All Hail The New Vespa!
Originally unveiled this time last year as the Vespa Quarantasei (46) concept scooter, in the days leading up to this year’s annual EICMA trade show in Milan this week, Piaggio has officially unveiled the production model of what looks to be the future of Vespa, the Vespa 946,.
Much like recent models such as the S150 and the 60th anniversary GT60 have made a retro styling nod to past Vespas in their design cues, the 946 takes its inspiration from the company’s 1946 Mp6 prototype from the year the marque first began designing scooters. The size of the bike is said to fall somewhere between the current LX and the larger GTS models at a new “mid-size.”
There’s news under the bodywork too as the 125cc engine brings three valves to the table to improve intake alongside now standard electronic ignition; all of which brings 11.7 hp to the rear wheel – an increase in power over the current line up in the class of a 7.1% and a 10.3% increase in torque according to Piaggio’s eggheads. Presumably we’ll see 150cc in the US which will mean even more muscle for the bike.
Piaggio are also bringing something new to the Vespa line up for the first time: traction control. The technology that works to prevent rear wheel slippage for optimal traction has previously debuted on the company’s Aprilla line of bikes. The bike will also ship with some extra bling in the form of LED lights.
Rumors abound as to whether the bike will be a limited edition model or replace the current line up, but the brand’s history of design iteration and the re-tooling required to create this new two-wheeler both suggest that what we’re looking at here is the future of the Vespa. There is no news on exactly when we can expect to see the bike in showrooms or the MSRP at this time.
Personally, the bike is growing on me. I have to say that when I first saw it last year I felt that it was adopting too many Asian-inspired design cues. And frankly this may be deliberate as Piaggio looks to recoup lost ground to other scooter marques as consumer’s tastes have changed. The bike also has quite a masculine feel not unlike VW’s recent update to the Beetle in a move to pursue more male buyers. That said, it’s exciting to see where Piaggio will take the bikes next, and it demonstrates a commitment to keeping Vespa moving forward. An attitude that has kept the scooter on our streets in some form or another for the past 65+ years.
Stay tuned to NYCScootering.com. We’ll be following developing news on this bike very closely. In the meantime, Piaggio have let loose a very slick website to introduce the bike.