A Little Powerhouse In Vespa’s Vintage Collection

As part of Vespa’s Vintage Collection, the GTV 300 ABS has all the charm and distinctive classic looks of Vespas from the 1950s and 1960s. In keeping with the return-to-retro-style trend, the GTV 300 ABS is a mix of vintage looks and modern technology.

Back in Pontedera, Italy, during the mid 1940s, Enrico Piaggio was not satisfied with the first scooter prototype developed by his engineers, so he contracted aeronautical engineer Corradino D’Ascanio to redesign it. D’Ascanio — who hated motorcycles because he believed them to be dirty, bulky and unreliable — came up with a design that remedied what he disliked about the existing two-wheeled monstrosities, and Piaggio was pleased.

It is alleged that when he saw D’Ascanio’s prototype, Piaggio exclaimed, "Sembra una vespa!" Translated it means, "It resembles a wasp!" and on that day, the Vespa was born. Vespa grew from a single model to a full line of scooters through the 1950s. Vespa sales received a grand boost when Audrey Hepburn rode on a Vespa with Gregory Peck in the movie Roman Holiday in 1952.

Continue reading for my review of the Vespa GTV 300 ABS.

  • 2016 - 2017 Vespa GTV 300 ABS
  • Year:
    2016- 2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-1
  • Displacement:
    278 cc
  • Top Speed:
    76 mph
  • Price:
    7599
  • Price:

Design

2016 - 2017 Vespa GTV 300 ABS
- image 645644

The GTV 300 ABS is classic Vespa with its pressed-steel unibody, combining a completely enclosed engine cowling, flat floorboards and front fairing. The headlight can mounted on the front mudguard heralds back to the style of the first Vespas off the assembly line in Pontedera.

The burgundy split seat and metallic gray body is exclusive to the Vintage Collection and shared only with its vintage sibling, the LXV 150.

Chassis

2016 - 2017 Vespa GTV 300 ABS
- image 645376

With no frame as such, the GTV 300 uses a reinforced sheet-metal body similar to the unibody technology in the automotive industry that creates a light, but strong, chassis assembly. The single-sided, trailing-link front suspension uses a single coil-over shock to buffer the front end, and a pair of preload-adjustable shocks off the swingmount motor assembly buoys the rear.

This little ride boasts hydraulic brakes, front and rear, with 220 mm discs all around. In a move that adds some top-shelf features, Vespa graced it with an ABS feature, that is sure to endear this scooter to newbies and experienced riders alike.

Seat height is average at 31 inches, and the step-through leaves legroom for all but the tallest riders. Overall dimensions are also typical; the 76-inch length and 29-inch width makes it easy to find a parking spot, or roll it through the door and park inside.

Drivetrain

2016 - 2017 Vespa GTV 300 ABS
- image 701553

Vespa used its one-lung, 278 cc Quasar engine to power this ride over hill and dale. The liquid-cooled, fuel-injected mill cranks out 22 ponies, and 16 pound-feet of torque; plenty for such a small, light scooter, evidenced by the 76 mph top speed.

Another nifty, top-shelf feature normally seen only on much more powerful bikes is the ASR traction control that prevents loss of traction on acceleration. Honestly, I have to question how necessary this is with such a small engine, but I do appreciate Vespa bringing superbike-like features to the table – regardless of overall size and power.

Final drive is a CVT automatic transmission with a dry, centrifugal clutch. Vespa calls it the “Twist and Go” tranny, and that’s just what it is. No shifter, no clutch lever, just point the scooter down the road and grab a fistful of throttle.

Pricing

2016 - 2017 Vespa GTV 300 ABS
- image 645643

MSRP on the 2017 GTV 300 ABS is $7,599 — just $200 over last year. The only color available is Portofino Green, which is quite nice, but I have to admit I liked last year’s Metallic Grey as a smart color combo with the burgundy saddle. Vespa protects the GTV with a two-year, unlimited-mileage warranty and throws in one year of roadside assistance from Roadside America for free.

Competitors

2015 - 2016 Honda Forza
- image 677045
2016 - 2017 Vespa GTV 300 ABS
- image 645642

There are plenty of scooters out there, but I want to make a comparison matching the engine size. The Forza from Honda comes to mind.

While the Vespa keeps its rather distinctive and classic looks, Honda embraced a more progressive design that makes the Forza look like it has some sportbike DNA in the mix. The Forza lines depart from the norm with a nice flow until you get to the seat offset. Though it interrupts said flow along the upper lines, the offset drops the rider seat to a low 28.2 inches and leaves the passenger with something akin to stadium seating. Your passenger will appreciate being able to look over your shoulder instead of trying to look around you.

Vespa took the unusual step of including ABS, but Honda gave its Forza a linked-brake system that applies pressure to one of the three front-brake pistons when the rear brake is applied. I can make arguments for both systems, so this too is a wash.

Price is not as subjective; Honda lets the Forza go for $5,599, but you will pay for the Vespa name to the tune of $7,599. Okay, some of that price difference is ABS and traction control — attractive features on the Vespa. While that isn’t a lot of difference in the grand scheme of things, I imagine that it will be a point of contention to typical scooter customers.

He Said

My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, " While I am not big on scooters in general, I have always appreciated the vintage Vespa style, and this ride has just enough classic flavor to show its roots. While I’m no fan of ABS, I do like that it is included, along with the traction control feature, to give scooter riders a taste of some of the cream skimmed off the performance-bike market.”

She Said

"Traction control and ABS on a scooter? Really? Vespa knows it is just a scooter, right? All kidding aside, those are nice features when you consider this baby will go up to 76 mph. I think especially in the American market where our urban areas aren’t as friendly to the little putt-putt scooters, these almost-a-motorcycle two-wheelers are more practical. Whatever you are riding, you need enough oomph under you to get with, and stay with, traffic."

Specifications

Drivetrain:
Engine: Single-cylinder catalyzed four-stroke four-valve Quasar engine with electronic injection
Capacity: 278 cc
Bore: 75 mm
Stroke (mm): 63 mm
Maximum Power: 22 Horsepower at 7,500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 16 Pound-Feet at 5,250 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
Chassis:
Load bearing structure: Sheet metal body with welded reinforcements
Front Suspension: Single arm, dual chamber hydraulic shock absorber with coaxial spring
Rear Suspension: Two dual-effect shock absorbers with 4X adjustable preload
Front Brake: Hydraulically controlled, 220 mm stainless steel disc brake
Rear Brake: Hydraulically controlled, 220 mm stainless steel disc brake
Front Tire: Tubeless 120/70 - 12 inches
Rear Tire: Tubeless 130/70 - 12 inches
ABS: Standard Two-channel ABS Braking System
Traction Control: Standard, ASR Traction Control
Dimensions:
Length: 76 inches
Width: 29.7 inches
Wheelbase: 53.9 inches
Seat height: 31.1 inches
Details:
Fuel tank capacity: 2.5 gallons
Fuel Economy: 76 mpg
Maximum speed: 76 mph
Warranty: Two-Year Unlimited-Mileage
Roadside Assistance: One Free Year of Road Side Assistance provided by Road America
Approval: EPA and CARB
Colors:
2016: Metallic Grey
2017: Portofino Green
Price:
2016: $7,399
2017: $7,599

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended.

Image Source: vespa.com, powersports.honda.com

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