Author: Iggy Grainger Posted: 15 Nov 2013
If you’re looking for a learner legal scooter with timeless Italian style and an enviable reputation you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the new Vespa Primavera.
The Vespa ‘smallframe’ has been around in one form or another since the 1960’s; in 1968 the Primavera was born. The model remained popular with youngsters for a decade before being replaced by the larger Vespa PX. Well it’s back and although it no longer sports a geared two stroke engine the folks at Piaggio are rightly proud of the latest member of their impressive Vespa family.
The Primavera replaces the popular Vespa LX model and has stolen its fuel injected, 10.59bhp 3-valve engine. At first glance the pressed steel bodywork on the Primavera is quite similar to the LX but look closer and there are a number of significant differences. The Primavera borrows some styling touches from the reassuringly expensive hand crafted £7800 Vespa 946. For instance, the front leg shields and horncasting pass more than a passing resemblance to the limited edition model but the Primavera has a style all of its own with a pointier rear end and raised central tunnel. Up close the Primavera looks very classy, the paintwork (in all six colours) is stunning and is accentuated by the cleverly executed lines of the bodywork, which have been carefully sculptured to reflect the light in all the right places. Minor aesthetics like the chrome headlight surround and rear grab rail all go to make up an evolution of this iconic name, bringing the Primavera firmly back into the 21st century.
Sit on this lightweight scooter for the first time and you’ll notice that the seating position is roomy, that’s because the space between the seat and handlebars has been increased (from that of the LX) and the runner boards have been shaved to make them narrower, so shorter riders can touch the floor more easily. Storage space has been increased as well so you can fit a full-faced helmet beneath the seat quite comfortably; additional storage space can be found inside the glove box. Look down at the modern blue backlit digital dial and the crystal clear display will give you readings for time, dual trips, mileage and fuel. A central analogue speedo runs along the top and the instruments are housed in a trapezoidal shaped surround - another all-important nod to vintage Vespa heritage.
Start the scooter up and it feels eager to get going, not surprising because the outgoing LX was no slouch either. The Primavera feels very light and nimble as we ease out into the busy Spanish city, we hunt gaps and filter with ‘enthusiasm’ so it’s not too long before we get a chance to see if the brakes are effective or not, no need to worry - they’re very powerful, it may ‘only’ be a front disk/rear drum set up but they are very good. In fact I’d go as far as to say the rear is the best scooter rear drum brake I’ve ever used, they work well with the Michelin City grip tyres. The Primavera has had some work done in the suspension department as well; both the front and rear are new and are designed to reduce vibration and deliver a much smoother ride than the already plush LX. We tested it over plenty of rough terrain and there are no complaints from me, it coped admirably. As city scooters go you’ll be hard pressed to find a more nimble machine, it’s very light and stable so you can dive into gaps, ride slowly through stop, start traffic and have the power to out accelerate most vehicles away from the lights, all whilst looking chic on this latest Vespa.
Later in the day four of us managed to escape our ride leaders and head out for an unsupervised blast, set free at last the Primavera really started to work well for our group of British explorers. We hit the motorway to check out the top speed (70mph) then got ourselves lost amongst the warren of streets that make up the vibrant city. I must admit that the Primavera worked fantastically and more importantly I enjoyed riding it. It reminded me just how much fun can be had on two wheels, no matter what size they are. Maybe it’s time you found out for yourself, treat yourself this winter…
Vespa Primavera Tech specs:
Engine: 124.5cc, air cooled, fuel injected, four stroke
Frame: Sheet steel with welded reinforcements
Suspension: Front single sided fork with monoshock, rear adjustable monoshock
Wheels: Front 110/70-11”, rear 120/70-11”
Brakes: Front 200mm disk, rear 140mm drum
Dimensions: Length 1860mm, width 735mm, wheelbase 1340mm
Seat height: 780mm
Fuel capacity: 8 litres
Colours: red, brown (well, bronze), white, black and two shades of blue
Price: £3299 (50cc £2599)
Stylish, great brakes, handles well
Handing it back!
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