The original idea of designing a scooter was to provide affordable two-wheel transportation to masses which should be easy to operate and maintain. Although scooters were in production from the early 20th century, it was only after the World War II that they started to become mainstream and their design associable.
Vespa and Lambretta were the first ones to start producing scooters in mass numbers. However, it was Vespa that attained global popularity first as a prominent scooter maker.
Vespa is an Italian scooter company since 1946 and owned by Piaggio. After the WW2, the need of a practical and affordable means of transport became paramount and hence, Piaggio ideated to mass produce scooters.
The design of a scooter is distinctly different from a motorcycle starting from the front body panel acting as a shield for the rider’s legs extending into a flat floorboard and then into a shell which houses the engine and all or most electricals.
Piaggio readied their first scooter in 1944 which was officially called the MP5, however, the design was discarded and the scooter was redesigned. The second design was accepted and the owner of Piaggio, Enrico Piaggio, said that the scooter looked like a Wasp. Who would have guessed that this casual statement from Piaggio would give birth to the most famous Scooter company in the world?
Apparently, the Italian word for “Wasp” is “Vespa” and this is how the Vespa brand came to be.
From Ordinary to Vintage
The first Vespa was publicly launched in 1946 and from then on, Vespa went on to become the standard in affordable scooters. The design of its scooters has always been quite recognizable giving them their own identity compared to others in the market.
This would also imply that the latest generation of Vespa scooters manages to look classy and vintage. This is quite wonderfully highlighted in one of their newest scooters, Vespa SXL 150. Even a single feature like the headlight design is enough to instil a feeling of nostalgia and this is exactly how the SXL 150 comes across.
Vespa SXL 150
With the rectangular headlight placed horizontally, the SXL 150 instantly appears like it is straight out of your grandfather’s garage. But look a bit closely, and you’ll notice that it belongs in the 21st century with its impressive fit and finish of parts and the overall build quality.
It is powered by a 3-valve 150cc engine which churns out 11.6PS of maximum power at 7,000 RPM and 11.5NM of torque at 5,500 RPM. Another highlight is the aircraft derived front suspension which uses a single-sided shocker with anti-dive functionality. So, when the rider uses the front brake hard, the front will not nose dive. The tyres are also wide enough for a scooter with a 110mm front and 120mm rear.
The fact that it is a modern scooter is further highlighted with the standard disc brake on the front wheel. There’s also a link-spring mechanism between the engine and the frame to eliminate the shocks coming from the road surface. This, in turn, enhances the handling and the overall stability of the scooter.
Making Its Own Space in the Scooter Market
Today, there are lots of scooters in the Indian market which has been made possible by the Honda Activa. It quite literally dominates the scooter segment. However, TVS is giving a decent competition to Honda with their Jupiter brand. In this crowd of similar looking scooters, Vespa has its own identity and offers an up-market ownership experience.