Vespa introduced the LXV 150, a step-through scooter, in 2007. Initially a one-off, the LXV was a special anniversary edition commemorating 60 years of Italian scooter production; it was an immediate hit and became part of the company’s standard LX line. Owned by Piaggio, originally a Genoa-based maker of luxury ship fittings, Vespa all but invented the modern-day scooter after World War II. This machine’s styling pays tribute to that heritage.
Available in two paint schemes, aviator gray and Portofino, the LXV has a steel frame and monocoque; unlike other scooter manufacturers, which use plastic bodywork to minimize weight and improve mileage, Vespa still uses the pressed steel chassis the company began with back in 1947. Front and rear fenders, fork guards, and hand grips are standard. Like most scooters, it has no fairing to speak of, but the front leg shield does a good job of protecting the driver. The driver and passenger both keep their feet on the floorboard rather than pegs.
Weighing about 243 pounds—almost 20 pounds more than the other LX models—the jaunty little scooter has a host of accessories available, among them a chrome kit to add sparkle and a backrest and a fly screen or a windshield to improve rider comfort. This edition also has a special two-piece leather seat as an option; very handsome and elegant, but perhaps not best suited to rainy-day commuting. The seat height is 30.5 inches, maybe a little high for shorter riders, but the scooter is not so heavy that you really need to keep both feet flat on the ground to maneuver it.
The 150cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission. Vespa still used carburetors rather than fuel injectors in its scooters for 2007, which may reduce fuel economy, but riders report averaging about 60 miles to the gallon; the gas tank holds 2.3 gallons.
Front suspension is a single arm; rear suspension is a single steel swing arm with an adjustable spring pre-load shock. Riders mention that the scooter’s ride is always stable and comfortable, and road bumps are not really a problem. The 10-inch front wheel adds stability to the handling. Stopping power comes from a 7.9-inch front hydraulic brake and a rear 4.3-inch drum. With a top speed of about 60 mph, depending on how much weight it’s carrying, the LXV is fast enough to take onto crowded urban highways as well as easy-going country lanes.
The digital instrumentation is very basic: a fuel gauge (not particularly accurate), a speedometer, an odometer, and a tachometer—a nicety that most scooters lack. The turn signal indicators can be hard to read in bright sunlight, and of course road noise makes it almost impossible to hear whether you’ve left a turn signal on by accident.
Underseat storage is roomy (but bear in mind that engine does heat it up), and this scooter features a hook that extends from the front of the seat, where you can hang bags of groceries or laundry. You can expand storage space by adding a top case and a top case bag.
Every rider comments on how much fun the Vespa is. It’s the iconic city commuter, with style that other scooter makers the world over have attempted to copy. This is the original.