Vespa, the Italian manufacturer whose name has been synonymous with scooters since 1947, introduced its GT line in 2006. The GTS 250 has been part of the Vespa lineup ever since; the 2007 Vespa GTS is a popular carryover.
With the debut of the GTS, Vespa introduced two key innovations: It replaced the carburetor with fuel injectors, and it gave the GTS the largest engine Vespa sells in the United States, the Quasar, which stands for Quarter-liter Smooth Augmented Range. Its 244cc displacement and 22 horsepower give it plenty of zip; the scooter will go from zero to 31 mph in 3.9 seconds and hit 50 mph in 4.2 seconds. The engine works in conjunction with a belt-driven, continuously variable transmission for smooth, effortless gear changes. Ignition is electric, and Vespa opted to eliminate the kick starter.
The scooter has a top speed of about 75 mph, more than adequate for freeway use, and Vespa estimates that it gets 65 miles per gallon. That means you can cover some distance on a 2.4-gallon tank full of gas.
Like all Vespas, the GTS 250 has a steel and sheet metal monocoque, making it a heavy 322 pounds, so it can be a bit cumbersome to back the GTS 250 onto its center stand. The suspension system is correspondingly heavy duty (for a scooter): It has a single front arm with adjustable rebound damping, so it can be tailored to a rider’s weight (or the payload weight) and dual rear shocks—a steel twin-sided swing arm and an adjustable spring pre-load. The brakes, 8.7-inch discs front and back, are up to the task of stopping the scooter efficiently.
The digital instrument panel features a fuel gauge, speedometer, tachometer, odometer, and temperature warning light.
With 12-inch wheels front and back, braking and cornering need to be done with a little more care than you’d need with larger wheels, but the scooter is always quick and nimble in traffic, reflecting its origins as an urban commuting machine.
Standard underseat storage could be better; it does not accommodate a full helmet. But a rear rack is standard, and you can add a top case and a top case bag—as well as a top case backrest—and a glove box is also standard.
It’s just about impossible to beat Vespa’s style. The GTS 250 is available in gray, red, black, and (for 2007 only) vintage red—and its curvy, one-piece, 31.1-inch-high seat comes in contrasting colors, with black seats accenting the red and gray scooters. The black GTS has a tan seat. You also have the option of a plush Schedoni suede seat and, if you like, a matching suede backrest. If the touches of chrome on the badges and mirrors aren’t enough, you can supplement them with a full chrome kit. The floorboard, for the driver and passenger, has an optional floor mat, but the passenger also has pop-out foot pegs, which one reviewer calls a work of art.
Fun and comfortable to ride, the Vespa GTS 250 also offers eye-catching good looks that win smiles and compliments from passers-by. Part of its charm is Italian flair; part of it may be nostalgia. In any case, the scooter will handle narrow lanes, tight parking spots, and highway and city traffic with aplomb.