So I took the Vespa 300GTS for a test ride - are scooters like this?

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by Alexander B, May 16, 2019.

  1. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    Went to the dealer the other way to test ride the Guzzi V85, and took the opportunity to ride a Vespa 300GTS, too.
    Aside from the X-ADV, this is the only scooter I have ridden. I was struck by how different it was from riding a motorcycle.

    Engine was flexible and well mapped, but lacking power. The CVT worked fine, very linear and predictible. Suspension felt very odd at first, with zero dive at braking. Once on the way, it absorbed road imperfections well, without being overly soft.
    On the highway, the limited engine power and small wheels made for a somewhat less relaxed experience. I needed to work more than on a regular bike, with input to correct for wind gusts and tracks in the road surface etc.

    Wind management was surprisingly good, even without a screen, as were vibrations, of which there were almost none! Impressive!
    The Vespa is however too compact for my height, and I did not really find a comfortable position.

    To sum it up, I really liked riding a scooter, even though I cannot see a Vespa as a potential candidate. There was also a 2017 Beverly 350, which I sat on. Also too small, and I did not like the design at all.

    How does the modern Vespa compare to XMAX 300 or Kawasaki J300?
    #1
  2. JerryH

    JerryH To Each Their Own

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    Nothing else is quite like a Vespa, and the 300GTS is their top of the line. Other scooters are similar, but nothing else really compares directly with a Vespa. I have a bad back (among a lot of other things) and have ridden scooters that really pounded my back just from hitting a small bump that the Vespa just glides over with pretty much no feel at all. It has very plush suspension, but still handles well. They have unique front suspension, that's why they don't dive when braking. That suspension is part of the reason for their comfort and great handling. I don't know what is available in Sweden, but if you want something bigger, see if they have a Burgman 650. I have found the Vespa to work fine even on U.S. interstates as far as power and speed goes, but if you want something physically bigger, you will need a maxi scooter.
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  3. CanineCombatives

    CanineCombatives the sound of inevitability

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    Try a C400X next time, you'll find it suits your height better.
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  4. CaptnJim

    CaptnJim Scooter Pilot

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    You get it or you don't. I'm not one to say that everyone should have a scooter. A lot of it is timing... for the first 40 or 45 years of riding motorcycles, I wasn't ready for a scooter. It took a hip issue to make me even consider a scooter. Six years later, it is all about the scooters. My Vespa has 22 hp - it isn't going to have the acceleration of a 100 hp motorcycle. It doesn't have to. Plenty peppy enough to leave cars behind when the light changes. Just as entertaining to take through the twisties as most motorcycles.

    While plenty of people ride 'em long distances, we are day-trippers these days who enjoy hauling the scoots to some great riding. There are also plenty of people who have both scooters and motorcycles. Just scoots for us these days. Lifestyles and desires change. If a scooter isn't right for you now, it may be some other time.

    There was a time that I couldn't imagine NOT having a full dress road bike. No desire for that now, but a scoot does everything I need.

    Enjoy the ride!
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  5. CanineCombatives

    CanineCombatives the sound of inevitability

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    Growing up racing you always have pit scooters, it's just part of the life, later on you upgrade to street legal ones and when your at the track for a race weekend and want to go into town for a bite or hotel you jump on the scooters and leave everything else in the pits, so there's never any stigma or anything like that cause guys that race are purists, we can have a blast on anything with 2 wheels and bars to hang on to. I'm going with the beemer but an HPE 2020 GTS300 would be the cats nuts.
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  6. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Souped-Up Weasel

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    How tall are you?
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  7. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    I have short legs & arms and Vespa fits me as they come. The question in post #6 very much is THE! question to ask-other than how much zoom is enough? I have never owned any MC that could achieve it's potential on a public road.
    Some taller riders change seats so as to allow arm extension and leg room via moving yer butt backwards. Sitting on a scooter after over 50 years of MC's I still "feel" that sensation of having no gas tank to squeeze and the "clutch is a brake" thing remains to some extent. Once I'm underway for a few miles my brain adjusts and I'm into the ride and the machine as well. These scoots will run with most machines on curvy roads but obviously lacking the zoom of big engines. Only you can decide which ergonomics work. The scoots with longer wheelbases and bigger engines are a personal choice as most any rider can ride any scooter-IF! they like the machine. The 400x engine has my eye but until I sit on one and see if the trade off's in overall size and cost are to my liking, I'm good for the rest of my riding days.
    In the area where I live with all curvy roads and not much traffic, the Vespa's hp might be small but the truth is I can easily exceed a sane speed in a matter of seconds and run with most any machine. By the time I do get to urban areas and interstates I run with the traffic. How fast is fast enough?
    What 0-60 time suits you? Scoots are flat out fun to ride. As I aged, I found myself riding the scoot over the MC & sold my last newish MC from neglect.
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  8. rider33

    rider33 Long timer

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    it's a bit like comparing a cruiser to a GS to an FJR to a Wing, all very different, all have there charms. Scooters are light, very maneuverable, extremely efficient, offer pretty good weather protection and storage. Vespa's just happen to be the premium class, mostly metal, aircraft landing gear fork (designer made planes, not bikes), top drawer engine & bits. The fit thing likely is the seat. When the large frames came out (GT200's) the seat was flatter allowing you to slide back. By the 250's/300's they had added a fairly pronounced step (the tyranny of the short of stature) which kept you more forward. As the cowling basically is the worlds largest floorboard, your feet have a lot of options. I believe the 2020's are going back to a flatter seat by the way. I've never gotten the fast scooter thing,
    hell my DR650 would eat just about any of them for lunch. 20-30 HP is plenty for anything with little wheels. Little wheels and the pint sized wheelbase tho make for some good times, think puttering around the city, not strafing backroads, they make Guzzi's for that....
    02574DC0-B9FB-4CAE-AF8A-BF4C8679E38E.jpeg
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  9. BUZZARD II

    BUZZARD II Old Geezer

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    I've had Bonnie's and Ducati's and Wings and E. Glides but the most fun I ever had was ripping through Deal's Gap on a Vespa 250ie.

    The only bummer part is I never had hot near naked babes hanging on the scoot like on the Scooter Girl thread.
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  10. Smaug1

    Smaug1 '16 Bandit 1250S, '15 SMax

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    No, they're not all like that. As far as front suspension, Vespa probably has the best in the business.

    Adding to what Captain Jim said, I would argue that most scooters are MORE fun in twisties than motorcycles, as they turn so easily, with their small wheels and low center of gravity.

    If you can afford it, I highly recommend having a motorcycle for high speed and long distance riding, and a scooter for local riding and shorter trips.

    PS - It's refreshing to hear from a motorcyclist who is open-minded enough to try a scooter without prejudice.

    PPS - We're jealous that you have the X-ADV over there; it's not sent to the USA.
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  11. Wentwest

    Wentwest How's that work?

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    Not clear what you don't like about the BV350, but it seems like it might suit you better than the Vespa. Very similar engine and drive system, only minor differences, and a taller and heavier road feel gives it a different personality.
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  12. JerryH

    JerryH To Each Their Own

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    BTW I'm 6' 240 and fit the Vespa just fine. Yes the scooter riding position and "feel" are totally different from a motorcycle (I still have 3 motorcycles) there is no tank or clutch. But I have now ridden scooters (about 7 of them) long enough for this to feel normal. I adjust immediately when going from a scooter to as motorcycle or vise versa. My first scooter was a 50cc 2007 Honda Metropolitan, and I was able to ride it out on open roads for 300 miles a day (mostly on the shoulder due to it's slow speed) but did not find it uncomfortable. I had played with pedal mopeds before that, and the scooter was several times more comfortable. Like many others, I got into scooters because of disabilities, every scooter I have owned has been a step through with a flat floor. I had to sell a dual sport motorcycle because I could no longer get on it. But you don't need to be disabled to enjoy a scooter. There are a LOT more scooters in Europe than in the U.S., so I'm assuming there are a lot more places to ride one. The U.S. highway system (and even most city streets) are not designed for scooters.
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  13. JerryH

    JerryH To Each Their Own

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    I would ride that Vespa across the country, but would not venture more than 100 miles from home on the Guzzi, because it has tube type tires, and a simple flat will put you out of commission same as a blown engine. 100 miles is the towing limit of my road service plan.
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  14. rider33

    rider33 Long timer

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    yup, I forgot to mention that. Light weight is nice, light weight and a low center of gravity makes them very ,very easy to handle and control. I think my GT clocks in at around 300# but you'd never know it riding or even moving it.
    And when it comes to low center of gravity it pretty hard to beat a Vespa as the engine basically is right on top of the rear wheel. Also, that little hook below the handlebar will let you carry and amazing amount of stuff, a lot more than most motorcycles. Let me put it this way: I have 5 bikes at the moment (which is silly really) and the Vespa is currently the smallest. In the city tho, it's the one I go for more than 90% of the time. Some bikes make you take things very seriously (which is good as they otherwise might kill you). Vespa's encourage you to lighten up & just enjoy life.
    #14
  15. OldCoot

    OldCoot Been here awhile

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    Some people are just spoiled. :dirtdog

    Seriously, two beautiful toys!!
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  16. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    When you go from a big bone to a Vespa it will feel less stable at interstate speeds, it isn't but it does handle differently. Just like switching between a super sport bike and a dual sport or cruiser. People can and do ride the GTS 200-300 on interstate but you will not have the same get up and go as a bigger engine vehicles.

    When I would switch back and forth it would take a few minutes to adjust to the differences. There are even differences between the GTS 300 and smaller Vespas like the Sprint and Primavera.

    The maxi and Asian style scooters do handle differently. The big ones like the Burgman 650, Silver wing, BMW c600 handle and are size/weight more like a motorcycle.

    I have friends who are 6ft 5in aka 195cm who ride Vespas GTS and BV350 without finding them cramped but each has modified the seat to make it flat. The one who rides the BV350 had the front part of the seat raised so that it is even with the back which makes it to tall for me at 172cm. Of the GTS riders one switched solo seat while the other swapped the GTS seat for the flat GT seat.
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  17. ricochet

    ricochet Been here awhile

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    I wonder, how did you find the Guzzi V85TT?
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  18. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    Thanks everyone! I have a busy day today, but I might post some more thought in this thread much later today, or tomorrow. Might post something about the Guzzi as well.

    Teaser - both these (new) demo bikes had one each mechanical issue that definitely needed to be repaired...
    #18
  19. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    Going from motorcycle to scooter Yah if feel like the power is lacking but Really you going from 80 plus horse down to 18 to 40 depending on the scooter . My forza can do 135 KPH or over 80 mph but unlike the vespa it's 15 or 16 inch wheels. Thats the big diff from a vespa or allot of other scooters they are small 10 or 12 inch wheels on top out around 55 to 75 mph. It can take more thought to into passing etc but Really scooter are blast as long as your not stuck on hwy that you have to drive 70 mph plus. Then again I m speaking about what we can get in usa / canada . Over in Europe they some really nice scooter such as the honda sh300 , forza , BMW evolution etc . stuff we can get over here
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  20. FreewheelBurning

    FreewheelBurning Adventurer

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    You can get scooters up to 15" wheels with 60 HP, the big BMW scooter (C650 Sport/GT) comes to mind. Should be able to reach 100MPH+.
    #20