New Bike Guide

The latest guide to all new UK Motorcycles and Scooters is now available here



The GTS 250 looking at homeRoad test and photos by Ian ‘Iggy’ Grainger

The Vespa name is as iconic as the Ducati brand in its native Italy and for almost sixty years they’ve been ridden by millions of people around the world. The geared PX 125 and 150cc models are still going strong and their larger sibling, the PX200, was still selling well until recent euro legislation killed it off. A couple of years ago Piaggio launched the Vespa GT 125 and 200 range, equipped with an automatic four stroke liquid cooled engine and that all important metal monocoque chassis which is the defining feature of the Vespa brand. The GT range not only looks as stylish as the earlier models but its been brought bang up to date with the addition of top quality disc brakes and a four stroke automatic engine.

The GTS 250ie

Following on from the success of the Vespa GT, Italian giants Piaggio have recently launched the Vespa GTS 250ie. The GTS looks pretty similar to the GT but has a few minor styling differences that help to set it apart. The rear light, mudguard crest, front horncasting light and the chrome folding rear rack are some of the most obvious changes. The GTS also boasts a neat digital display which houses a clock, fuel gauge, temperature and rev counter alongside the analogue speedo with its distinctive white fascia. Probably the most significant change though is the all new 250cc fuel injected engine which Piaggio claim produces 22hp and which makes it the fastest Vespa to ever come off the production line.

Clocks are clear and informativeThe GTS in its sparkling silver livery arrived a couple of weeks ago and since then I’ve put around 1000 miles on the clock. I’ve taken it to Holland for the weekend, two up with camping gear and luggage safely stowed on the rear rack. I’ve also been for some fast blasts through the Derbyshire Peak District and the machine handles like no scooter you’ve ever ridden. Gone are the wobbles and instability caused by the ten inch wheels and dodgy suspension older Vespas were equipped with. The Vespa GTS surpassed my expectations of it. The scoot is fitted with 12” wheels shod with Sava tyres, powerful Grimeca disc brakes, front and rear which offer plenty of feedback to the rider and will stop you sharpish with a satisfying hiss from the callipers. The front single sided fork and twin rear shockers are also more than up to the job and help to keep the Vespa planted on even the bumpiest pothole strewn British roads. I had the opportunity to take the scoot for a few laps of Mallory Park and I couldn’t fault the way it handled the track, nothing I could do would upset the machine. It’s a quality ride, through and through.

So how fast’s it go Mister? Remember that this is only a four stroke single cylinder engine so don’t be expecting miracles, especially if you’re more accustomed to riding a superbike, but the GTS will beat most cars away from the lights and pull cleanly throughout the rev range, thanks to its torquey motor and the fuel injection. The scoot will soon reach 65mph then gradually it will creep up to show 80mph on the clock. The best speed I recorded on the digital display was 87mph but I’m not sure how accurate the speedo is and I’d say that 80mph is a more realistic figure. The good thing about an automatic engine though is that they are so easy to use, simply twist and go! Auto’s really make light work of long journeys, meaning you’ll arrive at your destination feeling refreshed rather than cramped and fatigued like you would after a long journey by bike. Most scooters may not have three figure top speeds at their disposal but they are still great fun to ride and what they lack in horsepower they more than make up for in style and practicality. The GTS is quite an economical machine too, as you’d probably expect. The tank range is good enough to let you cover 100 miles of fast two up riding before the fuel light begins to glow and even then it’ll only swallow £6.50 worth of unleaded so it’ll hardly break the bank.

Threatening lap records at a roundabout near you...Storage space is very good on the Vespa, press the button located near the ignition key and the comfy dual seat will open allowing you to stash quite a bit of gear in the space below (the petrol filler is located under the seat as well). The underseat storage area wasn’t quite big enough to take my Arai lid but I managed to stow a set of waterproofs and my camera gear in there. The ‘retro’ chrome back carrier and grab rail is a useful addition, I bungeed the luggage for two of us on there then put a set of panniers on for the sleeping bags and the rest of our gear. The Vespa also has a small glove compartment and when I say small that’s what I mean – ‘cos you’ll only fit a pair of small gloves in there! There is also a hook located near the glovebox which allows you to hang a bag so you can take as much stuff with you as you like which keeps the missus happy! Pillion comfort is second to none, the large well padded seat, flip out alloy foot pegs and grab rail make it more likely that you’ll get to your destination without any grief from your passenger – which is always a bonus.

The GTS 250ie comes with a two year Piaggio warranty, one year roadside assistance cover and its available in three colour option, silver, red and black. The scooter is fitted with a factory fitted engine immobiliser and also has a steel security loop for you to attach a chain. The current on the road price is £3249 and if you’ve never ridden a modern automatic scooter I suggest you beg your local dealer for a test ride. I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Again looking right at home.

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