Made in Italy, the Piaggio company designed their Vespa scooter after the Nebraska-made Cushman scooters, which were highly popular in Italy. The United States exported the Cushman bikes to transport the military through the tiny streets and rough countryside roads of Italy. Piaggio was an aircraft company prior to World War II, but due to the Allied war pacts made with Italy, they had to find another way to utilize their factory. With bombed out roads and streets, the already-in-use scooter was the perfect solution. The company has since parlayed itself into the fourth largest manufacturer of scooters in the world. The ET2 has been around for several years prior to this incarnation, with its design staying virtually the same.
The scooter has a 5.1 horsepower, carbureted, 49 cc, single-cylinder, two-stroke engine. Given that the engine configuration changed in 2006, this model is one of the more sought-after scooters, since the two-stroke engine delivers pretty good acceleration and maintains 30-40 mph with little effort.
With plenty of color options, this little scooter has floorboards located for both driver and passenger. The seat height, at 37.1 inches tall with two-up one piece vinyl seating, is a bit taller than most – but the only time you notice is during take-off and parking. The seating goes from the sublime vinyl, to the Italian leather designer-extraordinaire Schedoni suede. The stock Pirelli tires are on matched ten-inch aluminum wheels.
Digital instrumentation includes a clock, speedometer, and fuel level gauge with low warning light. The rear rack is a combination rack with grab handles. With typical Vespa styling, which really hasn't changed all that much since the late 1940s, the ET2 has lots of storage room. It has a small dash compartment and huge lockable under-seat storage. For added storage, there is a rear trunk available in matching colors.
At 69.3 inches long, 26.4 inches wide, and weighing in at just 216 pounds dry, this scooter is the perfect urban commuter or campus carry-all. The CVT transmission makes learning how to shift a thing of the past. Parking is easy, acceleration is all you could ask for out of 50 cc's, and let's face it – the Vespa name has a lot going for it. Parts are always available, and there are repair shops throughout any country you might find yourself in.