A New Look at an Old Face: Vespa PX150 1982 model

The Vespa

Some Quick Facts and History about the Vespa PX150:

  • The PX150 is one of the 138 different models from Vespa.
  • Vespa scooters were designed by Italian Aero Engineers who were out of business during World War II
  • It utilizes either a 150cc or 200cc Two stroke engine which is mounted on the right hand side
  • The Gear Shifters are on the Left Hand, Shifting from down to up (1,n,2,3,4)
  • In Singapore, The models that were registered before APXXXXX plate, are not required to have signal lights
  • The Vespa was produced in many different countries, namely Italy, Indonesia and India (under the name Bajaj)

The classic curves of the vespa PX150 are charming and elegant. I rode this scooter for 6 months on the busy streets of Singapore and even took it into Johor, Malaysia.

My trusty old friend.

My Trusty Old Friend

The small and nimble Vespa PX150 is great in a bustling city like Singapore. You could park it anywhere, squeeze through traffic and of course, you did not really have to worry about overheating, like with larger sports-bikes. The higher ride height also allows for popping up and dropping off curbs, which is handy when parking is scarce.

On to the aesthetics, the Italians, with Ducati, MV Agusta, Moto Guzzi, are always about the marriage of form and function. The Vespa is a perfect blend of form and function, its unrivaled beauty sets it apart from most scooters and the PX150 is no exception to that family line. This bike turns heads. Period. Ladies love the vespa for its comfort (well perching over a sportbike for an entire day could really mess up your back and arms); it is like sitting on a moving couch. Furthermore, the parts are easy to dismantle and paint. Also due to the heritage and lifestyle associated with the Vespa, where it was used in very artistic sub-cultures, one could paint it and build it up in any way imaginable and it still would not look ghastly! From using it as a workhorse to using it as a weekend showboating scooter, the vespa PX has a multitude of facades.

Now, its on to the performance. Well given its relatively small wheels (12 inches), the two stroke engine does wonders to pull the little bugger. I had mine totally stock and the initial acceleration from 0 – 30 km/h was relatively fast. However, do not expect the top speed to be high as the small ratio and the 4 gear gear-box would probably only take you up to about 110 km/h, which is of course more than fast enough for Singapore roads where the highest speed limit you would find is 90km/h. Don’t expect to be able to overtake traffic with much ease, as the Vespa rides as laid back as it looks.

The handling of the Vespa, that is where the surprise comes in. Most people would think that one would feel imbalanced with the engine planted right behind your right calf. I took it to some twisty roads in Johor and the scooter handled fine. Though, I had Battlax tyres fitted in for extra grip, I could easily get the scooter down in corners and get it to change direction just as easily. This was surprising and the punchy two stroke engine did its part in taking it through corners. Though to note, the Vespa may not often be the wisest choice for newbie riders due to the lack of tank between the legs and the small wheels. Braking was a delicate affair that had to factor in the drum brakes, the small diameter and width of the wheels and the overall body balance where many of my friends had learned the hard way when they locked up their wheels, or skidded. That said, I’ve popped wheelies and stoppies on the Vespa and it worked fine in those circumstances.

Serviceability, the Vespas aluminium bodywork was integrated with its frame. However, the aluminium was malleable and could be “beaten” back into shape if deformed. The engine? Simple and it costs much less to service, at least in the context of Singapore than most modern day motorbikes. The usual problems with the engine are similar to those of any two stroke engine, Spark Plug Fouling, Flooded Carburetors, Piston seating problems. However those problems are unlikely to occur, and the main problem to be worried about is the gear cable or clutch cable snapping. Even so, hey! they cost about SGD12 a piece. So that is not too bad.

That said, the Vespa is a magnificent piece of engineering, and one can easily see why it became an iconic bike, its unconventional looks, its practicality, functionality and also it is easy to modify. Thinking of buying a bike to go round town?

Perhaps maybe this timeless classic might serve you well.

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3 comments

    1. Thanks! The vespa is one of the most charming machines around even until today! Haha

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