It has the new 4T3V engine, ABS, and a TFT display with connectivity through the Vespa Multimedia Platform.

Piaggio refreshed its Vespa Sprint 50 range for the 2018 model year and added an “S” version as its top-shelf offering within the family that carries over through 2020. This is Vespa’s sportiest line, and it’s made even more so by the new 4T3V powerplant and digital instrumentation package. Of course, that timeless Vespino look shines through all the modern touches to tie in with the factory’s long-running history and deliver an up-to-date riding experience.

  • 2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    50 cc
  • Top Speed:
    40 mph
  • Price:
    4249
  • Price:

Vespa Sprint 50 S Design

  • LED lighting
  • 4.3-inch TFT display
  • Vespa Multimedia Platform
  • Remote control storage lock
  • Bike Finder feature
2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
- image 893188
2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
- image 893190

Vespa recycled its looks for the Sprint 50 S, this newest addition to its product line, and why not? It’s impossible to argue with success, and after all, Piaggio and its Vespa division helped to define the genre starting way back in post-WWII Italy. The typical high-mount front fender runs with a deep valence to help contain the fling from the front wheel, especially in wet riding conditions, and the height of the mount is meant to accommodate the travel in the front suspension.

It’s a small-wheel model, and the size of the wheels tend to dictate the scale of everything else so it doesn’t look lopsided like some scoots tend to do. LED turn signals ride recessed in the front fairing, and up top, the headlight lets you see and be seen while you’re out and about. While the cyclops headlight and handlebar fairing are certainly old-school, the squashed hexagonal headlight housing shape points to a much more modern machine.

Instrumentation is all handled by the 4.3-inch, thin-film transistor display that doubles as an interface for the Vespa Multimedia Platform feature that networks with your smartphone so you can field calls and pipe in your tunes while under way.

A small glove box in the inner fairing holds your possibles, but the main storage is secreted under the flip-up seat that can unlocked via remote control. The remote also has a dual purpose in that it works with the bike-finder feature to help you remember where you parked.

Two-up, bench-style seating sports a bit of a swale for the pilot’s posterior, and a set of flip-out footpegs and a chrome J.C. handle accommodate the passenger. An LED taillight and recessed blinkers finish out the rearward lighting above the hang-down mudguard/plateholder combination that completes the gear in the rear.

Vespa Sprint 50 S Chassis

  • Monocoque structure
  • Aircraft landing-gear suspension
  • Four-level, variable-preload rear suspension
  • 12-inch wheels
  • Single-channel ABS
  • Rear mechanical drum brake
2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
- image 893184
2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
- image 893183
2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
- image 893189

As usual, Vespa shuns the underframe support in favor of a stressed-skin, monocoque structure that relies on spot-welded, sheet-metal panels with reinforcement plates at the critical locations for its strength. The result is a light, strong unit with plenty of room for the underpinnings, but it also necessitates a short tunnel in the step-through that intrudes a skosh into the ’tween-feet storage area. It’s short, but it’s there.

The front end is definitely old-school. It’s the good old aircraft landing-gear suspension that uses a single-side standing structure with a trailing link and coil-over shock absorber to articulate for the front wheel and absorb the bumps. Out back, another monoshock supports the rear end and dampens the motion of the swing-mount drive unit, and it comes with the only adjustment in the system, a four-level, variable-preload feature.

The cast-aluminum wheels run in a 12-inch diameter with a 110/70 and 120/70 hoop on the front and rear, respectively. I’m kind of torn on the wheels. While the larger rims provide better handling, the small-wheel look really works with the overall package.

A 200 mm disc and hydraulic caliper takes care of business up front with a stock, single-channel ABS feature for safety. Out back, the factory keeps to the old-school design with a 140 mm mechanical drum brake that rolls without any electronic augmentation.

Load Bearing Structure: Sheet steel body with welded reinforcements
Front suspension: Single-arm fork with coil spring and hydraulic monoshock absorber
Rear suspension: Coil spring with hydraulic monoshock absorber
Front wheel: Die-cast aluminum alloy 3.00x12”
Rear wheel: Die-cast aluminum alloy 3.00x12”
Front tire: Tubeless 110/70-12"
Rear tire: 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

Vespa Sprint 50 S Drivetrain

  • 49.9 cc single-cylinder engine
  • 3.2 horsepower
  • 2.2 pound-feet of torque
  • point
2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
- image 893195
2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
- image 893187
2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
- image 893198

Power for the Sprint 50 S comes from the new 4T3V plant that delivers the goods to the tune of 3.2 horsepower and 2.2 pound-feet of torque, both of which max out at 7,500 rpm. It’s a four-cycle thumper with forced-air cooling to deal with the waste heat and is a stressed member along with the transmission to preclude the need for a proper swingarm. The mill runs a 39 mm bore and 41.8 mm stroke to give it a displacement of 49.9 cc with a single over-head cam that actuates and times a trio of poppets in the head.

To deliver the twist-and-go operation to which scooter riders are accustomed, engine power flows through a dry, centrifugal clutch and constant-velocity transmission so there is no need for a shifter or even a clutch lever to fuss with. The overall drive ratio and engine restrictor turns in a top speed of 40 mph, which is fine around town and in neighborhoods, but you can forget about hitting the highway on the thing. That’s what the 150 cc version is for.

Some states allow you to ride a 50 cc scooter without a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license, but other states put restrictions on top speed. If you’re looking for a small scooter that you can ride without a motorcycle license, you might want to look at the Limited Speed version of the Sprint 50 on which the top speed is restricted to 30 mph.

Engine: 4 stroke single cylinder with electronic injection
Bore x Stroke: 39 mm x 41.8 mm
Displacement: 49.9 cc
Max Power: 3.2 hp (2.4 kW) @ 7,500 rpm
Max Torque: 2.2 lb-ft (3 Nm) @ 7,500 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

Vespa Sprint 50 S Pricing

2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
- image 893186
2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
- image 893192
2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
- image 893193

The 2020 Sprint 50 S model starts at $4,249 MSRP. It rolls in S-specific paint with a choice between Grigio Materia (gray) or Blu Vivace (blue) with chrome piping and a special graphics package. A full line of accessories are available to let you customize and put your own signature on it.

Color: Grigio Materia, Blu Vivace
Price: $4,249

Vespa Sprint 50 S Competitors

2017 - 2020 KYMCO Like 150i
- image 789172
2016 - 2019 Honda Metropolitan
- image 840377

Vespa gets competition from elsewhere in the world, most notably from the Asian market, so I want to see what that sector has to offer. First I went to KYMCO for its Like 50i that actually does a pretty good job of imitating that Italian look, perhaps too good of a job ’cause I can clearly see a set of chevrons on the front fairing, much like the Vespa’s “tie” detail.

KYMCO Like 50i

2017 - 2020 KYMCO Like 150i
- image 789170

A 49 cc thumper drives the Like 50i with 2.3 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm to more or less break even, though I like that the Like comes sporting an electric starter with a kicker. KYMCO’s biggest selling point is its $2,499 sticker that is mighty attractive for riders on a budget.

Honda Metropolitan

2016 - 2019 Honda Metropolitan
- image 840353

For a much bigger name I went to Honda next for its Metropolitan. The Metro also displays an Italian-style face to the world, but like the KYMCO, it falls short of the Vespa’s brilliance and comes off looking like a copy, as well.

A 49 cc thumper drives the Metro with 4.4 horsepower and 3 pounds of grunt to leave the 3.2/2.2 Vespa in the dust. Honda uses price as a selling point with a $2,499 pricetag against $4,249 from the Italian ride, and with its name recognition, that price should buy Honda some business that may otherwise be buying from Europe’s Boot.

Read our full review of the Honda Metropolitan.

He Said

“Vespa has set a pretty high bar for itself, but the new Sprint 50 S shows that they have yet to paint themselves into a corner, design wise. The look doesn’t evolve as fast as the underpinning technology, which is as it should be for a historical icon like Piaggio’s Vespino family tree, as far as I’m concerned. My only complaint is that, at least where I live, there aren’t any safe roads to ride on at 40 mph, let alone any useful corridors that would make such a ride viable as a commuter.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “My husband is right when he says a 50 cc scooter isn’t practical where we live. However, it’s not intended for sprawling rural areas and suburbia with fast-moving, congested arteries. This is for city travel, sedate suburban travel, and sprawling campuses. When you’re looking at a 50 cc scooter, power numbers aren’t really high on your priority list. It’s all about convenience travel, filtering city traffic, and easy parking. The Sprint 50 S fits that bill. Throttle response is not bad, roll-on is peppy, and the modern tech in the Vespa Multimedia Platform is awesome. In some areas, you can park on the sidewalk. It doesn’t get more convenient than that.”

Vespa Sprint 50 S Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4 stroke single cylinder with electronic injection
Bore x Stroke: 39 mm x 41.8 mm
Displacement: 49.9 cc
Max Power: 3.2 hp (2.4 kW) @ 7,500 rpm
Max Torque: 2.2 lb-ft (3 Nm) @ 7,500 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:
Load Bearing Structure: Sheet steel body with welded reinforcements
Front suspension: Single-arm fork with coil spring and hydraulic monoshock absorber
Rear suspension: Coil spring with hydraulic monoshock absorber
Front wheel: Die-cast aluminum alloy 3.00x12”
Rear wheel: Die-cast aluminum alloy 3.00x12”
Front tire: Tubeless 110/70-12"
Rear tire: 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 & Capacites:
Length x Width: 73.6 in x 28.9 in (1,870 x 735 mm)
Saddle height: 31.1 in (790 mm)
Wheelbase: 52.3 in (1,330 mm)
Fuel tank capacity: 2.1 gal including 0.5-gal reserve (8 liters including 2-liter reserve)
Fuel economy: 80.9 mpg (34.4 km/l)
Approval: Euro 4
Details:
Color: Grigio Materia, Blu Vivace
Price: $4,249

Further Reading

Vespa

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
- image 806594

Read more Vespa news.

TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
About the author

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

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