The Vespa brand enjoys a history in India, as erstwhile collaborators with LML making geared scooters that were popular at one time. Like all good things however, the LML JV was dismantled in 1999, Piaggio having setting up a spanking new manufacturing unit at Baramati in 2007.
Piaggios first scooter here, the LX 125 is set to launch on schedule later this month. The Vespa LX 125 is an automatic, retro looking scooter, paying tribute to the original 1946 Vespa with retro styling. It�s a compact vehicle, with plenty of rounded curves & a cute, headlamp, flanked by chrome rear view mirrors. The front apron sports a centre cowl, reminding of scooters from the past, apart from a chrome grille that houses the horn. The front apron is otherwise clean & smooth, incorporating a set of tall, rectangular indicators. An angular front mudguard guards the front suspension & five spoke alloys.
The LX employs a rounded instruments cluster with a speedometer, fuel gauge, low fuel warning light, tell tale lights & a digital clock. Switchgear looks modern. Inside the apron sits a petite glove box, capable of gobbling up a few knick knacks. There�s a ridged footboard below. The seat seems wide, & should provide comfort for both, riders & their pillion. A large under seat storage bay is present. Behind the seat sits a functional looking grab handle, while the LX 125 rear end is smartly contoured, retro but simple with an edgy stop lamp & turn indicators. Its all metal body should endure the LX 125 with robustness, as opposed to most Indian plastic body scooters of today. Fit finish & quality on the scooters to leave Baramati remains a question mark.
The LX 125 for India will deploy a 124cc, four stroke, fuel injected, air cooled single cylinder engine. 125cc is a favourite displacement for Vespas, the famous firm having often given their vehicles similar capacity engines over six decades. Peak power output is 10.7bhp at 8250rpm, while maximum torque produced at 6500rpm is 0.97kgm. An automatic CVT transmission, coupled with decent power & torque should endure the LX 125 with ample performance & convenience in Indian traffic conditions.
The scooter uses a load bearing steel chassis with welded structural supports holding its engine in place. Front suspension is a single side, linked arm with hydraulic shock absorber & coil spring, while at rear sits a hydraulic monoshock. The LX 125 uses a purposeful 200mm front disc brake, with a conventional 110mm drum behind.
Pricing is yet to be announced, & shall hold the keys to the LX 125�s success in India. Indication point at premium positioning, so expect the LX 125 to cost a bit more than its competition. Has the Indian scooter market evolved enough to accept a premium scooter like this? Are Indians prepared to shell out the extra buck it takes to make lifestyle statements aboard scooters?