The Vespa Club of America is pleased to announce a new blog writer joining us, Becky Cowin (AKA HeyBex, AKA The Loopy Scooterist).
A little about Becky: "I've been blogging for over 10 years, mainly personal writing, but have done some work in the past writing and promoting content as a brand ambassador for Nintendo and for AndroidApps.com. I will be picking up my GT200 this week for my birthday - my first Vespa, first bike I've driven over 49cc (and even driving that was very brief), so I'll be going through the complete newbie experience. My MSF course will be in a few weeks, and I also have plans to tinker with the scooter itself and add some fun stuff to it."
Today's post, Poser, Becky is sharing her joy of shopping for a new Vespa....
There are two scooter dealers near-ish to me, each dealing in different brands. I decided to start the scooter-shopping adventure by just going and sitting on a few of the different models that had caught my eye online. At the first shop, I tried and ruled out a Stella Automatic – one that I had really expected to like because of its vintage styling. But it felt really awkward – very back end heavy, which made it hard for me to get on and off the stand, and the saddle height wasn’t great for my short self. I had to do a serious lean to get one foot flat on the ground for stops. Plus, for all of its vintage-styling, there was a lot of plastic that just felt kind of fake. So I crossed that one off.
I fit much more comfortably on the Buddy 125 and 170i. Those were both a lot lighter and easier for me to manipulate, with comfortable seats at a good height. Those scoots offer a lot of bang for the buck with decent styling. The model I really liked, the Vespa-wannabe Buddy Kick, was not in stock to try, but they took my information to call me when the next one arrives in a few weeks. I left thinking that maybe one of those Buddy scooters could be a decent, less-expensive alternative to my pie-in-the-sky Vespa dream.
But then of course I went to the Vespa dealer.
I wandered into the showroom wearing my Triumph jacket – the Vespa dealer is also a Triumph and Ducati dealer – and right away caught the eye of the two guys working there.
“That’s a sweet jacket,” said one.
“Yeah, love it,” said the other.
“Really?” I said, cocking an eyebrow. “I kind of hate it. It’s a ladies’ small, wanna give it a go as a crop top?”
So of course they loved me after that. Nice to know my awkward flirting hasn’t gotten too rusty.
I just petted the GTV Settentasimo and drooled a little, then went over to the line of comparatively affordable Primaveras and Sprints to twist some handles and click some buttons. Then I impulsively rocked one of the Primavera 150s off its stand and sat on a Vespa for the first time in 10 years.
For all my complaints about the Stella being heavy, sitting on a better-engineered scoot just emphasizes how important balance is in combination with the dry weight of the thing. Even at over 300 pounds, the Primavera felt like an extension of my body and not like a machine I was trying to coax into behaving. Vespa’s ubiquitous steel monocoque frame makes a noticeable difference even when you’re just sitting still. It feels stronger, safer, more reliable than the plastic stylings of the Buddy or even the Vespa-copycat Stella.
Some people who are new to riding might make the argument that they’d rather learn on a cheap bike so if they drop it a handful of times it won’t matter. I tried to convince myself of that, but as I strolled down the line of bright colors and chrome, I felt like if I was going to do this, I should get one I WANT, one that will motivate me to learn the skill and practice, not one I might view as disposable. For the same reason I don’t want to learn on 49cc critter and not bother with a license yet – it’s just going to be a waste. I’ll want to go faster in about three days and then what?
No. It has to be the thing I want or it’s going to be nothing at all till I can afford it. And I’ll just put some crash bars on it.
I chatted with the cute, bearded shop guy for a bit about my purchase ideas – they weren’t at all put off by the fact that their new stuff was way out of my budget, and shared what they knew about some of the preowned models I was looking at on Craigslist. Somehow we got around to talking about the MSF course I needed to sign up for in order to, you know, get a license to drive one of these things.