Vespa Racing Sixties: Essentially, the 2020 SXL with an eye-grabbing paint scheme

 thehindu.com  09/17/2020 10:52:41  2

When you think of Vespas, the first thing that comes to mind is its effortless style. But what if you want more style and exclusivity?

In comes the new Vespa Racing Sixties. This scooter is essentially the 2020 Vespa SXL with a paint scheme that instantly grabs your attention.

Vespa says the theme was inspired by racing liveries from the Sixties. The white base colour has an attractive, pearlescent finish that gleams.

Adding contrast are the red and gold stripes on the front mudguard, apron, and on the side and rear panels. Completing the Sixties theme are the gold wheels that look attractive when in motion.

Vespa has finished the rim of the square LED headlamp, mirrors and exhaust muffler shield in matte black to stick to the scooters retro yet sporty appearance.

Underneath the bodywork, the 125cc version makes 9.93hp at 7,500rpm and 9.6Nm of torque at 5,500rpm; the 150cc Racing Sixties engine develops 10.4hp at 7,600rpm and 10.6Nm of torque at 5,500rpm.

The scooter we tested was the 150cc. In the transition from BS4 to BS6 norms, Piaggio has dropped the engine displacement of the 3-valve engine from 154.8cc to 149.5 cc; power is up by 0.20hp though peak torque is down from 10.9Nm to 10.6Nm.

Thumb the starter and the single cylinder, air-cooled, fuel-injected engine settles into a refined idle. Piaggio has done well to dampen vibrations and that holds true even as speed rises. The only letdown is that the motor has lost the sense of urgency that was present in the BS4 model. Nevertheless, only a proper test will reveal if there has been a significant impact on performance or not.

The Vespa Racing Sixties monocoque chassis inspires confidence around bends, thanks to the crystal clear feedback from the chassis.

The MRF tyres (110/70-11 front and 120/70-10 rear) offer sufficient grip as well. The trailing link suspension at the front and monoshock at the rear are also responsible for its planted manners, but there is no denying that this comes at the cost of ride quality to some extent.

The Vespa rides well over small and medium-sized potholes despite the slightly stiff rear. It thuds over deep craters, but the ride is acceptable for the most part.

The brakes are decent, but could do with more feel, especially at the front. The ABS system is not too intrusive. However, once it comes on, it stays for a while.

At 1.20 lakh for the 125cc variant and 1.32 lakh for the 150cc scooter, the Racing Sixties commands a 5,000-6,000 premium over the corresponding, standard Vespa SXL variants.

While the price gap is large for what is essentially the same scooter with a different paint scheme, buying a Vespa has always been a case of the heart winning over the head.

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