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Vespa VX125 Report from Team bikeguru

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Road Test: Vespa VX125

Before I got the Vespa VX for a Test, I checked out the website. I googled piaggio vespa. At the bottom of the page https://www.google.co.in/#q=piaggio+vespa  which opened, were FOUR photos of Vespas: THREE look like the VX / LX 125 which I am testing, and ONE of them: 2013‑Piaggio‑Vespa‑946‑Automatic‑ , second from left, in dark grey color, single seater! Boy! What a shape! Only Italy can make such shape! The shape reminded me of Sophia Loren! Gawd! Whatta Shape She had! The front of this scooter looks like woman’s cleavage and the front mudguard LOOKs like……you know what! Then the single seat (from the angle it is taken) looks like a boy wearing cap backwards chasing the woman in front! Gawd! What imagination! Who won’t fall in love and pay premium? Sophia Loren is priceless! Sophia Loren was THE Sex Goddess when I was in my Twenties – as maybe Pamela Anderson is today!

But back to the VX125 under review:

When sales opened maybe about a year or so ago, the previous model without the front disc brake, i.e., Vespa was priced at Rs.66,661/-! A good TEN Thousand more than any udder skoootre in this Hole Kunt Ree at that time! Yet people buyed=bought it! Then mysteriously price dropped – by a cool five thousand or so! Why? It is still Premium! Only, the difference has reduced, does that mean it is indifferent to high price? That is what I aim to find out. That is why I am testing this skoootre (as pronounced in Delhi/Punjab) =scooter (as pronounced in Mumbai)=scooty (as named by females all over their Hole Kunt Ree!). Please note: I am using the word scooty as a GENERIC NAME for all ungeared/gearless skoootres (be it Honda, Suzuki, hero, Yamaha, TVS or any otherto me they are all Scootys). The use of this word has nothing to do with TVS being the first to coin for itself this name Scooty from generic to specific when they first launched their 2stroke scooty umpteen years ago!

Then I got the Vespa VX on Friday.6.Sept.2013. I wanted the YELL0 banaana color, but only pink and green were available. So I opted for the pink color. Why? Because this scooter is so dainty and pretty looking, the color had to add to its beauty & attractiveness! Which pink does!

My partner Devjeet Saha (40 years younger than me) was keen to get his hands on this pink VX. Remember, this is a BRAND NEW skoootre, so before giving it to him I did the fuel/mileage test: 0n a Tank-full-to-Tank-full basis. How do you do this accurately?

Normally whenever I do a Tank-full-to-Tank-full mileage test, I fill up the tank (which always has a neck) up to (say) 15mm below the top rim of the neck (I have Vernier Calipers for accurate measurement) and shake the bike back & forth and sideways to remove any air trapped inside the tank. If there is any trapped air, it bubbles out and level drops slightly, which I top up again (and again and again) – till no more bubbles and the level stays steady.

At the end of my FiXED 20km ride (I do exactly the same route for all my test bikes) I fill the tank again exactly as before, up to exactly same mark as in the beginning (shaking out bubbles and all), from a GRADUATED, ONE-LiTER, MEASURING FLASK.

After filling up the tank to exactly same mark, I can see EXACTLY how much petrol is left in the flask. 0ne Liter (=1000cc) minus the quantity left, gives the amount of petrol consumed. Distance (km) divided by amount of petrol (Liters) gives the mileage!

But the tank in this Vespa skoootre just does not fill up to the brim bkoz it overflows thru an internal hole (much below the rim) before that. And the overflow happens out of two tubes (one rubber one plastic) which hang under the floorboard. So I held one container under these overflow tubes and collected the overflowed petrol. Then I stopped adding petrol to the tank and waited till the overflow stopped. I then poured the collected (0verflowed) petrol back into the GRADUATED, ONE-LiTER, MEASURING FLASK, so ONE LiTER minus the amount of petrol left in the flask==petrol consumed in my test ride of @ 20km as indicated in the 0d0meter.

Divide the distance (km) by the petrol consumed (0.35Liters) and you get the mileage. In my (weight=51kg) single seat (20.6km) test-ride, generally at @ 40 kmpH, max speed 60, with @ 12 mild brakings, the mileage I got on this Vespa, was 20.6 divided by 0.35, which is=58.85=~=58.9~~59kmpL!

I could not believe it! This was too much. I have never got such mileage in city (stop-and-go-traffic), on an ungeared (CVT) skoootre, be it 100cc or 125cc, except on Kinetic Nova ungeared (CVT) scooter in my STEADY 40, Kashmir-to-KanyaKumari trip in 2003! Of course this happened on the Nova because we were riding at steady 40 on sparsely trafficked intercity roads, which was NOT stop-and-go movement but absolutely steady 40 – we were consciously keeping to steady 40 to achieve mileage. The objective was NOT testing the Nova but trying to achieve best mileage by consciously controlling our ride, which we did!

I started doubting my results. Meanwhile Devjeet arrived to take away the Vespa for phot0-giri. So I asked him to do the same route again to confirm my findings. The fuel tank was filled up to the top again as explained above and Devjeet went on the same ride and he did 20.5km consuming 0.36Liters, which gave a mileage of 56.94kmpL,which seemed realistic (as compared to my 56.94kmpL) since Devjeet is 71kg, which is 20kg heavier than me.

But I am still not sure about this. So I am going to do a bottle test for mileage on this Vespa for a longer duration to be sure about the mileage.

So what does this Vespa have? What makes it stand apart? What’s the difference? WHY is the difference?

The notional~125cc engine (bore X stroke=52mm X 58.6mm) is exactly 124.44968cc (though 0wners Manual slightlyWRONGLY mentions 124.49cc).

As per the 0wners Manual, this Vespa producing 7.4kw=10.06PS~9.93bhp of power at 7500rpm is the most powerful ungeared skoootre in the Hole Kunt Ree! Yet it is giving such great mileage! How come? Aha! It has 3Valves! Which no other skoootre has! It also develops at torque of 10.6Nm at 6000rpm, which is probably also the highest among Indian made skoootres!.

Operating at a CR=10.1 (+ or – 0.5), fed by a Keihin Karburetor (details not mentioned in 0wners Manual), so taking 10.1 as the 0perative CR, the EngineLifeFactor, of this Vespa engine is 1.32. (If Activa CR is taken as 9.0, then Activa EngineLifeFactor =1.48; If Activa CR is taken as 9.9, then Activa EngineLifeFactor =1.35). The ELF of Vespa is lower because of higher CR. The higher CR is an important factor in making this Vespa skoootre the most powerful skoootre in India!

The 0wners Manual says it has a self ventilating dry centrifugal clutch. I dunno what they mean by self ventilating. To me self ventilating means making holes in my body for greater air flow thru my body (=self ventilation) by shooting myself full of holes with a gun! In any case, if this self ventilating mechanism is something that is contributing to the great mileage this scooter gives, I don’t mind shooting myself full of holes to become self ventilating !

The Transmission, as per 0wners Manual is “Auto expendable – CVT with forced circulation air cooling”! eh? Auto expendable ? WTF do they mean? The Chambers 20th Century Dictionary defines expendable as “that which may be sacrificed to achieve specified ends”!

eh sacrificed?

In plain English it means that the transmission is “automatically sacrificed with forced circulation air cooling”! This is probably something that makes sense in Italian but gets “sacrificed” during literal translation into English! Never mind! Who gives a damn about linguistic anomaly since this Vespa is giving almost 60 mileage! Boy, I don’t mind sacrificing myself if this beauty is giving me 60 mileage! (Actually I think there is a spelling mistake. The word should probably have been expAandable not expEndable bkoz in CVT the pulleys actually EXPAND !)

With an EiGHT liter fuel tank – the largest among all skoootres, this Vespa should be able to do Pune—Mumbai return non-stop without refueling!

DiMENSiONS:

Dimensionally speaking, weighing 114kg 0n a wheelbase of 1290mm [GC=155mm), the VX runs on 90/100 tubeless tires both front and rear. Stopping is by a 200mm disc front and 140mm drum rear. Round RearViewMirrors are a class apart: better + more effective and safer which widen the field of vision and more attractive than any other in the business! Dimensionally, each round mirror is 4inches in diameter and protrudes 2.5inches (=6.3cm) outside (=beyond) the handlebar on each side, giving a 31inch (almost 80cm) field of vision, which is excellent and very good for safety. Lot of people use RearViewMirrors for combing hair and beautification of face. Though RVMs are by RTO Law compulsory for safety reasons, in this Vespa, if you don’t look attractive enough, you are not fit to ride this scooter!

After all, you are attractive ONLY if you are alive, safe and well!

Much though seems to have gone into the sizes and locations of various accoutrements as shown above by the RearViewMirrors. For one, pillion footrests are niched (=cut) into the bodywork, and not protruding like on most other skoootres. This is very thoughtful. If pillion footrests are the protruding (though foldable – if single seat) – they foul with the driver’s legs (calf) and irritate him if there is a pillion. There is a nominal lockable dicky in front, which should be called “glove compartment” because you can’t keep anything more there, but it exists and blends into the body as if it isn’t there!

The side stand is very practical and most easily accessible & pushable, since driver can easily see the side-stand engaging welded bracket while seated on the scooter (I am saying this because on Activa and some other skoootres it is not easily visible while driver is seated on scooter), and one has to get off the seat, stand up, and then push out the side stand, which is a lot of useless extra work which I don’t want to do! Which nobody wanttodo ! And talking about the seat: the 27inch long seat is very generous, being 14inch wide at its widest and not tapering much towards the rear. Obviously, this seat was designed with Sophia Loren (Or Pamela AndersOOnn) in mind! The front though, tapers and narrows down quite much, but I don’t see a bag hook there, how come? Such thoughtful people cannot forget something like bag hook. So I looked carefully and found it recessed below the front end of the seat. Quite good!

   

The kicker shape size and location is perfect! There are also safety reflectors on the side which no other skoootre has. The actual Ground Clearance I measured (bike vertical on flat surface, no rider) is 145mm.

Handlebar width of Vespa VX is 25.5inch (65cm). Minimum gap between seat front end and front panel is TEN inches which widens to 17inch lower down.

Switchgear is very high quality. The RH light switch first step, switches on the dashboard and a pilot light inside the dome – enough for udders to see you but not enough for you to see udders. The second step of the RH switch brings ON the headlight Low-Beam, which is quite bright and adequate. The LH switch operates the Hi-Lo beam.

Relevant electrical are: a 35watt headlight backed by a12v-5Ah battery. Unlike most other skoootres, the XLNT headlight of this skoootre is DC=which means it is on Battery.

A few things I noted are: <1>The horn button at LH is not at normal thumb level (which all udders are) but lower down. It is not inconvenient but needs getting used to, especially for me, when I have to ride so many different bikes on the same day.

<2> There is a digital Watch/Clock which is always ON, with the adjusting buttons fingerable (=Angulimaal) by anyone and everyone anywhere and everywhere! Not good.

<3>While Royal Enfield HALF-FACE helmet fits into the under-seat lockable dicky, a full face helmet does not.

 

ON THE ROAD

Throw a leg, get astride and press the starter. Nothing! Eh? What’s this? This is a reminder=consciousness! Press either one of the brake levers – LH or RH and then press starter, engine fires. Why is pressing the brake-lever required? After all, this is not a geared bike that if in gear will just take off! The reason as I mentioned above is consciousness!  When two separate activities are done by two body units – in this case thumb doing one activity and fingers doing another – the brain is 77.2% more conscious and aware of what is being done and what is happening!

Twist the throttle and you’re off. Pickup and acceleration is as good as, and better than, any other skoootre in the country. I did fairly long and fast rides in town and out of town. Pune these days has lot of speed-breakers. The only bike which doesn’t bother about speed-breakers is Her0 Impulse. I would say that this Vespa has an Impulsive ride quality. Whether it is because of the ample seat, or seating geometry, or suspension, I cannot say. But the ride quality is superb – speed breakers notwithstanding !

Road holding is excellent. Handling is nimble and U-turning in narrow crowded places is a breeze! Thanks to the generous seat, even well endowed female pillion is quite comfortable. And thanks to the highest power and torque among all skoootres in this Hole Kunt Tree, this Vespa easily pulls heavy pillions on Up-slopes effortlessly! Also, being un-cusped, it is easy to slide fore-and-aft on the seat to get into your most comfortable posture – single or dubble!

Braking is quite effective. The 200mm disc (ventilated for better cooling) in front and 140mm drum at rear do an excellent job. The 140mm drum is about the biggest on any skoootre and very effective. The front suspension is not twin fork like on bikes (and even on many skoootres) but single sided on LH. The rear is suspended on a single shocker like most skoootres.

On first look the rear grab rail appears to be quite prominent and raised high, but believe me, it is the most practical and holdable (for pillion confidence) grab rail since grab rails began! Also thankfully the instrument console is analog (not digital) and is visible & readable (without powered glasses=chashma) by my 67 years old eyes!

Talking about being visible, I must mention headlight beam quality which is superb and clearly shows the road to my 67 year old eyes. While headlight power is standard 35watts, it is the XLNT (=excellent) MFR which makes all the difference.

I believe ungeared skoootres are about ease and comfort, not about performance, so I have not yet measured pickup, acceleration and top speed. Also, there is not enough time and the roads are wet. Maybe I will do this when I get this skoootre for a longer period and the roads are dry. However my compatriot Risky MindKe [68kg] has done some riding and says he has touched 100 on this Vespa, which is faster than any other skoootre.

Conclusion

At Rs.70,387/- ex showroom Pune, this Scooter is by far the most expensive scooter in India today. On road price would be @ 76,000/- (which is @15K more than another skoootre having disc brake in front). That is a lot of money, but then the Vespa VX125 is a LOT OF SCOOTER! The most powerful, fastest, most practical and by far the best looking scooter today! Sure, at this price, it is not everybody’s cup of tea. But then while everybody can afford, and drinks tea, not everybody who drinks whisky can afford, and drink: Glenfiddich or Johnny Walker BLUE Lable! This scooter is not about HOW you get there, it is about WHO you are and WHY you are here.

The Vespa VX125 is for you IF you are 0ne of the CHOSEN FEW WHO WiLL MARCH IN SUCCESSiON !.

 

For Tech PICS of VESPA VX visit:

http://www.dilipbam.com/gallery/category/10-vespa-vx-125.html

For More GLAMOROUS PICS of VESPA VX-XX LiKE the below PAGE:

https://www.facebook.com/dzoneworld

 

Team bikeguru:

bikeguru Dilip Bam: www.facebook.com/bikegurudilipbam

Devjeet Saha: www.facebook.com/sahadevjeet

Hrishikesh Mandke: www.facebook.com/hrishikesh.mandke

Photo Credits: www.djclicks.com

 

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