Vento, an international company headquartered in San Diego, California, began producing motorcycles and scooters in 1996; within 10 years it had design and development teams based in China, Italy, and Australia, as well as California. The company initially made a splash building a dealer presence in the U.S. before switching to the strictly mail-order business model typical of many Chinese scooter makers.
Vento introduced its GT5 line of scooters in 2005 and brought out the LI line in 2007; the chief difference between the two models is improved braking power: The LI has a rear disc brake instead of the drum brake used in the GT5. The two Phantom models, the GT5 and the LI, are step-through scooters featuring sporty styling and 150cc engines.
Powered by air-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder engines with fuel injection, both models have OHV valve configurations. The Phantoms have the continuously variable transmission—the equivalent of an automatic in a car—that makes scooters so easy to operate. A telescopic fork provides the front suspension, and the rear suspension is a double-sided steel swing arm. With 9.4 bph and 6.3 lb-ft of torque, the Phantom has just enough power to handle short hops on the freeway, but it is not designed for highway cruising by any means.
The GT5’s digital instrument panel has some surprising features: Along with the standard fuel gauge, speedometer, and odometer, it has a tachometer and an alarm system. The LI lacks the tachometer and the alarm but adds a clock. Unfortunately, Vento does not offer any estimates of average fuel economy; the tanks on both models hold 1.4 gallons.
The standard storage for both models includes a glove box, lockable under-seat storage, and a rear rack. Vento specifically mentions that the Phantom LI has helmet storage; the GT5’s space is more limited, but you can add a helmet box—which is the only accessory available for either scooter.
The GT5 comes in black only; the LI color options combine silver with yellow, blue, or red. The frame on both models is steel; the standard bodywork includes front and rear fenders, a side cover, and upper fairing. A center stand is also standard. The 34.8-inch-high, one-piece vinyl seat is stepped for the driver and passenger (the passenger seat generally comes in a contrasting color); both riders keep their feet on the black floorboard.
With a dry weight of 229 pounds and a total length of almost 75 inches, the Phantom is maneuverable and relatively easy to handle. It’ll fit into tight parking spaces and is suitable for urban commuting or taking out on flat country roads.