VESPA SPRINT ARRIVES IN MAY
NEW VESPA SPRINT REPLACES THE VESPA S
Vespa has wasted no time in announcing the Sprint as a sporty derivative of their new Primavera platform. The recently unveiled Vespa Sprint will be sold alongside the Primavera in the USA and Canada, much like the Vespa LX and S duo of the previous small frame Vespa generation.
Vespa is introducing the Sprint in both 50cc and 155cc versions in the USA, while Vespa Canada thus far has only announced the 155cc. Vespa Canada has announced standard ABS, while Vespa USA hasn’t released all the details but the price implies ABS will standard on the Sprint 155.
The Sprint is mechanically identical to the Primavera, but achieves a mature look with the trapezoidal headlight, new mirrors and larger 14 spoke 12” rims with low profile rubber. The Vespa Sprint also uses a number of red accents including on the coil springs and glowing red upper edges on the front vents. The Sprint shares the same instrument panel as the Primavera, but with a switch to red backlighting and red speedometer needle. Vespa has also created a number of sportier accessories for the Sprint including blacked out rims, racing stripe decals and a solo seat (shown below left).
Vespa has talked about a new instrument panel for the North American market, much like the departing Vespa S which used different gauges than the LX. However thus far we haven’t seen any new gauge layouts and the Sprint is scheduled to go on sale in the USA mid-May and is set to be arriving in Canada this month, so it additional changes look unlikely.
When it arrives, the Sprint will be available in both 50cc and 155cc versions as early 2015 models. USA Pricing for the Sprint 50 is similar to the Primavera at $3699 (50), while the 155 is up $400 at $5099 which likely accounts for standard ABS. Vespa Canada is listing the price at $5295, which definitely includes ABS. Canadian colors are Yellow (Giallo Positano) and Shiny Black. No word yet on USA colors. Check out the Sprint page for full details.
NEW HONDA PCX + HONDA FORZA TAKES SCOOTER OF THE YEAR
CAN HONDA WIN IT THREE YEARS IN A ROW WITH THE NEW 2015 PCX150?
Honda’s 2014 Forza claimed the title of 2014 MSG Scooter of the Year in the readers poll, with a healthy 36% of the vote, beating Suzuki’s new Burgman 200 at 22%. The new Forza is indeed a well engineered and sharp looking machine. It also helps that the Forza lands right in one of the hottest scooter segments right now: 200-400cc maxi’s. Just 2 of the 7 new scooters for 2014 are small maxi’s, yet they collected a huge 58% of the vote. That reveals just how popular these new affordable and fuel sipping pseudo-maxi’s are. Compare that to the three 50cc models that are new for 2014, which collectively nabbed only 18% of the vote. Times sure have changed.
This win by the Forza makes it two years in a row for Honda, who nabbed the readers pick a year ago with the revised PCX150 capturing a dominating 41% of the vote. Now Honda will have a chance at making it three years in a row with a new 2015 PCX150 that was just announced for the USA and Canada.
The new 2015 PCX150 (below) resembles the bigger Forza more than before and will be available in July wearing Metallic Black or Pearl White in the USA. No you can’t have the wonderful grey below, but you can have Candy Noble Red or the classy Bright Bronze Metallic (think mahogany) if you’re in Canada. This iteration of the PCX is heavily overhauled but not entirely new. In short, it’s a new body and a tweaked motor packed around the same frame. The updates are plentiful and noteworthy however. Besides the new styling, there a big increase in glovebox storage in the legshield with a 12V charge port inside. There’s also an extra half gallon or 2 liter boost to the fuel tank capacity. This new 2.1 gallon tank in combination with efficiency improvements (reduced engine friction, faster rolling tires) pushes the PCX150’s range beyond 200 miles. Other new features include all LED lighting, a clock and a hazard lighting button on the dash. The LED lighting reduces power demand which of course is a good thing since there are 720 watts in a horsepower. This means the conversion of the headlights to LED’s frees up a solid 0.1 horsepower for other uses like smoky burnouts. There’s also a new seat that opens via a loaded spring and is claimed to be much more comfortable. The previous seat on the previous PCX150 was widely criticized, so hopefully the new saddle is much better.
Powering the 2015 PCX150 is the same core motor, but tweaked to deliver an extra 0.4 ponies. The grand total is now 13.4, which equates to a 3% rise. Unfortunately Honda has again nixed the idle stop feature from the North American market. There does seem to be a new catalytic converter in the 2015 model and a trio of new bearings in the final drive that minimizes transmission drag. For all the tech details check out the press release, but be aware quite a bit of the engine tech claims were actually new for the 2013 model (ie. offset cylinder, spiny cylinder) and they’re being re-hashed.
The price tag for 2015 remains unchanged at $3449 in the USA. No word yet on Canadian pricing. Check out the PCX150 page for all the details.
APRILIA AXES THE SCARABEO & SPORTCITY
APRILIA THINS 2014 LINE TO JUST SR50 & SR MOTARD 50
If you’re after a 50cc, Aprilia’s got two great 2014 models to sell you. If you’re after a more substantial scooter you’ll need to look elsewhere. That’s the outcome of Aprilia’s recent move to drop all their scooters over 50cc.
From 1999 to 2013, scooterists could always purchase at least one large wheeled Scarabeo model (right) from Aprilia, with versions ranging from 50cc to 500cc over this impressive 15 year run. In recent years the Italian maker has fielded a three model Scarabeo line with 100cc, 200cc and 500cc machines. That has all changed for 2014, with this trio of Scarabeos’ getting a unceremonious deletion from Aprilia’s USA and Canadian websites.
A similar fate also befell their SportCity line (below), which previously filled the niche for sporty scooters at an affordable price. The large SportCity Cube 250 model has been dropped outright, while the smaller SportCity One design has been replaced with the newer SR Motard model. The SR Motard utilizes the same frame and quite a few components, but thus far only the 50cc version of the SR Motard is being offered in America, which means buyers looking for a 125cc model will need to look elsewhere.
As a member of the Piaggio Group, the recent trimming of Aprilia’s line is likely part of a broader strategy. In Canada this new strategy is pretty clear: stop selling mid sized scooters. In addition to the truncation of Aprilia’s 2014 line, Piaggio Canada isn’t offering their Fly or Typhoon models with a
motor bigger than 50cc and even Vespa only offers their 946 in the midsized segment, although the introduction of the Primavera may change that. Currently the 946 is the lone Canadian machine between Piaggio’s 50cc offerings and their full speed Vespa GTS300 and Piaggio BV 350 models.
Thankfully the situation is less bleak in America. Piaggio is reducing overlap and competition within their brands by prioritizing models sold under the Piaggio name plate, while still competing in all segments. In recent years Piaggio added a version of the SR Motard called the Typhoon in both 50cc and 125cc sizes (which makes it surprising the SR Motard 50 has been introduced at all for 2014). The cancellation of the Scarabeo and SportCity Cube 250 models is disappointing, but Piaggio does have the Fly 150 to stand in for the Scarabeo 100/200, and Piaggio’s new BV350 is an outstanding machine that is a better purchase than the SportCity Cube 250 and Scarabeo 500 anyways.
The move to Aprilia’s emaciated scooter line is unfortunate, but the withdrawn models were aging designs and there may be a silver lining. By reducing overlap between their divisions in the mid-sized segment, Piaggio may find room to re-enter the maxi segment. This move might free up the capitol to bring in Aprilia’s promised SRV850 super maxi, or perhaps Piaggio’s X10 highway cruiser.
VESPA's PRIMAVERA 50 / 150 NEARLY READY FOR LAUNCH
VESPA’S THIRD GENERATION MODERN SMALL FRAME HEADED FOR USA, CANADA
Vespa’s most important model in years, the Primavera, is poised to hit North American showrooms this spring as a 2015 model. The Primavera is thought to be the eventual successor to Vespa’s top selling LX and S series of small framed scooters.
The new Primavera is clearly inspired by Vespa’s flagship 946 model, but it makes this new style accessible to most scooter enthusiasts with a price tag around half. USA pricing has yet to be announced, but look for an MSRP around $3800 (50cc) and $4800 (150cc). While more expensive that most machines, these prices will be about half that of the 946. In Canada the MSRP’s are $3895 and $4995 (50cc and 150cc respectively).
Vespa is making the Primavera available to the USA and Canada with either a 50cc or 150cc 4-stroke. The smaller motor option is the same Hi-PER4 motor as the LX50, while the Primavera 150 gets the latest iteration of Piaggio’s mid sized motor which is a fuel injected 3-valve motor with 12.7 HP. This motor is up 0.7 HP over the LX150, which means a top speed of at least 65 mph and a nice boost in milage as well to about 80 mpg.
The Primavera brings a number of new features besdies the updated 150cc motor and completely new body. Most notably, Vespa has moved to a larger 11” rear wheel, upsized the rear drum brake, added tasteful new rims, LED lights front and rear and created a tasteful new instrumentation cluster with an analog speedometer and a larger digital display that reads time, fuel and odometer including trip odometer.
The full details on the new Primavera can be found here. Look for this scooter to launch in the April - June window across the USA and Canada.