PIAGGIO VESPA PX125 (1977 - 2008) Review
- Cult classic scooter
- Largely unchanged since 1977
- Excels in city centres
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£60|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Vespa PX125 design has remained largely unchanged since it first appeared in 1977. If handling and performance are high up on your list, the Vespa isn’t for you. But if you want to look cool as you cruise around at town speeds, look no further.
The word Vespa has almost become synonymous with scooters in the same way that Hoover is with vacuum cleaners or Jacuzzi with hot tubs. The classic Vespa design is so iconic that owners Piaggio have kept as much of it as possible for their entirely modern incoming Vespa Elettrica model.
Vespa owners are a passionate bunch and there’s no shortage of clubs and ride outs to get involved with, too - such as the Vespa.org.uk forum.
Subtle changes to keep the Vespa up to date and to get it through Euro 3 emissions regulations mean it feels similar to a modern scooter, only with a two-stroke engine and manual transmission. It doesn't handle like a sportsbike - but a Vespa is all about looking cool, not going fast. Remember that and it can be great fun.
The Vespa PX 125 went off sale in 2008, as emissions regulations tightened up.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Weighing in at a featherlight 95kg, bumps upset the little Vespa, especially mid-corner - it feels less like a motorcycle and more akin to a hardtail bicycle at times. But you've got to remember the Vespa isn't designed to be a sweet-handling sportsbike. Settle in to a more relaxed pace and it makes sense. Low speed handling is a doddle due to the weight and size.
EngineNext up: Reliability
A kick-start two-stroke engine is a rare thing for any bike or scooter over 50cc today, so the 123cc two-stroke powering the PX125 is a welcome change of pace. It needs to be revved to get the best from it - trying to accelerate in too high a gear results in the motor bogging down. But keep the motor spinning and the PX will whisk happily along on a cloud of blue smoke.
The gearbox is a four-speed manual.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
It feels a little flimsy, due in part to its lightweight, but everything fits together well and looks to have a good finish. Only time would tell how it stands up to every day abuse during a British winter.
We've got 5 Vespa PX 125 owners' reviews on the MCN site, with an overall score of 3.2 stars out of 5. The negative comments concern performance and reliability, but you do need to keep in mind that this is a classic bike, and one with massive appeal to a lot of people.
Vespa PX125 buying guide - what to look for
- Body - take a good look around the bodywork of the bike and check for any accident damage. The panels should all line up well and there shouldn't be any scrapes or blemishes.
- Wheels - damaged wheels can be a sign of a hard life. If the wheels have taken a battering, how has the suspension fared?
- Engine - make sure you start the engine from cold, and that it makes no concerning noises such as knocking. It should run up to speed smoothly and come back down to idle easily.
- Gearbox - make sure changes are solid. Some Vespas are known for jumping out of gears, so ensure you use them all on your test ride.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
If you can find a 'proper' old Vespa that works as well as the PX125 i.e isn't knackered and in need of some attention for £2,899 then you're laughing. It may not have quite the same appeal as an old Vespa, but it's still incredibly cool, and the price is competitve with other 125cc scooters.
Equipment-wise the PX is basic. A speedo and fuel gauge are all you get at the front, along with old-styled switchgear which feels clunky to operate. There's no underseat storage as you'd expect, instead there is a storage compartment in the leg shield under the dash - enough for a small-ish rucksack. There's also a bag hook in the footwell. The twist-shift for the four gears takes a little getting used, but a few minutes of riding soon sees you shifting easily. Because of the twist-shift on the left handlebar, the rear brake is in the right hand footwell which is extrememly awkward.
|Engine type||two-stroke single cylinder, four gears|
|Frame type||Pressed steel|
|Fuel capacity||8 litres|
|Front suspension||Link arm with coil spring and dual action hydraulic shock absorber|
|Rear suspension||Engine-transmission serving as swingarm, dual action shock absorber|
|Front brake||200mm stainless steel disc|
|Rear brake||150mm drum brake|
|Front tyre size||3.50 - 10|
|Rear tyre size||3.50 - 10|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||51 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£21|
|Annual service cost||£60|
4 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||15 bhp|
|Max torque||12 ft-lb|
|Top speed||65 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||91 miles|
Model history & versions
1977: Model introduced
2011: Relaunched in UK with Euro 3 compliance
Owners' reviews for the PIAGGIO VESPA PX125 (1977 - 2008)
5 owners have reviewed their PIAGGIO VESPA PX125 (1977 - 2008) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£60|
Great scooter Upgraded parts would benefit it
Breaks seem faint
Sounds and smells great Wide range of spare parts and upgraded parts
Needed a full top end rebuild after riding it home from picking it up
Cheap to insurance and tax Not the best on fuel
Very basic speedo Manual choke
Buying experience: Bought privately for £2000 Seller reimbursed me for the cost of the top end rebuild
Annual servicing cost: £70
Draws attention wherever you go Classic design and sound. In standard trim motor is gutless but engaging. Only if they enjoyed low speed cruising and wore rose tinted glasses
Along the coast road from frejus to monaco in the sunshine with your wife pillion towels and swim cosies In the racks stopping off in a bay for a swim, riding into Cannes in the evening parking up outside the resturant watching people stop and check out the scooter and ignore the Bentley you are parked next to. Or the two hour ride to rocamadour on the French D roads a pleasure in the sunshine.
Without some basic tuning the PX125 will only pull 45mph with rider,with tuning (very cheap very easy to do) the PX125 will pull 55 with rider and pillion. Hills and strong headwinds (with sport screen) will kill performance, but ride it within its limitations and it becomes a very engaging ride which allows you to appreciate the road and the scenery.
Speedo drive failed twice in the first 250 miles but very easy and cheap to fix bodywork seems to be holding up well but you must keep it clean and polished and protected.
Very cheap servicing. Very easy to do regular mainternance yourself. Cost of parts minimal ie all cables £24, air filter £8-£12, fuel filter £2.50, two quality tyres, tubes, fitted to new wheels £90 and takes 30 mins to fit. Buy a manual
The noise. Front and rear racks the latter with a low backrest and a king and queen seat makes things. Very comfortable for the pillion, SIP classic semi rigid 10 and 35ltr bags handles the shopping and touring duties. And Vespa OE sport screen. Schwalb raceman tyres improve handling,two up performance, braking, and road holding by 200% OE tyres are awfull quality tyres are possibly the best performance add on you can get in my opinion.
Buying experience: Bought with rose tinted goggles from a dealer £3171 paid £2700 brand new
Annual servicing cost: £50
Best-iconic design and range of parts etc. The fact that a variant of this scooter has been in constant production since 1977 (how many other machines can boast that?!) and so even used spares are plentiful & cheap. Modern bikes have disk brakes and halogen lamps, fuel gauges and auto oil injection -very useful. Worst-Brakes are appalling by any normal standards (marginally better with disk), not terribly quick (a 200 will top 65 but thats it.)
On more modern machines the front grimace disk brake is excellent, the rear drum only any good if kept well maintained, on non disk models however the brakes are barely adequate by todays standards. Ride quality is bit perched and liable to being affected by windy days quite badly, weather protection from the front is excellent however.
Smooth power delivery up to it's 8k rpm redline, 4 well spaced gears hand change.
Very reliable if you don't start mucking about with it. HUGE spares and accessories catalogue- possibly one of the most customisable bikes you'll ever own. I've certainly had P-range models that have topped 100k miles without major surgery and doubt many other motorcycles have the robustness of this de-tuned commuter icon.
A 125 will top 70mpg - if it is driven carefully -this needs 2 stroke oil too so add that to the cost. A 150 maybe 55mpg and a 200 maybe 50mpg.
Spartan by any standard made after 2000 really, you get a lockable cubby box, lockable seat err and that's it really.
Vespas are great in cities. They have a good load carrying capacity and are easy to handle at a slow pace. They are reasonably comfortable 2 up but obviously lacking in power. Handling isn't great above 50mph but get a sportsbike if you can't handle one. p.s. Reviews by silly kids with little riding experience and more to the point, haven't actually ridden the machine in question, should be ignored.
Vespas are for girls, and their riders are a liability to all other road users... they should therefore be banned from cities. Guys who rides vespas, grow a pair and get yourself a decent set of wheels!!