New Ape, VespaS and Hybrids from Piaggio

Piaggio made three big announcements yesterday, each with large implications on the scooter market:

2007 Piaggio Ape Calessino

Ape Calessino

This was the surprise, of course, an absolutely retro and luxurious new Ape dubbed the “Calessino.” Appointed with whitewalls, chrome, leather, and tropical wood, with a 422cc 4-stroke 4-speed diesel engine the Ape Calessino is being released in an edition of only 999. It’s safe to assume no one reading this crappy excuse for a scooter blog will ever see one in person outside Monte Carlo, let alone own one, but it re-establishes the dream that someday Piaggio may just surprise us with a loving reproduction of the GS160 with a modern geared engine.

2007 Vespa HyS motor

Hybrid Piaggio MP3, X8, and Vespa LX

The only surprise here is that the HyS hybrid engine (more info here and here) is still in the prototype stage. These appear to be more or less the same machines tested in Milan last April, apparently the “news” is that the MP3 has newly been outfitted with the HyS as well. Without getting into details again, the technology is promising: an electrical-assisted gas engine that can be switched to zero-emissions electric power only. We love the idea, now please make them available to consumers!

2007 Vespa S

Vespa S 50 and 125

The Vespa S was announced last fall among several other models. It seemed to have been buried in Piaggio’s priorities at the time, though it got a fantastic reception from the press. Now with the top-priority Piaggio MP3 entrenched in scooterdom worldwide, Vespa is releasing the S in 50cc and 125cc versions. The design is a tribute to the smallframe Vespa, notably the square-headlight Vespa S, and it’s nearly entirely successful visually, no other modern Vespa comes so close to emulating the details, lines and style of the vintage models we all love. The only conceivable complaint (at least on paper) is the displacement, but we’d argue that the owner of such a lovely scooter deserves to be cursed with the speed of its ancestors. Bravo, Piaggio, bring it to America ASAP. While previous press photos showed the S only in white, it will be available in “Dragon red, Shiny black and Montebianco white.” Piaggio will also offer several optional graphics kits (“Flowers,” “Europe,” “Sport”) and Jet-style matched helmets.

All photos courtesy of Piaggio
More press photos: Ape Calessino gallery, HyS Gallery, Vespa S Gallery.

7 thoughts on “New Ape, VespaS and Hybrids from Piaggio”

  1. If we do get it in America, I’ve got no doubt that we’ll get the 150. Emissions certification isn’t free, and it’s a pain. Even then, your dreams of speed are only a 190 kit and Polini variator away.

    That Ape is seriously cool. If only I had somewhere to drive a thing like that.

  2. Bryce, you know it goes by bike, not engine class. So they don’t just get a pass based on using the same engine. Or am I wrong or would this just be a slight variation on the LX so it wouldn’t be considered a different model? I bet it will have to have different DOT certification due to the change in lights and controls. I agree that if it’s a 125 that the upgrades will be happening just a hair bit sooner.

  3. Look at the LXV, it’s basically the LX150 but with a different headlight and headset and some other minor detail changes. The Vespa S is no different. So far as I can tell, there isn’t anything radically different about the S that would make US market LX150 mechanical systems a problem. If you look at the thing, none of the metal has changed, it’s all just the plastic details. A rather clever way to expand the line without changing the hard points. Even if they had to call it a different bike, they would still use the 150. It has been certified, which does make the process faster because they then should only have to certify the evaporative emissions system. From a parts perspective, having one engine size would cut the number of parts they have to stock and distribute here. It would be more expensive for them in a monetary way and in terms of distribution speed of parts.

    Regarding DOT, they don’t actually certify any bike. They set forth the requirements, and manufacturers agree to comply with them, and make sworn statements to that effect. There doesn’t seem to be any formalized inspection process to verify compliance. My guess is that Vespa set up the headlight to satisfy international regulations from the get go. We will likely see the same front turn signals that we do on the LX and LXV.

  4. Once a particular engine class is homologated, (ie the 150 leader, any 250 Kymco,etc) the only requirements for the Mfg. or distributor are to meet DOT requirements for headlight illumination, turn signal location, etc.

  5. I bet they sell it as the 50s in an attempt to actually sell some 50cc bikes. It’s about the only way I see some poor sucker (sorry, collector) actually buying one of the slow-ass things.

  6. Oh, and that Ape is dead sexy. Al should tart up some Bajaj autorickshaws like that. I bet he could sell a few.

  7. (11/3/07) The Vespa S on display at the Cycle World Int’l. Motorcycle Show (Houston) was clearly a 125; however, the adjacent sign indicated that by the time we get it in January 2008, it would be a 150. The Piaggio rep confirmed that to be the plan.

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