Zane flew down to Melbourne to check out the new and improved Vespa GTS 300. Check out what he thought of this super easy to ride little scooter... Photos Dean Walters
It’s new Vespa time! I flew down to Melbourne to check out the 2023 Vespa GTS 300 range and have an all-Italian fun day out and find out just how easy these stylish scooters are to ride. These extremely easy bikes to ride are accessible to even the least experienced riders…
Let’s be real, you’re not here to hear me talk about how the scooter leans into the turns, how it can bake the rear tyre and how quick it’ll do 0 -100. You’re here to read if it’s worth buying a little Vespa to head to the shops on with minimal fuss. I put it through a proper torture test anyway…
Landing in at Melbourne, we head out to the Vespa launch party at SA1NT, which is open to local Vespa fans too. These scooters still have a proper cult-like following, evident by the amount of people that rocked up to an event like this. There’s a certain level of homely-ness when you buy a Vespa, like you’re part of the family. This separates the brand from your average commuter mopeds.
The new Vespa GTS is a looker, plenty of colours to choose from and a no-frills approach to ensure you’re getting a proper looking Vespa. Chrome bits dress up the Classic 300 while the blacked out trims complete the sporty look of the SuperSport 300 and there is LED lighting across all models, which Vespa are really excited about. There is a third GTS coming to Australia ,which we didn’t get a chance to ride, the 150. But, both versions of the 300 are identical besides the paint options.
After a beer or 20 and checking out the cool rides, including the little Vespa sidecar turntable, it was time to hit the hay. Up early ready to find out just how easy these little scooters are to ride and right off the bat, the new GTS proves simple is better. You just click the key-dial over to ignition, hold the brake, press the starter and off you go!
Keyless motorcycles are my arch-nemesis, they’re unnecessary and the thought of having to look after the key-fob stresses me out since I’ve had things fly out of my jacket pockets on the road. Vespa have thought about this with a little compartment at the front to chuck the key and your phone in while you’re riding, complete with a power socket too!
Kicking the little Vespa off the centre-stand is a breeze. Even if you’re not a very strong person, you’ll have no issues getting it on and off the centre-stand with a little bit of practice. Chucking it up on the centre-stand is like riding a bike, once you’ve got it you never lose it!
The single-cylinder HPE 300 engine doesn’t vibrate as much as others in its class, there is still a little bit of vibration but it’s a silky smooth and a very quiet little engine. The power application is quite linear, new riders won’t be caught off guard with a burst of power, it’ll only really start to take off if you hold that throttle pinned and keep it there.
“The power application is quite linear, new riders won’t be caught off guard with a burst of power, it’ll only really start to take off if you hold that throttle pinned and keep it there…”
The beauty of a CVT setup means no worrying about the clutch or changing gears. The Vespa GTS really is twist and go, it’s so easy to ride you could probably teach anyone or anything with some dexterity in their hands how to ride it.
Under seat storage is decent. There’s just enough depth to lock and open face helmet under the seat. I’m not sure if Vespa meant to design it this way, but the internal plastic bucket comes out to expose the engine, meaning you can load your groceries under the seat and pull it out like a basket when you get home, I think that is really cool if you don’t want to store your riding gear under there.
The dash is simple with one large dial for the speedometer. There is a small LCD that has other instruments like the ODO, trip length, fuel level and etc. This is also supported by Vespa’s MIA system, meaning you can connect your phone to it, allowing the screen to show incoming calls or texts.
Check out our Vespa Primavera Pic Nic review here…
The buttons are straightforward, a little joystick to move around for the LCD, indicator switch, high beam, kill switch, starter and a button to unlock the seat.
Out on the road and the GTS feels nothing like the 155kg it weighs on paper. Those skinny, 120 x 12 and 130 x 12 tyres mean the Vespa darts where you want it to go and turns on a dime. Side switching is lightning fast and super funny to throw into the corners if you really desired. This translates to easy to manage at slow speeds while lane splitting or taking on a course like the P’s test!
The brakes are not linked but do have ABS. The separation of the front and rear brake isn’t really something you’ll need on a scooter but having an extra level of control over the front/rear brake bias is cool, 90 per cent of the time you’ll just squeeze both brakes at the same time for excellent stopping power. The ABS definitely works as we tested it with some hard-emergency stops. Another big tick of easy rideability for new riders on the Vespa GTS.
“The GTS 300 will easily do 110km/h and beyond with zero fuss. Sitting on the freeway, it’s planted and stable even though it has those little wheels…”
The GTS 300 will easily do 110km/h and beyond with zero fuss. Sitting on the freeway, it’s planted and stable even though it has those little wheels. It actually doesn’t rev too hard and if you let off the throttle, you won’t lose buckets of speed like you do on other scooters. There’s still enough juice if you want to give it a quick crank past a car in the right lane.
The front suspension keeps in tradition with Vespa, a single-sided swingarm with a coilspring handles the bumps decently but more importantly, looks the part. The rear sees two shocks with preload adjustment that you can adjust under the seat to suit your weight. The suspension as a whole is on the stiffer side, hitting big potholes will hurt as those little 12in wheels do little to soften the impact.
Also included on the GTS is the adoption of switchable ASR traction control as standard, what a treat this is for new riders. Adding an extra level of safety, you don’t need to worry about cranking the throttle too hard or accelerating on a loose surface, like wet tram tracks or wet white lines. This will save a world of hurt for new riders who might get a little heavy handed on the throttle in the rain. The switch is there in case you get stuck in some mud… or want to do some burnouts….
“Also included on the GTS is the adoption of switchable ASR traction control as standard… This will save a world of hurt for new riders who might get a little heavy handed in the rain.”
How’s the comfort? Well, despite the mini size of the GTS, comfort is spectacular! Comparable to smaller maxi-scooters, there’s more than enough space for my 183cm frame. My knees don’t even nearly hit that front plate and there’s no discomfort while touring down the freeway. On the flip side, the seat is close enough to the ground that shorter people will have no issues firmly planting both feet on the ground while coming to a stop.
Despite a Google search showing in big bold writing “Vespas are still made in Italy, as they have been since 1946”, this is only half true. Some are still made in Italy but the new GTS models are made at the new Piaggio factory in Vietnam…
The choice of plastic for some of the body areas over metal does make me kind of sad but retaining the famous metal body is an aspect I’m glad they’ve kept. The beauty of them being made in Vietnam instead of Europe means you get that tested reliability that Europe never seemed to stay consistent with in their cars and bikes. You really didn’t want to get a Friday arvo assembled bike from a few Euro brands. But that soulful construction of European vehicles is missing a bit on this GTS…
We absolutely beat on the Vespa’s for the few hours we had them. Wheelies off the lights, and roasting that rear tyre. Nothing came loose, nothing fell off and nothing broke. Not even the mirrors came loose, if it can handle a bunch of hoons on it then it can handle living its life out as a grocery getter.
The GTS range starts at $10,630 rideaway for the 150 Super we didn’t ride, $13,320 rideaway for the 300 Classic with the chrome bits and $13,530 rideaway for the 300 SuperSport. Those prices are definitely up there and aren’t competitive in pricing with scooters from the Japanese big four, and miles away from the Chinese counterpart pricing.
Like I said earlier, to own a Vespa is to join a cult, they’re cool, fun to ride, look the part and simple to keep going. If you really want a Vespa, you’re not going to list to how competitive the pricing is, you’re just going to go and buy one…
For 2023, the entire Vespa GTS range is improved as unique Vespa style is combined with a series of technical updates to heighten vehicle safety, comfort and attention to the stylistic details.
The new Vespa GTS boasts the latest evolution of the 300cc HPE single-cylinder, four-stroke, four-valve, liquid-cooled engine. Engine power reaches a maximum of 17.5kW@8250rpm, whereas maximum torque is 26Nm@5250rpm. Customers will see, according to Vespa, increased acceleration combined with a significant reduction in consumption, for a range of 30.3km/l in the WMTC cycle.
The 300 HPE is the most high-performance engine ever mounted on a Vespa. The project sought above all to optimise thermodynamic output and reduce friction and engine noise. The single camshaft system with overhead valves has rockers with roller tappets instead of flat tappets, all to the advantage of smoothness, durability and a reduction of mechanical loss.
The introduction of a high-pressure multi-jet injector also helps to improve combustion. A more generous intake line, equipped with a duct with optimised length, improves the torque delivered at low rpm and ensures an exceptionally smooth ride at any speed. The iridium spark plug ensures greater durability in the same operating conditions. Even the CVT comprises materials designed to reduce friction and noise, and the cover coated in sound-absorbing material further contributes to this.
The engine is controlled by a latest-generation Magneti Marelli MIUG4 ECU. With better calculating capacity, it contributes to improving overall engine efficiency and also allows the engine to be started almost instantaneously, after just two revolutions of the crank.
The GTS range has new instrumentation, more complete and better able to exploit the potential of the VESPA MIA connectivity system. The dash retains the analogue speedometer, beneath which is now a 3in LCD display on which the rider can view a wide range of trip data (maximum speed, average speed, instantaneous consumption, average consumption, range and battery charge status) and all notifications regarding calls, messages and music, when a smartphone is connected with the VESPA MIA system.
2023 sees the introduction of the keyless system, which lets the rider activate the ignition without having to insert the traditional key to attack things such as starting the engine, opening the seat and locking the steering column.
The rider benefits from refined ergonomics and can more easily reach the ground with their feet, while the passenger has a larger, roomier seat. The large under-seat compartment makes the most of available space and can hold plenty of gear.
Adding to the load capacity of Vespa GTS is a glove box, inside which there is also a USB port, useful for the recharging of a phone or other electronic device.
The body of the Vespa GTS is made strictly of steel, a sustainable material that is 100 per cent recyclable and that guarantees unrivalled strength. Despite retaining the traditional single-sided swingarm, the front suspension has been updated in terms of its operating framework in order to ensure greater stability, particularly at high speeds.
This allows for revised suspension calibration, which also contributes to the comfort and handling. The double-disc braking system sees the adoption of new calipers and new Brembo brake master-cylinders, updates that do not just translate into a significant reduction in braking distances.
The Piaggio Group was the first manufacturer to introduce scooter ASR electronic traction control to prevent rear wheel spin. The electronic safety control package is rounded out with the ABS anti-lock braking system, controlled with a new, more high-performance Bosch ECU. Both are supplied as standard with the Vespa GTS family.
The Vespa GTS Classic is available in Beige Sabbia, Nero Vulcano and Verde Relax. Every detail is enhanced with chrome. The grey seat, with vertical heat sealing on the seat area and tone-on-tone stitching, is paired with hand grips and rubber inserts on the footpegs, also grey. The wheels are painted grey.
The Vespa GTS SuperSport features graphite-coloured rims with dedicated graphics and the many black details, starting with the profile that runs along the perimeter of the body. The typical steering cover on the shield presents a brand-new carbon look finish and is made more aggressive with neon orange decorations. The black seat stands out for its horizontal heat sealing and double stitching in contrasting neon orange. Three available colours are enhanced with new dedicated graphics, gloss Bianco Innocente, matte Nero Opaco and Verde Olivie.
2023 Vespa GTS 300 Specifications
Price: From $13,320 rideaway
Warranty: Two year, unlimited kilometre
Colour: Bianco Innocente, matte Nero Opaco and Verde Olivie (SuperSport). Beige Sabbia, Nero Vulcano and Verde Relax (Classic),
Claimed power: 17.5kW@8250rpm
Claimed torque: 26Nm@5250rpm
Wet weight: 155kg
Fuel capacity: 8.5L
Fuel Consumption: 30.3 km/l (Claimed)
Engine: Piaggio HPE four-stroke single-cylinder, 278cc, 75mm x 63mm bore x stroke, N/A compression, electronic injection, electronic ignition with variable advance; ASR traction control, wet sump. Gearbox: CVT Automatic with torque server
Chassis: Load bearing structure sheet metal body with welded reinforcements
Suspension: Single-sided swingarm with single shock (f), Double shock absorber with four-position spring pre-load adjustment (r) Brakes: Single 220mm stainless steel disc, front two-piston and rear single-piston caliper (f & r) Two-channel ABS system. Tyres: Maxxis 120/70 – 12, Maxxis 130/70 – 12.
Seat height: 790mm
Overall length: 1980mm
Overall width: 765mm
Instruments: Analogue speedometer, with digital display
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