This article was also published in the Malay Mail newspaper (Malaysia), Thursday, November 6, 2014.
My very first encounter with a Vespa was with my uncle’s old Vespa in the 80’s when I was still in primary school. Back then, the only thing I could remember about Vespas was that it was rather loud (for a kid anyways!) and he was extremely passionate about the bike. I always remembered the sound the bike made, a loud “Teng-teng-teng-teng” sound when started.
Over the years, I have realised that as newer bikes designs were rolling about with the other brands, the Vespas stayed really true to their heritage – with the newer bikes sticking to its original classic look.
So when I was asked recently if I was interested to tryout one of the newer Vespas, I jumped at the opportunity. Here’s my chance to see why people who buy Vespas seem to never want to part with it.
The new Vespa Primavera 150 is Vespa’s reintroduction of one of its most memorable models that was introduced way back in 1968. When I arrived at Vespa Malaysia’s HQ over at the grounds of Naza Petaling Jaya, I was greeted with the sight of the new Primavera… and it had the same classic look as any Vespa.
The bike looks pretty smart, with a steel sheet bodywork that gives it a rather sturdy feel. The double stitched leather seat (my review model came with a red seat) not only looked great but felt rather comfortable – one of those little things that you would come to expect from the meticulous Italians.
One thing that really caught my eye was that the front wheel now sports a 200mm disc brake while the rear still packs a drum brake. Both wheels are 11 inch alloy rims sporting a rather modern 5 spoke design with road friendly tyres.
Riding this bike daily to work (which was a 20km/trip commute for me) was quite pleasant, and the thing I really noticed with the Vespa Primavera straight away was that it was just so easy to ride!
The heart of the bike – well to be exact the engine is right at the backside, is a 150cc 4-stroke single cylinder air-cooled engine. Since it is right behind, you don’t get any engine heat around your legs, especially when stationary.
The seating position feels natural, with both legs in front so commuting was somewhat relaxing and comfortable. The suspension system on this bike also soaked up bumps from our roads rather well. I believe the rigidity of the frame also played a part, and made this bike definitely easy to ride to work daily.
I had this bike when the Klang Valley was being hit with some rather crazy wet weather with some days producing some of the worst traffic crawls ever thanks to flash floods. However, armed with my trusty raincoat which I packed under the seat in the spacious compartment (which I might add can fit a full face helmet – which I have also tested), I was able to ride safely through the wet weather with not much issues.
The Vespa’s seating position and frame also ensured your shoes stayed dry when running over puddles and lightly flooded parts of motorcycle lanes which was a huge plus point to me! No more having the need to dry your wet shoes behind the refridgerator at night.
It is Fun!
The bike is so zippy, just twist the throttle and you’re moving. Powered by an automatic CVT transmission, I just didn’t need to worry about gear changes. Just look where I wanted to go and just let loose with the throttle.
The Primavera made my life this one week so much easier especially when I had to rush around town to run errands. Even when I had to get to appointments, I just rode there and chucked the helmet into the under seat compartment.
Banana leaf lunch with a buddy nearby? No problem. Need to get to your dentist and traffic is not moving? No problem.
It may look like an old classic, but this bike is pretty capable even on the more challenging roads like the twisty roads around the hills. Taking this bike to some favourite roads around the hills just out of the Klang Valley also turned out to be a pretty fun exercise.
Vespas are a Lifestyle
Within the one week of riding this bike, I have been complimented numerous times when stopped at traffic lights. “Sangat Style!”, “Your bike is so nice!” and other such comments came from other riders. I didn’t even dress any differently so they were definitely not complimenting about me for sure!
There is just something about Vespas that just does not go out of style, and turns heads wherever you go.
Regardless of whether you are a male or female biker, you’ll look great on a Vespa and people just appreciate its classic beauty. The Vespa design is just so evergreen and classic.
On the road price for this Vespa Primavera 150 IE 3V is RM12,680.55, available from Vespa Malaysia and its authorised resellers. It isn’t cheap as compared to other commuter scooters, but buying this is definitely an investment in a lifestyle that no other scooter will provide you with.
Malay Mail Newspaper