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2008 50cc Super Battle - Page 13
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2008 50cc Super Battle
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2nd Place: Vespa S 50

I knew the Vespa S was always going to do well the second I rode it. Now rumor has it the S is essentially identical to the LX but with different bodywork. Well if that’s the case I think I either rode a pretty average LX or I’m losing my mind because the Vespa S sure seemed tighter out on the road. I guess it is probably the bikes lower weight. However what’s making the Vespa S so popular since its launch is its new updated old styling. (That makes sense soon) It harps back to small sporty Vespa S of the 60s and 70s and it’s clearly a good idea. The new S looks significantly cooler than the LX when they are parked next to each other. The shrinking down of the bodywork certainly works aesthetically and makes a lot of sense considering there is no spare wheel in there any longer.

On the road

The Vespa S has all the usual Vespa trademarks on the road. It deals with road imperfections better than most 50cc scooters due to its mostly steel construction and overall weight. Interestingly this extra weight doesn’t feel as noticeable on the S as it does on the LX. From our seat of the pants measurements we suspect that Vespa has tuned the suspension and increased it’s firmness as it certainly feels more positive back to back with the LX. If you’re after a secure big bike feel the Vespa S is certainly the best of the bunch. The Vespa S ranked equal 1st on the road with all judges.

On the track - Lap time 45.4

The Vespa S was never going to set a killer lap time. It’s a much larger and heavier bike compared to say a Vmoto Milan; in fact it’s a full 26 kg (57 lbs) heavier. That’s a lot of extra weight for a 50cc engine to lug around. The Vespa S does have a huge advantage over the LX on track though…its seat. The Vespa S has a new lower profile seat which makes it about a billion times easier to ride on track than the LX. All round the S ran the laps well but wasn’t comfortable on the track. It’s simply not a hooligan, it’s a pimping cruiser.

Living with it

The Vespa finished equal first on our road course and finished out right first in both styling and build quality. Those qualities are what make owing a Vespa easy. The Vespa S has stepped up the game; it really is well put together and is definitely the best to look at if you like retro designs. Ease of use wise it’s nearly perfect except for a lack of remote seat release and a fairly tall seat. Fuel economy is good for a two stroke and the Vespa S runs a nice strong front disc brake so won’t need continual re-adjusting like a drum brake. All round very easy to live with.

Summing up

The Vespa S is the bike I’d have if you told me I could have any bike on the test…FOR FREE. Now if I had to pay for it with my hard earned money...well no chance in a billion years. It’s considerably more money than most of the 50cc bikes on the market. It is built considerably better than most; however it comes down to the riding and ease of use vs the cost. The S is definitely great to ride on the road and is the best of the bigger bikes. It’s certainly the most adult bike of the test. For me though these facts are unavoidable…in most markets the Vespa is actually TWICE the price of the bike that won this test. The Vespa is absolutely not twice as good, not by any measure. To make matters worse here in NZ the Vespa S 50 sells for $5490 NZ, which is $3495 more than the bike that won this test. Get a load of them apples. Here's some very good advice. If you're going to drop many thousands of dollars on a scooter...buy a bigger bike that can actually be used on the freeway. The 125cc Vespa S is not a lot more money than the 50 S and far more practical. Definitely the choice I'd make. Remember, a 50cc bike is supposed to be cheap to buy, cheap to run and cheap to register. For the price of the Vespa S 50 in New Zealand I could buy a Suzuki Address 125cc and pay for all fuel costs and registration for FIVE YEARS...need I say more.



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