Save gas with maximum class.
Vespa is synonymous with “scooter,” much the same way we say “Kleenex” instead of “facial tissue.” That bit of linguistic conquest is even more remarkable when you consider that from about 1983 until 2000, you couldn’t evenbuya new Vespa in the U.S. That changed when Vespa’s owner, Piaggio, introduced the ET2 and ET4. The ET2 was powered by a peppy two-stroke engine, but tightening emissions regulations prompted the LX50, with its air-cooled 49cc four-stroke Single.
The LX50 is full-size in every way except engine capacity. Like every Vespa built since the beginning back at the Pontadera factory in 1949, the LX uses a monocoque-style sheet-metal chassis. In the eyes of vintage scooter enthusiasts, that steel body adds credibility, but it makes the LX the heaviest in our comparison at a claimed 225 pounds dry. It also has a 30.5-inch seat height, which could be an obstacle for shorter riders.
The good news is that the full size makes for a roomy, practical machine. Its big leg shield provides plenty of wind protection, and the roomy under-seat stash compartment (with the best warning sticker ever: “No Pets”) can carry plenty of loot; a full-face helmet even fits. The LX has a large 2.3-gallon tank and its claimed 70-plus-mpg fuel efficiency means you can get around for a long time without having to worry about gas. When you do stop, take care: The front disc brake and rear drum are strong, sensitive types.
The LX looked good parked in my living room, with its bright red paint adding some color to an otherwise drab room. For $3299, though, it should double as furniture!