The Vespa Sprint certainly isn’t cheap, but it is an outstandingly well built and quality machine with a full metal body and respectable qualifications.
Most stylish Vespa in decades
Great fuel injected motor
All metal construction
Air cooled motor
The Sprint is Vespa’s sporty incarnation of the Primavera platform. It relies on all the main elements from the Primavera (frame, motor, body), while adding a number of bold design touches to achieve an edgier look. Arguably, the Sprint is the best looking machine from Vespa in decades. The Sprint went on sale in North American in May 2014 as an early 2015 model in the USA and Canada.
All the details on the Primavera platform are discussed in the Primavera section, so this article delves into attributes unique to the Sprint while providing a cursory refresher of the platform.
Vespa began offering the Sprint 50 and 150 in North America for 2015 and both sizes remain on sale as of 2017.
Vespa did skip the 2016 model year of the Sprint 150 in Canada, but this model returned the next year. In the USA, Vespa added a sporter Sprint S 150 model starting in 2016 that features a unique ribbed seat, black rims and black side striping on top of the unique titanium color for an extra $100. These models also remain on sale in the USA for 2017.
Back in 2008 Vespa introduced the Vespa S, which was a sportier version of their LX generation of small frame best known for its rectangular headlight. The Sprint revisits this sports concept for the Primavera generation. The most noticeable change is the handsome trapezoidal headlight, which replaces the bulbous Primavera front lamp. This lens sets the tone for the entire machine and gives it a more mature and aggressive expression. Vespa fitted restyled mirrors with an edgier shape than the regular Primavera mirrors to complement the new headlight design.
Another conspicuous change is the alloy rims, which grow from 11” to 12” to allow for sportier low profile rubber while keeping total wheel size similar. The 14 spoke style of these new rims is outstanding compared to the standard rims on the Primavera. On most versions of the Sprint these rims are a natural alloy color, but Vespa has created some versions of the Sprint with blacked out rims that look great with a light colored body.
Other changes include a new seat which has been reshaped and fitted with accent color edging. Vespa also added red accents to the Sprint including red shock coils and red edging on the front grill. The red coil springs look great against the black and chrome background of the suspension area, while the red front grill accents look good with some body colors but seem a bit out of place next to some others (i.e. blue).
Vespa also extended the red accents to the instrument cluster. Unlike the Vespa S, the new Sprint doesn’t get an entirely new gauge setup but instead adds red flare to the regular Primavera instruments. The small LCD screen has been converted from blue backlighting to red, while the speedometer gains a red needle and script. Also new is a small wind deflector above the speedometer, which helps to keep rain off the gauges and looks pretty handsome in black.
The final note worthy change is the switch from a continuous passenger grab rail around the back of the seat, to separate chrome handles on either side of the seat. Functionally it’s a trivial change, but aesthetically it adds to the sporty look.
Vespa has also prepared a number of accessories for the Sprint, which include blacked out rims, racing stripe decals, solo seat, rear case and windscreen.
The Sprint uses the same mechanical underpinnings as the Primavera, so buyers face the same choice between 50cc and 155cc motors. The 50cc motor is a nice 4-stroke that also has been used to power the previous generation of LX and S models. It’s a carburated 4-valve air cooled motor that puts out a peak of 4.6 HP way up at 9500 RPM. This translates to a decent top speed of 40 mph (64km/hr). Overall it’s a nice reliable motor with no real downsides other inferior fuel milage compared with fuel injected 50’s.
The larger 155cc motor is the latest incarnation of Piaggio’s LEADER motor. This motor has been heavily overhauled for the new Sprint/Primavera generation with the move to a 3-valve head and fuel injection. This motor makes a healthy 12.7 HP which achieves 60mph with ease and wanders to 65 mph. With this motor the Sprint really comes alive, as the motor provides a capable match for the high quality brakes and suspension.
Brakes / Suspension / Handling
The Sprint uses a large 200mm disc up front for the brunt of the stopping, while a 140mm drum brake handles stopping duties in the back end. This rear drum is sized up from 110mm in the previous generation of Vespa small frame, which was made possible with the switch to larger wheels
The Sprint’s suspension is also shared with the Primavera. A single sided front suspension delivers 3 inches of travel up front, while a solo rear shock provides 2.7” in the back. This suspension layout is very typical for Vespa and works well. The Sprint has slightly improved handling over the Primavera due to its larger 12” rims (vs. 11”) which allow for lower profile rubber. This setup drops the unsprung wheel weight which improves suspension feel, but it is also loses some of the shock absorption provided by thicker tires.
Vespa is equipping the Vespa Sprint 150 with standard ABS and traction control systems similar to those used in the 946. This raises the normal $100 premium for the Sprint over the Primavera to $300, which is quite reasonable for ABS and traction control. The smaller Sprint 50 model does not receive ABS.
Storage & Convenience
In the previous generation of Vespa smallframe, the sportier Vespa S was equipped with open gear storage in the legshield instead of an enclosed glovebox. The time around the Sprint uses the same storage layout as the Primavera. The glovebox doesn’t look quite as cool as open storage, but it’s certainly a lot more usable. Underseat storage is also good in the Sprint, as Vespa has managed to squeeze out at extra 15% of underseat storage space compared to the previous generation.
The handsome Sprint occupies a unique niche in the scooter landscape. Most classically styled scooters on the market lack the more aggressive look of the Vespa Sprint and generally target the value segment (ie. Kymco Like 50 / 200, Yamaha Vino 50, Honda Metropolitan). The Vespa Sprint certainly isn’t cheap at $3699 for the 50cc and $5199 for the 155cc ($3995/$5395 in Canada), but it is an outstandingly well built and quality machine with a full metal body and respectable qualifications. For most buyers, the main choice will be between the Primavera and the Sprint. Under the skin they’re identical machines except for ABS on the Sprint 150, so the decision is mostly a stylistic one. Buyers with deeper pockets may also want to consider Vespa’s flagship 946 model. The 946 doubles the MSRP of the Sprint, but adds traction control and numerous hand built luxuries.