We had a first tryst with the Piaggio India’s brand new Vespa S on the beach line of Bandra, Mumbai and boy its retro-classic styling cues caught a lot of eyeballs and flashes. The charming old school silhouette combined with funky eye-catching hues on offer – orange, matt black, red and white – make the Vespa S hard to miss in the afternoon traffic.
The Vespa S’ uniqueness is attributed toits retro-classic rectangular headlamp & rear view mirrors. Chrome applique on Vespa S logo, headlamp, rear view mirrors, handle bar ends, suspension arms, kicker, tail lamp housing, and the exhaust goes hand-in-hand with the high quality paint job making the Vespa so exquisite compared to its rivals. The black 3 spoke alloy wheels and the new instrument console, also finished in black, add one more layer to the sporty appeal.
Detailing enhancements such as black V shaped grill with horizontal slits on the front, new contoured seat with white piping, sporty red shock-springs and the crystal tail lamp distinguish the Vespa S from its siblings. The brake levers and CVT casing subtly compliments the showy elements with its silver-esque finish.
The instrument console,which incorporates a retro analog speedo & fuel gauge and a digital clock,is given a special sparkling black treatment that adds to the finesse. What bums out the rider are the control switches that are placed annoyingly away from the thumbs!
The steel monocoque chassis cum body makes the rider feel confident and superior. Every part of the vehicle the rider interacts with, feels robust except for the hinged front bag hook, which can be easily yanked off without much of an effort.
The cubbyholes on the front apron, appeal to the fairer sex commuting with a clutch and a bottle of water, and do not eat up the knee room.
While the rider enjoys a brilliant riding position, the pillion is left to dangle his feet down, as the footrest integrated into the deck proves to be a tad too smalland ill placed. Like that’s not enough for the pillion to feel uneasy, the Vespa S does not come with a grab rail on the back! The owner is required to install one with a little extra cost to make the pillion feel secure!
The Vespa S has got noticeable vibration at idle and this continues subtly till the ride goes beyond 20kmph. The same old powertrain produces peak power of 10.1 PS at 7500 RPM and peak torque 10.6 NM at 6000 RPM. The engine lacks low-end grunt but builds up speed but it is peppy in the mid-range and offers way more fun-to-ride quotient than the rest of the scooters.
The chic new Vespa S is an exciting ride with superb handling. The MRF tubeless tires offer good grip giving the rider enough confidence during heavy braking and cornering. The front disc brake (200mm) and rear drum brake (140mm) are crisp in offering the right amount of bite.
Verdict: The Vespa LX and VX have a certain WOW factor to them and the S adds an extra ‘O’ to it! Of course it’s more expensive than its rivals but the solid build, riding pleasure and sexy appeal ensures that you’re not short changed.