Old vespa or new stella?

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by jcolombo, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. jcolombo

    jcolombo Lurking Moderator Super Moderator

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    OK, now that I've seen this world, I have to add one to the stable. Easy decisions - classic look, manual tranny, 2 stroke.

    So, that narrows things down to, I think two obvious categories:

    Vespa (or other similar classic scooter):

    Pros:

    - the "real thing"
    - parts, people and group support
    - italian (the name is colombo, after all)
    - style
    - "legal" in CA

    Cons:

    - old
    - old systems (brakes, CDI, etc.)
    - reliability

    Stella

    Pros:

    - new from the factory
    - factory support (I think)
    - colors, accessories, etc available

    Cons:

    - knockoff
    - import to CA (possible, but complex)
    - resale?

    What do the experts think? I'm mostly going to use this for simple errands, commuting and wrenching. Seems just too cool not to have one and jump on it for the < 10 mile trips. A bit too small for the commute (22 miles @85 MPH).

    JC
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  2. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    I'd say the best way to get into the vintage scootering thing is to buy a "new" vintage scooter. No hassles with figuring out the electricals or cabling. Then, if you still have the itch, restore an old one.

    With the Vespa PX150 and the Stella you get a brand new 80's era Vespa PX. You'll get the vintage ride experience with some modern upgrades, but you'll definately know you're on 60's technology--a very nice vintage/retro feel to the bike. Also, these bikes are built to last virtually forever so you can ride the snot out of it and mod it as you see fit. They're solid, and great daily drivers in any weather.

    Of the two--Vespa PX and Stella--I'd recommend that you go for the Stella.

    It's a Vespa made in the LML factory where Vespas were made for years. Same tooling. It's not a knockoff--it's a Vespa. Same bike, just rebadged...and improved.

    Stella:
    - stronger reed valve motor
    - heavier guage steel
    - faster top end
    - Bitubo gas shocks front and rear (adj)
    - $1200 - $1400 cheaper than the Vespa PX150

    The Vespa has better paint, nicer grips, nicer-looking wheels, and the Vespa badges.

    Parts interchangability is darn near 100% (probably is 100%). The parts availability is outstanding and very cheap. A clutch cable, for instance, is about $4. Support for the bikes is outstanding worldwide. Here on this forum we're developing an archive of info to use them for serious touring in addition to urban assault/commuting.

    As for service, if you go with a local Vespa dealer you've got local support, but the PX series bike is so stone-simple that maintaining it is a no-brainer (it's designed to be totally user-maintained with a couple tools) and, IMHO, part of the joy of owning it.

    Used Stellas go from $2000-$2700 or so.

    A good way to get started would be to go to www.scooterworks.com and get one of their catalogs. :thumb It'll give you a great feel for the innards of the bike, prices for resto and upgrades, and so on. Warning: if you have any gearhead tendencies, the prospect of cheap go-fast goodies and gorgeous authentic retro cred will get you hooked.

    Nice comparison chart here.

    I'm not sure what the CA rules are for a used 2-stroke...is there something that would make a 7,500-mile old speedometer retrofit a good move? :evil
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  3. piratetreasure

    piratetreasure Been here awhile

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    I've had my Stella for almost 2 years now, and really couldn't be happier with it. I suppose I will be with a pipe and new jetting, but thats another story, I'm sure.

    A couple of recent scooter experiences, though- kind of funny-

    1. I was recently in Ft. Lauderdale and chanced upon the local Vespa dealer, so naturally had to go in and poke around. I really do love the old Vespas. All new scooters on the floor, however, but got to looking at the PX, and it really is exactly the same cosmetically as a Stella. When I found out the price difference is about $1200, I really couldn't see justifying it. Surely, the Vespa folks will tout their superior engineering and reliability, but having had 2 years of firsthand experience with the Stella tells me otherwise- The Stella is a great scoot! What was funny was that the salesman would not talk about Stellas- I brought them up twice and the topic was quickly changed.

    2. I was also in Cleveland, Ohio recently, and sought out Pride of Cleveland Scooters, a shop which I had heard nothing but good things about. Rightfully so, as the folks there were top notch and extremely friendly. They are definitely into their vintage Vespas, but also a multi line dealer with 2 and 4 strokes. They also sell a lot of Stellas. One funny thing they told me was that lots of folks buying a Stella will pay an extra $70 to have all the badging switched out to Vespa, so much so that they keep a LOT of the necessary Vespa badges in stock.
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  4. BUBB

    BUBB lynch not Zimmerman

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    Photog, I don't know if this shows or not, but I'm a scooter noob. What's this deal with Vespa PX150's all over the place? I thought they were limited editions.

    Also, I was of the impression the PX150 could not be registered in California... Are there different kinds of PX150s?
    #4
  5. jcolombo

    jcolombo Lurking Moderator Super Moderator

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    They have two versions of the PX150. Regular and "Series America" (US Spelling). Not sure how many of the first, but supposedly only 500 of the latter. Numbered, certificate, special color, but otherwise the same mechanicals.

    The PX150, as a 150cc 2-stroke can't be registered in CA (nor can the Stella). Where there is a will, there is a way, however.

    JC
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  6. Too Many Toys

    Too Many Toys Adventure Poseur

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    Having a vintage scooter ('61 Lambretta) but not a 'new retro' I would say this...

    The vintage Lammy is fun to poke around the 'hood. But I'm not sure I'd want to use it as a daily rider. It's still a 40 year-old piece with 40 year-old brakes, ignition, etc. technology. Stuff is old & old stuff breaks a lot.

    I’d like to have a Stella as a daily rider/commuter. Though I haven’t rode one yet, I have to believe that the things have a lot better suspension & brakes then the dear old Lammy.

    My .02 cents.
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  7. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin?

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    According to a recent article I read the owner of Genuine Scooter Co says he will be selling his scooters legally in California in 2006. However, I don't know if that is actually the 2T Stella/PX150 or some other model. Perhaps if you contact Genuine they can tell you.
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  8. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    Vespa decided to sell the first 2005 PX150's as "limited edition" bikes, which made consumers think that was all the US was getting in terms of the classic.

    Then they started selling the "regular" 2005 PX-150's. :scratch Yeah, a lot of people were wondering the exact same thing. I'm pretty sure Vespa wanted the market to think that way, too. It circulated on all the scoot boards--same response: the crates of PX's were waiting behind the "limited" bikes, so the limited edition wasn't the PX...it was a version of the PX. In other words, plenty of PX's to go around. The ltd. was the gussied-up version.

    At that point I was comparing the price difference between the LML PX and the Vespa PX, and doing a lot of research on LML. The LML came out on top.

    AFAIK the PX150 isn't available in CA even though it has a catalyzed exhaust.

    Betcha Genuine (Stella) is gonna be the only PX available after 2006. Since Genuine is a small business, they've got a few loopholes available to keep brining the PX over here wrt the EPA regs, versus Vespa/Piaggio being a huge company. At any rate, I wanted a vintage PX, couldn't afford the extra $1200 or so for the Vespa, so I went with the LML (Genuine/Stella).
    #8
  9. jcolombo

    jcolombo Lurking Moderator Super Moderator

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    Thanks for the thoughts, especially Photog.... pulled the trigger, and a new (!) dark blue Stella is heading out to CA with Ohio plates. I haven't actually seen the color, but have been assured it's quite nice.

    Should be here in a couple of weeks - I'll take pics and let you know how it all went.

    I'm stoked!

    JC
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  10. acidjzaz

    acidjzaz Nolram

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    super old thread buttt.. any issues registering a 2T Stella in CA?
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  11. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    As the owner of a 2009 Stella 2T, I would recommend getting a new one (I got mine new, got one of the last ones) but they no longer sell it in the U.S. All you can get now are 4 strokes. I have no experience with them. The body on a Stella is actually stronger than the original Vespa PX150. And since Vespa no longer makes parts for their vintage scooters, most vintage 2 stroke Vespas will have been rebuilt with the same LML parts that are on the Stella. While new Vespas are top notch quality, the old ones, just like all other old bikes of that era, weren't. Expect to spend a lot of time on maintenance, and having to do a few repairs. Both the Stella and old Vespas are clunky, they squeak and rattle and buzz, the brakes and suspension aren't the best, they have a manual shifter and clutch, and it takes some degree of skill to safely ride on in traffic. They are totally opposite to todays highly refined twist and go scooters. They actually look, sound, and feel like machines. I own both the Stella and an '08 Yamaha Vino 125. The Vino makes better transportation, but the Stella is 10 times more fun.
    #11
  12. emmettken

    emmettken Long timer

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    Some dealers have new left over 2T Stellas. The 4 stroke Stellas come with a 2yr warranty.
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  13. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    The four stroke Stellas are undoubtedly more reliable. But I can't see how they would have the fun factor of the two stroke. I love the way a 2 stroke sounds and smells. It won't last as long, at least the top end won't, but on the other hand, they are easily rebuilt. You could swap out top ends on the side of the road if you had the tools and parts, and many riders of old Vespas did exactly that. Also, there is an endless supply of aftermarket (and performance, if you are into that kind of thing) parts for the two stroke, which fit both Stellas and P series Vespas. So far the only modification I have done to my Stella is replace the stock catcon exhaust with a stock style Vespa exhaust. A catcon exhaust will not last long on a 2 stroke without plugging up.
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  14. thunderkat59

    thunderkat59 Cooter on a scooter

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    ♘ ④⓪②⓪⑤ &#9816
    Technically, the Stella is not a knock-off.
    I had a 2t, 2003 model and it is one of only two bikes I really regret
    getting rid of. A Simonini pipe and rejet really woke it up !
    No problems whatsoever and very fun to ride. If I had
    the space, I would buy another in a heartbeat !
    :beer
    #14
  15. Ken OBSC

    Ken OBSC -6.12, -7.64

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  16. seraph

    seraph asshole on a scooter

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    Guys - this thread is seven years old

    So your advice for the original poster is a bit ... late

    acidjazz bumped the thread to ask about registering 2-stroke Stellas in California, as they were never sold there (since they couldn't pass CARB). As far as I know you're allowed to register a not-sold-in-CA vehicle once they're, what, 3 years old? So I'm not sure why the Stella would be any different.

    And Ken OBSC, the Stella followed the same path as Bajaj. Both Bajaj and LML started making Vespas in partnership with Piaggio, and when Piaggio pulled the plug they kept running. Bajaj just happened a few decades earlier.
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  17. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    The Stella (sold in other countries as the LML Star) also used to be a real Vespa. Vespa had a deal with LML to make scooters for them, the first ones were built with original Vespa tooling. Eventually the deal fell apart, as did the tooling. LML built new tooling, identical to the old, and started building them again, under their own name. They actually made a few improvements, like making the body out of heavier metal. Any part that fits a P series Vespa also fits a Stella/Star, even the recessed Piaggio emblems on the horncast. LML copied every last detail. You might be surprised just how many vintage Vespas are out there with LML engines in them.

    As for the Bajaj, I'm not entirely sure about those. They were never built by LML, and there were never any 4 stroke P series Vespas. But they are so close to Vespa style and construction there has to be a Vespa connection somewhere.
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  18. seraph

    seraph asshole on a scooter

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    Bajaj had the same deal as LML going back into the '60s. A friend of mine has a '66 Bajaj which is an identical copy to a Vespa VBB. Do some Google searching for Bajaj Priya (their name of the VBB copy) and the early Bajaj Chetak - it was a Vespa Sprint, I think.

    Coincidentally, PGO, the Taiwanese scooter manufacturer responsible for Genuine's lineup (minus the Stella), also used to make P-series Vespas on contract.
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  19. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    It would be nice if you could register a 2 stroke Stella in CA after it was 3 years old. But I wonder if the owner has to have owned it for 3 years? Otherwise anyone could buy a 3 year old 2 stroke anywhere and register it in CA. Mine is now 3 years old.
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  20. FizzyRascal

    FizzyRascal Been here awhile

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    My (UK) LML . . .

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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