Vespa 200 L Granturismo

Disc brakes front and rear, single-sided front fork, mag wheels, water-cooled four-stroke four-valve engine, integrated turn indicators, automatic, electric start, loads of packing space (under the seat, cubbyhole and top box), 120kph and great style, all this from a scooter! What more could you want? Just look at the photo above, isn't that class? Look at the flowing lines, the fold-away rear footrests, those beautiful little 12 inch mag wheels, the backrest on the top box, the comfy double seat, the stylish headlight, the modern four-into-one exhaust (just checking if you're awake), even the mirrors are lekker.

We were impressed. The new range of Vespas are miles better than the ones I remember. The last time I rode a Vespa was way back in the 70s, when sex was fun and bikes were dangerous. Those scoots were agricultural compared to these beauts.

First created in 1946, Vespa is one of the world's most enduring designs and the symbol of Italian style. Initially meant to be an affordable and practical mode of transport, Vespa also became a symbol of freedom for the young and a cult object. An icon of Italian design that is fun to ride, stylish and recognised all over the world.

Since its conception, Vespa has been at the forefront of scooter technology and design, a trend that continues with the introduction of the Vespa 200L Granturismo (also known as the GT), the first brand new Vespa since 1996. It is the latest chapter in the story of the world's best known scooter.

The Granturismo, an elegant and modern scooter, is the biggest, fastest, most powerful and most technologically advanced Vespa that Piaggio has ever produced. Its design is unmistakably Vespa. With its large steel body, the Vespa Granturismo is the perfect mix of classic Vespa style and state-of-the-art technology.

Available in 150 and 200cc engine versions, this is the first-ever Vespa to have sparkling four-stroke, four-valve, liquid-cooled engines that meet the new Euro2 emissions standards, as well as 12-inch wheels and a two-disc brake system.

The modern lines retain the classic styling of a Vespa. The pencil sketch that first shaped the Vespa's stylish profile has given way to the most sophisticated CAD systems. The Piaggio Style Centre's challenge was to renew the Vespa tradition without falling victim to nostalgia. The fastest, most powerful and technically advanced Vespa of all time is still functional in design.

The GT was created around the strong points that have decreed the Vespa's worldwide success; its unmistakable look, practicality and ease of use, the legendary sturdiness of its steel body and its mechanical reliability. Very special attention was paid to comfort and riding pleasure as well as aesthetics.

Much work has been put into redesigning this classic scooter. To match the Vespa's classic shape to the new engine while enlarging wheel size, they had to redo all the proportions, both length and height-wise. The entire shape of the Granturismo had to be in harmony with the new wheels, the new engines and, above all, the needs of those who use two wheelers today.

The headlight, which has always been one of the Vespa's major features and marked its design evolution, now has an absolutely unique shape and size. A contemporary version of the classic round headlamp, the new design is more elongated to make it aerodynamic and in harmony with the angle of the front shield. The chromed frame follows the curve of the light so closely that frame and light seem to be one single element. The larger light ensures good lighting at night which contributes to safe riding. The wide front shield offers optimal aerodynamic rider protection and indicator lamps set flush into it add to the smooth appearance. The liquid cooling radiator is located in the hollow beneath the shield, just above the large front mudguard, which has retained its elegant Vespa lines.

The rear-view mirrors are chromed metal, and ensure excellent visibility for the rider.

The footrest panel joins the front shield and runs flat and wide to the rear of the bike, with the rubber trim and mat on the lower part of the inside front shield that have always been part of Vespa's makeup.

Two retractable footrests at the rear make passenger seating more comfortable. Made of aluminium, they fit nicely into the bodywork of the bike when not in use, emphasising the up-to-date features of the Granturismo.

The rear "flanks" retain the classic Vespa ‘curves’. One of the priorities in creating this new model was to keep this design reminiscent of 1970s models. The tail-light fits seamlessly into the bodywork, continuing the sinuous and stylish progression of the vehicle's lines.

The double seat is large and wide for rider and passenger comfort and the 790-mm seat height is ideal for riders of most heights.

The instrumentation is housed in an elegant satin-looking base that includes an odo/trip-meter with dual kph/mph readings, analogue temperature and fuel gauges, all of which light up blue for excellent visibility when riding at night.

Also incorporated are a digital clock, turn indicators, high beam indicator, oil level, and fuel reserve light. The polycarbon cover of the panel also contains a LED display for the immobiliser (the Granturismo has an anti-start mechanism with a special key as well as the usual steering wheel lock and chain ring attached to the frame). The handlebar controls are all at your fingertips and easy to use. For increased rider safety, the Vespa's lights are always on, at low beam.

The Vespa Granturismo 200L (and 150L) have a central stand and side stand (the latter goes up automatically when lifting the bike upright, so I would recommend taking the side-stand off).

The Vespa GT has a pressed steel monocoque chassis that has always set the Vespa apart from any other mass-produced scooter. The advantages of this manufacturing tradition include sturdiness and high rigidity (as high as 250 per cent more than scooter with a tube frame and plastic body), together with the cycle parts, has good road holding and handling.

In front the GT has the classic single-arm suspension, another "aeronautic" touch typical of the Vespa, which works well. This system separates the support and shock-absorbing functions, resulting in neutral braking, and has an anti-dive effect.

At the rear the Vespa Granturismo has two spring pre-load-adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers linked to the transmission crankcase and exhaust support.

For the first time on a Vespa, the wheel rims go from 10 to 12 inches and use tubeless tyres that measure 120/70-12 in front and 130/70-12 rear. This choice was dictated by the larger size and better performing Vespa 200L. For the same reasons the braking system is radically new for Vespa and has 220-mm hydraulic discs on the front and rear wheels.

With this configuration and its strong, modern 200cc engine, the GT offers great ease, comfort and agility in everyday urban traffic but is also safe and enjoyable in mid- and long-range travel.

Under the seat is the fuel tank, whose 10-litre capacity allows long-range travel but does not restrict either under-seat space (which holds two open-face helmets) or easy access to the engine once the helmet carrier has been lifted out (no tools required).

The Granturismo's engine belong to the latest family of environmentally friendly engines entirely designed, developed and produced by Piaggio. The four-stroke engine has been developed in classic 150 and 200 displacements. Both use an advanced four-valve system and are liquid cooled. The 200cc in particular places the Vespa Granturismo at the top, performance-wise, in the entire evolution of Vespa, making it a powerful successor to models that have gone down in scooter history such as the 1955 GS 150, the 1966 90SS, the 1976 Primavera ET3 and the 1985 T5.

The 200L has a hefty 14.7 kW (20 bhp) maximum power output, a figure that only much higher displacements could achieve until today. The top torque figures (17.5 Nm at 6,500 rpm) ensure that pick-up is strong, starting from low rpm. This allows for good agility and ease of use, especially in city riding, with quick acceleration (for a scooter) and a maximum speed of just over 120 kph.

The 150 and 200cc engines offer the lowest levels of air and noise pollution. These engines are already in line with Euro 2 standards, the most advanced European legislation today for two wheeler emissions - a result of a two-way catalytic converter and secondary air system.

With one of the world's major engine research and development and manufacturing centres, Piaggio has taken up the challenge of offering increasingly sophisticated customer products that guarantee not just performance, reliability and safety but attention to the environment as well.

The Granturismo is the flagship of the existing Vespa range, consisting of the ET and PX ranges. It is designed for those who want not just a scooter but a vehicle that represents a specific lifestyle choice.

The Vespa Granturismo's typical customer profile differs according to the engine displacement. The 150cc has young riders (as young as 16 in some countries, but with an average age range of 25-32), and up to 25 per cent of these riders are female. The typical Vespa Granturismo 200L customer is over 25 and predominantly male (up to 90 per cent on average in Europe). Both types of user tend to belong to the upper middle class, live in cities and want an easy ride that has character as well as speed.

The 42-litre top case adds functionality to the Vespa Granturismo, improving its already excellent storage capacity. It holds either one full-face helmet or a whack of beers. Made of polypropene with fibreglass reinforcements, the top case is available in the different Vespa Granturismo colours and has a backrest for the passenger's comfort.

The only criticism I have about the 200L GT is in the handling department (this won't apply to 98% of Scooter riders, only to high-performance bike riders like myself), the bike weaves at high speeds (over 110 kph) and doesn't like to be upset mid-corner, as long you keep it smooth and don't hit any bumps, you'll be allright. But like I said, the typical scooter rider will be taking it much easier, not trying to find the limits of the scoot.

Today's Vespas are safer, faster and more economical,  I certainly wouldn't mind having one myself.

Thanks to the guys at Vespa South Africa for the ride, Dylan and I enjoyed the relaxed, effortless riding of the Vespa 200L Granturismo.

Dylan, rearing to go.

Ja boet.   I said boet, not boot!

To fit one full-face helmet, camera and stuff... or three dozen beers into the top box was no problem.

Four-stroke, four-valve, water-cooled, 200cc engine.

Kenn hanging on the cable, Dylan doing the photography (two-up nogal).

...in the wind.

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS: VESPA 200L GRANTURISMO (GT)

 

Engine

 

Type

Single cylinder, 4 stroke, 4 valve; with two-way catalytic converter and secondary air system

Fuel

Unleaded

Displacement

198cc

Bore x stroke

72 x 48.6 mm

Max. power

14.7 kW / 20 bhp at 8,500 rpm

Max. torque

17.5 Nm at 6,500 rpm

Induction

SOHC

Ignition

Electronic CDI, variable spark advance

Start

Electric with automatic choke

Lubrication

Wet sump

Oil capacity

1 litre

Cooling

Liquid

Clutch

Automatic dry centrifugal type

Gearbox

Automatic CVT - Constantly Variable Transmission

Chassis

Pressed steel monocoque

Front suspension

Single-arm with dual-acting hydraulic shock absorber and co-axial spring

Rear suspension

Twin dual action shock absorbers with adjustable pre-load

Wheel rims

Die-cast aluminium alloy, 12”x3.00”

Front tyre

Tubeless 120/70-12”

Rear tyre

Tubeless 130/70-12”

Front brake

ø 220 mm disc, floating calliper with two pistons

Rear brake

ø 220 mm disc, calliper with two opposed pistons

Fuel tank

10 litres, of which 1.9 litres reserve

Length

1,940 mm

Width to handelbars

755 mm

Seat height

790 mm

Wheel base

1,395 mm

Dry weight

138 kg

Max. speed

125 km/h

Acceleration

At 30 m: 4.1 sec. At 60 m: 5.9 sec

Consumption (ECE40 cycle)

25 km/litre

Consumption at 60 km/h

37 km/litre

Emissions (exhaust, noise)

Per Euro 2 Multi-directive

 

Scooter supplied courtesy of Vespa South Africa - Tel: 011 234 7100

No 5 Cambridge Manor, Crn Witkoppen & Stonehaven St, Paulshof, Sandton (in the same complex as KTM).

For a Vespa showroom near you phone Andy Reid on 082 900 5624. Tell him you saw it in Redline.