A Facelift, New Variants, And Better Handling

After a fairly major update in 2015, Vespa’s Primavera 150 scooter gets brushed up yet again ahead of the 2018 model year. This newest iteration brings a number of improvements to the table to include larger hoops, all-around LED technology with some aesthetic improvements to boot. In addition to the 150 cc base model, the factory is also releasing the Primavera S that bestows never-before-seen levels of technology on the classic design such as TFT instrumentation and a multimedia system, as well as a cargo-friendly Touring model that positively bristles with luggage racks. It must be quite the undertaking to try and keep a model family as long in the tooth as the Primavera relevant, but Vespa doggedly stays the course and treats us to yet another handful of successors here half-a-century after the release of the original.

Continue reading for my review of the Vespa Primavera 150, 150S and 150 Touring.

  • 2018 Vespa Primavera 150
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    155 cc
  • Price:
    5099
  • Price:

2018 Vespa Primavera Design

One of the biggest improvements this year are the bigger wheels that improve both ride quality and handling.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, and that’s certainly true of Vespa’s Primavera. Just as it should be. In this age of “progressive design” that tries way too hard to be edgy and new, it’s a breath of fresh air to see something that stays so true to its origins. That old-school look starts out right up front with the customary aircraft landing gear-type front suspension and fixed-elevation front fender that rides high above the front wheel.

One of the biggest improvements this year involve the wheels themselves that got boosted from 11 inches up to 12 inches in diameter. Now, I realize that isn’t much of an increase, but it’s enough to improve both ride quality and handling a skosh, and every little bit helps, right? Vespa’s “tie” detail brands the legguard for a tasteful bit of décor that ties right into the past, if you’ll forgive the pun. Recessed turn signals lie abreast of that central detail, and on the touring model, a chrome luggage rack overlays the entry to dominate the visage and provide the first layer of portagerie.

As ever, the fully enclosed handlebar comes with a round cyclops headlight, instrumentation and switch housings all contained within, but most of all, it gives the Primavera that typical Italian look up around the controls. Behind the fairing, an almost full step-through leaves plenty of room to mount with little obstruction, and a flattish tunnel top and non-skid treatment makes possible the use of that most convenient of cargo areas between the feet.

The seat flips up for access to the obligatory underseat storage compartment on all models even though the Touring gets a nifty, faux tuck-and-roll saddle unique to the model to set it apart a bit. A set of chrome J.C. handles provide a hardpoint for a bungee net to further expand its carrying capacity, and of course, the Touring gets a luggage rack that finishes out its special equipment. What else is there to say about the looks? Even after all this time, sembra una vespa.

2018 Vespa Primavera Chassis

2018 Vespa Primavera 150
- image 780240
The aircraft-style suspension gives it a compact steering system that leaves the front end narrow, and the right side of the front wheel clean as a whistle.

The strength of the structure comes from a monocoque or stressed-skin assembly that uses welded reinforcements in the most critical areas. I prefer the under-frame system, me, but it is what it is.

An aircraft-style front suspension system uses a one-sided standing arm with a trailing link and coil-over shock to articulate the front wheel. Not only does this system stand out from the crowd for its unusual looks, but it also allows for a steering column that is decidedly less bulky than the motorcycle-style system that runs with telescopic forks that must be accommodated by the front fairing. The result is a compact steering system that leaves the front end narrow, and the right side of the front wheel clean as a whistle.

Overall length measures out at 73-inches long with a 52.7-inch wheelbase and 30.7-inch high saddle, but it’s the narrow, 28.9-inch overall width that makes the Primavera look so nice and compact overall. A single, 200 mm disc and juice caliper brake slows the front end under the watchful eye of the ABS feature for a nice modern touch; too bad the rear end is still buried in the past with its 140 mm mechanical drum to take care of business. Oh well, at least the drum does enhance the classic looks, if not the actual braking ability.

Frame: Sheet steel body with welded reinforcements
Front suspension: Single arm with coil spring and dual action monoshock absorber - axial stroke 78 mm
Rear suspension: Coil spring with adjustable preload (4 settings), and dual action hydraulic monoshock - axial stroke 70 mm
Wheels: Die-cast aluminum alloy 3.00x12”
Tires, Front/ Rear: Tubeless 110/70-12"/ Tubeless 120/70-12”
Front brake: Hydraulically operated 200 mm ø stainless steel disc brake. Single channel ABS anti-lock system
Rear brake: Mechanically operated 140 mm ø drum brake

2018 Vespa Primavera Drivetrain

2018 Vespa Primavera 150
- image 780245
Top speed is a claimed 61 mph, so it should be a capable commuter on all but the interstate.

Vespa’s “i-Get” engine drives the Primavera family with Euro 4 emissions and a quiet demeanor. The latter comes courtesy of the great attention to detail by the engineers who endeavored to keep as much mechanical noise as possible trapped within the cases. The air-cooled mill runs with a fan to force air through the system. While that’s a good compromise for dealing with heavy traffic without the weight and complexity of a water jacket and radiator, the jacket would dampen the mechanical sounds further yet.

A SOHC times the three-valve head with a new electronic fuel injection system to manage the induction. Bore and stroke measure out nearly square at 58/58.6 mm to give the one-lunger its 154.8 cc displacement. Power clocks in at 12.7 ponies at 7,750 rpm with 9.4 pound-feet that comes on at 6,500 rpm.

The engine bolts up to the transmission in the typical swing-mount drive arrangement that uses both as stressed members that replace the swingarm, and that transmission is of the CVT type that uses a V-belt and variable-diameter pulleys to simulate the gear-ratio action you get from a standard transmixxer, just without the aggravation of manipulating a clutch and shifter: just twist and go. Top speed is a claimed 61 mph, so it should be a capable commuter on all but the interstate.

Engine: 4 stroke single cylinder with electronic injection
Bore x stroke: 58 x 58.6 mm
Displacement: 154.8 cc
Max Power: 12.7 hp (9.5 kW) @ 7,700 rpm
Max Torque: 9.4 lb-ft (12.8 Nm) @ 6,000 rpm
Distribution: SOHC (single overhead cam), 3 valves per cylinder
Fuel system: New Electronic Injection PFI (Port Fuel Injection)
Cooling: Forced air
Lubrication: Wet sump
Starter: Electric
Clutch: Automatic dry centrifugal clutch with vibration dampers
Transmission: CVT with torque server

2018 Vespa Primavera Price

2018 Vespa Primavera 150
- image 780239
MSRP comes in around $5k, which is a bit pricey, 'cause.....you know....it's a Vespa.

The MY18 Primavera 150 rolls for $5,099 in Bianco Innocenza (white), Nero Vulcano (black), Rosso Passione (red), Azzurro Incanto (blue) and Rossa Corallo (pink). The Touring model, however, is limited to the Portofino Green that goes quite nicely with the brown seat material for $5,199. With no word yet on whether we’ll see it in our market, the Primavera 150 "S" comes in Rosso Profondo (matte red), Beige Sahara (matte beige), or Blu Armonia (matte blue).

Colors:
Primavera 150: Bianco Innocenza, Nero Volcano, Rosso Passione, Azzurro Incanto, Rossa Corallo
Primavera 150 S: Rosso Profondo, Beige Sahara, Blu Armonia
Primavera 150 Touring: Portofino Green
Price:
Primavera 150: $5,099
Primavera 150 S: TBA
Primavera 150 Touring: $5,199

2018 Vespa Primavera Competitors

2017 - 2018 Lance Havana Classic
- image 759547
2018 Vespa Primavera 150
- image 780249
The Havana sports hydraulic disc brakes front and rear, rather than dragging the drums out of the history books, and though it lacks ABS, it does sport a Combined Braking System.

Italian style scooters are even more omnipresent than the genuine article nowadays, so there was no shortage of potential candidates for my head-to-head. After a little eenie-meenie-miney-moe I settled on the Havana Classic 200i from Lance Powersports; purveyer of scooters made by Taiwan-based manufacturer SanYang Motor (

SYM

, Piaggio does not use price as a selling point; it’s more like ’You want what we got? Better skin that checkbook then!’ I mean, you won’t be disappointed with the quality, but if you’re looking for economic transportation, it will take quite a while to amortize the price difference between the Primavera and, well, just about everything else in the world.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The TFT instrument display is a definite plus on the “S” model, and if I’m not mistaken, this is a first for Vespa using a completely digital display. I usually prefer the sweep gauges because my old-lady eyes can take in the display information at a glance, but the TFT displays are so clear, they’re very easy to read. Unfortunately, I don’t see the “S” available in our market. Maybe that TFT display will work its way into more models next year.”

2018 Vespa Primavera Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4 stroke single cylinder with electronic injection
Bore x stroke: 58 x 58.6 mm
Displacement: 154.8 cc
Max Power: 12.7 hp (9.5 kW) @ 7,700 rpm
Max Torque: 9.4 lb-ft (12.8 Nm) @ 6,000 rpm
Distribution: SOHC (single overhead cam), 3 valves per cylinder
Fuel system: New Electronic Injection PFI (Port Fuel Injection)
Cooling: Forced air
Lubrication: Wet sump
Starter: Electric
Clutch: Automatic dry centrifugal clutch with vibration dampers
Transmission: CVT with torque server
Chassis:
Frame: Sheet steel body with welded reinforcements
Front suspension: Single arm with coil spring and dual action monoshock absorber - axial stroke 78 mm
Rear suspension: Coil spring with adjustable preload (4 settings), and dual action hydraulic monoshock - axial stroke 70 mm
Wheels: Die-cast aluminum alloy 3.00x12”
Tires, Front/ Rear: Tubeless 110/70-12"/ Tubeless 120/70-12”
Front brake: Hydraulically operated 200 mm ø stainless steel disc brake. Single channel ABS anti-lock system
Rear brake: Mechanically operated 140 mm ø drum brake
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length/Width: 73.6 / 28.9 inches (1,870/735 mm)
Saddle height: 31.1 inches (790 mm)
Wheelbase: 52.8 inches (1,340 mm)
Fuel tank capacity: 2.1 gals. including 0.5 gal reserve (8 litres, including 2 litre reserve)
Fuel Economy (WMTC mode): 95 mpg
Details:
Approval: Euro 4
Colors:
Primavera 150: Bianco Innocenza, Nero Volcano, Rosso Passione, Azzurro Incanto, Rossa Corallo
Primavera 150 S: Rosso Profondo, Beige Sahara, Blu Armonia
Primavera 150 Touring: Portofino Green
Price:
Primavera 150: $5,099
Primavera 150 S: TBA
Primavera 150 Touring: $5,199

References

Lance Havana Classic

2017 - 2018 Lance Havana Classic
- image 759538

See our review of the Lance Havana Classic.

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

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