Vespa-px-125-streetrod-05-the-lads-roomVESPA PX 125 STREET ROD EDITION NO5

The Vespa PX125 was first introduced in 1977 but still looks as cool today (if not cooler) as it did way back then.  A little bit cleaner, with its lower emissions and manufacturing methods, though perhaps.  Okay, it’s no beast in the power and handling department but then it’s not about that is it?  Anyway if you were to go too fast, nobody would see how cool you looked.

Lambretta Versus Vespa Debate 

Two icons of the scooter world, Lambretta and vespa have gone head to head for years. We take a look at these two iconic brands and the famed scooters that have shaped modern subcultures from the streets of Rome to the coastal roads of the Isle of Wight.



1. I have always been a Lambretta man, I think for me it was the combination of the sleeker styling and the fact that the original Italian manufactures ‘innocenti ‘ brand of Lambretta’s had stopped being produced, so seemed more vintage, plus I didn’t particularly like the new scooters Vespa were making at the time.

Also I found Lambretta’s very simple to work on, with a lot of the models having many interchangeable parts. Although a lot of Vespa guys would say the opposite, as Vespa’s had fewer parts and were generally more reliable. I think if you were mechanically mined you went for a lambretta if not, then a Vespa was the easier option and would get you to work on time!

Lambretta’s , I felt also offered more scope to customise, with removable panel work you could paint or chrome easily and there were a wide range of bolt on accessories available. Although to be fair, as the years have passed I have grown to like Vespa’s more and more; particularly the older models, but Lambetta’s with their great styling, range of models and the company’s fantastic marketing used in the fifties and sixties to sell there ranges, will always ensure I stay a Lambretta Man.

2. I own a 1967 Lambretta SX 200 , which for me is the premium model, looks amazing, with sleek 60’s lines It’s the scooter I always wanted and was lucky enough year’s later to end up owning one.

I admire Vespa’s but for me the Lambretta is a superior design, the Vespa’s engine is mounted on the side while the Lambretta in the centre so I find it a better ride as for me, as it feels more balanced.

I also love all the extras that were made for Lambrettas during the sixties, and have been collecting rare old sixties accessories ready to fit to my Scooter, even though it’s proving an expensive hobby!!

Rhys Davies – London


1. I own both Lambretta and Vespa Scooters, I love my 1957 Lambretta LD, it looks great, it’s like a piece of engineer art and for its day was technically advanced. However nearly 60 years have passed and so I now respect its age and treat it like art, so it sits in my living room looking splendid!

I ride my Vespa P200E daily, its quick, has decent brakes and starts every time, so for me Vespa is for riding Lambretta’s for preserving.
Kevin Downer- IOW

2. I have been riding scooters for 35 years and always loved Vespa’s, style, reliability and looks of course, ridden them all over the UK as well as to Spain, South of France, Italy, Croatia, Germany etc. part of the image that I discovered in 1977 from getting into bands,The Jam and The Who.

Timeless quality and style that even at being over 50 a motorbike could never replace! As for Lambretta’s I have owned the best two ever made an SX200 that appeared in The Who’s Quadrophenia show at Hyde Park and of course the Serveta Jet 200 customised as 21st Century Breakdown by Green Day. Although would never own anything else than a Vespa, particularly now being President of The Vespa Club of Britain.

Robin Quartermain. Chelmsford – President of the Vespa Club of Britain.


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A Man’s Guide to Scooters



Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Nate Pedersen

Scooters. In America, where we tend to associate manly two-wheeled locomotion exclusively with motorcycles, they sometimes elicit a bit of a snicker. But for men around the world, and even not so far back in our own history, scooters have been prized as economical, stylish, and fun to ride.

Today we’ll talk a little bit about that history, discuss what makes scooters a viable and enjoyable mode of transportation, and offer some tips for picking the right one.

The History of Scooters

military scooters

Men have been riding scooters since 1894 when German manufacturing duo Hildebrand & Wolfmuller cranked out a motorized bicycle with a step-through frame. But scooters weren’t embraced with much enthusiasm until two British manufacturers, Salsbury and Cushman, jumped into the game in the 1930s. They soon found an untapped market for scooters: military bases. Sprawling military bases around Europe had need of messengers on fast and cheap transportation to quickly relay communications. Both Salsbury and Cushman soon found their factories overwhelmed with military orders.

Ironically, it took a world war for scooters to move from the military to the civilian market. Severe gas rationing after WWII made the scooter’s fuel economy extremely attractive to people around Europe. Two Italian manufacturers — Piaggio and Lambretta — also entered the game, bringing that classic Italian aesthetic and sex appeal to scooters.


Piaggio had manufactured Italian airplanes during World War II, but its factory was completely destroyed during air raids. After the war ended, Enrico Piaggio changed the focus of his company from airplanes to lightweight, economical scooters. In 1946, the first Piaggio-made scooter rolled off the factory line. Upon seeing the prototype, Enrico declared “Sembra una vespa!” or “It resembles a wasp!” And so the Vespa was born and scooters soared in popularity around Europe.

scooters-for-the-lads 02

As the home of both Vespas and Lambrettas, Italy quickly became the cultural heart for scooter aficionados in other European countries. The sleek Italian scooter rider — tight-fitting suit, sunglasses, shaggy hair — became the fashion icon for a burgeoning counter-cultural movement in Great Britain. By the 1960s the streets of English cities were streaming with these “mods” — disaffected youth decked out in Italian suits riding their heavily customized scooters and brawling with the motorcycle riders — “rockers.”

Today, scooters are embraced by a wider spectrum of people, particularly city commuters who use them for their daily ride to work. With the steady rise in gas prices over the past 15 years, scooters have become increasingly popular with their hard-to-beat 85-100 mpg. Owing to their affordability and fuel economy, scooters are used across the globe. In fact in some countries, scooters are the primary motorized transport owned by families and scooter sales far outstrip automobile sales.

Scooters Vs. Motorcycles


If you’re in the market for a motorized bike, you might wonder whether you should purchase a scooter or a motorcycle. For most people, it’s an instinctive choice — they either respond to the culture and aesthetics of scooters or to the culture and aesthetics of motorcycles. Despite their similarity to the layman, scooter riders and motorcycle riders inhabit different worlds, with unique mindsets, cultures, and practices. At some points in history (I’m looking at you 1960s Britain) scooter riders and motorcycle riders scorned each other and would even fight on sight. That doesn’t happen (much) anymore. While there is occasionally some lingering animosity between the two camps, overall there’s a spirit of friendly collegiality between fellow travelers on the motorized two-wheel highway.


Beyond their instinctive appeal, scooters have other pros as well:

  • Price. While prices vary widely on the used market, most new scooters are cheaper than most new motorcycles.
  • Automatic shifting. The majority of modern scooters don’t require changing gears. This makes learning to ride a lot easier. By contrast, motorcycles require agile use of a clutch. Note: vintage scooters do require manual shifting.
  • Gas mileage. Motorcycles can’t compete with the 90+ mpg you can get on scooters.
  • Personalization. Part of the fun of owning a scooter is playing around with modifications to the body. Watch the film Quadrophenia for some serious inspiration. You can add racks, mirrors, windshields, chrome cowl protectors, hell, even a sidecar. Check out Scooterworks and ScooterWest online for parts.
  • Storage. Scooters have ample under-seat storage, plus they are easily fitted with a variety of additional storage options. Do a Google image search of scooter riders in India to get a real sense of the endless possibilities here. For starters, you can add a rear rack and attach a top box. Some scooters also have what the British call a “curry hook” which is a simple hook to hang a bag between your feet. It’s called a curry hook because it’s frequently used for curry take-out on the backstreets of London. It’s equally useful, however, for that quick stop at the corner store on your way home from work. You can fit a six-pack under your seat and a bag of groceries between your feet.
  • Licensing. For smaller-engined scooters, you don’t need a special license to operate. You can buy it off a lot or from someone’s garage with no special classes or certifications.

The best reason to buy a motorcycle instead of a scooter, on the other hand, is highway riding. Even expensive scooters with big engines are not as well-suited for highway riding as motorcycles. If the call of the open road resonates in your heart, you might follow in the footsteps of a good scootering friend of mine who rode a Vespa for years before selling it one day and switching to a Yamaha motorcycle. He was ready for some long-distance road trips and never looked back.

A Guide to Buying Your First Scooter


If you decide that you want to get yourself a scooter, you’ll find that there are a ton of options out there. A wide variety of motorcycle and automobile manufacturers have dipped their hands into the scooter market, creating a vast range of products available for the discerning consumer. The following tips will help you navigate this complex market.

The Basics

When choosing your very first scooter, start with something used, small, and cheap, and consider upgrading later.

Scooters have a wide range of engine sizes, represented by the number of cc’s. The smaller the engine, the slower the scooter, and the better the fuel economy. (The reverse is also true.)

An inexpensive scooter will typically have a 50cc engine, meaning you’ll be maxed out at about 35 mph. This is a nice limiter for a beginner so you’re not tempted to ride on highways or fast roads in town while you’re still getting your feet wet. Cheap scooters also won’t have the comfort or aesthetics of the more expensive options, but they will help you decide if riding a scooter is for you without spending a small fortune.

Inexpensive scooters abound on the used market and can be found for a few hundred dollars on Craigslist or through a local dealer. My first scooter was a Roketa, a Chinese model that I bought with a few hundred miles on it for $400. While I only kept it for one riding season, it was a great introduction to scooters and helped me decide what I wanted in my next one. In my case, I wanted a bigger engine, a more reliable manufacturer, and a sleeker look. I went with a Yamaha Vino 125cc the next year. Check your local Craigslist listings, especially in the spring when people start cleaning out their garages.

Reputable Scooter Manufacturers and Models

Here are four of the well-known scooter manufacturers and their most popular models:

Piaggio (Vespa)

Italian manufacturer and the gold standard of scooter production. When most people picture a scooter, they are picturing a Vespa. It’s the quintessential scooter, noted in particular for its sleek steel frames. Current popular models are the LX and the GT.

  • The Vespa LX is available with either a 50cc or a 150cc engine.
  • The Vespa LX 4v has a 50cc engine, an MSRP of $3,499, gets 90 mpg, and tops out at 39 mph.
  • The Vespa LX150 has a 150cc engine, an MSRP of $4,699, gets 75 mpg, and tops out at 59 mph.
  • The Vespa GTV 300 has a 300 cc engine, an MSRP of $7,199, gets 70 mpg, and tops out at 80 mph.


American manufacturer of scooters inspired by mid-century Italian models. Genuine scooters are a great way to combine vintage style with modern mechanics. If “Made in America” is important to you, this is your company. Genuine is based in Chicago. Current popular models are the Buddy and the Stella.

  • The Buddy 50 has a 50cc engine, an MSRP of $1999, gets 100 mpg, and tops out at 30 mph.
  • The Buddy 125 has a 125cc engine, an MSRP of $2699, gets 90 mpg, and tops out at 50 mph.
  • The Buddy Stella is the classic Genuine scooter, with a 147cc engine, an MSRP of $3699, gets 140 mpg, and tops out at 50 mph.


Japanese manufacturer of hardy, reliable scooters. Current popular models are the Metropolitan, modeled after classic Italian scooters, and the Ruckus, which is the probably the most rugged scooter model on the market, capable of off-road action.

  • The Honda Metropolitan has a 49cc engine, an MSRP of $1999, gets 117 mpg, and tops out at 30 mph.
  • The Honda Ruckus has a 49cc engine as well, an MSRP of $2649, gets 114 mpg, and tops out at 30 mph.


Another Japanese manufacturer of hardy, reliable scooters. Similar to Honda, Yamaha has an urban, classically designed scooter called the Vino and a more rugged, modern looking scooter called the Zuma.

  • The Yamaha Vino has 49cc engine, an MSRP of $2290, gets 127 mpg, and tops out at 30 mph.
  • The Yamaha Zuma 125 has a 125cc engine, an MSRP of $3,390, gets 89 mpg, and tops out at 50 mph.

All of the above scooters have their dedicated fans. You wouldn’t go wrong with any of them.

At some point in time, you may be tempted to purchase a vintage scooter. Granted, few things are cooler than a beautifully restored vintage Vespa cruising down the street. But the dude riding that scooter put a lot of time in (or paid someone a lot of money) to make that happen. My advice: unless you want to make scooter maintenance and repair a part-time hobby, buy a relatively recent model.

Licensing & Safety

In many states you can ride a 50cc scooter without obtaining a motorcycle license (which is another reason the 50cc is a great starting place for the newbie scooter rider). Typically, a move up in cc’s also requires obtaining a motorcycle license. Rules for motorcycle licenses vary from state to state, but here in Oregon a license requires completing a day-long educational class, followed by passing a computerized test at the DMV.

In addition to a motorcycle license, you will need to acquire a DOT (Department of Transportation) certified helmet. Helmet laws vary from state to state, so you might live somewhere where they are not required. Regardless of the law, a DOT helmet is strongly recommended. Remember, you’ll be cruising along at 35 mph, possibly higher. You’re going to want to protect your head.

You should also purchase good leather riding gloves. Gloves will help you grip the scooter handles better and give your hands some protection if you wipe out.

Armed with your helmet and riding gloves — and a pair of leather boots you probably already have sitting around the house — you will be ready to ride.

The Scooter Community


If you live in a major city, you can probably join a scooter club for fun, scooter-based camaraderie. Scooter clubs are active in many cities around the country: New York has the New York Scooter Club, Boston has the Boston Stranglers, and the national-in-scope Royal Bastards Scooter Club has chapters across the country.

If you really get into scootering, you can even start racing. For example, the Scooter Cannonball Run is a coast-to-coast endurance race held each year for scooter riders. Participants race their vehicles across the country on a route that changes each year.

Scooters are a blast to ride. There’s a particular joy to be had in cruising down an urban street with the wind rushing past your face. While debates still sometimes surface about the “manliness” of scooters, the really manly thing is to simply ride whatever it is you like and have a great time doing it.

Nate Pedersen is a librarian and journalist in Bend, Oregon. His website is He’s written for AoM before, including a piece on book collecting.

A Brief History

Well luv them or hate em (we luv em) everybody has seen one, or more likely, heard one.  There are many types but our favourites are of course the Lambretta and the Vespa. Here is a bit of did you know…………

vespa1The main stimulus for the design style of the Lambretta and Vespa dates back to before World War II. These olive green scooters were in Italy in large numbers, ordered originally by the US military as field transport for the Paratroops and Marines. The US military had used them to get around German defence tactics of destroying roads and bridges.

Aeronautical engineer General Corradino D’Ascanio, responsible for the design and construction of the first modern helicopter by Agusta, was given the job by Ferdinando Innocenti of designing a simple, robust and affordable vehicle. It had to be easy to drive for both men and women, be able to carry a passenger and not get its driver’s clothes soiled.

Construction and models

Like Vespas of the day, Lambrettas had three or four gears and two-stroke engines with capacities ranging from 49 cc to 198 cc. Most two-stroke engines require a mixture of oil with the gasoline in order to lubricate thepiston and cylinder.
Along with the Vespa, Lambretta was an iconic vehicle of the 1950s and 1960s when they became the adopted vehicle of choice for the UK youth-culture known as Mods. The character Jimmy from the influential scooter movie Quadrophenia rode a Lambretta Li 150 Series 3. Of the 1960s models, the TV (Turismo Veloce), the Special (125 and 150), the SX (Special X) and the GP (Grand Prix) are generally considered the most desirable due to their increased performance and refined look; the “matte black” fittings on the GP model are said to have influenced European car designs throughout the 1970s. These three models came with a front disc brake made by Campagnolo. The TV was the world’s first production two-wheeled vehicle with a front disc brake !!

Lambrettas have attracted an eclectic following of ‘Mods’
Casuals, Roundel, Scooter, Scooterboy, Sharpies, Skinhead,
Soulboy, Suedehead .

The Cutdown

A ‘cutdown’ is a customised scooter (usually an Italian Vespa or Lambretta) with parts of the bodywork removed or cut away. Cutdowns were popular amongst skinheads and scooterboys during the mod revival of the 1970s and 1980s. While the style-obsessed British mod youth subculture of the 1960s prized the glamorous, metropolitan image of scooters, many skinheads and scooterboys viewed their bikes as simply a form of transportation.

While some scooter enthusiasts have focused on the stripped-down look, with just a bare frame and visible motor and mechanical parts, some scooterboys put back almost as much hardware as they had taken off, by adding customized chrome-plated accessories and racks.
A cutdown scooter resembles a “naked scooter”, which is a scooter designed without panels covering the engine and with little or no bodywork. The difference between the two types is that while a cutdown scooter started as a regular scooter with body panels and bodywork, before it was customized, a “naked scooter” is designed and manufactured as a “bare-bones” vehicle. In the 1960s, Lambretta models A through D were in this category. In the 1990s, Italjet produced a stripped-down scooter called the Dragster.

This “naked” Lambretta has been cut down and customized.


Timeline of models

  • Model A, 1947–1948
  • Model B, 1948–1950
  • Model C/LC, 1950–1951
  • Model D, 1951–1957
  • Model LD, 1951–1958
  • Model E, 1953–1954
  • Model F, 1954–1955
  • TV Series 1, 1957–1959
  • Li Series 1, 1958–1959
  • Li Series 2, 1959–1961
  • TV Series 2, 1959–1962
  • Li Series 3, 1961–1967
  • TV/GT Range, 1962–1965
  • Li Special, 1963–1969
  • J Range, 1964–1971
  • SX Range, 1966–1969
  • Lui/Vega/Cometa, 1968–1970
  • GP/DL Range, 1969–1971 (Italy)
  • GP/DL, 1972–1998 (India)