A Big Improvement Over What Was Already A Nice Scooter

Piaggio expands its “Vespino” footprint yet again with the GTS Super 300 and Supersport variant. While it can be said of every Vespa that the design roots generally run deep, these two rides make references to some very specific models from history in order to establish its pedigree. Classic Italian looks are always nice, but under the hood the Super packs away 21st century tech to make it a thoroughly modern machine. Safety features were a front-burner issue for Vespa, so the factory blessed the family with a double layer of stability insurance that makes the line suitable as an entry-level scooter that is capable of performing within the urban riding environment. Ready to hunt for some Easter Eggs?

Continue reading for my review of the Vespa GTS Super 300 and GTS Super 300 Sport.

  • 2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 / GTS Super 300 Sport
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    278 L
  • Price:
    6899
  • Price:

2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 Design

2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 / GTS Super 300 Sport
- image 786642
The designers borrowed from some notable historical models, indeed, to give the “Super” lineup its unique flavor.

The designers borrowed from some notable units, indeed. Elements from the 1985 T5 “Pole Position” combine with those from the 1965 Vespa 180 “SS” and the 1955 GS 150 to give the Super lineup its unique flavor. A “tie” detail divides the front fairing for a subtle touch that works nicely with the Spartan front end that is kept clean by the recessed turn signals that double as DRLs via a stack of LED emitters on each side. Visibility is safety, and since every little bit helps, I gotta’ give the factory its props for adding to the already-impressive safety feature with a little lagniappe on top.

The front fender rides high, right up under the fairing in order to accommodate the aircraft landing gear-style suspension system long favored by the factory, a nod to its history as an aircraft manufacturer. A classic handlebar fairing cleans up the top of the steering column and it houses the headlight opposite an analog speedometer and red-backlit LCD screen. Below the bar, a glove box rides recessed in the inner fairing with a USB port to charge your mobile devices.

The step-through bears just the slightest interruption from a flat-top tunnel that pretty much stays out of the way and allows for some ’tween-feet storage and easy mounting with a flip-out helmet hook to finish off the forward storage. A two-tone seat greets the rider’s butt with just the slightest hint of a rise and shoulder to segregate the passenger and the pilot. Chromed, flip-out footpegs and grabrails finish the pillion gear with the same simple style and elegance as the rest of the ride. Well, most of it anyway; the tail light is still kind of chunky even if the rear turn signals follow in the footsteps of the front winkers with flush-mount housings that follow the flow of the lines quite nicely. The Super line sports the same tapered rear end that gave the original its name for a final historical tie-in.

2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 Chassis

2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 / GTS Super 300 Sport
- image 785810
The drum brakes were relegated to the history books, where they belong, so the GTS line runs all-around 220 mm discs with hydraulic calipers and ABS protection.

If you’re the least bit familiar with the brand, you won’t be surprised by the fact that it doesn’t have a frame in the conventional sense; it uses a monocoque system that relies on the strength of the sheet-metal body panels and welded-steel reinforcements to support the structure. Since the front suspension is of the landing-gear style, it can run with a single central steering column in lieu of the hydraulic front forks favored by most scooter builders.

The drum brakes were relegated to the history books, where they belong, so the GTS line runs all-around, 220 mm discs with hydraulic calipers and ABS protection to prevent slippage due to overbraking and/or inclement weather. Cast rims run a little on the small side overall at 12-inches a’round though they’re typical of this body style, much like the 120/70 and 130/70 hoops on the front and rear, respectively.

Though the front suspension relies on the same sort of coil-over shock as the rear, only the struts in back get the preload adjuster while the front runs with fixed values.

Bearing structure: Sheet metal with welded reinforcements
Front suspension: Single arm suspension with coil spring and hydraulic shock absorber
Rear suspension: Double hydraulic shock absorbers with adjustable preload with 4 settings
Front Brake: Hydraulically operated 220 mm stainless steel disc – ABS
Rear Brake: Hydraulically operated 220 mm stainless steel disc – ABS
Front tire: Tubeless 120/70 - 12”
Rear tire: Tubeless 130/70 - 12"

2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 Drivetrain

2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 / GTS Super 300 Sport
- image 786645
It's the electronic safety gear that steals the show here with an ASR system that even bigger bikes aren't yet running.

As a proper scooter, it relies on a proper scooter’s drivetrain that fuses engine and transmission together into an integral unit that replaces the swingarm. This particular swing-mount unit boasts a four-stroke thumper with a 75 mm bore and 63 mm stroke for a total displacement of 278 cc. Electronic induction- and ignition-control helps the mill meet its Euro 4 emissions target with a claimed output of 21.2 horsepower at 7,750 rpm backed up by 16.2 pounds o’ grunt, but its the electronic safety gear that steals the show here.

The GTS line runs an ASR system (traction control) that monitors wheel slippage and intervenes by reducing power to help the rider maintain control. Now, we’re used to seeing such a feature on sportbikes/tourbikes/adventure bikes, but some manufacturers shun it entirely (H-D, Indian) so it’s unusual to see it at this displacement bracket and genre.

That filtered power flows through a continuously-variable transmission that uses pulleys and a belt to seamlessly adjust the gear ratio for shiftless operation — just twist and go — with a centrifugal clutch to couple it to engine power.

Engine: 4-stroke single cylinder, 4 valves, electronic injection
Displacement : 278 cc
Bore x Stroke: 75 mm x 63 mm
Max Power at crankshaft : 21.2 hp (15.6 kW) @ 7,750 rpm
Max Torque: 16.2 lb-ft (22 Nm) @ 5,000 rpm
Fuel system: P.I. injection (Port injected)
Ignition: Electronic with variable advance
Cooling system: Liquid
Lubrication: Wet sump
Gearbox: Twist-and-go CVT with torque server
Clutch: Automatic centrifugal dry clutch

2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 Pricing

2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 / GTS Super 300 Sport
- image 786640
No surprise from Vespa, MSRP runs around $7k.

You can score a ’18 GTS Super for $6,899 in black, white, Pastel Gray or the new Metallic Green that makes me hungry for pea soup. The Supersport comes in an understated Metallic Matte Gray with yellow highlights.

Colors:
GTS Super 300: Verde Speranza, Bianco Innocenza, Rosso Passione, Nero Lucido
GTS Super 300 Sport: Grigio Titanio, Giallo Gelosia
Price:
GTS Super 300: $6,899
GTS Super 300 Sport: $6,999

2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 Competitors

2018 KYMCO X-Town 300i
- image 786652
2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 / GTS Super 300 Sport
- image 786649
KYMCO has a slight edge over the Vespa in raw power, but it has no answer for the traction control and loses some of its shine right there.

When I look at the Super, I see a commuter that could serve as an entry-level trainer or as a ride for an experienced and safety-conscious rider. Different companies have different ideas about how to grab a slice of those aforementioned demographics, so for my head-to-head I want to take a look at a brand that doesn’t get quite as much press on our side of the pond: KYMCO, and its X-Town 300i ABS. Yeah, the KYMCO is more of a Eurotour/business model that lacks utterly the charm of the Vespa, but most things do, am I right?

The angular panache almost looks German if ya’ know what I mean, and it just seems a lot more sterile. Of course, fit-and-finish on the Chinese product is not on par with what we see from the Italian giant, not even close. Sure, the windshield and integrated turn signals are nice, but the accessories catalog can make the GTS just as nice for a few dollars more.

KYMCO runs a 275.6 cc plant with a claimed 23.2 horsepower and 16.6 pound-feet for a slight edge over the Vespa in raw power, but it has no answer for the traction control and loses some of its shine right there. Is the price difference enough to save it? At $3,999, the X-Town is a sight cheaper than the Vespa, but then, Piaggio never did treat price as a selling point, Vespa or otherwise.”

He Said

“As usual, Vespa puts together a sweet little ride that hits some historical high points while remaining an all-modern ride under the hood. I always did like that classic Italian look, and that certainly holds true with the GTS family, as well. Given the kids’ taste in cool, classic looks, I expect the Super to perform well in the U.S. market.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “If you want a scooter that looks like a classic, iconic Italian scooter, this is your Huckleberry. It doesn’t even try to pretend it’s anything else like some of the modern scooters that try to look like a sportbike. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I’m just saying that it is. Handling is superior to previous gen, and even though the engine is only slightly bigger than previous gens, it accelerates much better and maintains speed at a lower rpm. This is a really nice scooter.”

2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4-stroke single cylinder, 4 valves, electronic injection
Displacement : 278 cc
Bore x Stroke: 75 mm x 63 mm
Max Power at crankshaft : 21.2 hp (15.6 kW) @ 7,750 rpm
Max Torque: 16.2 lb-ft (22 Nm) @ 5,000 rpm
Fuel system: P.I. injection (Port injected)
Ignition: Electronic with variable advance
Cooling system: Liquid
Lubrication: Wet sump
Gearbox: Twist-and-go CVT with torque server
Clutch: Automatic centrifugal dry clutch
Chassis:
Bearing structure: Sheet metal with welded reinforcements
Front suspension: Single arm suspension with coil spring and hydraulic shock absorber
Rear suspension: Double hydraulic shock absorbers with adjustable preload with 4 settings
Front Brake: Hydraulically operated 220 mm stainless steel disc – ABS
Rear Brake: Hydraulically operated 220 mm stainless steel disc – ABS
Front tire: Tubeless 120/70 - 12”
Rear tire: Tubeless 130/70 - 12"
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length/Width: 76 in / 29.7 in (1,950/755 mm)
Wheelbase : 53.9 in (1,375 mm)
Seat height: 31 in (790 mm)
Fuel tank capacity: 2.5 gals (8.5 liters)
Emissions compliance: 4 Euro
Fuel Economy: 76 mpg
Top Speed: 73.3 mph
Details:
Colors:
GTS Super 300: Verde Speranza, Bianco Innocenza, Rosso Passione, Nero Lucido
GTS Super 300 Sport: Grigio Titanio, Giallo Gelosia
Price:
GTS Super 300: $6,899
GTS Super 300 Sport: $6,999

References

KYMCO X-Town 300i ABS

2018 KYMCO X-Town 300i
- image 786650

See our review of the KYMCO X-Town 300i.

Vespa GTS 300/ GTS 300 Touring

2018 Vespa GTS 300 / GTS 300 Touring
- image 785806

See our review of the Vespa GTS 300 and GTS 300 Touring.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: vespausa.com, kymco.com.au

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