Beaut scootin’ time

The scooter mar­ket’s grow­ing and so is the Ital­ians’ share

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Two Wheels -

AS IT rounds out the Pi­ag­gio and Vespa ranges, PS Im­porters has a maxi-scooter as the big item on its wish-list.

Pi­ag­gio had the top-sell­ing scooter last year with the 150cc Fly and the 2012 model will go on sale in July with fuel in­jec­tion in place of car­bu­ret­tors, im­mo­biliser, more un­der-seat stor­age and a halo­gen lamp for $3290.

Spend an­other $200 and the big­ger-wheeled Lib­erty 150ie irons out the big­ger bumps, mak­ing it a smart choice for riders who deal with bad roads on the daily com­mute.

The Pi­ag­gio range is the mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Vespa scooter.

Prices will run from $1790 for a 50cc in­ner-city run­about that strug­gles to do more than 70km/h to $10,990 for a 500cc three-wheeler that will em­bar­rass sports bikes over rough roads in the wet.

The 10 mod­els on sale here are priced from $3990 to $9490. The Ital­ian-built Vespa range is as fa­mous for re­sale val­ues as for clas­sic lines.

One scooter prov­ing a hit with the rental and younger crowd is the Pi­ag­gio Typhoon, with 50cc and 125cc mod­els.

The rugged-look­ing scooter has chunky treaded tyres and sports mil­i­tary-style lo­gos. These give it street cred in the city— if you plan to ride into the ’ burbs, opt for the 125cc or a sound­track of car horns will urge you to get out of the way.

A quick ride of the range shows the lat­est ver­sions are as sim­ple to use and as sta­ble as ever.

The Ves­pas have the re­as­sur­ance of those solid me­tal fenders up front to pro­tect legs in an ac­ci­dent. It’s not much but it’s far bet­ter than plas­tic.

Both ranges make easy work of fil­ter­ing through peak hour queue to the front line at the lights. The low cen­tre of grav­ity and small di­am­e­ter rub­ber com­bine to make these as nim­ble as a star­tled rat and that can save your life in the ra­trace rush to and from work.

You need to get the 50cc mod­els off the line as quickly as self-preser­va­tion de­mands but the sta­ble­mates are more than ca­pa­ble of putting a gap on the cars be­fore the next lights.

The scooter mar­ket grew 8.8 per cent last year, with the Ves­pas and Pi­ag­gios tak­ing a pro­por­tion­ately larger chunk of that growth. The up­dated mod­els and broader fit­ment of fuel in­jec­tion should main­tain that growth.

Craig Duff

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