We take a ride on the new LX injected range from Vespa.
Vespa updates a model you certainly don’t think about the iconic
Italian progressing in leaps and bounds. More of a steady progression-
evolution even. A styling accent here, a rich new colour there. So my
thoughts before riding the new LX was one of just that, steady
progression or evolution of the species.
A few styling cues head the list of changes for the new injected LX
range and these include some nice touches of chrome in key areas,
most noticeable being the front horn cover. Not a major lashing of the
shiny stuff, just a finessing of the design that is as timeless as
scooters could possibly be.
The one piece, monocoque chassis remains- the uniquely constructed body
ensuring a rigid, solid feel on the road. This is something that only
Vespa can offer, and is one of the key attributes that sets the magic
brand apart from the rest. Storage also remains the same as the
previous LX range with a removable seat bucket and key operated glove
box. Same old same old, but just how we love it. Pure Vespa. And of
course, it comes with a full hundred weight of style, ceremony and
romance. Armani on wheels.
The dash sees a small change with blinkers and warning lights being
laid out in a revised pattern with the introduction of a engine warning
light which is the first tell-tale that the new model is sporting some
electronics. But again, the dash changes are nothing huge simply the
refinement you would expect from a mid-life model upgrade.
at it on the showroom floor, these changes are a mild tweaking it
seems- a spruce up, or a polishing of the boots. Until that is, you
start the scooter and head out onto the road.
The moment you sit on the new LX i.e. you immediately feel the
additional comfort from the reshaped and padded seat and thicker
handgrips. Hit a bump on the road and the seat remains plush with the
feeling you’re sitting in a custom saddle rather than on top of the
park bench some scooters call a seat. Huge improvement No 1.
Thumb the starter and you receive an instantaneous response as the
engine fires up and purrs in the smoothest manner. The fuel injection
makes for immediate and fuss free starting as well as better cold
weather starting and idling. The smoothness brought about by the efi
will surprise as you can now rev the scooter on the centre stand and it
remains still and planted in the one position instead of buzzing around
like a child’s wind-up toy. No need to do this at home of course, but
those accustomed to older carby models will know exactly what I'm
talking about. Huge improvement No 2
The fuel injected motor in either the 125 or 150 capacity will respond
as soon as you twist the throttle. A snappy responsiveness that
carburettors just can’t match. And on the 150cc version, the response
is so sudden it might even catch you out if you’re thinking this is
like the LX of old. Power is up on both injected engines and you can
feel this in the seat of your pants. Reliable, torquey or even ‘honest’
are normal descriptors for Piaggio’s range of Leader engines, and now
“zippy, fast and responsive” join the fray in the new LX range. All the
way up to its maximum speed, the riders’ inputs are always noted and
not dismissed with every manipulation of the throttle.
Huge improvement No 3
Both engines offer enough power to tackle daily tasks with ease-
whether it’s the mundane commute to the office or a social run. The 125
injected engine is shared with the ‘LX-S’ model as well and is more
than capable of propelling the metal bodied Vespa forward at a rapid
rate. In my honest opinion those looking for a gutsy daily performer,
needn’t look past the 150 cc version. The LX 150 i.e. will deliver in
any situation including comfortably being able to tackle short motorway
runs. Something the carby version was able to do, but the injected
version does it so much easier, so much more precise with a surprising
amount of speed. You can get caught out as the engine accelerates so
quickly now that speedo checks are a mandatory procedure.
All the handling traits that existed on the 1st generation LX remain.
That solid feel from the all metal body that only Vespa can give. It’s
like the difference
between a weatherboard home and a double brick home- they’re both nice,
but you really know when you’re sitting in a double brick house. That
ubiquitous single sided front end that has stood the test of time has a
different side cover on the ‘S’ version- exposing more of the bright
red shock spring for that sportier look. Reassuring, flex free riding
with sharp responsive handling- still a hallmark of the injected range.
It’s just that it all happens now, so much faster and so much smoother
Storage in the form of the underseat bucket, glovebox and bag hook
easily cater for most events. Sure you can accessorise up to a top box
if required, but you probably won’t be wanting for more space. The
glove box is such a handy spot for stashing your small items like
wallet and phone, and even for hiding the rain pants you often carry
‘just in case’. I love the ‘uniquely Vespa’ pull out underseat bucket
too, as it’s so easy to clean out all that gunk that only seems to
accumulate under your scooter seat. And it also gives you quick and
easy access to the engine- not that there’s anything for you to do, but
it’s like popping the bonnet on a car so all the guys can stand around
and look at it- a very important bonding process.
Some people may say that Vespa's upgrade of the LX range is just a
simple and gradual transition, and on the surface, it might be. But for
me it’s much more than that. It really is the next generation as I feel
the leap forward is that extensive- smoother, better, faster, more
economical, more comfortable. It’s almost inappropriate to say- but
ride it and I am sure you will agree that anything you may have found
lacking in previous models has now been addressed. Inappropriate,
because the previous incarnation of the Vespa LX was such a capable
scoot, head and shoulders above the other players, and yet they’ve made
it better and cheaper with Vespa Australia having revised the pricing
down. The range kicks off at $5690 for the 125 and $5990 for the 150 cc
version (plus ORC). If you’re a car buff, it’s a bit like the Porsche
911- always had the engine in the ‘wrong’ spot, yet love it or hate it,
it’s the best sports car money can buy, hands down. And just when the
latest 911 was being hailed as the best ever drivers car, they make it
better. Maybe we should call this Vespa the 911LX- the epitome or
pinnacle of classic scooter engineering.
Next generation, Lower pricing, a true update in every sense. That
familiar Vespa feeling you get with every ride remains, the look and
feel is unique and something that only owing one will describe. They
took a great thing, and made it better. I wonder where they will go