Sitting on the egg yolk-colored Vespa Sprint, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt like a spring chick’. It is tiny, agile and fast even with a broiler sized journo onboard. Please join me in welcoming the new “Vespino” one fine spring day in Rome.
Twist and go, it’s yellow, it’s comfortable and I’m in Rome. It doesn’t get much better and as we head off I place myself at the front like the rooster in a hen house. “Cock-a-doodle-doo” the Sprint says and I’m where I like to be, in heavy “be fast or be dead” Rome traffic.
The 31.1 in. high seat is comfortable, black with white piping and I’ve got ample leg space. Under the seat is more space than ever on a Vespa, its storage compartment boasting a massive 16.6 litres of capacity. The extra space has been enabled – and the CG lowered – by moving the battery from underneath the helmet compartment to beneath the floorboards.
The 2.1-gallon fuel tank will take you a long way in the city as the claimed fuel consumption figures stipulate 150 miles per gallon at a realistic average speed for city use of 31 mph (50 km/h). That means 315 miles between fill-ups for the gentle of wrist, your hooligan mileage may vary.
The Vespa Sprint 125 feels quite quick when accelerating away from traffic lights and most of the time it’s the quickest, beating other scooters we met during the test rides. This implies good things about the 125cc 3-valve four-stroke Single that powers the chassis ahead. It has enough grunt to quickly propel you up to 30 mph, but acceleration beyond that point tapers-off and you quickly begin to feel that it’s a small engine. The Sprint will not get a 150cc upgrade, but two different 50cc motors will be available from the Pontedera factory, one four-stroke and one two-stroke.
Thanks to the upgraded suspension, it’s the Primavera-derived steel chassis and body which impress the most. The Sprint feels tight and not flimsy at all. Over Rome’s quaint but rough cobblestone streets, the Sprint handles well and doesn’t transfer too much vibration or shock to the rider. The Sprint is a small-bodied scooter and as such there will always be some extra feel from the tarmac, however it’s more than tolerable.
The front disc and rear drum brakes give plenty of stopping power. Testing on damp roads, it’s interesting to note that next year Vespa will add ABS to its scooters for the first time. ABS is good, but the current setup requires a lot of lever force to lock the wheels anyway.
The new Vespa Sprint 125 gets larger 12 inch wheels which add to both comfort and safety around the city. The Sprint replaces the “S” model as the new youthful and sporty choice in the Vespa range. As with the S and also the ‘60s original, the Sprint continues to signify its existence with a square headlamp.
Vespa sold an impressive 198,600 units in 2013 and it was aptly mentioned in the press conference that Vespa is Piaggio’s Coca-Cola. If the trend continues we should see Vespa pass the incredible 200K unit mark in 2014. I have no doubt that the Sprint will contribute to these figures in a favourable way as it’s a very good product. The 125 has a 6,400 mile maintenance interval which is great for consumers but not as great for dealerships, as they’ll hardly ever be in for service.
Back in ‘68 Vespa was a cute young lady, today she remains just as fresh and pretty at 68, so long may she live.