PIAGGIO VESPA PX125 (1977 - 2008) Review

Highlights

  • Cult classic scooter
  • Largely unchanged since 1977
  • Excels in city centres

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 2.8 out of 5 (2.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £60
Power: 15 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.9 in / 810 mm)
Weight: Low (214 lbs / 97 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £2,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

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.

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.

The Vespa PX125 scooter has been pretty much unchanged since 1977 - a true cult classic

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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 quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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

3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Specs

Engine size 123cc
Engine type two-stroke single cylinder, four gears
Frame type Pressed steel
Fuel capacity 8 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 97kg
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 £20
Annual service cost £60
New price -
Used price £2,500
Insurance group 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

Model history

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.

Review your PIAGGIO VESPA PX125 (1977 - 2008)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 3.2 out of 5 (3.2/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3.2 out of 5 (3.2/5)
Engine: 3.2 out of 5 (3.2/5)
Reliability & build quality: 2.8 out of 5 (2.8/5)
Value vs rivals: 3.4 out of 5 (3.4/5)
Equipment: 2.6 out of 5 (2.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £60
4 out of 5 Great scooter
20 July 2019 by J

Version: Efl

Year: 1999

Great scooter Upgraded parts would benefit it

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Breaks seem faint

Engine 5 out of 5

Sounds and smells great Wide range of spare parts and upgraded parts

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

Needed a full top end rebuild after riding it home from picking it up

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Cheap to insurance and tax Not the best on fuel

Equipment 2 out of 5

Very basic speedo Manual choke

Buying experience: Bought privately for £2000 Seller reimbursed me for the cost of the top end rebuild

4 out of 5
06 December 2015 by Pete Sarah

Year: 2014

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

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

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.

Engine 2 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

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.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

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

Equipment 4 out of 5

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

4 out of 5 A design icon -who am I to argue?
15 September 2015 by Timbo58

Version: P200E

Year: 1980

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.)

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

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.

Engine 4 out of 5

Smooth power delivery up to it's 8k rpm redline, 4 well spaced gears hand change.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

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.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

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.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Spartan by any standard made after 2000 really, you get a lockable cubby box, lockable seat err and that's it really.

3 out of 5 Ban Silly Kids
16 January 2012 by

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.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
1 out of 5 Introduce vespa ban
12 January 2012 by stefmeister

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!!

Ride quality & brakes 1 out of 5
Engine 1 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 1 out of 5
Value vs rivals 1 out of 5
Equipment 1 out of 5
Back to top