A Vespa is the only romantic scooter you can buy
I have ran more than 10000KM with the Vespa, and up until now no major problems have appeared.
The spring that holds the left gear change handle had broken, but luckily I was in 3rd gear and close to home, so I drove.
Besides this, I assume I could have left the engine as it is and still make it to 20000 km.
But I decided to start clean so:
The clutch was rattling; I renewed the clutch heart + clutch plates and springs.
I split the engine, not that something was wrong, but the bearings shown some wear, so (start clean yes :), I replaced all the engine bearings, the counter-gear and all the oil seals.
The front wheel had some free play, so I replaced the 2 bearings with new ones.
The rear wheel axis (also holds the gears and cruciform) showed some twisting marks, so I replaced it with a good second hand one.
I replaced the accordion-like air bellow that was cracked. And some rubber, like at the rear bottom cable exit.
Steering bearing had done their job, so I replaced them with new ones.
In a year or so, the rear light bulb had blown twice. I replaced it with a self built LED lights. No problem since then, and the light is constant even in idle, no ups or down.
The front bulb tends to blow more frequently. I assume partly because of the CYLINDER kit that makes the engine vibrate more.
Regarding handling and living with the Vespa:
This can be a love and hate situation, especially when I first bought it.
Even though it's a 200 cc two stroke engine, other Asian 125 cc scooters will be quicker at stop lights, and some may even be quicker in top speed.
Suspension is something worth an upgrade. In sudden direction changes, the Vespa twists, especially if you have a GIVI or other back luggage.
Rear suspension bottoms quickly, and tends to send every little bump straight to your back.
Rear brake is actuated by foot. For me, it's not convenient, although the rear brake is excellent. Most of my braking is done with the front.
Front brake is good. Not excellent for two reasons:
1 - Disk diameter is small
2 - Wheel diameter is small
This can cause too early front brake lock if squeezing the lever. It's way better than a drum, but less good compared to newer generation scooters, not mentioning the ones that have linked braking system.
Fuel consumption is not ideal and tends to be in the 20 km per Liter area. You will drive about 120 km until the fuel light turns on. After that you are left with 2 liters.
The front light of the 2001 model is quite a joke. The light is too dim and the reflector inside does not have a mirror like coating like the newer models. This causes a dim and not so strong light. An upgrade to a halogen assembly is very recommended, unless you ride only by day.
Gear change by hand can be a burden if your cables are worn or the cable automatic is not adjusted. But when all works good, and you or your mechanic knows the job, it's a delight. It's not boring like the automatic scooters, and you get a quicker response from the engine as opposed to automatic transmission that sometimes has a bit of delay in transferring engine power to the wheel. Plus it's the only scooter that feels a bit like a motorcycle, and that's a lot!
The looks of the Vespa are worth all the little annoying things I mentioned. It's classic, cool, and good looking to my taste. If you take care of the body (no paint scratches unattended), and spray wd40 here and there, you should be rust free.
Electrical system is quite reliable. My 2001 is equipped with an electronic CDI ignition, so no maintenance is necessary. From my years experience and from what I know, the ignition system is very reliable. Horn is OK. Switches are OK too and look durable. One comment is the horn button that for me is too far from reaching while hard braking, unless you have a chimpanzee thumb... It should be closer.
There is no hazard switch, but you can easily upgrade the left turn signal switch to one with this option.
Carburetor hardly calls for adjustment. Everything is simple about it. CHOKE is somewhat hard to find if you're on the Vespa.
The engine starts with no problems, cold or hot, winter or summer.
Seat - I have sat on better seats. The original is too narrow. My vespa had an upgraded seat, with two levels (rear passenger area is higher) that gives you some on the bottom...
Fuel cap has a tendency to drip some gas outside. Playing with it and finding the right spot sometimes helps.
Fuel gauge had caught the Parkinson and now rattles a bit, although I can still see the fuel level.
Instrument light is pretty dim, but readable at night. In day time indicators are fine, even in straight sun light.
Riding the Vespa is a real treat. It's fairly quick, and you have lots of upgrade options. The frame and engine are rigid, and can tolerate torture that would break a modern plastic wrapped scooter.
It's easy to maintain, cheap, good looking and you actually feel in it, as opposed to being just on it.
As I found out, you will probably make lots of friends; other Vespa enthusiasts.
Bottom line - If you're thinking about a PX model, buy one before it's too late!
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th December, 2007