Vespa PX 125 and 150 - 2005
Twenty seven years and two million units since its launch, the Vespa PX remains a cult scooter, a symbol of Italian style everywhere in the world. And like all real classics, the Vespa PX only gets better with time and retouching.
19th October 1977: Piaggio launches a radically different Vespa model, with a modern design and avant-garde technical content. Called PX, the scooter was first produced in a 125cc displacement and cost 673,000 liras (less than 350 Euro). Soon after, the 125 was joined by 150 and 200cc displacements.
In 1977 Jimmy Carter became the new occupant of the White House. In the USSR Leonid Brezhnev took over the Kremlin. Amnesty International won the Nobel Peace Prize and Niki Lauda won the Formula 1 in a Ferrari. At Cape Kennedy NASA launched Voyager 1 and 2, today 12.6 and 10 billion km from the Earth respectively, at the outer limits of our solar system.
Twenty seven years later the Vespa PX too continues to travel, on a less epic voyage but not without glory - over two million units sold since the launch, more than a million of these just the PX 150, the single most widely sold Vespa in history.
Untiring world traveller
For the launch of the Vespa PX Piaggio made up a huge wooden model of it, over four metres high, which can be seen today at the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera. But the Vespa PX's penchant for breaking records doesn't stop at the giant model or the huge sales figures.
254,000 km is the record set by Giorgio Bettinelli, Italian traveller and writer, who has travelled all over the world on his Vespa PX during the course of four trips.
Few know that in 1980 two Vespa PX 200s ridden by M. Simonot and B. Tcherniawsky reached the finishing line of the second Paris-Dakar rally. Four-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Henri Pescarolo helped the French team put together by Jean-François Piot.
Present in the list of best selling vehicles for over a quarter of a century, the Vespa PX is a two wheeler that generates the most owner pleasure. Not everyone remembers what cars were on the road twenty years ago, but 15,000 Vespa PXs still circulate in the US today. They were sold before Piaggio stopped sales in the US in 1981 (it returned with the ET2 and ET4 in 2000) and are mostly in excellent condition thanks to a network of Vespa Vintage Restoration Shops.
But then most of the PXs sold over the years are still on the world's roads, proof of reliability that has become legendary.
The Vespa PX born as a mass vehicle and as a first means of motorised transport has now become the scooter that sets its rider apart. Within the Vespa range the PX is the evergreen, the only choice for those who want a classic Vespa with the traditional four-speed change on the handlebar and a design that never goes out of style. Interestingly, the success of the new-generation ET (produced in 50cc 2 stroke, 50cc 4 stroke, 125 and 150 4 stroke displacements) has renewed sales in the classic PX rather than overshadow it.
The renewal of a myth
The Vespa PX has evolved over time, with changes made to improve vehicle operation while maintaining its design appeal.
In a certain sense the PX is post-modern, in that its elegant, minimal styling recovers elements of the past without recurring to nostalgia.
Vespa PX retains the strong points that have made it so successful: unique design, practicality and ease of use, a hardy steel frame, a reliable, indestructible engine, space for a spare wheel and competitive pricing
The Vespa's pressed steel monocoque has always functioned as a load-bearing base. The PX keeps to this manufacturing tradition that no other scooter has and that guarantees rigidity and precise steering.
The 10" wheel rims have 3.50" tyres. The front suspension with oscillating arm (another typical Vespa feature) has a coil spring and hydraulic dual effect damper.
The rear suspension with dual effect damper has the crankcase working as an oscillating part. The two stroke 125, 150 and 200cc engines with forced air cooling have electronic CDI ignition and electric start with a kick starter.
The manual four-speed gearbox is an essential feature - anyone used to a PX will not give up riding control.
Loyalty to its origins and its fans
The PX uses the best technical solutions without losing any of its original appeal. Hence a powerful stainless steel front disk brake, 200 mm in diameter, guarantees prompt, safe and efficient braking. A reliable 150 mm rear drum perfectly modulates braking.
The instrumentation is new but keeps the timeless appeal of the traditional design. It includes the speedometer with a dual reading, fuel level gauge and luminous telltales for lights - low and high beam - and indicators.
The improved saddle (shape and upholstery) maintains the comfort that has always made the Vespa PX the "travelling" scooter par excellence for riders of any size.
The headlamp now has a complex surface. Its halogen lamp offers powerful illumination, an essential element for safe riding.
The rear light has always been one of the distinctive elements of all Vespa models: from the small, round lamp of the 98cc in 1946 to the two-level chromed lamp on the 1955 GS to the square, Seventies-style lamp of the Primavera ET3. The current Vespa PX uses a softer form for the rear lamp, which now has an elegant chrome border. The red glass cover also hosts the stop light and licence plate light.
The white indicators have a chrome-edged cover and an orange lamp.
The chrome-tipped black rubber handlebars are softer and smoother, making them easier to use.
The historic logo
Finally, the use of the historic dual-colour Piaggio logo on the front shield goes perfectly with the style tradition of the Vespa. The logo is not merely a design element. It recalls the emotions that Vespa has inspired in over 16 million people everywhere in the world. PX also uses the most traditional of Vespa logos, an italicised diagonal script in aluminium that has become one of the best-known brands in the world over time.
The Vespa PX is environment-friendly
The Vespa PX respects all current legislation. The PX 125 and 150 have two-way catalytic converters and meet the new Euro2 emissions standards. Manufactured without using asbestos for the brake pads, all Vespa PX scooters are recyclable to over 95 per cent at the end of their road use.
A colour range that includes three pastel shades - Shiny Black, Optic White and Cameo - and metallic Imperial Blue, Smoky Grey and Excalibur Grey enhances the Vespa PX's elegant, timeless design.
VESPA PX 125/150: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Engine - Single cylinder catalysed two stroke
Bore - 57 mm
Stroke - 52.5 mm (PX 125); 58 mm (PX 150)
Displacement - 123.4 cc(PX 125); 151 cc (PX 150)
Fuel - Unleaded petrol
Power - 7.6 bhp at 6,250 rpm (PX 125); 8.2 bhp at 6,000 rpm(PX 150)
Start - Electric and kick starter
Lubrication - Automatic oil-fuel mixer
Cooling - Forced air
Induction - Rotating valve in crankcase
Gearbox - Four speed, on handlebar
Frame - Pressed steel monocoque
Front suspension - Oscillating arm, coil spring and dual effect hydraulic shock absorber
Rear suspension - Hydraulic shock absorber, 88 mm stroke
Front brake - Ĝ 200 mm disc, calliper with two opposed pistons
Rear brake - Ĝ 150 mm drum
Wheel rims - In sheet metal, 2.10 - 10"
Tyres - Tube type 3.50 - 10"
Length - 1,810 mm
Width - 740 mm
Wheelbase - 1,260 mm
Seat height - 805 mm
Dry weight - 106 kg
Max. speed - 87 km/h (PX 125); 91 km/h (PX 150)
Fuel tank - 8 litres (of which 1.6 litres reserve)
Consumption - 30 km/l (ECE 40 cycle)
Emissions - Euro 1