If you like the styling of both of these scooters then get the LX, because the 2 passenger seat and glovebox make this an easier scooter to live with.
Anti-theft microchip key
Below average mileage
Mediocre front brake
VESPA LX / S SERIES
The LX scooters were launched in North American in 2006 (LX is roman numerals for 60, and 2006 was the 60th anniversary of the Vespa), while the S was added two years later for 2008. Both models were sold through 2014 before being replaced by a new generation of small frame Vespa, the Primavera and Sprint.
When they were introduced, the LX scooters weren’t entirely new machines but rather they were heavily updated versions of their ET predecessors to stylistically resemble the larger Granturismo 200. The most significant change for this new generation beyond the styling was the introduction of a 4-stroke engine in the 50cc model rather than a 2-stroke engine found in the ET 50. Other noteworthy changes (vs. the ET) include a larger 11” front rim (instead of 10”) and a style that featured a wider rear end, a round (instead of oval) front headlight, nicer rims and integrated clear blinkers in the leg shield.
The LX 50 / 150 and LXV 150 were the first members of this generation of small framed Vespas. The LX models were the normal editions, with the LXV originally being a higher end 60th anniversary variant before becoming a regular member of Vespa’s line in the years since.
The square faced S 150 was added for 2008, with a smaller S 50 arriving for 2009. Both S models include different styling, no enclosed glovebox and a smaller sporty seat.
For the 2010 model year, the 150cc LX and S scooters received fuel injection and a corresponding ‘i.e’. suffix to their model name, which later became “IE”. At the same time, Vespa ditched the difficult to use and breakage prone kickstarter.
For 2013, Vespa added 50 and 150cc ’Sport SE’ versions of the S series. These special edition scooters added a ribbed seat, black paint and matte accents and checkered graphics for a small premium. The regular LX and S models also got small tweaks for 2013, with additional Vespa logo’s being added to the grips and floorboard and new instrumentation being added to the S. The LX 150 also got some tweaks to its gauges and both models received subtle style changes to the horn area.
For 2014, Vespa dropped all 150cc models from the Canadian market (LX 150, S 150, LXV 150) along with the Sport SE version of the S 50. This move was likely in preparation for the new generation of Vespa small frame, which arrived in April-June 2014 as early 2015 models. The remaining Canadian LX and S models, as well as all USA LX and S scooters, remained on sale through 2014 before being discontinued.
In the style department, the LX scooters were well received. Opinions of styling of the ET scooters was mixed from Vespa enthusiasts, while the LX received mostly positive reviews. Compared to the LX, the most noticeable difference with the S is the rectangular headlight. Other differences include altered dash instrumentation, chrome bits on the front panel and front fender, rectangle mirrors, a single riders seat and the disappearance of the glovebox and rear grab bar. The styling of the Vespa S had been popular, but the omission of a glovebox and the single occupant seat is a draw back for some. A dual rider seat is available as an aftermarket accessory. The S has two small cubby holes instead of the glovebox but these areas are not enclosed and aren’t useful for much besides carrying your baguette home from the deli (granted you do save $200 because the S lacks the glovebox).
The other scooter based on the LX frame is the LXV 150. This scooter was originally the 60th anniversary edition of the LX, but was popular enough to become a regular member of Vespa’s line. The premium LXV 150 is loaded with accessories and is oriented at the enthusiast market. For a significant premium over the regular LX, owner receive a gorgeous leather 2-piece seat, a handy chrome rear rack, a small windscreen and the exposed headlight. The leather seat is absolutely wonderful piece, but it’s also vulnerable to rain which makes it less ideal if you are using this scooter as your daily driver. Kudos to Vespa for caring enough to make this anniversary edition.
The LX scooters have tasteful instrumentation (left) with a digital clock (bottom), fuel gauge and quite a few indicator lights including a valuable oil pressure light. The fairly large glovebox is opened by pushing in the area where you insert the key. This is easy to use but it can be opened without the key which makes the area less secure. To prevent intruders, you need to need to turn the key to the lock position for the handlebars which also locks out the glovebox.
The Vespa S is equipped with even nicer gauges (below) which include a speedometer, fuel gauge, digital clock and several warning lights. The LX gauges lay protected behind a flat plastic panel whereas the S gauges are integrated into a beautiful chrome piece. The Vespa S wins the style award but the gauges are harder to clean and prone to collecting water. For 2013 Vespa remedied this somewhat with matte black gauges for the S that are less recessed.
One downside to the LX gauges are the blinker indicator lights. Having separate indicators for the left and right blinkers that are on opposite sides of the dash means it takes too long to check if you’ve left a blinker on. The audible blinker indicator isn’t loud enough to hear at moderate speeds and the indicator lights are fairly dim, so brief seconds it takes to visually check if you’ve left a blinker on can somewhat unsafe. One other quirk with the gauges is that the fuel gauge isn’t very accurate. The top half of the fuel gauge represents maybe 25% of the tank, so confidence in the bottom of the tank is required to get the full range out of this scooter.
The LX 150 shares the same engine as the departing ET4 150, while the 4-stroke LX 50 uses the same 50cc engine found in the ET4 50 (which wasn’t sold here as North America received the 2-stroke ET2 50). The Primavera and Sprint which replace the LX also use the same core motors but with some tweaks.
The motors in both the 50cc and 150cc versions of these scooters have evolved over the years. Despite starting off as pretty standard fare in the early years (Air cooled, 2-valve, carbureted singles), 2009 and later 50cc models get 4-valves and 2010 and later 150cc models get fuel injection which eases starting and offers a small fuel economy and power increase. It would be nice to see Vespa add liquid cooling, fuel injection (to the 50cc model) and 4-valves (to the 150cc models) to make these engines even more efficient ,but so far Vespa is reserving that technology for their large frame GT / GTS scooters.
Yamaha had been the leader in this area as they have equipped both of their 50cc 4-stroke scooters with all of this technology. That’s a big part of the reason why Yamaha’s Vino 50 gets an honest 100 mpg and these 50cc’s from Vespa can only achieve 70-80 mpg. The power of the 50cc engine is adequate. It’s not as peppy as a 2-stroke 50cc’s like the departed Vespa ET2 50 but it’s adequately powerful and can reach 39mph (62km/hr) eventually. This is inline with the other 4-stroke 50cc motors on the market, all of which offer adequate but uninspiring performance.
The larger 150cc versions of the LX and S scooters are capable of a claimed 95km/hr (59mph), which is actually somewhat conservative. An LX or S 150 can typically wander to 60-65mph. It’s easily faster off the line and on the top end than Yamaha’s Vino 125 and Zuma 125. Vespa’s engines have particularly nice growls to them that makes full throttle acceleration more fun, although it would be nice if they were a bit quieter at idle.
Fuel milage is on the lower side at a claimed 65-70 mpg. Observed fuel milage for a 150cc 2007 LX using a mix of highway and city driving was 60mpg, which is lower than most fuel injected competitors, but newer fuel injected models should post better figures closer to Vespa’s 65-70mpg claim. These scooters do have a nice large 2.3 gallon (8.6 liter) fuel tank, which gives an impressive range around 150 -175 miles.
In the braking, suspension and handling compartments, these Vespa scooters fair quite well. The front disc brake is a solid performer which makes the LX 50 and Vespa S 50 stand out in their classes. The larger Vespa’s also brakes decently but a front disc brake is pretty much standard in this class. These scooters utilize the same ‘trailing link’ front suspension setup as all Vespas have used and it continues to work pretty well. These Vespas also handle decently well despite their somewhat portly weight. The larger 11” front rim adds stability at higher speeds.
Brakes / Suspension / Handling
The Vespa’s handling is somewhat twitchy at high speeds (this is not an issue for the 50cc versions). This is due largely to the small wheels so I won’t chide Vespa too hard on this one. However, lowering the ride height by an inch or two would likely improve the handling somewhat and eliminate the top heavy sensation. The front disc brake is also lacking in overall power. Adequate braking power is available but it requires a surprisingly firm pull on the lever.
Storage & Convenience
On the practical side, the LX Vespa’s are great. The LX scooters have a large underseat storage area (which does get hot from the engine so don’t keep the ice cream here) and a decent glovebox. The glovebox is a great spot to keep your ownership and insurance papers and maybe your lunch too. It’s unfortunate that the S loses the glovebox because they are extremely useful.
All of these scooters do have an interesting grocery bag hook that extends out of the front of the seat. You can clip a couple bags of groceries here, but venturing on the highway with a load of produce swinging in the wind might be pushing it. All of these scooters also feature a microchip key to deter thieves, which is a pretty neat feature that you don’t find on other scooters. Just don’t lose the brown master key or you’ll be in for an expensive bill to re-program the system. The headlight used in these scooters is excellent and stands out from the competition.
In conclusion, if you like the styling of both of these scooters then get the LX because the 2 passenger seat and glovebox make this an easier scooter to live with. However, if you prefer the styling of the S then follow your heart because passion trumps practicality. Compared to other scooters, these Vespas set the bar in terms of fit and finish and high end features. However, some other scooters offer most of what these Vespas have at significantly lower prices. If you are in the 50cc market, other scooters worth checking out include Honda’s Metropolitan, Yamaha’s Vino and perhaps some Taiwan made scooters like PGO’s Metro and Kymco’s Compagno / New Sento 50 and Like 50. If you are looking for a 125-150cc scooter, also have a look at Yamaha’s Vino 125 and Kymco’s Compagno 110 and Like 200.