Text – Faisal Khan; Pictures – Om Vaikul
2014 Piaggio Vespa S Review
Bike Tested: 2014 Piaggio Vespa S
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 85,130/-
The Vespa S manages to turn attention, forcing people to get their camera phones out.
Scooters have been seeing a huge growth in popularity and sales which can be largely attributed to the massive convenience they offer in city conditions. There are scooters and then there is the Vespa, a premium outlook from Piaggio on the same body style. The Italian automaker brought in the Vespa LX125 scooter two years back, following it with the launch of the Vespa VX last year and now the company has put the Vespa S on sale, which is also the top-of-the-line offering from Piaggio in the Indian 2-wheeler market (until the absurdly priced Vespa 946 goes on sale). The Vespa S is a sporty avatar of the Vespa and is priced much above any other scooter on sale in the country. Does this premium scooter have more than style quotient to impress?
The Vespa S just like any other Vespa scooter is unmistakbly a Vespa. In fact the styling is very similar to the other Vespa models with the biggest differentiator being the 1970’s style rectangular headlight which the company hopes will inject some masculinity into this scooter, thereby attractive the male crowd. There are other changes too, like the square rear view mirrors, chrome strip below the headlight and the lack of a grab rail (the Vespa S gets a a strap in the middle for the pillion to hold on to). The seat gets a white border for that classy feel while the scooter now has two open cubbyholes below the ignition key slot (the other Vespas get a lockable unit which is more practical). The 3-spoke wheels get the black treatment and the suspension springs are done up in red. New colours have been added as well, and while the orange looks unique, the black is the one to get with its matte finish.
The instrument cluster has also been revised and now there are two separate pods (one for the speedometer and the other for the fuel gauge). The console has been finished in piano black shade and looks really cool. The speedo has the S badging in it while the tell tale lights are placed below. There is a digital clock as well which remains on all the time. The switchgear is the same as on the regular Vespa, which is very different from conventional scooters and you do have to take your hand off the handlebar to operate a few buttons. The levers and palm grips are of very good quality and so is the overall finish of this scooter but at this price more is expected.
Powering the Vespa S is the same 124cc, 3-valve motor which also does duty on its siblings. This unit outputs 10.06 PS of peak power at 7500 RPM and 10.6 Nm of peak torque at 6000 RPM, there are no mechanical changes at all to the S variant. Performance is good with the scooter throwing out some vibes till 25 km/hr while post 45 km/hr it pulls cleanly and performs the best in the mid-range. 100 km/hr on the speedometer is achievable on the Vespa which makes it the fastest scooter in the country today. While Piaggio claims a mileage of 60 km/l, we are seeing 46-48 km/l which is easily the best in the 125cc category. This coupled with the large 8.5-litre fuel tank makes the Vespa offer the best tank range in the segment.
The Piaggio Vespa is underpinned by a steel monocoque chassis with a traditional single-sided hydraulic shock at the front and a monoshock at the rear. Ride quality is excellent and the scooter does a fantastic job of absoring the bad patches of our roads in its stride. The handling is good but the tyres lack grip and you can’t really push the scooter through long sweepers. What is even more worrying is the lack of stability post 60 km/hr as the Vespa tends to swing either way. However at slow speeds, this Piaggio is easy to manoeuvre which makes light work of handling city duties. The Vespa S gets a 200 mm disc like the Vespa VX and this imparts it fantastic stopping power.
The Piaggio Vespa is a nice scooter which is only marred down by its high price. The Italian company still isn’t getting the point as with every new variant, the cost keeps soaring and the S offers nothing more than cosmetic changes vis-a-vis the Vespa VX. At the price of a 180cc motorcycle, Piaggio really needs to offer more to buyers, lot of equipment has been omitted like grab rail, pillion footrests, side stand, etc. Sure the Vespa S is the most stylish scooter in the market today but that’s not enough to justify the Rs. 85,000/- pricing.
The Piaggio Vespa S is a very good scooter, offering plenty of style but lacks the value for money quotient which almost every scooter buyer seeks in India. The major reason one would buy this scooter would be for exclusivity.
* Stylish Scooter
* Ride Quality
What’s Not So Cool
* High speed stability