A new Italian scooter for the masses.
Still feeling the effects of the sharp decline in motorcycle sales following the worldwide financial crisis, the Piaggio Group—the largest motorcycle manufacturer in Europe, incorporating Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, Scarabeo and Vespa (Derbi and Gilera are irrelevant)—has retreated behind its traditional stronghold: scooters.
At EICMA, recent updates to the Aprilia RSV4 R ABS, RSV4 Factory ABS and Tuono V4 R ABS were noted, the Caponord 1200 received a Travel Pack (semi-active suspension, cruise control, hard luggage, and a centerstand) and Moto Guzzi fans, expecting to see a mockup of the new 1300cc V-twin, instead got a paint job on the V7 inspired by the legendary V7 Sport S3. That left the new Vespa Primavera as the true novelty of the show.
A smart choice for basic urban transportation, the Primavera replaces the LX, which was introduced in 2006. Styling was inspired by the aluminum-bodied 946, especially the rear quarters. A more rigid structure, along with subtly modified front suspension, though still a trailing-link type, mark a radical evolution in efficiency and ride quality.
The Primavera will be offered in three displacements: 50cc (two- or four-stroke), 125cc (11 hp), and 150cc (13 hp). Cooled by forced air, the larger powerplants feature an efficient thermodynamic section with three-valve induction. Manufactured at the new Piaggio plant in India, the engines run on a moderate compression ratio to burn without knocking, a side effect of local low-octane gasoline.
Chief project engineer Federico Martini (now also product strategies and development manager) confirmed this new three-valve thermodynamics is proving so efficient that development of liquid-cooled, high-compression ratio versions are under way that will offer even more performance and greater fuel efficiency. See, Vespa, that’s where Piaggio’s heart really beats.