Vento was headquartered in San Diego, California, and began producing motorcycles and scooters in 1996, with design and development teams based in China, Italy, and Australia, as well as California. While many parts were made in China, the final assembly took place in Laredo, Texas. The company initially spent a lot of money building a presence in the United States with widespread international distribution, proudly displaying their ""American-built"" status. However, they lost their footing and went out of business in 2008. The Vento Zip – officially called the Vento Zip r3i Turbocam – has a sub-model in the GT5, and both models are 50cc entry-level step-through scooters.
Powered by an air-cooled, two-stroke, single-cylinder engine, the Zip is a carbureted, SOHC valve powerplant, running on premium fuel. No one who rides a 50cc scooter should expect great acceleration, and this little scooter is no exception, with 4.9-horsepower at 6.8 lb-ft of torque, about average for its class. The belt-driven continuously variable transmission puts the Zip squarely in the start-and-go category; a young rider does not need to learn how to operate a clutch or shift.
Anti-lock brakes are also standard on the Zip, with a disc brake in front and a rear drum. A telescoping fork provides the front suspension, and the rear suspension is a single-sided steel swing arm. They don't come with adjustable shocks, but given the low speeds they are designed for, a rider shouldn’t need them.
The digital instrumentation is more complete than a lot of entry-level scooters’. Remote, keyless ignition is standard, along with several other standard features, including an alarm system, a clock, a fuel gauge, a speedometer, and an odometer. The dash features a fold-out, hard plastic, locking pouch in the front. The under-seat storage is lockable and shares its already tiny compartment with the battery, so it doesn't even provide enough room to store textbooks. There are also small, locking right and left compartments. Neither is large enough to hold a helmet, so make sure you purchase a way to lock it onto the stock rear rack. Plan to either divide your goodies up between the storage, or buy a good backpack.
With color combinations of Candy Red/Graphite or DNA Blue/Graphite, the standard bodywork includes front and rear fenders, a side cover, and upper fairing to shield the rider from all the wind 30 miles an hour can deliver. The frame is steel; a center stand is standard, and the low seat height, just over 29 inches, makes it easy for a rider to plant both feet firmly on the ground to back the machine off that stand. The one-piece vinyl seat is stepped for driver and passenger; the passenger has foot pegs, and the driver uses the floorboard.
Like other 50cc scooters, the Zip is limited to a top speed of 30 miles per hour. It is designed for urban commutes or campus riding. Its light weight and short turning radius make it easy to park and to maneuver in tight spaces, but it is not intended for the open road, where speed is required. Keep it around town and you'll be happy with the scooter – until it comes time for repairs, when you'll have to be prepared to ""make-do"" with other manufacturers' parts and get ready to learn how to retro-fit.