Review: 2014 Vespa GTS 300 ie Touring - Cities and Fields Hornet
Posted at 02:00:00 PM
File under Product Review Vespa Scooters
Author: David Morcrette
Location: Paris, France
Since this is a translation directly from French, some of the colloquialism may seem a bit strange at times, for which I apologize. It's not easy to translate. Any mistakes below are mine, and mine alone.
Cities and Fields Hornet
What looks the most like a Vespa GTS? Another Vespa GTS! The formula seems to be stating the obvious but not so here insofar as the scooter is available as a 125 cc, 125 cc Sport but also a 300 cc! And honestly, there's nothing closer than these GTS versions, except the color. Indeed, all these models share the same frame and reinforced steel shell... but the 300 benefits of a single cylinder Quasar 4T with 4 valves, injection in the 278 cc cylinder against the 124 cc of its little brother.... for two times its price? And NO, since the 300 cc is only €400 more expensive .. just below the symbolic price of €5000. A good deal? Here is the review...
In the Vespa family, I ask for the GTS ... Touring .... 300! The GTS is indeed declined through no less than five models with the Super, Supersport in both 125 and 300 cc and the ultimate declination with the GTS 300 ie Touring.
The external bodywork remains exactly the same, down to the smallest details, from the shell, to the dashboard right up to the 12 inch wheels. We therefore find the 60's vintage look of the GTS and an elegant, pure Italian, line. We find again the whole Vespa history and overall tradition with a neat finish from beginning to end: from the Vespa logo on the grille and the central duplicated Piaggio logo on the front fender to the Vespa signed grips.
We find the typical headlight of the Vespa models, oblong and slightly inclined backwards, typical for Vespa and the usual floor - almost flat - with anti-slip rubber strips on which the feet find plenty of space. There is also the central hook behind the apron that allows hanging a huge bag. The metallic pillion footrests are extracted easily. The Touring model gets in addition a rear folding luggage rack and even rarer, a front luggage rack that can hold a weight of 4 kilos.
The saddle is more pronounced than the standard model with stitched seams and the rider is now protected by a medium sized windshield of and a fiercely sixties look.
At the rear, there is the large rectangular "Old School" headlight so characteristic for Vespa, framed by huge turn signals integrated into the metal shell and overlooking the Touring luggage rack.
In The Saddle
We find ourselves as naturally as usual on the Vespa models with an ideal spacing of the handgrips and a good straight right-up seating position. The feet are perched on the tip; the fault due to a 790 mm high saddle. Fortunately, the weight remains particularly contained to 148 kilos dry, the same as the 125 cc! So, the first impression gives a feeling of extreme lightness for a 300 cc. The front even seem particularly light, almost too mobile and floating.
Under your eyes, you find the traditional and simplified dashboard with a speedometer, fuel gauge, oil temperature gauge, trip odometer and a partial, not to mention the tiny digital clock. No frills here, but just the basics.
The 300 snorts with little more noise than the 125. A twist of the throttle immediately propels the scooter that reacts instantly. This was the case of the 125 cc, prompt to the slightest touch, but it is even here more exaggerated by the additional horsepower for the same weight, so a much better weight / power ratio.
For the 300 develops 22 horsepower against 14.9 for the 125 and these horses are available much lower at only 7500 rpm against 9750 rpm for the little brother. It would almost be unsettling especially since the steering is so light in comparison!
In The City
The 125 cc Sport was already pleasant in the city. Particularly lively, the 300 cc is a real pleasure, offering the same facilities in weight, handling as the little brother but clearly better in terms of power. So, you leave from a red light like a bullet and ride more aggressively with more speed to weave through traffic. Accelerations are frank and straightforward, responding instantly to the slightest touch of the throttle. Not much bigger, the GTS weaves everywhere perfectly and especially because the mirrors pass perfectly above those of the cars. The handling is there, with an excellent turning radius reinforced by the featherweight, which allows you to consider all sorts of maneuvers without dismounting, at the lowest speeds. And sometimes we find ourselves in perilous conditions, the scooter inciting to ride faster ... or worse.
Braking is pleasant with a good feeling and good power. If the two 220 mm discs were oversized for the 125, they are correct here for the 300. At the authorized speeds, they are more than sufficient. But at more unreasonable speeds and in case of an emergency, they are a tad short, especially in the absence of ABS and a handlebar that reacts significantly to hard braking.
On The Motorway
While the 125 arrived quickly to its maximum speed of around 100 kph, the 300 gains some 25 kph, capable of going faster than 135 kph on a flat surface, even more when on a small downhill. But in reality, you rarely go past the 120 kph, not for reasons of power, since the 300 easily climbs a hill at 120 kph, but because the windshield of the Touring model generates a slight unpleasant shimmy above this speed ... which will be further enhanced in case of wind. But in case of need and especially to pass a truck, you can widely and safely pass another vehicle without remaining hidden behind it.
On Secondary and Country Roads
With excellent acceleration and good speeds, even at 90 kph with a pillion, the GTS 300 is more at ease on the secondary roads, capable of envisaging a weekend with a pillion on smooth roads. With its dynamism offered by its displacement and power, you can lose points on your driving license (Ed: In France you lose license points for speeding). The GTS is pretty well stable but has a rather light steering. Suddenly, the big curves require a bit more attention and vigilance to take at a sustained pace and without the having the whole thing move around too much.
We find the progressivity and excellent feeling of braking provided by the GTS 125. Both displacements indeed share the same 220 mm discs and the same technique, resulting in the same behavior. In contrast, without ABS or combined braking and with the power provided by the 300, the excellent braking find its limits here and the brakes are definitely not oversized.
The glove compartment is again an example for the type. Easy to open at the front, it allows to store cards, gloves, compact photo camera in a particularly handy way.
The saddle opens electrically via a button at the front and thereby does not require the removal of the ignition key. The room under the saddle, elongated, can accommodate a jet helmet but not an A4 wide shirt. This is where the front and rear luggage racks come into their own, able to accommodate small boxes, not to mention the space at the floor level. Unless you want to protect a laptop from the rain, a top case is therefore not a requirement here.
Like its little brother, the GTS 300 has a kick stand in addition to a center stand. Placing the scooter on the center stand is particularly easy, it's this type of parking that you will prefer in 90% of cases. But the side stand is handy before pushing the scooter in the garage. But be careful! The side stand has an automatic return, handy for starting, but a little less when we pushed the scooter and it is retracted by itself.
Finally, the five-spoke wheels makes it easy to put an anti-theft device; which is not the case for all scooters. There is also an anti-theft ring secured to the frame.
The GTS 300 is as comfortable as the 125 and that applies to both the rider and the pillion. Certainly, it has a long and wide saddle, but the two rear four-positions-preload-adjustable shock absorbers do an excellent job to erase the flaws of the road.
The fuel gauge is as always so accurate, descending to about half at 120 km and the reserve after 180 km, supported by a warning light for the reserve. The fuel tank is then still filled with 6.7 liters, with still a good fifty kilometers of autonomy thanks to 9.2 liters fuel tank. With a consumption of 4 liters for 100 km in the city, the GTS offers the autonomy even better than its little 125 brother with nearly 230 km.
The fuel cap is located under the saddle. Attention to overfilling, even if the backflow preventing system is well done. In fact, if the pump is inserted, it will automatically stop and there will be no backflow. But against, if you want to fill it up until the very last drop, you must take out the nozzle and the risk is important as gasoline flows into the trunk too.
As much as the GTS 125 was priced at 4499 euros, the GTS 300 Touring seems a bargain at only 4,840 euros. With less than 400 euros difference with the 125 cc, owners of an A license (Ed: motorcycle license) will not even pose the question and opt with reason for the higher displacement, the latter providing the benefits, especially in terms of performance while providing the whole Vespa history and practicality in its Touring declination. One then has a style and yet with a discretion of a not too ostentatious model that should not attract too much attention. One then benefits from style and yet with a discretion of a not too ostentatious model which should not attract too much attention.
|Strong Points||Weak Points|
- Really punchy engine
- Style & look of a Vespa
Via: Le Repaire des Motards