Saturday, February 11, 2006

Why I ride a Vespa

Yesterday my father and I attended the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in Cleveland, OH. (I would add a link but most likely it will soon disappear).

There were some notable motorcycle brands: Star (from Yamaha, the same company who made our piano) and Victory Motorycles from Polaris (NICE!). All in all, trying to push the large-CC, “bad-boy” machines. Leather required.

But as always , the pinnacle of motorcycle style is the Vespa. From the vintage (25+ years old) Vespas to the new models (which look like the vintage models), one always looks fabulous riding.

Vespas aren’t designed to go fast, they’re more for touring. I like to go fast, and have tweaked my ‘79 Vespa P125X with a performance muffler, but with all the mods I have added can only manage 50 mph. It doesn’t sound fast, but 50 mph on 10 inch tires is respectable.

The reason I like to ride my motor scooter is for the experience it brings of living: the smells, the scenery, the things I would not notice inside the glass walls of a car.

Most of all , it’s the people: children wave and smile (really!), adults stop and stare (maybe because my current muffler is getting a bit loud, but its replacement goes on in March). When I park it, strangers will walk up and either a) strike up a conversation about it, wondering what it is, b) asking “how fast does is go?” and c) offering their memories of when they owned one when they were younger.

What makes you feel alive?

Addendum: Article about the legacy of the Vespa brand


Bonkers said...

Hi! Found your blog whilst doin' a search for muffler mods.

I just purchased my first vespa (I have been riding an 86 Honda Elite for about 4 years, on and off) a little over a week ago. A brand spanking new 250 GTS (black). I love it more every day. The ride, the wind, the simplicity, the style; the whole package appeals. Not to mention approx 65mpg, freeway speeds for commuting (impossible on the Elite 80cc, obviously) and parking just about anywhere in a parking handicapped city, San Francisco.

So I was thinking about swapping out the muffler for more of that classic vespa purr, but did not know where to start. I suppose I also have to be careful of violating my warranty. The dealership offered some sort of muffler that would lend a bit of "a harley sound", but I was not going to jump into that until I had shopped around a bit and fielded some opinions.

Anyway, glad to have found a veteran enthusiast. I hope that us New Shinies can play with you Classic Cools (yeah, I just made that up)!

Much respect! See you on the road.

Bonkers said...


I found your blog whilst doing' a casual search for muffler mods.

I just purchased my first vespa about a week ago and could not be more stoked. I got the 250GTS (black); this after riding an 86 Honda Elite on-and-off for the last four years. I love the wind, the ride, the style, the manuevering and the extra power. Not to mention the 65mpg, higher top end for freeway commuting, and easy parking in parking-handicapped San Francisco.

The only thing I was thinking of playing with is the muffler (and maybe buying a topcase). I would like to capture some of that classic vespa sound. I was offered a muffler at the dealership that would lend more of a "harley sound", but held off until I could field more opinions and hear some for myself, in person.

I hope that us Newbie Shinies can play with the Classic Beauties (yeah, I just made that up). Glad to see that you appear to appreciate both, or all, as the case may be.

Much respect! See you on the road.

Shironotenshi said...

I randomly found it too. ^^o I know its ages old but I decided to post.

I love my vespa as well. Lovely little gas efficient yellow LX150. I got it to tap out at almost 80 mph on a slight decline. XD Its so adorable, and I'm probably an oddity riding around with 4inch heels.

But it is great! Random people will come up and start a conversation about it, comment how cute it is, and how amazing the millage is.

XP Unfortunately I found your blog in the search for a new muffler. The bugger fell clean off and its no longer street legal. Sounds like a dragster now. lol

Its cool to see that there are so many fans out there.