All two wheeled machines have a voice. It whispers in the back of our brain, narrating our own personal movie scene in every ride. Complete with theme music and witty, action-star dialogue.
I’ll admit for example to having the theme from Indiana Jones go through my head once or twice while bouncing my way down a rutted gravel road on my Ural sidecar rig. My Kymco 250 is more of a Mission Impossible theme as I bomb along the highway.
The Vespa GTV300 – now its voice is all Roman Holiday and Gregory Peck. It enunciates perfectly with every exhaust note, is always immaculately dressed for any occasion, and you’ll probably end up with something sexy and Italian parked next to it in your driveway that you don’t recall ever seeing before.
It’s the kind of machine that gives you the irresistible urge to polish your riding boots before you head out. And if you’re anything like me – that might just be a first for the boots.
Acceptable if not earth shattering B+
Observed gas mileage was about 4.2 L/100 km – slightly worse than what the manufacturer claims. This is not surprising however, as my daily drive is stop-and-go and includes heavy traffic, which is about the worst case scenario for gas mileage on any machine.
On the other hand, given that this machine is really designed as an urban scooter with the ability to hop on the highway for quick trips – your average rider is to likely get about the same mileage I got, since they will likely be driving in a similar environment.
Combined with a 9.25-litre gas tank, you’ll see about 240 km before running dry – perfectly adequate for an urban rider and not at all bad if you decide to take it somewhere outside the city.
Good overall storage, if not outstanding for weatherproof space A
Storage-wise the GTV300 gets a good rating. Front and rear chrome racks allow you to easily bungee stuff into place (though you will be stopped by the fashion police and given a thorough talking to for obscuring the lines of the machine).
Under-seat storage is good, and my full face helmet fit, though it was a bit on the tight side.
Plenty of throttle for the city, adequate on the highway B+
With a rated top speed of 128 km/h and decent acceleration, the GTV300 does a respectable job on divided highways, yet it remains easily manageable downtown.
Throttle response is gentle unless you give it a good twist — which is only sensible for something that will be primarily driven downtown — but it’ll get you up to speed quickly enough when you need to.
It’ll also take you on the open road if you want to but spending all day at highway speeds can be a little bit of work.
Does the job but doesn’t stand out B
The two disc brakes certainly stop this scooter – but the small tires and limited suspension travel don’t give a vast amount of confidence in panic stops.
This is more noticeable when stopping rapidly from higher speeds – something which the GTV can do, but with just a little bit of a nervous feel as the smaller tires grab the pavement.
Basically it doesn’t encourage you to push the braking limits – which isn’t a bad thing.
As an urban commuter, it’s nimble and fun to ride A
It’s certainly a bit on the lightweight side for all day high-speed highway riding – not unsafely so, but you’ll definitely get tired much more quickly than you would on a larger machine.
On the other hand the lighter, more nimble feel of the scooter (helped by the 12-inch tires that make the machine very manoeuvrable) make this a very good urban commuter. You can hop on the highway to get into the city, yet not have to manhandle a whale-sized machine around town.
Classic lines, updated A+
A split seat reminiscent of early models, fender-mounted headlight, metal bodywork and front and rear chrome racks make this Vespa stand out in the styling department.
Its curvy, classic lines are the reason why Vespa designs are the inspiration for so many other scooters (and, unfortunately, thieves), as this machine is designed to appeal heavily to those with an appreciation for early machines – back when angles were forbidden and curves reigned supreme.
It’s a rolling tribute to 60 years of history – and it shows!
At a MSRP of $8,795 you won’t be riding this like you stole it B-
The economics of this machine only add up if you appreciate the style and look.
There are scooters of similar displacement that are faster for the price, and it isn’t the absolute top of the heap in fuel efficiency either.
On the other hand – when it comes to a scooter made of real steel with chrome accessories and a high level of sophistication you are expected to pay a premium.
If you’re looking for a machine you can leave out in the backyard collecting dust and fading in the sun, this might not be the beast for you.
You’ll buy it because the voice in your head is telling you that you need it. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Overall I liked this machine. For me, the nimble and easy handling nature of the scooter combined with enough power to allow me to hop on the highway. That is just what I am looking for in 90 percent of my riding.
In stop-and-go traffic the lack of a clutch and the light, well-balanced nature of the machine are a real benefit (this scooter was just about the easiest to put onto the centre stand I have tried so far).
Style-wise it is also a winner – I love the retro look. It’s a visual classic, and it offers vintage scooter styling with the reliability and performance of a modern machine.
It’s only on the cost that I hesitate – I tend to go for something less expensive (and a whole lot less stylish) for my day-to-day commuting needs.
But I’ll be the first to admit; my eye will always give a lingering glance at those steel curves when I pass one by.
|Vespa GTV 300|
|Single cylinder, four-stroke,
|Power (crank)*||22 hp @ 8,250 rpm|
|9. 2 litres|
|Single 220 mm disc with single-piston
|Single 220 mm disc with single-piston
|790 mm (31.1″)|
|1,394 mm (54.9″)|
|146 kg (322 lb)|
|One Year unlimited kms|
Here in Canada I’ve been perfectly happy commuting on my Vespa 250cc for several years. I’ve never had it flood out during the rainy season, and I’m willing to trade a couple mpg for the ease of an auto transmission in traffic. It’s been fine for mild mannered highway cruising (110-120 kph on the flats). Thanks to Rob’s route (Mad Bastard ‘09) I’ve found the Vespa handles the gravel with more aplomb than I do!
Like this format a lot. Kinda like the occasional typo too… keeps the machine human!
I like the format. Gets straight to the point on what I think most people want to know.
Very practical for local driving and for work…
Yup, I like the format…you should incorporate it into the bikes as well…would love to see “Gasography” ratings on all the bikes…maybe put a range until reserve (or blinking light) hits…
As for the scooter…well, it’s price is kinda like a Land Rover…you are paying a premium for something because of content and image, and if that image doesn’t appeal to you…well you are obviously going to say “over priced…where do they get off…”
Arghh, would you believe that the piece went through two editors before being posted (and I was one of them!)? Sigh.
Typos fixed. Thanks for the feedback.
Love the format and fair comment on style and price. 🙂
Noticed a couple of typos in the summary: “…with ‘enogh’ power…” and “…hesitate – I end to…” (should be tend to?).
Sure they can do their research study 10 years from now … on how they lost market share to Zhongshen.
Sorry irv but a cvt is the most efficient way to send power to the wheel It doesn’t sap power but use the most of the power available to the rear wheel.
Do your research.
The cvt scooters aren’t popular in in Asia. The belt saps power, the motor floods out in rain (low mounted air filter), and they can’t be used on rough roads because of the swingarm mounted engine. A corporate ban on creative thinking won’t allow them to bring the Dream to North America.