been better if the tires were a bit wider. The Vespa is best when driven sedately. Brakes are good from a commuter’s point of view, while enthusiast will ask for more because of the kind of performance this scooter offers.
Miscellaneous – In-spite of the high price tag, cost cutting is seen on various areas. The Vespa has cheap plastics, inconsistent panel gaps all over, over-sized gasket seen from the outside of the gearbox, cheap side stand, absence of one shot spring loaded action, exposed bolt at one side at the front, missing front telescopic suspension, missing front disc brakes, no side step for female pillions, sore placement of lock which opens the storage, mediocre brakes, high price for accessories to name a few. Vespa emboss is seen at many places like grip cover and front suspension cover. Monograms are present at the front and the side body and a small logo appears on the chrome garnish at the front mudguard.
Conclusion – The third coming of the Vespa scooter in India is a very promising one. The scooter does have its drawbacks but offers many things which no other scooter does. The strong performance, stylish looks and Vespa name are enough to lure buyers to get the LX125. Even though the quality is not the best and the price is on the higher side, the Vespa is the cheapest means of head turning transportation in India currently. There is no denying then, the Vespa does a brilliant job as a life style product.
* Stylish Looks
Whats Not So Cool
* Average Quality
* Lack of Features
Piaggio Vespa LX125 Specifications
* Engine: 124cc, single-cylinder, 3-valve, 4-stroke
* Power: 10.06 PS @ 7500 RPM
* Torque: 10.6 Nm @ 6000 RPM
* Transmission: CVT
* Top Speed: 100 km/h
* Fuel Consumption: 45 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Monocoque steel high rigidity structure
* Suspension: Arm with coil spring and dual effect shock absorber (Front), Coil spring and dual effect shock absorber (Rear)
* Tyres: 90/100/10
* Brakes: 150 mm drum (Front), 140 mm drum (Rear)
Piaggio Vespa LX125 Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 1770 mm x 690 mm x 1140 mm
* Wheelbase: 1290 mm
* Seat Height: 770 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 8.5-liters
* Kerb Weight: 114 kgs