Recently I was in the stunning capital city of Austria, Vienna. What struck me, apart from the profusion of stunning historically significant buildings in this imposing location was just how many people choose to get around on scooters. I saw this more of a ‘Mediterranean’ mode of transport that this part of Europe, but nonetheless scooters abounded, generally well ridden by smart young things. The most popular in this throng? The Vespa 300 GTS Super…So back home in Blighty I have arranged a ride on an example of this urban master to see what all the fuss is about.
Italian flair, in a very English setting
I am going to cut to the chase here, the GTS is an impressive little machine. Well screwed together and with a number of neat design touches. For a start it feels beautifully put together and solid. The pressed steel structure and the deep, lustrous paint. The green of my test example was probably a bit much for a conservative chap like me, but it certainly made the bike stand out! The chrome was deep, the seat substantial and well upholstered. Once under way the bike was an absolute doddle to ride. No gears to struggle with, the last Vespa I rode years ago had that curious combined clutch and twist thing going on, here you literally did just twist and go. The 300cc four stroke motor is surprisingly brisk off the mark, especially to 50 mph. That didn’t surprise me, but how well you could hustle down a country lane did. The GTS could hold a line and be thrown about with some verve, if you know what you are doing and are confident you could surprise a few folks! In town in traffic the Vespa is a demon partner for filtering and the reason for the popularity in crowded cities like Vienna now becomes abundantly clear. Add in all the practical attributes like built in storage under the seat for your lid, and a glove box and it is to see why the GTS is such a good urban partner. The GTS is fun, it has to be said. The brakes are strong too, just as well as the scooter can hit the national speed limit with ease. My only gripe is that the motor sounds a little underwhelming on the standard pipe, but I understand that a plethora of aftermarket options are out there to pep things up a bit.
What struck me is how the scooter captures the Italian spirit so well…stylish, cool, fun. In this respect it actually reminds me of my own Ducati S2R 1000. A totally different machine, but identical in that way. Capturing the very essence of Italy. I took the GTS back smitten with just how well it does what it is designed to do. Selling for around £5K, a significant sum, but what you get in return is a well made capable machine, with a host of tech unobtrusively doing their job, fuel injection, ABS and even a form of traction control. It is compliant with A2 licence too, so that’s all good.
Thanks to Phil and the team at Readspeed of Stourport-on -Severn for the loan of the GTS and an insight to the ‘other side’ of the two wheeled world.