I have ridden scooters before, having passed my test on a Honda NH80 Lead and had several rides on Vespa’s GTS model over the years. But I’d never ridden a geared 2-stroke scooter until yesterday. I had bought a Vespa PX150 without knowing if I would actually enjoy riding it. Madness? Some will say yes. A test-ride would have been the sensible thing, but I didn’t get the chance to do that. It was a scooter bought on faith from a dealer 100 miles away, which meant the first ride was always going to be an interesting experience.
Key in, ignition on, manual choke engaged and it started first kick – well I had to use the kick start didn’t I. But it wouldn’t hold revs and died. What the………oh yes, fuel-tap! The quirky details I love are also the first thing to catch me out.
The biggest thing to get used to was the hand-twist gear change, but it proved relatively easy to do, even if some of my changes were about as smooth as something that……….. wasn’t very smooth at all. I also engaged a false neutral between 2nd and 3rd several times. I will just have to tighten up my changing – give me a few weeks and they will be like Lurpak.
The over-riding memory of my first ride on the PX was that I had a perpetual smile on my face – it simply felt so good to be out on this machine. I was also pleasantly surprised to get quite a few nods from bikers who passed me – 1964 felt a long way away.
Some other things I noticed……..…… The 150cc engine easily cruised at 50mph and felt to have more in reserve. I am six foot tall but the riding position wasn’t too cramped – but as I only did 40 miles, I will test it on longer distances before delivering a conclusive answer on comfort. The 10 inch wheels did react to the road surface, but not in an alarming way – just in a ‘have to get used to it’ way.
The footbrake was more effective than I thought it would be, though was always applied in a controlled situation, when an emergency situation would probably highlight its flaws. The pods containing the switches for the indicators and headlight smack of cheapness, being formed from a rough plastic; they are functional but nothing else. I also love the space available for your feet on the Vespa’s floor, lots of options for where to put your feet; though I suspect it is going to be a squeeze with a pillion on board.
I wish I could give you a more technical report on my first ever ride on a 2-stroke geared Vespa, but I was too busy enjoying myself to take detailed notes. And that was absolutely the way it should have been.