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Vespa LX 125/150 i.e.

We take a ride on the new LX injected range from Vespa.

When 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.

Looking 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 than before.

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 from here.



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