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Hello Sunshine! This Vespa is for Metrosexuals

July 18, 2014 10:02 IST

Hello Sunshine! This Vespa is for Metrosexuals

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Arup Das

The Vespa S attracts metrosexual buyers with its premium image and exceptional performance.

I have never understood the craze for scooters. Maybe I have always looked at them as a functional family two-wheeler.

Honestly, when I started riding, bikes were the future and the world of scooters was disintegrating. How things have changed!

It isn't as if the motorbikes aren't snazzier, more powerful and better made, but scooters haven't died.

In fact, they are taking huge strides and there are a lot more respectable options around for the metrosexual men and women.

This is where the legendary Piaggio Vespa comes in.

The Italian lifestyle scooter maker with a long heritage of mixing retro looks with contemporary features has launched its new Vespa S in India.

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Image: Vespa S
Photographs: vespa.com

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Arup Das

The Vespa S is the third variant that Piaggio has taken out after the LX125 followed by the VX.

Painted in a glossy orange colour with contrasting black three-spoke alloy wheels, the moment you see it you mind goes, 'Hello Sunshine'.

As a fan of the Netherlands football team currently playing in the FIFA World Cup, I was absolutely thrilled with the colour.

While the world rushed to buy the Dutch jerseys, I got to paint the town Oranje. The company has declared the Vespa S is meant for a niche market and is not competing for numbers.

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Photographs: vespa.com

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Hello Sunshine! This Vespa is for Metrosexuals

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Arup Das

Unlike its Japanese counterparts that either go all radical or play safe with a conservative design, Piaggio brings in the classic 1970s feel with the rectangle headlamp, the sober design and subtle chrome finishing.

If the chrome front fascia and all-chrome rectangular rearview mirrors are eye catchers, then the rear too looks stylish with the gorgeous two-step tail lamp.

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Photographs: vespa.com

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Hello Sunshine! This Vespa is for Metrosexuals

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Arup Das

The Vespa S has a seat designed for comfort and good riding stance. But it doesn't have rear grab rails, leaving the pillion rider holding on to a strap that is part of the seat.

The ride for the pillion can, therefore, prove quite hairy.

For a niche product, this seems tacky, especially since the seat rails can be availed of at extra cost.

Now doesn't that sound cheap! But brace yourself for more. The pillion foot pegs too come at a premium!

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Photographs: vespa.com

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Hello Sunshine! This Vespa is for Metrosexuals

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Arup Das

This new Vespa model has badges on the side and an all-black instrument cluster with separate pods for the speedometer and the fuel gauge.

Since the scooter is quite light, putting it on the main stand is easy. But without the rear saddle handle bars it can be tricky.

The scooter has enough space underneath the seat to store a half-face helmet.

It also has additional cubby holes on the apron. This is a novel idea, but it would have been practical if they were lockable.

Also, we would have preferred the floorboard to be flat rather than have a central ridge dividing it.

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Photographs: vespa.com

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Hello Sunshine! This Vespa is for Metrosexuals

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Arup Das

Technically there is no difference between the Vespa S and its previous avatars, which is a good thing because the four-stroke, 125 cc, three-valve engine has always been a smooth operator.

With 10.06 bhp, roughly 2 bhp more than Japanese scooters, the engine never pushes you or throws tantrums.

Personally, I wouldn't mind a livelier acceleration like in the Suzuki scooters, but what makes the Vespa S a class act is the refined ride without the annoying and tiresome vibrations of most other products.

The automatic CVT transmission system works seamlessly and ensures there is enough power at low and mid range revs.

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Photographs: vespa.com

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Arup Das

So has the Vespa S made me a believer in scooters? Not really. I still prefer a bike.

But for someone looking to commute from point A to B in style, then why not the Vespa S?

It is well behaved on the road and does not spring harrowing surprises.

The MRF tyres also provide confidence-building grip.

The ride quality is exceptional as the suspensions soak up most of the bumps.

This distinctive retro look comes for a price that is several notches over the rest.

But then, it is a premium, lifestyle scooter not meant for the masses.


Photographs: vespa.com

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