The Vespa S 150: a review : 2strokebuzz

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Vespa S

The Vespa S 150: a review

22, 2008

Dave McCabe’s riding the Vespa S for a few months here’s his perspective:

Cue the Muppet the fedora and trench coat: “So you buy a letter ‘S?’” The stylish S 150 has been on the market since but many of us remain confused by it is, and what Piaggio intended to do this model.

What’s the fancy red “S” anyway? How many these days have an “S” The most well-known is the wildly-successful Copper S. There are also adorning Toyota Corollas and RSXs. The Volkswagen Beetle and the Boxster are as shamelessly consistent as the using the same racy “S”—except in grey or chrome of red. This says of similar variants such as the S200, the Suzuki SX, and who knows else.

There’s definitely a here and maybe it’s a little out of hand.

Of course has a proud tradition with the letter in the alphabet, making a claim to its use that predates the of all of the aforementioned car models. In 1955 the Vespa GS was introduced. It was the first scooter consciously designed to motorsports to motorscootering. Back the letter meant “sport” and was within the VIN of all GSs and subsequent top-of-the-line

The VIN for the GS 150 was VS1 (through VS5), the GS 160 was VSB, the Sport was VSC, and so forth.

As VINs, the history of Vespa is with model name that begin with S: Sport, Super Sport, Sprint, Super, Special and Super duper super

So where is the “S” in the Vespa S? Some scooterists remain shockingly With cars, that little red letter signifies performance enhancements. Outwardly, may be changed, but inside one might a bigger engine, a turbocharger or upgraded brakes and/or a suspension.

The Vespa S mostly to be the opposite, all style and little under the hood (so to speak) as to the LX. With the exception of bolt-on and a stiffer suspension, the S is largely an LX frame with the same and same chassis. Most of the are cosmetic. Here’s a list of the changes:

front fender


square headlight


glove box

tail light

trim around the bottom of the body


The style are intended to help reinforce rebranding of their smaller scooters as the “smallframe” analogue to the For more than 40 years, produced Vespas based on two body styles, a smallframe and a body. With the rollout of the GTS more attention needed to be on the LX to give it a new identity.

The removal of the glove box, new seat, tail light and most the addition of the square headlight all to accomplish this.

In good sometimes less is more. is one of the hidden surprises of the Vespa S and I the scooter’s biggest selling The S sells for $200 less the LX.

For this “economy” price a of items are lost, notably the key immobilizer, the ability to unlock the from the ignition, and the legshield box.

Many are confused by the of the glove box. Why replace one inexpensive section of plastic another, particularly at the loss of utility? The money saved be negligible. The new arrangement adds a mostly useless, storage as part of a flat plastic

Really it’s little than an excuse to enclose the signal bulbs, but the lower of the panel includes floor that bend up the inside of the allowing the rider to put their up on the legshield.

I have always the ET/LX to be claustrophobic. The glovebox the rider into an upright somewhat prissy) posture. At I’m practically short and even for me it constrained.

It must really be a for someone with long

Riding with the new extra is a revelation and really makes the come alive. The rider can riding positions for comfort or style. You can put both feet up on the and scoot your … in the seat. This may not be the most way to ride, but it certainly is the way a lot of teenagers in rode when they had original 50 Specials.

Being able to slide posterior back in the roomy seat helps take of the flickablity of this scooter. You can more with your Also, even with one foot forward, having a firmly pressed against the improves your sense of in the bike.

This is the uncelebrated “S” in the S and more than makes up for the of certain features. Of course, how can market an omission as an improvement? it is an awesome improvement, particularly for like me who is new to modern Vespa I’m sure there were passionate engineers who wanted to a fun Vespa similar to what rode as teenagers.

This is where the idea of turning the LX something more reminiscent of the smallframe 50 Special came It is a difference that only a scooterist would consider your feet forward to a ride is not anything a self sport motorcyclist would do) and I’m it was lost in the translation from the department to the marketing and style-conscious writers.

There has been a amount of anecdotal speculation the S is faster than its LX brethren. To no one has been able to confirm any differences. There have no reports of the jets, variators, or CDI from the LX.

With about 700 on my scooter, I have fairly been getting 60 mpg with driving. I weigh 180 pounds and do not very conservatively. This consistent with other reports of the LX’s fuel

It may be that the scooter just faster. With the new adjustable suspension, an added roller bearing in the steering column, and a lighter front end, the feels more “flickable.” fun, and the stiffer ride may the impression of increased speed.

It is unclear if the front suspension is All that’s known is that switched front suspension to Kayaba, a well-regarded “brand fork and suspension supplier.

is another secret “S” in this that was not realized in production. closely at the computer-rendered line from the owner’s manual is getting a not-intended-for-public-consumption snapshot of the in development. The image is a little odd the scooter shows some of the new S changes but not all. It retains an LX the front fender and plastic around the bottom rear of the

The fender and trim piece later redesigned to look and help make the new red suspension visible.

The real surprise is if you look closely at the rear you can see a rear disc brake, the caliper and disc cooling are exactly as shown on the front This is no puff of smoke from the grassy knoll. quite distinct.

An added brake would make all the in wide-open-throttle urban scooter The current set up is acceptable, and a huge over the Vespa P-series that I’m used to, but wouldn’t it be so better to be able to keep one hand on the throttle and the other on a rear disc brake?

So does this mean? the designers originally intended the S to be a sports Vespa. At some the corporate types must decided to save money and emphasis to the 50 Special angle, in spite of its reputation for fun, was as stripped down an economy as was ever made.

The square distinctive horncasting, vintage features, and even the body reinforce that in this the “S” stands for Special not Sport.

Of another more-tantalizing possibility is Piaggio will give us improvements. Maybe that brake in the owner’s manual is an sneak peek of things to We have heard rumors of a engine. Fuel injection is an more likely possibility, and fuel injection, doesn’t it sense to have better ability?

This appears to be an marketing technique now. The improvements from the GT 200, to the GTS and now the GTS 300 keeps loyal consumers the next new thing.

As critical as I may across about the S, I absolutely it. It has redefined what scootering is for me. tons of fun to be able to stop and with way more confidence, way than I ever had on a manual Vespa.

Plus, for the first time I can around on the seat like I do on my Vespas. The style of the Vespa S is the first modern Vespa that clicked with me and other vintage scooter As much as I’d love to have a used ET4 to taken apart and with, it looked too much something from a sci-fi The S won out. The LX is an improvement, but compared to the S, it like an incomplete step in the of the design.

The S is it—at least the next S arrives.

4 Responses to Vespa S 150: a review”

on September 22nd, 2008

I think the rear disc was a designer drafting issue. It be very hard to place an side disc brake a 10″ rim. Some do pull off a 10″ rear disc brake but easier to place it on the exhaust of the rear wheel.

I believe seen a rear disc application custom made for scoots that sits on the so it can be done. But I don’t know of any 150 engine they make is ready to take on a rear It would require a major in the engine manufacturing process.

I it was maybe a case of a designer a bit above their engineering pay

Vespa S

Great article!

orino on 23rd, 2008 9:49am

performance enhancements”

Not on the Corolla S… got a bit more power, but it’s “show” (as opposed to “go”), alloy wheels, (slightly) tires, and lots of ugly cladding. Oh, and a leather-wrapped steering

“how can Piaggio market an as an improvement?”

The same way Porsche’s doing, for decades. Any Porsche “RS” in its name will all the creature comforts removed, a that will shake fillings loose, and a bit more all at a serious price premium the standard model. Back in the they raced actual cars, so car companies that to race had to build a certain of cars to be eligible. That was Porsche’s RS models were

Now, all you have to do is make race car kinda look whatever it’s supposed to be. But fans are even more and hung up on the company’s image even the most ardent aficianados, and have the bucks to buy latest RS offerings. New Vespas are so well that no one should to replace theirs because it or wore out, so the way to keep going is to have the collector like the Vespa S.

Those McCabes on September 25th, 3:34pm

Brooke said “I the rear disc brake was a drafting issue.”

This is a possibility. Speculating about new stuff in the scooter industry has time and time again it doesn’t pay to be optimistic.

Here are a few thoughts that help me a little hope (you can me naive) for a rear disc on the modern Vespa: I didn’t this stuff previously my review is already pretty

I took off the headset on my S. I figured there might be casting holes for fluid reservoirs on the bars for both the front and a rear brake. This conclusively prove plans to add a As it turns out, the front reservoir is clamped onto the bar. There is however room on the rear brake to put in a fluid reservoir and also to run the thicker hydraulic hose. All would have to do is add a site hole in the plastic casting.

So inconclusive.

(On a side note, nice to see that the modern now uses a proper one-piece You can put some weight on these without fear of the hand breaking off in your hand.)

In the manual line drawing, the person almost certainly did cut and paste the front tire the rear. However if you look at a brake set up both of the brake are in the same location. So if there a rear disc on an LX-type its safe to assume that it be similar. Cutting and pasting as inappropriate since the two tires and would look similar.

Again nothing conclusive

The GT/GTS rear disc is on the side. You’re right it be an expensive engine re-design to put a on the case side. My guess is you’d have to come up a new case casting.

Given philosophy/tradition of the Vespa having tires, I say that if they did add a they wouldn’t do it any other way to have the brake on the case

As you said, the few 150 scooters with discs appear to have on the side opposite this Most of these look on after the engine was designed. The SR50 has a rear disc on it’s on the engine case It must have been into the original design. So are smaller, bespoke sports with rear discs.

I if Piaggio will put this into the S 50? They own the rights so why That would kick

One other scenario that I mention was that Piaggio to add a disc and then decided it was too After this decision was they tried to come up cheaper alternatives to add “S” features to the This would be when redesigned the rear plastic front fender and seat.

the line drawing of the earlier S have been a subtle way for the to let the world know what came to pass.

Orino the Corolla S was all show and no go. Wow you’re The Corolla S is lame. Not even disc. Thanks.

monza on 5th, 2008 9:28am

there was a “Cooper S” back in the 😉

Also, dont forget the People “S125″…Next up, Silverwing …HA!

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