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VESPA LT 125 3v: History On Wheels

Vespa9The iconic noise of the two stroke engine and the retro styling of the handful of (classic) Vespas in Nepal have been the focus of craning necks and yearning desire of youngsters, hipsters and enthusiasts alike. Made popular by famous names of the Western pop culture, Vespa scooters have stood their ground right from the 50’s. It was a symbol of freedom, rebellion and held a lot of culture. So, it didn’t take much effort on the part of Vespa to become the ultimate scooter to own; even here in Nepal. However, not everyone had the luxury of owning a Vespa scooter. They weren’t readily available and the ones that were available had a hefty price tag for a second hand machine that consumed an exorbitant amount of fuel and had spare part availability issues. Just for the sake of it, some resorted to make do with a Bajaj Chetak. Still not a Vespa though.Vespa5

People made peace with the fact that they might not be able to own a Vespa anytime soon, and so the scooter market grew. A plethora of options flooded the scooter segment, yet almost every product looked and performed like the other. For the majority of the people, the Vespa appeared to be just a missed piece of history. Until now…

The iconic Vespa has finally come to Nepal thanks to Anna Business Group. Be it for the Italian heritage, culture, the retro styling, or the demands of being hip in terms of pop culture the Vespa scooter receives due attention. We don’t see ourselves as a bunch who’d be excited to test ride a scooter, but the opportunity to try out the Vespa had us reaching for our tightest pair of trousers, most fitting brightly colored shirts and retro shades.Vespa4

STYLING

Without a doubt, the Vespa LT 125 3V stands out from the abundance of scooters in the streets of Nepal. There probably isn’t any other scooter that turns as many heads as this does, in fact, turning heads on a scooter was a first for us.Vespa3Italians have always been obsessed in perfecting their automobile designs and it is no different with the It is offered in Nero Vulcano, Taormina, Rosso, all colors that demand attention. They have been successful in retaining the retro look to a large extent by resorting to the clean timeless design. It is also the only brand that uses an all-steel monocoque construction, which ensures good quality.AL-v-4-i-2-Tata-Zest-177

Everything from the round headlamps, large round mirrors, the bulge on the side as well as the generous use of chrome help in giving the Vespa its unique retro style. The end of the handle grip and the front mudguard also has a chrome garnish with the Vespa emblem embossed on it. The grab rail that extends through the curved rear is also unique and surprisingly practical, and also chrome. The front apron does have a Piaggio logo that we wouldn’t have missed, but all other styling elements are spot on.Vespa1Triangular shaped designs are used on the alloy wheels, the front of which has a disc brake. The speedometer has a modern touch to it, which is thanks to the carbon-finish background with the speedometer placed in the middle. The dials are ambitiously marked all the way to 120 km/h. There is also a digital clock on the speedometer and buttons to adjust the time.AL-v-4-i-2-Tata-Zest-179Switch gears are the usual solitary indicator for left and right and high beam. However, it takes some time getting used to its placements as you tend to feel your hands straining to operate them at first.AL-v-4-i-2-Tata-Zest-178

There are lots of storage spaces with a lockable glove box behind the front apron and underseat storage is good enough for an open face helmet. Just. You will also notice that the seating position is very high and shorter riders might need to scoot forward on the narrow seat.

PERFORMANCE

Ride quality is really good and the Vespa readily ventures onto roads that are ride-able on scooters. You get used to the riding position fairly quickly. What isn’t really quick is the scooter itself. The 125cc, three-valve engine makes 10.06PS and 10.6Nm which isn’t going to appease the performance freak. But, then again, that’s not what you look for in a Vespa. Nevertheless, a little more power wouldn’t have hurt. You only begin to feel satisfied after it crosses the 35-45km/h mark. That’s when it begins to hit its stride. Vibrations are evidently present up until you reach a steady speed.Vespa8

The LT 125 3V doesn’t score very high when it comes to stopping capabilities. The disc brakes in the front don’t offer as much bite as they appear to promise. Coming to a halt isn’t a brisk affair and it could have used some improvement.Maneuvering in traffic and around corners is good fun and is up to par with its competitors in the segment.

Its low ground clearance was also of nuisance at times. When putting it on the side stand, you have to be careful and make sure you’re parking on a flat surface. The side stand insists on keeping the scooter slightly upright and finding the wrong angled slope can cause it to topple over.Vespa6VERDICT

Before you even think about getting a Vespa, you need to understand that it isn’t just a scooter but a life style product. Then only will you be able to justify the steep pricing. Although it stands up to other scooters in the segment, is the Vespa LT 125 3V an extraordinary performer? No. Is it a sensible buy if you’re looking for value for money? No. But the Vespa isn’t targeted for the performance hungry or the economy conscious.Vespa2

What it is is a piece of missed history that the modern people can enjoy today. The strong performance, stylish looks and Vespa name are enough to lure buyers to get the LT 125 3V. It is probably the only way to turn heads on a commercially available scooter in Nepal.

However, when it’s all said and done, the price tag still is a huge factor. It would take a very committed enthusiast to look past the run of the mill performance and be taken aback enough by the styling and cultural heritage to buy a scooter at a cost that could get you a decent enough motorcycles like the Pulsar 200NS or even a Karizma ZMR DDS. With money left to spare. But of course, this is a Vespa.

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