Vespa 150cc VXL, SXL review, first ride
10th Sep 2015 4:03 pm
Here are our first impressions from behind the handlebars of India’s only 150cc scooters today; the Vespa VXL and SXL.
You’ve already met Vespa’s earlier LX 125, VX 125 and Vespa S, 125cc gearless scooters boasting instantly recognisable retro styling with a generous sprinkling of Italian seasoning.
The winds of change are billowing at Vespa in India, visible in renewed energy injected by parent Piaggio India’s savvy new managing director, Stefano Pelle, and the new Vespa VXL 150 and SXL 150.
The VXL and SXL offer refreshing styling, in a range of attractive, bright colours as expected. There’s a choice of matte shades too, for those that don’t subscribe to a glossy finish on their scooter. The VXL and SXL show off smart alloy rims, with single side suspension front and rear. There are hints of chrome here and there on these well-equipped scooters. The palm grips are comfortable to hold, and the VXL and SXL scooters come with top-quality switches and chrome body mirrors, these easily adjusted and offering good vision. There’s a city light facility offered, along with a smooth functioning, spring loaded, push-to-cancel indicator operation switch. A set of machined alloy front and rear brake control levers look good as well.
The VXL and SXL share digital instruments consoles, with analogue speedometers. You get a clock, tripmeter and fuel gauge as standard with the new Vespas. There are handy storage cubbies below both handlebars, as well as under the long, well-padded riding saddle. The VXL and SXL offer ribbed footwells, with a raised central section your feet may take time getting used to fitting around; a small price to pay for these scooters' true-blue retro style.
Other subtle differences between the VXL and SXL are the S losing a grab bar at rear, and offering different seat lining, darked out wheels, a rectangular headlight and mirrors.
The VXL and SXL feel like top-quality scooters, with excellent paint lustre and an impressive level of fit-and-finish.
The Vespa VXL and SXL scooters come with four-stroke, 150cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled and carburettor-fed engines, that run three-valve heads. Power output is 11.5bhp at 7,000rpm, while maximum torque is a healthy 1.17kgm at 5,500rpm. CVT transmission systems allow seamless, hassle-free riding on the road, and worked perfectly throughout our short test ride.
Crucially, the new enhanced-capacity 150cc engine works to make a big difference on the road, experienced in the nippy manner both, the VXL and SXL accelerate, with strong grunt as you start off from a halt at low revs and a more robust feeling mid-range. Cruising at speeds of up to 70kph is a breeze, and feels more relaxed as compared to other smaller engine-equipped Indian scooters. There’s also excellent refinement and unblemished smoothness, just as expected and available with every Vespa scooter sold in India today.
In addition to these larger capacity powerplants, Vespa is also offering the VXL and SXL in 125cc, similarly three-valve engines.
The VXL and SXL come with monocoque steel frames, as all Vespas sold in India. This helps the latest Vespas feel solidly put together, with a nice, rigid feel when riding, more so when zipping around two-up, with a pillion. Riders are seated in a comfy, upright position that is roomy enough. The VXL and SXL’s single-sided, hydraulic shock absorbers front and rear work well to provide plush ride quality, never feeling too firm or overly soft.
To match their bolstered performance, the VXL and SXL come with lower profile, tubeless, Maxxis tyres that grip the road better, and allow easy handling with a quick flickability other Indian scooters struggle to match. Then you have 11-inch rims in front, resulting in quicker turn in. 200mm rotor-equipped front disc brakes, coupled with 140mm drum brakes at rear work well to provide effortless stops, with progressive bite at the levers.
The VXL 150 and SXL 150 make sense in India, for riding them convinces us these new Vespas do now pack in the value to back up the premium pricing. How so? By delivering solidly on the key aspects of style and overall quality, being well equipped and walking the extra mile in terms of a peppy, stronger performing, refined engine that outdoes other Indian scooters.