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


It’s been a quiet year on the scooter front, as headlines have understandably gone towards more exciting models and categories of two-wheeling. The industry hasn’t offered much new in scootering this year, and by extension, neither have we. So it’s with this harsh reality that we announce the winner for our 2016 Best Scooter award… is the same as last year: The Vespa GTS 300 Super ABS.

Don’t let that get you down though, as a year on and the Vespa is still a sweet ride. It may “only” have 278cc, but it scoots along with enough gusto to get the holeshot on your daily commute. And should your commute be run on roads that should have been repaved during the Bush administration (either of them), then you’ll be happy to have the Vespa’s traction control and ABS at the ready to cover your back should you need it.

If you go back to our five-scoot Mid-Size MotoScooter Melee, you’ll see that all our testers had nothing but nice things to say about the Vespa en route to it winning our test. It costs more than its competition, starting at $6,599, but what you get in return is a well-styled ride with sporty handling, important safety features, and loads of tech, including a smartphone app that, among its many features, will help you find your GTS the next time you forget where you parked it.

Honorable Mention: Yamaha SMAX


No shocker here: Yamaha’s SMAX gets the honorable mention in the scooter category, just as it did last year. And, there are some on the MO staff who would rather have the Yamaha. Sure the Vespa is gorgeous and advanced for a scooter. But at $3,690, the Yamaha is almost half the price of the Vespa, so it offers up a much nicer bang-for-the-buck ratio.

Honda PCX150 vs. Yamaha SMAX

The SMAX’s 155cc engine is no match for the Italian, but it’s still legal for use on the highway, will get you to 80 mph (if you’re patient), and return 75 mpg even if you ride like a heavy-handed yahoo — even better if you’re the sensible type. It can fit a full-face helmet under the seat with room to spare, or a decent supply of groceries. We can’t ignore what the Vespa brings to the table in terms of tech, and no matter how you slice it, there’s still no replacement for displacement, but Yamaha’s SMAX delivers superior practicality and is an enviable value for the money.

  • Douglas

    Well, I’m sure these are competent scoots, but if you’re much over 70″ tall, a bit cramped. The Vespa appears to have a flat enuf seat so you could slide back a couple inches, but the Yam, the Forza, the smaller Burgs (among others) are almost like sitting in a straight-back chair. I know they aren’t maxis, but should still be roomy so a 45-60 min ride doesn’t pose stiff knees (for us ol’ phardts anyhow). A little wb stretch (ala Helix) would be good for the middle wt (200-400) scoots….and flat seats. That’s all. Thankavurramuch,

    • BigRedHonda

      You make great points. I previously owned a 250GTS Vespa and currently own a Forsa (along with a number of other “real” motorcycles). I found the Vespa much more accommodating for my height 6′-1″, plus the step thru design makes it easier to board. I wish the bolster on the Forsa was adjustable or removeable as I find it cramped. I also find the Forsa is much more susceptible to side winds. However, price notwithstanding, you can’t make a mistake with either of these: they are super fun, practical, and well crafted, and will make you start to see some of the shortcomings of traditional motorcycles if you want to ride and commute on a daily basis.

      • Douglas

        I had the bolster on my SilverWing redone by a local seat guy, took about 1.5″ of foam out and put in a thin layer in and recovered. Now I have just enuf stretch for a 100 mi jaunt in relative comfort.

  • AM

    Troy, you definitely need to ride the Yamaha TMAX. The Vespa can only dream to be a TMAX.

    • Douglas

      Well, the TMax is a class above this (over 500cc), don’t think Piaggio imports anything that size, except the 3 wheelers. But the T is a great scoot, close to the dearly departed SilverWing.

  • Buzz

    The Vespa is on my list. I bought a used Yamaha Vino 125 a few years ago. I’ve used it enough to know I’d like a little more power for the hills around here. I’ll eventually find a used Vespa with all the goodies on it. Gotta wait till the kid moves out through. He’s already crashed my Vino.

  • GodWhomIsMike

    $6600 to spend on a scooter is way too much money, unless you’re living in the city with a really nice job. Can we have a winner of the ‘scooters people can actually afford?’