Best Scooter of the Year Winner: Vespa GTS 300 Super ABS


Three-hundred cubic centimeters or so is a very good size for a scooter; fast enough to get you anywhere while keeping you out of trouble, small enough to fit into tight spaces and ensure you keep a real motorcycle in the stable as well so as not to have your man (or woman!) card revoked. Vespa’s been building the GTS 300 since 2009. For 2015, it was brought to the next level with ABS and traction control – both of which are more useful than you might imagine on a thing that’s built to run the urban maze’s various congealing, damp and greasy surfaces on 12-inch wheels. And while they were upgrading, they gave the Vespa a new multimedia platform to connect a smartphone to the bike so you can track torque output, lean angle, and where you left the GTS parked. The seat was restyled, new instruments now use wheel-speed sensors instead of a cable. Many styling details have been updated, and a new, more powerful ECU runs everything.

In our Six-Way Scooter Melee back in February, the GTS trounced all comers, including the very nice Honda Forza, winning by unanimous decision. A short wheelbase, the least weight (352 pounds claimed, with fuel) and the sportiest ride helped out. It’s not the most powerful scooter of the bunch (or the most reassuring at top speed, 80-ish), but the 22-hp (claimed) 278cc Vespa’s got that certain universally recognizable retro-Italian something that makes people who normally wouldn’t stop texting walk up and start a conversation. And not just crusty motorcycle people, either. Attractive people. Let’s all hop in the Trevi Fountain!

2015 Vespa GTS 300 Super ABS Review – First Ride

Honorable Mention: Yamaha SMAX


There’s a sensible set of commuters out there who simply don’t want or need a big maxi-scooter for their daily needs. And though they don’t need the biggest thing out there, a tiny 50cc scoot won’t satisfy their needs, either. All they want is a simple, reliable, economical and affordable scooter. Oh, and it should be freeway-legal, too. Enter the Yamaha SMAX. At $3,690, it’s an affordable scooter, and its 155cc engine sips gas – it’s practically impossible to get less than 75 mpg. Best of all, you can legally hop on the freeway with it and, if you’re patient, the SMAX can pull close to 80 mph – far better than its closest competitor. It’ll fit a full-face under the seat, with room to spare for a few groceries, and everything else you bought from the store can latch on to the bag hook between your legs. While the Vespa at the top spot of this category is definitely going to earn you style points when you cruise through the city, there’s an easy argument to be made that the SMAX is the more practical of the two.

Oh, and one last thing: it’s officially pronounced “S-MAX” not “Smacks.” Best of 2015 Categories

  • Michael Howard

    “… and ensure you keep a real motorcycle in the stable as well so as not to have your man (or woman!) card revoked.”

    Nice of you to perpetuate the immature B.S. that riding a scooter makes you a lesser rider. I currently ride a 400cc scooter and guarantee you I can ride circles around 90% of the “real” motorcycle riders in my area — on their own bikes. Yes, I realize that was likely written tongue-in-cheek but it’s a way too common attitude and I’m disappointed to see you promoting it here.

    • Sean

      Ha! You ride a scooter. C( :

    • Alexander Pityuk

      If you read more of recent MO scooter-related articles, you would know that their attitude to scooters is very serious. And by the way, many scooter riders do actively promote lesser attitude to themselves by not wearing proper gear, thus declaring that they are not motorcyclists.

      • Michael Howard

        Many “real” motorcycle riders don’t wear proper gear either. So what are THEY declaring? I’m ATGATT with a well-worn and battle-scarred Aerostich Roadcrafter as my primary gear and am one of very few riders of ANY motorized two-wheelers in my town who rides in more than shorts/jeans and t-shirts.

        • Buzz

          Lighten up Francis.

          • Michael Howard

            My friends call me Psycho.

    • john burns

      actually, there’s no such thing as a man card, far as I know…


    Is it wrong to want one?

    • frankfan42

      No, get one, and enjoy it.

  • Martin Buck

    I had a scooter once. Sigh. A Honda Lead 108cc air cooled model, made in India. Just being able to jump on in shorts and sandals to post a letter or buy groceries made it fun. I would be back from the task quicker than than just getting dressed to go out on a motorcycle. And it went quite well up to about 80 kph (50 mph), so no go for motorways, but OK for minor roads. I got 113 mpg (94 US mpg) and it just felt good to bimble about on it. Of course I kept the car, so I didn’t sink to the level of a poor student, but the Honda was genuinely good transportation, and well worth the price.

    • Dan

      but why would you think the protective gear requirements are any less on a scooter? Falling would be just as painful on either no?

    • Ducati Kid

      MB and all,

      Doe’s anyone wish to admit Scooters outnumber Motorcycle sales by MILLIONS annually?

      My sage cycling friend has BOTH (400 and 650cc) SUZUKI Burgman models riding streets and highways thousands of miles per year – LOVES them!

  • Hot Cheese

    I kinda want one but I don’t want to be seen riding one…. Life is hard…

  • Laowai

    you know in different areas of the world this whole debate would be ludicrous. Scooters are an awesome form of transportation for the person doing quick trips, I can fit my family of 4 on one and while its sort f funny to see, its more common then you might think. Americans in general are way too caught up in perceptions to see sense sometimes 😉

  • MrBlenderson

    My wife rides a 2015 GTS 300 daily and it’s a great bike! Glad to see it as the winner.

  • Dan

    If freeway riding isn’t a requirement then hard to beat a 125cc Kymco Agility for $2K. I bought mine used and have commuted every day for 5 years on it, zero mechanical problems.

  • frankfan42

    Seems to me that stability at speed is worth a lot more than the “Cool” factor.

  • Mikolay U.

    Definitely getting one soon.

  • Treeman

    I started my love affair with two wheels on a 1952 Cushman at age 14. I ride about 15,000 miles a year at present, but at age 73 mileage is dwindling down. I’m about to replace my beloved Gold Wing with a maxi scooter, probably a Burgman 650 or Silverwing. Won’t bother me a bit, since I’m very secure in my manhood, plus it will be like going back to a second childhood.