Best Scooter of 2019: Vespa GTS 300 HPE

Vespa GTS 300 HPE

Who would’ve thought the Scooter category would be the one to tear apart our once happy and cohesive team, leaving it in tattered shreds of its former glory. Sometimes it’s up to the youngest and brightest to stand up to the old guard to bring to light what is honest and true. [Easy there, Sparky. —Ed.] And that, in this case, is bestowing the 2020 Vespa GTS 300 HPE platform with Motorcycle.com’s Scooter of the Year award.

The latest Vespa GTS to come out of Pontedera brings with it a host of upgrades. For starters, the new HPE (High Performance Engine) is a ripper. Vespa claims maximum power comes in at 23.8 hp at 8,250 rpm, which translates into a 12% increase, while maximum torque is just over 19 lb-ft at 5,250 rpm, an 18% increase. The engine is peppy and lively while delivering enough torque from a standstill to easily turn traffic into a mere memory in your rearview. Styling updates come by way of new LED front headlight and rear lights, while the new front section features a redesigned shield. Also new is the shape of the handlebar, the chrome crest of the front mudguard, the rear-view mirrors, the side panels and engine covers as well as the grills on either of the shield which share a honeycomb design. To top it off, a new seat has been added for greater rider and passenger comfort. The new GTS 300 HPE platform also includes traction control as well as other technology such as Bluetooth connectivity and TFT display found on the SuperTech trim package.

With these updates, the Vespa GTS 300 HPE platform makes its way to the top step in this year’s Motorcycle.com’s Best Scooter category.


Best Scooter of 2019 Runner-Up: Yamaha XMAX

Well, there was some discussion of putting Honda’s reborn Super Cub here, being as it’s the world’s best-selling vehicle of all time and all, but any scooter without storage isn’t really even a scooter in our book, is it? Honda feels the same way: It doesn’t categorize the Super Cub as a scooter, but lists it under “miniMOTO”.

Nay, the whole point of the scooter is to serve as not just personal transportation but also as a small cargo hauler. The whole point is to escape the tyranny of the backpack and the bungeed-on milk crate by providing a lockable place to stash your stuff out of sight. The Yamaha XMAX isn’t all that new, but it was new to the US market in 2018, following the deportation of big brother TMAX. The TMAX was a maxi-scooter and sold for around $11,000. The XMAX makes do with a 292 cc single, but that’s still enough to scoot around town with speed to burn, and the X will still crank up to an indicated 94 mph on the freeway, where it remains perfectly stable on its 15- and 14-inch wheels.

For nearly half the price of the TMAX, the $5,599 XMAX is about 80% as good a scooter and 99% as much fun; it’s also 110% as practical as the TMAX, thanks to there being 19% less of it by weight, and it getting 70 mpg. Every urbanite needs one of these for getting to work, getting to school, popping by the grocery store on the way home, running round to the hardware store, taking the cat to the vet, thumbing nose at society – all while leaving the gas guzzler parked… it’s sad that so many of us haven’t discovered it yet.


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