I’ve been so busy riding motorcycles these last few years, I’ve barely had time to give scooters a thought. For a while, I even forgot they existed. Let’s be honest, how often do we see one on our roads here? Even the delivery motorcycles are, well, not scooters. The thought of riding a scooter came back to my mind when I saw one parked outside one of the beach cafés in Dubai. Immediately, I felt like I had to ride one. I wanted to re live the memory of my first two-wheeled wonder, which was a family hand me down Vespa from the 1980s. Next up, I called the local Vespa dealer who gladly obliged by handing me the keys to a Vespa GTS 300 Super, the most powerful and most technologically advanced Vespa ever built.
Vespa as a brand is a timeless icon of Italian style. With its unique design, it has been an iconic symbol for 70 years, instantly recognizable and always so visually appealing. It is a celebration of design, technology and independence. Vespa is an inspiration for freedom for generations, associated with the ‘peace and love’ movements of the 60s and as synonymous with the era of flower power as is the Volkswagen Camper Bus.
With all its design and technology, the Vespa GTS Super 300 reinterprets a new sporty classic. At first glance, it looks very much like a modernized version of the classic Vespa, which it is. However, the modernization isn’t just skin deep, Vespa has put in considerable effort in modernizing the whole machine. There is a very satisfying mix of old and new. While the lights are now modern LEDs, in stark contrast, the GTS 300 Sport still has completely analog instrumentation, which harks back to Vespa’s racing traditions, offering a beautiful display of white numbers on a black background. All models in the new Vespa GTS and Vespa GTS Super range come standard with a USB port located in the leg shield back plate compartment, while the front turn indicators contain a series of LEDs that act as daylight running lights.
The seat is comprised of materials typical found on sporty Italian vehicles, and the body, the metal soul of the Vespa, has undergone some significant changes. On the right hand side the horizontal grill nods to the most beautiful Vespas of the past and gives an elegant sporty touch to its profile. The Vespa GTS 300 comes in two versions: the GTS 300, with a chrome rear luggage rack inspired by Vespas from the 1980s. The GTS 300 also has silver wheels, cream coloured eco-leather seat and an air intake at the center of the front cowl featuring three chevron-shaped gills. The Vespa GTS 300 Super is a lightened down sportier version featuring black wheels, black seat trim with contrasting piping, five gills on each side for the radiators and no luggage rack.
The GTS 300 Super is powered by a 278cc fuel-injected engine with a maximum power output of 22bhp, which is more power than you’d need for a cruise around the local corniche. However, Vespa claims that this model is also very capable of touring. I don’t doubt that but touring in this bike in the Middle East might not be the best idea. Stopping responsibilities is taken care of by a two-channel ABS braking system. Each wheel is fitted with a revolution detection system which instantly reads speed and deceleration. The Piaggio derived ASR traction control system is not something you’ll need much often but it’s a good safety feature to have, just in case.
For those stepping off a powerful motorcycle and throwing a leg around the GTS 300 Super, you’ll feel the obvious lack in power. However, 22bhp on a scooter does feel great by itself. This is by far the most powerful scooter I’ve ridden and the way it takes off from a standstill surprised me as well as all the delivery bike riders who couldn’t stop staring at a guy riding a candy green Vespa in full riding gear. I even rode the GTS 300 Super on some eight lane highways and pinned the throttle wide open and I must admit, 120kmph does feel scary on a scooter but the GTS 300 Super remains composed even at such high speed.
I can come up with a long list of reasons why you shouldn’t buy the Vespa GTS 300 Super but then it wouldn’t change the fact that I want one just to ride to the local café or pick groceries or just to park it in my living room. It’s so adorable to look at and the fit and finish is top notch. If you live close to your workplace and need a quick and fun ride during the winter months, this could be a great choice.
Priced at AED 28,900, the GTS 300 Super isn’t exactly cheap but when you look at one parked in the showroom, your mind and your heart will come up with a million reasons why you need to own one.