After many years of model stability, Vespa is shaking things up in their lineup. With the 946 now in showrooms, the question is, what next? Our sources say there’s a lot of interesting things in the works.
The Primavera will arrive in USA dealer showrooms in the next two weeks.
As replacement for the LX-150, the Primavera not only revives a classic Vespa model name. It’s the first substantially new regular production model from Vespa in nearly a decade. The Primavera is also the first new model from Vespa to come after the now infamous, $10,000 Vespa 946. The influence of the 946 is obvious in the Primavera, and they even share the same new 3-valve engine. Soon would-be Primavera owners will be able to get their hands on one.
The next Vespa S: The Sprint
Here in the USA, the Vespa S is positioned as a less-expensive, visually distinct LX-150. Yet in other markets around the world, the Vespa S fetches a premium for its square headlight and unique dashwork. With the Primavera replacing the LX, a new Vespa S is also just around the corner. Here’s what we know so far. It’ll be called the Sprint, reviving another classic Vespa model name. The Sprint will share the 3V 125/150cc engine along with the Primavera and the 946. Yet the engine is not the only thing the Sprint will inherit from the flagship 946.
One available version of the new Sprint will feature ABS and Traction Control — the first “regular” production scooter to feature both. The other version will be more basic, basically an alternate Primavera, but with one key difference. Both versions of the Sprint will feature 12″ wheels, up 1″ over the Primavera and the same size as you’d find on the “large-frame” Vespa GTS family of scooters. As you would expect, these added features mean that both versions of the Sprint will likely be more expensive than the Primavera in all markets. Spy shots of the Sprint have surfaced online, and it looks like aesthetically, this bike is landing somewhere between the current Vespa S (note the headlight shape) and the 946.
Next generation GTS will grow to 350cc, utilizing the same drivetrain as the Piaggio BV350.
The GT-series Vespas started at 200cc with the GT200L. The GTS brought a jump to 250cc and the addition of fuel-injection. Later Vespa introduced the GTS 300 Super, and that new engine size soon took over the whole GTS lineup. With big changes to the LX lineup, we’ve been very curious what would become of the “large-frame” modern Vespa platform. Sources are telling us that the GTS will grow to 350cc, not simply by punching out the current engine, but by adopting the impressive drive train from the Piaggio BV350. Will the new GTS also inherit the BV350’s larger wheel size? That seems unlikely given the visual heritage of the Vespa, but we’ll have to find that out in time. One thing we do expect is for the new GTS to share some of the new 946-inspired design language we’re already seeing in new models.
Vespa 946 to continue beyond initial “limited edition” run.
Many have tried to figure out just how the Vespa 946 can justify its nearly $10,000 price. So far, only four factors have set the Vespa 946 apart from the rest of the Vespa lineup: limited numbers, being hand-assembled, exclusive design, and exclusive technology.
With the introduction of the Primavera and Sprint, two of those exclusives aren’t so exclusive anymore. While neither of these new models will feature the 946’s artistic cantilevered seat, the Primavera shares a lot of the 946’s lines and as mentioned above, the new Sprint will have available ABS and Traction Control. Not difficult to imagine that the new GTS could also have the same systems available.
That leaves just hand-assembly and limited numbers, right? Well one of those, from what we’ve been told. What was first described as only a small, one-year only production run will become a perennial crop. New information from our sources says that each year a new batch of 946s will get built. The idea is that the 946 will be the first place we’ll see the latest in Vespa tech and design. So what can we expect for the 2015 crop of 946s? Right now, all we’re hearing about is two new colors: yellow and silver. Will this be a disappointment for all of those owners who put down those early deposits on Vespa 946s? I guess that’s between them, Vespa and their banker. Meanwhile the overall look, and even some of the 946’s fancy tech, is making its way into production models this season. Time will tell if the 946 will be able to continue demanding its premium price.
Piaggio MP3 taking a hiatus, will return next year with a more premium design
The three-wheeled Piaggio MP3 is one of the most unique design concepts to come along in a hundred years of motorcycles and scooters. The pivoting double front end makes the MP3 feel and pivot like a regular two-wheeler, but by doubling the front contact patch and moving the two wheels apart from each other, the MP3 has a noteworthy improvement in both handling and stopping power. For all its capability, however, the MP3 has never been a big seller, especially here in the USA. So Piaggio is taking a fresh look at the MP3, taking it more up-market and, we’re told, giving it a complete aesthetic makeover. As for that makeover, we have a suggestion in our archives.
What have you heard through the scooter grapevine. Share your scooter gossip in the comments.