Test of the Vespa GTS 300 2023 [Scooter Testing in Italy]

There are a few things Italy figured out long ago: red sauce on pasta, the Pope with silly hats, and Vespas in Rome. If you’re lucky enough to wake up in the nation’s historic boot-shaped capital, you’ll no doubt want to see its jaw-dropping landmarks in no time. We could lace up our sneakers and sabotage ourselves, but that’s pedestrian. Hailing a cab and holding on for life isn’t a bad choice, though universally taxing. Of course, it’s hard to be beaten on the 2023 Vespa GTS 300.A stone’s throw from St. Peter’s Basilica in the quiet residential neighborhood of Aurelio, we encountered all four trim levels hoisted on their center stands: the GTS 300 ($7,799), GTS 300 Super ($7,999 ), the GTS 300 SuperSport ($8099) and GTS 300 SuperTech ($8499). They are all nearly identical, differentiated only by visual tweaks. The SuperTech rises to the top of the range with its color TFT display, plus a carpeted storage compartment with an interior LED light. The only member of the Granturismo Sport family set to grace American shores, the 2023 GTS 300 is the biggest wasp in Vespa’s nest and flexing a few updates. The sleek, go-anywhere monocoque design borders on national pride for Pontedera’s passionate employees, who have chiseled slightly sharper edges into its signature curves. A new tie, mudguards, mirrors, badging, redesigned five-spoke wheels and LED lighting all around top the aesthetic lists without deviating from well-kept traditions. Technology and refinement are on the agenda this year, starting with a new analogue/LCD instrument panel and color TFT display exclusive to the GTS 300 SuperTech version. The TFT display unlocks the true potential of the Vespa MIA app, including navigation, although purists may think the traditional speedo is better suited. Keyless ignition also opens the glove box and underseat storage. Also, there is a bike search function, handy when it seems like all the other scooters in Italy are Vespas.Sitting on the shrunken seat is where things are seen and felt. Wider handlebars are reminiscent of the Vespas of yore with chrome-plated plastic gear covers, though the metal appeals to the senses and lives up to the whole thing. Once cobbled together from a bin of post-war aviation parts, the brand’s quintessential swingarm front suspension now features a stability-enhancing pull rod. It becomes clear through the blur that it takes all two blocks to gel with the 2023 Vespa GTS 300 and underlines why almost every Italian man, woman or child is no stranger to scootering. Rounding a few bends and descending one of the many old roads, we put the revised suspension to the test on the well-worn cobbled streets past the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, commissioned by Pope Paul V in 1612 to mark the terminus of the restored Acqua Paola aqueduct. It brought much-needed fresh water to Janiculum Hill, whose residents once relied on the tainted Tiber River for their daily needs.The front of the Vespa tracked the century-old cobblestones with greater precision than any Wasp I’ve raced on before. It gobbles up the hits with the same enthusiasm I have for pizza diavola, as the dual breathable hydraulic shock absorbers work admirably. During this time tourists enjoyed what I would say is one of the best views in Rome. Vespa’s origins as a practical mover ring truer than ever and are on full display when cruising through the city centre. An ultra-low center of gravity leaves nothing to be desired in the maneuverability department when battling congested traffic near Vatican City. armed with the protection of a prophet. From the comfortable perch of the GTS 300 and using its wide steering sweep, we met locals who demonstrated that the words of Saint Ayrton Senna, “If you no longer aim for a gap that exists, you are no longer a driver race”, are heard every day while passing in front of the Colosseum.The return to the fold goes to the standard safety features of ABS and traction control, marketed as ASR by the Italian firm. Since a good portion of its 347 pounds is distributed over the stern, the rear brake helps you drop anchor to avoid obstacles such as inattentive tourists. Grabbing a handful of binders isn’t met with sharp intrusion or bite, with single-piston Nissin and ByBre calipers doing their thing when you yank the levers. With no shifting to occupy your faculties, the fully automatic CVT gives you the freedom to live your life as a Rom. One hand is free to hold a cigarette or gesticulate wildly at the first sign of a light traffic jam, while a phone fits between your face and the cheek pads of your locked modular or open face helmet. It happens so often that you’d assume it’s on licensing tests. Powering the GTS 300 is a 278cc single-cylinder four-stroke mill with plenty of city guts, a claimed 24 horsepower for 19 lb-ft of torque, which nets around 75 mph on the speedometer when cruising. cutting with colleagues. Opening it wide from a stop is enough to feel a little CVT belt slippage, but nothing I would write about at home. Sure, a Vespa can flap its wings quickly in the tight urban environment, but the Vespone (meaning “big”) has enough puff to maintain a practical pace in the countryside and only sip what feels like dice at sew of his 2.2-gallon fuel tank.Winding through winding back roads that would keep any knee-dragging sportbike rider busy on a Sunday afternoon, we pointed our handlebars toward scenic Lake Bracciano. A wonderful volcanic lake on the Roman outskirts, it’s dotted with quaint villages and restaurants to refuel between summer swims. This is where the grand touring aspect of the GTS goes beyond just labeling, as its highway-compatible speeds and ample storage space come into focus. Tuck your groceries under the seat or deck your scoot out with extra racks and cases to substantiate those claims. The only complaints I can talk about are: it can get a little hot in the underseat storage due to the proximity to the engine. Don’t store dairy in there, or do it because you live on the edge. Also, at this price, all models should have the SuperTech’s LED lighting and carpeting.Of course, anyone who has read our excellent buying guides knows that a starting price of almost $8,000 will get you quite a bit of a motorcycle. You can buy a trio of Vespa clones or make the Pontedera factory pilgrimage while you’re there. Cultural cachet is hard to buy these days, let alone the genre that has just been the true vehicle of post-war reconstruction. What began as an economical way for Italian citizens to start anew became wheels of change in the 60s and 70s and has since been elevated by its compatriots to the top of a Roman pedestal. And it’s worth the price of admission for its devotees. A cultural icon, the Vespa GTS 300 2023 lives on. If you’re looking to get one in the US, they’re coming to dealerships now.Action photography by Alberto Cervetti and Marco ZamponiDRIVING STYLE

  • Helmet: Arai Regent-X
  • Jacket: Alpinestars Solano
  • Gloves: Alpinestars Morph
  • Jeans: Alpinestars Copper V2
  • Boots: Alpinestars Radon Drystar

2023 Vespa GTS 300 Review Photo Gallery

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