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The Vespa S Review is here. We rode the Vespa S in scenic Kerala and found out how different is this scooter compared to the other Vespas in the market!
TEXT & PHOTOS: Sunil Gupta/ Sunilg
The overall Indian 2-wheeler market is still in its early evolutionary phase. The customer is wary of venturing too far out from his traditional set of choices and consequently even the manufacturers have a very limited product portfolio with very few things differentiating their products from one another. While the above isn’t true with motorcycles anymore, the scooter market particularly hasn’t tried to experiment much except the Kinetic’s brief stint with Italiano series and the subsequent launch of the Blaze scooter that had styling which was way ahead of its time. Fast forward to 2014 and we still have scooters which have very few differentiating factors. Thankfully Vespa is trying to create a niche in the market and offering us some drool-worthy Italian styling.
Vespa made a comeback with the Vespa 125 some time ago, which was followed by the Vespa VX. Both these models didn’t get big numbers in terms of sales but definitely helped the company make its mark as far as the brand perception is concerned. People who had money to spend on a niche product and who wanted to look different welcomed the Vespas with open arms. To consolidate that niche segment, Vespa recently launched their third offering – the Vespa S.
Styling wise, the Vespa S, true to its DNA, has got lots of oomph! The one thing that sets it apart from any other scooter in the market is its retro styling, accentuated by its rectangular shaped headlight with a generous amount of chrome. The same design cues are carried over to the rear-view mirrors as well. The distinctive white lining on the seat complements its retro styling. The S maintains its typical Vespa ergonomics with the Vespa monocoque steel body and simple curves.
The black plastic body instrument cluster looks upmarket and has speedometer and fuel gauge in 2 separate dials. The upper/lower beam and turn indicator lights sit at the bottom along with a digital clock, though the control buttons were kind of tiny. The left handlebar has the upper/lower beam, turn indicator, and the horn switches; the right houses the self-start and the headlight on-off ones. The switches were smooth to operate, with quality plastic on them. The hand grips themselves are easy to hold and have a mesh-type texture on them which makes the grip non-slippery. The brake levers have a very meaty feel. The overall fit and finish and paint quality is top notch.
There are few minor styling titbits that make the Vespa S stand apart from the other Italians; e.g., the chrome lining at the front going all the way down from the headlight to the black plastic grill and the red spring coil in the suspensions.
Storage wise, there are two pockets/slots provided at the front which are good enough to carry a half-litre bottle or other small items. There’s also a plastic hook between them, which you can use to hang your bags or other such stuff, a small but pretty useful feature we must say. The under-seat storage again is good enough to hold a half-face helmet. However, the floor of the scooter is not meant to carry any big luggage as the meaty spine at its centre makes it useless if you want keep something on it as it tends to fall easily on one side as you brake.
The Vespa S uses the same 125 cc engine that you’d find in other Vespa machines in India. This engine is capable of producing 10 PS at 7500 rpm mark and peak torque of 10.6 Nm at 6000 rpm, which is transmitted to the rear wheel via CVT.
Performance wise, the Vespa S is won’t disappoint, though that doesn’t mean it will prove to be the quickest in a quarter-mile drag either! If you have ridden the Vespa LX or the VX, you can expect the same performance from the S as well. It is quick off the line and has a smooth power delivery pattern throughout. The scooter feels a little stressed after around 75-80 kmph mark, but feels smooth and peppy before that. Handling is effortless and precise thanks to its monocoque chassis and the hydraulic monoshock at the rear and single-sided front suspension which take care of the potholes and bumpy roads with ease even with a pillion on board.
Braking is taken care of with the help of a 200 mm disc at the front and a 140 mm drum at the rear, which is good enough for a machine like this. The Vespa S is also fitted with the MRF tubeless tyres, which is always a plus point and an advantage over tubed ones.
The riding stance is upright and comfortable, even the taller riders didn’t seem to have any sort of problems during the ride. The saddle is spacious and comfortable. The pillion though is left only with a belt around the seat to hold on to, and there’s no back rest and no grab rail either. The grab rail issue becomes even more irritating when you try to put the scooter on the centre stand. Though the grab rail, etc., are available as an accessory at an extra cost.
So overall, if you are someone who likes to look and be different from the crowd and want everybody’s attention focused on you, then the Vespa S is the machine for you. It will give you probably give you the same amount of attention that your neighbourhood superbike-riding dude gets! But the Vespa doesn’t isn’t cheap either. At 75,424 INR ex-showroom Delhi, it is pricy. To put things into perspective, with that money, you can buy another 125 cc scooter from Honda or Suzuki and will still have around 25K left in your pocket! So there’s only the price tag which doesn’t really work in the favour of this scooter, but if you are ready to pay the price for the premium, you’ll find very few other reasons to not buy this.