2013 Vespa GTS 300 SuperSport SE Scooter Test
With the petite around-town 150cc and under scooters at one end, and the half-liter or larger behemoths at the other end, the 2013 Vespa GTS 300 SuperSport SE slips right into the middle in an appealing way.
Combining the agility needed to weave though urban traffic with ease and the power needed to do battle on freeways, the Vespa SuperSport 300 is the largest-displacement scooter from the storied Italian manufacturer (now part of the Piaggio family). Power is plentiful, as it sprints away from traffic at stoplights effortlessly (and much faster than it feels).
The physical size is bigger than the smaller scooters, but not so big that it feels cumbersome in any way in tight quarters. Freeway performance is limited – 21 horses will only get you going so fast. It’s easy to accelerate on on-ramps and get up to a 55 mph speed limit, as you’ll often see in metropolitan areas.
For this, the Vespa SuperSport 300 is outstanding. There’s a bit of power in reserve, so you don’t feel like a sitting duck. On wide-open Interstates, however, you will feel like your competitors can swallow you up. The claimed top speed of 80 mph is accurate on flat ground – it is slower up hills and can reach 90 on downhills. Stability is good, considering its 12-inch wheels, even at top speed and with the narrow bars. Uneven pavement isn’t the problem you’d think it would be, as the suspension smoothes the road out effectively. The windblast is tolerable, even for longer rides.
Acceleration is slow above 65 mph, so you cannot rely on a boost of power to get you out of trouble. Oddly, most of the braking power is in the rear (left hand lever), with the front brake feeling anemic (both discs are 220mm). So, it’s freeway-able, but the shorter the distance on the open highway, the better. With 12-inch wheels, the 2013 Vespa GTS SuperSport is a quick handler.
This is great in-town, as you can swap lanes at will. There is instant turn-in, so you don’t have to set-up for right- or left-hand turns. Just let it change direction like a wasp – quickly. Once at your destination, the SuperSport has only a centerstand – no sidestand.
Cargo capacity is plentiful under the seat, and a hook behind the cowling adds to the amount of stuff the SuperSport will carry. Ultimate MotorCycling Associate Editor Jess McKinley was able to carry a duffle bag full of workout clothes in the gap between the seat and cowling, with it securely held by the hook, even at freeway speeds.
As it is called a SuperSport – and Vespa points out that it pays homage to the company’s competitive days – we took the 300 up into the Santa Monica Mountains for some runs through the canyons. When setting up for turns, just be patient, and dive in at the last minute. The SuperSport isn’t 100-percent stable, but it still feels good enough to ride aggressively.
I never felt comfortable enough to drag anything, though I’m sure a less-cautious rider will do so. The tires do stick, certainly. The CVT adjusts quickly, so drive out of corners can be satisfying. It’s not a sport motorcycle by any stretch of the imagination, but this mid-size Vespa is quite sporty for a mid-size scooter.
Die-hard scooter riders will know what the 2013 Vespa GTS 300 SuperSport SE is all about instantly. It has more power, yet still slips through traffic around town with ease. For motorcyclists who are thinking a scooter might be fun, this is a way to get the power you expect on two wheels, without sacrificing the maneuverability that makes a scooter such an appealing process for urban and suburban dwellers.
2013 Vespa GTS 300 SuperSport Specs:
- Engine: Single-cylinder catalyzed 4-stroke 4-valves QUASAR engine with electronic injection
- Capacity: 278cc
- Bore x stroke: 75mm x 63mm
- Max power: 21.1 hp at 7500 rpm
- Max torque: 16.4 ft-lb at 5250 rpm
- Fuel supply: P.I. Injection (Port injected)
- Cooling: Liquid
- Starter: Electric
- Transmission: Automatic Twist and Go (CVT with torque server)
- Clutch: Automatic dry centrifugal clutch with vibration dampers
- Load bearing structure: Sheet metal body with welded reinforcements
- Front suspension: Single arm, dual chamber hydraulic shock absorber with coaxial spring
- Rear suspension: Twin shock absorbers with adjustable preload
- Front brake: 220mm disc brake
- Rear brake: 220mm disc brake
- Front tire: Tubeless 120/70 – 12″
- Rear tire: Tubeless 130/70 – 12″
- Length: 75.9 in. – 1930 mm
- Width: 29.7 in. – 755 mm
- Wheelbase: 53.9 in – 1370 mm
- Seat height: 31.1 in. – 790 mm
- Fuel tank capacity: 2.4 gal
- MPG: 65-70 mpg
- Max speed: 80 mph
- MSRP: $6,199
- Colors: Satin Black
- Warranty: One year warranty (limited*) on all Vespa and Piaggio Products, unlimited mileage. *Limits are outlined in the warranty booklet. See dealer for details.
- Roadside Assistance: 1 Free Year of Road Side Assistance provided by Road America