In part two of our rundown of Piaggio’s offerings at the EICMA show, we look at Vespa’s new products. Not quite so exciting as Gilera’s, but some interesting variations (and yellow paint!) on some models, and a couple big surprises. As always, keep in mind that Piaggio themselves probably don’t know if these bikes will end up stateside, so your dealer will, as usual, know less than you do when you call. All aboardâ€¦
GTV 125, GTV 250
After presenting some one-off 60th-Anniversary retro concept Vespas at last year’s EICMA show, Vespa suprised the world this April, announcing that the three models would actually go into production. All three were basically retro-cosmetic upgrades of existing models. The first, the GTS-based GT60, is shipping now to dealers in a very limited edition that’s probably already sold out. The next two will see a wider release, and are apparently coming very soon. The first of these, the GTV, is a GTS remodeled to emulate Vespa’s exposed-handlebar fenderlight bikes of the early Fifties. It’s been talked-about for a year now, so the only surprise is that it will be available in both 125 and 250cc displacements, and in a traditional green color called “Portofino” in addition to the promised “Avio Grey.” Our prediction is that a 125 cc four-stroke engine in a GTS body will give the rider the true experience of a fifties Vespa — speedwise, anyway (see GTS 125, below).
LXV 125, LXV 50
The other Anniversary model promised in April was the LXV, which brings the glamour of the Sixties Vespa to the LX range of modern Vespas. Again, the only fresh news to report is that it will be available in both LX displacements (the LX50 features the new 2-stroke Hi-Per2 motor), and like all early Vespas (and the new GTVs), it will be sold in your choice of leftover battleship grey, or leftover tank green.
S 50, S 125
Luckily, Piaggio kept one Anniversary model a secret until last week. Seeing the first photos of the Vespa S, we accurately noted it’s stylistic nod to the Vespa 50 Special, but mistook it for a superficially retrofitted LX. On closer inspection, while the general dimensions and displacements (50 and 125) match the LX, there are some rather significant design differences. Most obvious is the legshield, which discards the plastic insert of the LX, returning to a more traditional shape and contour than any scooter since the PK series. The Corsa-style seat looks as magically uncomfortable as the original. Details like the fender and tailight add to the impression that the Vespa smallframe is back, although for some reason, of all the great smallframe models to choose from, they gave it the horncasting and square headlight of a Vespa 50 Special. (Apparently, every European teenager in the 1970s lost their virginity on the 50 Special, so we’ll let that decision slide) It’s impossible to look at this bike and not want to add a dummy tank and spare tire behind the legshield. It evokes the spirit of the original without being superficial or corny, and that’s more than can be said about the bigger and more expensive 60th Anniversary models. The 50 features the 2-stroke Hi-Per, the 125 has the 4-stroke LEADER. Hello, Neue Primavera.
GTS 250, GTS 125
Differences may be eluding me, but I see nothing new about the GTS 250. It seems like every GTS I’ve ever seen was green, so perhaps “Midnight Blue, Lime Yellow, Excalibur Grey, Shiny Black and Dragon Red.” are new colors, but perhaps not. (Are the optional anti-lock brakes new? Does anyone actually want ABS on a motorcycle?) The new GTS 125 is targeted towards European teenagers with a A1 license or older riders who don’t want to go through motorcycle testing. It features the 125 LEADER engine, which as noted above, doesn’t seem like much displacement for a heavy GTS frame, though the same engine will power the even heavier US-market MP3 (or whatever they decide to call it here).
As with the GTS, the only changes from 2006 in the LX range appear to be displacement and paint. Four engine choices are available: a 50cc 2 stroke Hi-Per2, a 50cc 4-stroke Hi-Per4, and 125cc or 150cc 4-stroke LEADERs. Colors for 2007 are Tibet, Sky Blue, Lime Yellow, Excalibur Grey, Graphite Black and Dragon Red for the 50s, Portofino, Midnight Blue, Lime Yellow, Excalibur Grey, Graphite Black and Dragon Red for the 125 and 150.
Check out our ever-expanding 2006 EICMA Gallery for more photos. Still to come: Derbi, Piaggio, and Aprilia’s EICMA offerings, plus anything else we can scrape up about the non-Piaggio-made scooters on display.