2014 Vespa Primavera Test
Vespa is Piaggio’s best selling brand with 162,000 units sold in 2012. Vespa has already seen a 40-percent growth as of last quarter, and is hoping to beat the 2012 figure this year. With these types of stats, Vespa is unarguably one of the biggest brands in the two wheeled industry. Even I once owned a 50cc PX, and those scooters never seem to go out of fashion.
But it’s time for me to jump into the saddle of Vespa’s latest model – the Primavera – and give it a spin around one of Europe’s best known cosmopolitan cities, Barcelona. Vespa first used the Primavera name in 1968, and it’s back for 2014. The 2014 edition is available in three models – a 50cc two-stroke, and two 3-valve four-stroke versions (125cc and 150cc), which we tested.
Compared to the LX, the Primavera has an all new metal body with better leg space and an even easier reach for the floor for the shorter rider without compromising anything for taller riders with high heels (I’m out of my depth here). The main new development is a more stable chassis and new front suspension developments to reduce vibrations.
It was pretty easy for me to test this new front-end with a quick “let-go of the handlebar while rolling test.” This quickly satisfied the fact that I wasn’t going to crash; the Primavera would roll with much more stability than the LX.
It doesn’t take much to change the weight distribution of a Vespa, and while doing my “Peter Pan pose” I’m controlling the movement of the small scooter with my right leg. Even an old fart like myself starts feeling forever young in the seat of the Vespa Primavera.
There’s a lot of talk about young people, freedom, revolution, students and individual liberty in the Vespa PR. Primavera means spring in Spanish, and I think the Vespa Spring is more peaceful to the Arab spring. I tested in the Spanish Autumn so that’s where this analogy ends.
While filming by Montjuïc castle, I met a Catalan skater called Jordi and decided to give him a lift up the steep hill with the Primavera. The perfectly placed pillion grab rail at the back made the small Vespa a very suitable extreme sport helper much like the water jets dragging surfers into position for the perfect surf.
I was on the 125 at this moment, and it had no problem dragging our Catalan friend up that hill. I don’t think I’ve ever done a launch in Barcelona where the Catalan police force doesn’t want to get involved and the innocent Vespa launch was no different. It wasn’t me dragging the skater up the hill they were concerned about, but our camera man riding the wrong way on a second scooter. We were let off with a warning and continued our business riding around Barcelona.
The Primavera is comfortable, more so than its 3V siblings – the LX and Sport – and you can equip it for touring with chromed luggage racks et al. The 150cc version is then best because that extra oomph could well be needed with extra weight.
Under the Primavera comfy seat we find a 4.3-gallon undersea compartment, which will take a full faced helmet with ease or a full bag of your daily shopping. At the traffic lights the Primavera 150 is very handy and the initial torque response from the variable engine propels us forward in satisfactory fashion.
The official fuel consumption figures stipulates a 186-mile range from its 2.1-gallon fuel tank which is very good indeed. The brakes are sufficient and include a 200mm brake disc up front and a drum brake at the rear. The brake lights features LED illumination and this is good for both safety and looks. The small 11-inche wheels are fitted with Michelin City tires which provided all the grip we needed.
2014 Vespa Primavera Conclusion:
Riding around a big city on a Vespa never feels wrong, and despite what Honda claims, I believe that you meet the nicest people on a Vespa. The new double engine-mounted swing-arm and front suspension upgrades provide a plush ride with very little vibrations.
The Primavera has all the safety features you’d expect but stays properly old-school and thankfully doesn’t have TC, ABS or other weight/cost adding things that you frankly don’t need on a lightweight city scooter. The Vespa Primavera is one smart cookie, and is a good addition to anybody’s garage.
2014 Vespa Primavera Positives/Negatives:
+ Newfound stability
+ Extra comfort
+ Very decent 3-valve engines (both the 125 & 150)
– You do have to pay a slight premium for this classic beauty
Photos by Milagro