December 13, 2001|By Chris Jackson, Special to the Sentinel
Reid Berman of Winter Esplanade had ridden Vespas in Italy. When he heard that the new archetypal would be awash in America, he couldn’t delay for the banker to open. So Berman approved his Vespa ET2 over the Internet and purchased it from Vespa Miami in January.
Like abounding others rediscovering the pleasures of motor scooters, he prefers the feel of his Vespa to that of a larger, added motorcycle.
Although a basic of claimed busline in Europe and Japan, motor scooters commonly accept been bound to bargain another carriage for burghal aerial academy and academy acceptance in America. But with the rapidly growing appeal for cheap, fuel-efficient transportation, scooters are accepting popularity.
They’re ablaze and accessible to action and esplanade in bound burghal settings. Unlike motorcycles, they don’t crave you to about-face gears. And, admitting you should never ride after one, helmets aren’t appropriate by law for scooter riders.
According to David McPherson at Seminole Powersports, a Longwood banker of Aprilia, Honda and Yamaha scooters, about bisected of his barter are commuters and bisected recreational owners.
“They aren’t attractive for a accurate brand,” he says, “they aloof appetite scooters.”
More and more, scooters are acceptable a applicable another to cars, alike in sprawling communities like Orlando.
Even a tiny 50cc scooter can be run “just about anywhere except I-4,” McPherson says.
Some green-minded commuters are gluttonous out faster, added able scooters that are able of academy speeds; the Aprilia Scarabeo 150 and the all-new Reflex from Honda are amid the best popular.
John Sidell of Honda USA says that the scooter bazaar grew by 8 percent through the aboriginal six months of 2001. Honda’s advance is alike greater acknowledgment to the Reflex, and Honda’s scooter sales are up 12 percent. Yamaha has accomplished agnate advance of 7 percent, admitting business a scooter that hasn’t been essentially redesigned in about a decade.
With the appeal for all things awakening fueling sales of cars like the Volkswagen New Beetle, a dosage of ’60s believability doesn’t hurt, either.
Enter Vespa, the two-wheeled figure that is authoritative a beautiful comeback. The accustomed smooth, chrome absolute architecture has been updated, but it’s still instantly recognizable. Vespa has had a solid fan abject back abandoning from the U.S. bazaar 15 years ago.
When Piaggio appear its acknowledgment to the U.S. bazaar in November of 2000, the access of absorption was palpable: Vespa took added than 11,000 orders in six months.
In Orlando, new Vespas displayed at bounded restaurants, accouterment food and academy campuses afore the Oct. 1 aperture of Vespa of Orlando in Winter Esplanade resulted in about 40 pre-sold scooters, according to buyer Ed Englander.
“I can’t accept the absorption in it,” says Englander, citation the Vespa’s allure and backbone as affairs credibility to 25- to 40-year-old professionals, the demographic that has apparent the best interest.
Indeed, for abounding years, the archetypal Vespas in the United States accept enjoyed band status, with active, agog clubs all over the country.
Vespa affairs to articulation that history with the growing appeal for scooters by affairs the Vespa as an absolute lifestyle. Instead of alive through accepted dealers, Vespa will advertise its scooters at “Vespa Boutiques,” which should do for scooter arcade what the Barnes & Noble Cafe did for bookstores.
Just bought a Vespa? Get a analogous helmet to go with it. Can’t allow a scooter? Italian-designed Vespa bags, key fobs, accouterment and added accessories will be available.
Vespa Boutiques additionally affection an espresso bar, a video awning abaft the counter, and adequate archetypal Vespas abutting to the new models for sale. It’s a far cry from the boilerplate crowded, acrimonious motorcycle dealer. The aboriginal Vespa Boutique opened in Sherman Oaks, Calif. in November of 2000.
Berman uses his to run errands and booty amusement rides.
“It’s a applicable another to a car or an SUV, abnormally in Winter Park,” Berman says. The Vespa’s baby admeasurement makes it accessible to navigate; it can bench two, and parking is accessible — for instance, the Vespa can be anchored at a sidewalk bike rack.
The new Vespa is accessible in two models, differentiated alone by their engines. The ET2 has a 50cc two-stroke motor, aloof like the acceptable scooter. The ET4 has a 150cc four-stroke agent that is able of affective it up to 60 mph. The ET4 meets emissions standards and can handle freeway and freeway trips; Vespa hopes that adolescent hipsters will see it as a air-conditioned another to a acclimated car.
A accessible bag angle and two accumulator compartments adumbrate below the classic-looking animate bodywork, which can be corrective one of eight altered colors, anniversary called to reflect archetypal Vespas. Optional accessories includes a windshield and analogous helmet.
Pricing is set at $2,950 for the ET2, and $3,950 for the ET4.
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