There has been a big bike craze in the past three years, primarily because of the pandemic. With people holed up in their houses and additional disposable income due to restricted mobility, there was a surge in motorcycle enthusiasts.
And that wasn’t limited to big bikes. Vespa has been doing well, too. So much so that Moto Italia, the distributor of Vespa in the Philippines, has been experiencing a long list of orders for its products, with waiting times extending to months.
But for big bike riders who value performance in their bikes, Vespa scooters can be pale – and that’s where the Vespa GTS 300 comes in.
For this review, I had the chance to take out the Vespa GTS 300 for a few days, particularly in the SuperSport variant that comes with a different instrument cluster.
The GTS 300 SuperSport is a striking urban scooter that seamlessly blends classic Vespa styling with modern features. The scooter’s standout feature is its stylish design, particularly in the eye-catching Green Olive Matt colorway of the test unit, paying homage to Vespa’s rich heritage while exuding a contemporary allure.
This attention-grabbing design sets it apart and adds a dash of uniqueness to city streets. Other colors are available – White Innocenza and Black Opaco Matt – both imbuing their appeal to all tastes.
Maneuverability is where the GTS 300 SuperSport shines, making it exceptionally adept at navigating congested cities. Despite the bigger displacement engine, its compact size and responsive handling make it effortless to weave through traffic and find coveted parking spaces that larger vehicles might have to bypass.
And yes, as the name implies, this is the bigger Vespa – at least twice the displacement of the usual 125cc and 150cc models offered in the Philippines.
Despite that, the 278cc engine provides ample power for the bike’s size and weight. Piaggio’s 300 HPE (High Performance Engine) is SOHC, liquid-cooled single-cylinder 3-valve mill, producing 23.8 hp and 26 Nm torque. I was surprised at how fast this scooter can sprint to 100 km/h – even quicker than some 400cc bikes out there that are legal on expressways.
One of the scooter’s most appealing aspects is its ease of operation, catering to riders of all experience levels. The CVT automatic transmission provides a twist-and-go experience, removing the complexity of gear shifting and making it an excellent choice for newcomers to motorcycling.
After using the bike for under 100 kilometers, I got a fuel economy reading of 18 km/l – quite expected for a scooter with a bigger displacement than usual.
Safety is elevated with hydraulic disc brakes front and rear, complete with standard ABS – both providing a strong bite in any circumstance. The 2023 updates to the braking system further enhance responsiveness, resulting in reduced stopping distances and a heightened sense of confidence for riders.
The GTS 300 SuperSport excels in the storage department, an essential consideration for city commuters. With electronic locks, keyless start, ample under-seat storage, and an additional compartment in the footwell area, it ensures ample space to stow belongings. The added convenience of a USB power port for device charging is a thoughtful touch that caters to modern connectivity needs.
Once on the move, the initial engine vibration felt at idle gives way to a smooth and comfortable ride quality, providing a pleasant experience on both short urban jaunts and longer journeys. The suspension’s quite pliant, too, able to absorb nasty road imperfections (read: EDSA) without transferring the impact on the hands.
Modern technology meets traditional charm with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for phone pairing and an upcoming app for maintenance and ride data monitoring. This infusion of technology adds a layer of convenience, although the small size of the dashboard display could limit the practicality of this feature in some scenarios.
Additionally, the GTS 300 SuperSport appeals to history enthusiasts, reflecting Vespa’s iconic character and heritage in its design. It successfully captures the essence of the brand’s legacy while embracing contemporary engineering.
However, the scooter isn’t without its drawbacks. The most notable drawback is its relatively high price point of P375,000, which places it in competition with bigger motorcycles that offer more performance and capabilities for the price, particularly with the Philippines’ ruling on expressways.
The limited practicality of Bluetooth connectivity due to the small dashboard display also warrants consideration, potentially affecting the overall convenience of the feature. The small size of the split analog/digital dashboard may present challenges when reading certain information while riding, potentially leading to distractions.
Storage, though ample, is not without its quirks, as some compartments lack sufficient padding, potentially leading to scratches on stored items. Furthermore, while the engine vibration at idle is a minor concern, it dissipates as the scooter gains speed.
Surprisingly, the GTS 300 SuperSport lacks a parking brake, which could be inconvenient for preventing rolling when not on its center stand.
The scooter’s build quality isn’t top-notch, with the switchgear feeling slightly plasticky, and fit and finish could be improved for a vehicle in its price range. The matte finish can be quite challenging to maintain, too.
In conclusion, the Vespa GTS 300 SuperSport presents an enticing option for urban commuters seeking style, maneuverability, and user-friendly features. Its blend of classic aesthetics and modern engineering creates a visually appealing and agile mode of transportation – if not for the price point and other drawbacks mentioned here.
But if you’re a big bike rider who wants a scooter that doesn’t leave you wanting more power, then the Vespa GTS 300 SuperSport is definitely worth a second and even third look.