Vespa turns 75 this year, but the latest models, such as the GTS Super 300, don’t look like septuagenarians. The iconic scooter brand has always been stylish and desirable, and our motoring correspondent, Jeremy Webb, jumped at the opportunity to learn precisely why.
Fancy a vehicle that does 80 mpg? I think many people will, following recent issues with the media-fuelled panic buying at the pumps. Ironically I tested a Vespa GTS Super 300 during the week when so-called fuel shortages were announced, and I was so happy the scooter does 80 mpg and has a range of around 140 miles.
The Vespa was created following WW2 to get the public of Italy mobile. Fuel and materials were in short supply, so cars could not be made to transport people. The scooter became the perfect solution for solving the transport issue. Jump forward to 2021, and we appear to be in a similar situation. Fuel is supposedly in short supply; public transport is expensive, and people have turned their backs on this since the pandemic. The Vespa again could prove to be the machine to get people mobile.
Vespas are cheaper than most railway season tickets, inexpensive to run, fast, and direct. You can travel from your residence and head straight for your destination, be this work, university, hospital or the shops. Scooters are easy to ride, easy to park and put a smile on your face. The GTS Super 300 is so quiet that it won’t irritate the rider or anyone else. Yet it is the fastest, most powerful Vespa ever made.
Using the 300 HPE (High-Performance Engine), the GTS Super gives the rider versatile power delivered smoothly when the throttle is applied. The scooter is equally at home at low speeds worming its way through congested traffic or cruising along at motorway speed.
I faced both of these situations on the journey from Dearden Motorcycles, where I collected the Vespa to my home some 34 miles away. But as I mentioned, the Vespa puts a smile on your face, and I had one for the whole journey and not just because I had an open-faced helmet and the wind was giving me a cheap facelift.
Impressive handling is also a feature of the GTS Super 300, which gives you the confidence to flick the scooter around when you need to. At speed, the machine can be lent over considerably, meaning you can carry momentum through bends. When riding slowly, the Vespa is balanced and controllable, going where you point it. All attributes which give you peace of mind.
When riding the GTS Super 300, I can see why so many women in Italy and France choose Vespas to whizz around. They can be ridden in a dress like Audrey Hepburn in the film Roman Holiday, although I decided to stay in trousers. It would be great to see more ladies riding Vespas here in the UK, enjoying the benefits the scooter has to offer as well as just having fun.
As a biker, I rode the GTS Super 300 like a motorcycle, so I pushed it to its limits. It got a thorough testing, and I couldn’t find fault with it. I suppose I should not be surprised it did so well; after 75 years of manufacture and millions of sales, Vespa knows what they are doing when designing and building scooters.
The riding position is perfect, upright, so you are looking ahead, with no stress on the back or wrists. Your bum sits comfortably on a wide supportive saddle that lifts to reveal generous storage space. You can purchase plenty of accessories to make the scooter more individual and improve the riding experience: windscreens, luggage racks and rain covers to keep your clothes protected, to name a few.
I think you can tell just how much I enjoyed riding the Vespa GTS Super 300. I guess if the bikers of the ’60s had known how good these scooters were, they might have secretly wanted one. No secret here; I want one, and although I used the words ‘nigh on perfect’ in the title, in my opinion, I think it’s safe to lose the words ‘nigh on’.
Vespa GTS Super 300 – Where and How?
There are four 300 cc models in the GTS range starting at £5,290. The GTS Super 300 is available in three colours, Bianco Innocenza, GrigiooTravolgente and Blu Vivace. That is white, grey and blue for the non-Italian speakers.
For more information on the Vespa range, please visit www.vespa.com.
Thanks to Dearden Motorcycles for the loan of the GTS Super 300.
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