Vespa GTS 300 Super Scooter (2014 - ) review
The GTS 300 Super is the fastest production Vespa ever built and the UK’s best-selling scooter
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Classic details such as the front shield and vented engine cover are now incorporated seamlessly alongside modern considerations such as LED sidelights –though the main headlamp is still a conventional bulb – ABS, and lockable storage cubbies. The lashings of chrome in the tailgate, the circular mirrors and passenger footpegs offer some urban glamour, but overall the GTS has a silhouette of enduring style. Colours are limited to Montebianco (white), Nero Lucido (black), Rosso Dragon (red) and Blu Gaiola (blue), as featured on our test bike.
The steel monocoque chassis construction of the big frame Vespa hasn’t changed in decades, and neither has the riding position. So, expect a perched riding position with a low seat and narrow running boards that will allow most riders to get both feet flat on the floor. Arms will be set wide to allow for easy adjustment of the bars as you’re filtering through traffic. Providing you’re on friendly terms, there is a decent amount of rear space for a pillion with good supports and integrated rear footpegs.
Everything about the Vespa GTS 300 has been set up with urban commuting convenience in mind. There’s underseat storage - accessed via a button on the leg shield - that has been sculpted to fit two official Vespa open-face helmets, or one non-official, full face-helmet. There’s a lockable front glovebox that features a USB port so you can charge your phone on the move and a centrestand that is a doddle to operate. Just as well really, as the sidestand is so flimsy, it’s barely functional. It’s also a shame that beyond the optional luggage holders, there aren’t further useful accessories such as heated grips or satellite navigation.
Performance & braking
The GTS uses a 278cc, four-stroke single-cylinder unit that develops 22bhp. It isn’t the most powerful model in its class, but it delivers the power smoothly to help keep your passengers happy. Thanks to fuel injection, the twist-and-go response is instant to take full advantage of traffic light starts, while there’s plenty of mid-range grunt to consider longer commutes, without having to opt for the traditional maxi-scooter.
The brakes are good rather than great, but the introduction of ABS and Ant-Slip Regulation (ASR) - a form of traction control that uses sensors on both wheels to detect excessive wheelspin – helps extend appeal to less confident riders.
Ride & handling
The Vespa GTS 300 Super has to be one of the most effortless bikes on sale to ride. The low seat and low weight (158kg wet) help make the Vespa change direction with the slightest shift of your bodyweight, while high speed stability is good. The front suspension has been designed to react to both transverse and longitudinal movements, but as you’d expect from a pair of skinny 12-inch wheels, the ride quality isn’t impervious to potholes.
The entry-price into GTS ownership sounds pricey, even amongst some bigger capacity maxi-scooter offerings, but previous history has shown the Vespa brand has more than enough cachet to justify its elevated positioning. The addition of ABS and ASR will help maintain resale values, while an average fuel consumption of 80mpg should limit your visits to the petrol station.
The general reliability of the GTS is superb, with few faults reported beyond loose connections to the battery. That said, paint and chrome finishes can deteriorate quickly if not maintained regularly.
Warranty & servicing
All Vespa models receive a two-year factory warranty as standard. After the initial checkup at 600-miles that includes an oil and filter change, plus gearbox oil change, a service should be scheduled every 3,000 miles thereafter.
Standard equipment includes ABS, ASR, a USB port and a centrestand. You can also download Vespa’s Multimedia Platform (VMP), a free mobile app that displays your average fuel consumption, average speed and engine revs, though it would be much simpler if Vespa installed a more useful, digital dashboard. Official accessories include everything from performance exhausts and chrome luggage racks to a 42-litre top box.
With rising fare prices and unpredictable journey times, it’s easy to see why an increasing number of time-poor, fashion-conscious, city-living professionals are ditching the railcard and switching to two wheels. If that’s you, the Vespa GTS 300 Super should be your first call.