Finally, after years of riding on the back of my fiancee's bikes, I have my own two wheels. It's a Vespa GTV 250, a fashion-forward, retro-styled scooter. On the very first day I had it, I happily took it to work, and with my newfound ability to split lanes and scoot around traffic shaved 10 minutes off my normal 30-minute commute. Pulling into the office, my co-workers stopped and stared as I kicked off my boots and slipped on my high heels-I have this thing for shoes. They all think the scooter is cool, and it's even cooler that I'm the one riding it.
Confidently I headed home that evening, feeling pretty fabulous as I got nods from guys on their motorcycles. I was almost to my neighborhood, rounding a corner when-splat!-something thumped my helmet, then my wrist, then my hand. A bird had torpedoed me from above! No longer sheltered by my car, my once-pretty yellow top was now covered with brown splatter. Completely grossed-out, I dry-heaved in my helmet the rest of the way home. But telling friends of my horrid experience, I learned that being pooped on by a bird is supposed to be good luck. Maybe, but what else do you tell someone who's just been pooped on?!
Birdsh*t incident aside, the Vespa is great. Based on the GTS 250, the GTV (the V stands for vintage) adds a rounded analog gauge cluster, low-profile windscreen, chrome handlebar and a large chrome headlamp on the front fender like on the very first Vespa. The brown split-leather saddle is divided into rider and passenger sections, and matches the handgrips. The Twist and Go automatic transmission means there's no shifting, and the 249cc single is more than powerful enough to send me zipping down city streets.
At 65 mph on the freeway the GTV feels solid, but much faster than that and it starts to shake; good thing it tops out at around 75. The brakes feel solid, too, though after a lot of stop-and-go riding my hand hurts from squeezing the lever. Perhaps the best part about the Vespa is it's inconspicuous. I get away with whizzing by cops who think nothing of a girl on a scooter. With horsepower comes weight, however, and at 336 pounds full of gas, I have a hard time getting the GTV 250 on and off its centerstand.
It does have plenty of storage though. There's a space under the seat big enough for a gym bag with a change of clothes and a convenient compartment up front for my cell phone, etc. It also has a handy hook for hanging my purse, plus a flip-up chrome luggage rack for additional bundles-bungee cords not included. So there's plenty of room to hold my shopping, of which I do a lot!
Speaking of buying stuff, at 65-70 mpg the GTV 250 is great on gas, which saves me a ton of money (more shoes!). I fill it up once a week for less than $10 and I'm good to go for 150 miles or more-much better than the $80 per week I spent on my gas-guzzling four-wheeler.
All in all, the Vespa GTV 250 is a great scooter, and a ton of fun. But honestly, a city girl doesn't need this much power. The similarly retro LXV 150 looks just as cool, costs $1700 less and gets 70-75 mpg, which means even more money for-you guessed it-more shoes!