The first Vespa was created in 1946 and in Italian it means wasp. If you compare a scooter to a wasp, the similarities are that both are small and can travel through narrow spaces and they both can reach a relatively high speed for their small sizes.
Scooters are used by people who live in crowded cities and the Vespa was firstly used in Italy, where a lot of cities have narrow roads and where a lot of people are traveling on the streets.
In 1946 the traffic in Italy wasn’t so heavy, but if you think about how it is now when cities are full of tourists’ cars and of residents’ cars you will come to the conclusion that riding a scooter might just be the best way to get from one place to another very fast.
Over time, scooters have evolved and manufacturers have designed engines that can reach higher speeds, but there is still a limitation given by the fact that scooters are small and manufacturers also have to consider the safety of the riders. Therefore, the highest speeds that a scooter can reach are not as high as the ones of motorcycles or cars.
What determines the maximum speed of a scooter?
People who are not passionate about cars, motorcycles, engines, and the technology behind these means of transportation, might be a little bit confused when it comes to understanding what determines a scooter to have a certain maximum speed.
Engines have evolved during the last hundred years and have become more and more powerful, which is pretty amazing if you think about it. However, scooters can still not run as fast as motorcycles or cars. This happens mostly because of their structure and not because of their engines but we are not going to enter so many technical details.
The power of the engine
However, what you need to know is that the power of the engine will determine how fast the scooter can go. The higher the power of the engine, the quicker you will be able to ride it because the maximum speed increases.
There are several things about an engine that you have to take into account when considering speed. The first one is the power of the engine, which can be expressed either in horsepower, like 5.2 horsepower, for example, or in kilowatts, for example, 4 kW. The two powers expressed here are equal.
The size of the engine
If you have been reading about scooters, you have probably seen notations like 50cc or 125cc. But what does that mean? This refers to the volume of the engine. CC stands for cubic centimeter, so 50cc means 50 cubic centimeters, which means that the engine has a volume of 50 cubic centimeters.
The higher the volume of the engine is, the higher the maximum speed that a scooter can reach is. A 50cc engine can reach a maximum speed of 30-40 miles per hour, while a 125cc engine can go as fast as 60 miles per hour.
The maximum speeds of Vespa models
As we have said before, the speed of a scooter is determined by the engine and the thing is that not every Vespa has the same engine as the others. Therefore, it is easy to understand why different models can reach different maximum speeds. In the next section of our article, we are going to tell you which models arrive at different speeds.
1. 30 miles per hour – The Vespa Elettrica
Thirty miles per hour might not seem very much, but if you think that you can reach this speed with an electric scooter it does not sound that bad, does it? The Vespa Elettrica is the electric version from Vespa and runs on 4kW which is the same as a 50cc engine, but it does not have enough power to run faster than 30 miles per hour.
If you want to ride your scooter around a crowded city that has streets full of cars every day, 30 miles per hour is more than enough. The battery of this type of Vespa is designed to be fully charged in about 4 hours and Piaggio is proud that the battery can work for 10 years at optimum levels of performance.
2. 59 miles per hour – The Vespa Primavera 150
Spring is the season when scooters come out on the streets and you might be tempted to ride a little bit faster than you would if you rode the Vespa Elettrica. A great option is the Vespa Primavera which comes in two versions: the Primavera 50 and the Primavera 150.
The former one has a 150cc engine and can reach a maximum speed of 59 miles per hour. The Vespa Primavera 50, on the other hand, can reach a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour, having a power of 50cc. It is still a little bit higher than the Vespa Elettrica and perfect for crowded cities because it will get you to different places relatively quickly.
3. 60 miles per hour – The Vespa Sprint 150
Similar to the Primavera, the Vespa Sprint also comes in two versions, the 50cc one and the 150cc one. Also, you will be able to ride the Vespa Sprint 50 at a speed as high as 40 miles per hour, but when it comes to the 150 version, it will ride as fast as 60 miles per hour.
A model that will allow you to ride at a speed of 60 miles per hour is also the Vespa 946, which has a 4-stroke engine of 150cc, making your rides feel a little bit more exciting. While driving a car or a speed motorcycle, 60 miles per hour might not seem such a high speed, but on a Vespa, you will feel that wonderful feeling of adventure in your stomach.
4. 73 miles per hour – The Vespa Sei Giorni
This speed sounds more like it has been stated randomly; however, this is the fastest the Vespa Sei Giorni can go. The great thing about the Vespa is that it comes in different versions and you will be able to find a product that matches your needs and desires when it comes to the scooter that fits you best.
The Vespa Sei Giorni has become an icon in the history of scooters and was initially introduced in 1951. Since then it has evolved and now has the capacity to reach a maximum speed of 73 miles per hour.
The engine, of 278cc, is very powerful for a scooter of this size, but you will still be safe while riding it because Piaggio has thought of it all and you will not be in any danger.
5. 78 miles per hour – The Vespa GTS
Last but not least, the Vespa that can reach the highest speed is the Vespa GTS. It does not leave the Sei Giorni far behind, but it can still run 5 mph faster and it is a great choice especially if you are looking for a scooter that has double the speed of a regular one.
The 278cc engine will allow you to run really fast which is a great option for people who live further away from the center of the city or for someone who has to travel long distances to work and back, but who still wants to ride a scooter and not a motorcycle or a car.
6. 56 miles per hour – Vespa LX
Vespa comes in various options, and the LX is one of the series that continues to enjoy a lot of popularity. The Vespa LX 125 can reach a maximum speed of 60 miles per hour, above the Vespa LX 50 top speed, which is only 39 miles per hour. As usual, Vespa 50cc models cannot match the performance of those that come outfitted with a bigger engine, so that should come as no surprise.
However, you should know that the highest Vespa 50cc top speed can be 63 miles per hour, but it all depends on what model you intend to purchase. The LX series is a beautiful alternative since it has the retro looks everyone loves when thinking of Italian scooters. Actually, the motto of the series is ‘Fashion Unchanged’, which says it all.
The LX series matches the Primavera series’ performance, as the Vespa Primavera 150 top speed is 59 miles per hour, and therefore, they are very similar. That’s about the Vespa 150 top speed you may hear about when talking about this brand in general.
7. 76 miles per hour – Vespa GTS 250
The GTS series comes in different options, and the GTS 250 is among the ones offering the highest performance. The Vespa GTS 250 top speed is 76 miles per hour, with fuel consumption of one gallon for every 65-70 miles. However, you should know that the high performance of the GTS 250 comes with a price, and that’s its weight.
How much does a Vespa weigh? In this case, the answer is 322 pounds, which is clearly heavier than many other scooters on the market. While this detail might make you think that this Vespa would be a drag to ride in heavy traffic, that’s not the case. Another advantage is the low amount of emissions it generates.
In case you’re looking for 200cc scooter top speed alternatives, the GTS 250 is a solid choice. It provides the Vespa max speed you can find; not even its better-endowed sibling, the GTS 300, cannot match its performance, which means that the GTS 250 strikes the right balance between power and abilities.
The Vespa horsepower developed by the model’s powerful engine is 21.30 HP, so you get a good idea about what it’s capable of doing. It is almost the fastest Vespa scooter you can find and a reliable option.
8. 73.3 miles per hour – Vespa GTS 300
In case you want a modern model that comes equipped with up to date features, you surely want to take a close look at the Vespa GTS 300. With the GTS series being the fastest Vespa in existence, the 73.3 miles per hour it can pull shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is the Vespa 300 top speed you can expect from such a model.
This model sports the same classic looks this brand is known for, but the presence of traction control and an advanced brake system makes it an option you cannot overlook. Since the Vespa top speed it delivers is in line with what you can expect from a high-performance scooter, you would be hard-pressed to find a drawback.
How much is a new Vespa? That’s a question that many people might ask, seeing that new gadgetry is employed on these models. In this case, the base model is 6,949USD, with the Touring option being a bit more expensive, at 7,149USD. For the Vespa GTS 300 top speed of over 73 miles per hour, the expense might be considered justifiable. The Vespa Primavera 50 top speed cannot match it, but it all depends on what you want.
A competitor Vespa needs to consider
From the list of Vespa scooters presented so far, you’ve probably noticed that none of them is capable of going over 80 miles per hour. However, that doesn’t mean that there are no mopeds that go 80 mph, and a direct competitor of Vespa might just cut into its market share.
But how fast can a moped go? According to specialists, you can find mopeds that go as quickly as 85 miles per hour, but those are race models that also have a high fuel consumption. In case you want a fast model, the Yamaha XMAS is the one you should look up. Traction control and other modern features make it a tough competitor for Vespa, and its top speed between 80-85 miles per hour highly recommends it.
Plus, the Yamaha XMAS is about one grand less than the Vespa GTS; for this reason, some people might consider it a better option. So, how fast can a scooter go? Yamaha appears to have found the answer, and that’s more than 80 miles per hour.
Can Vespas go on the highway?
To have a clear answer to this question, one needs to take a good look at the overall legal requirements regarding scooters and their use on highways. Vespa highway legal models are those equipped with 150cc engines, according to the California laws. California represents a particular case since its legislation establishes that scooters with 150cc engines or better are considered motorcycles.
How fast is 150cc in mph? This type of engine is responsible for developing up to 60 miles per hour speeds, taking various models into consideration, and that should be your starting point.
If you ride the fastest Vespa model, it is clear that you can go on a highway anywhere, including in California. The Vespa scooter top speed offered by most models may also make these mopeds good options for riding on highways. However, you need to understand the laws in each state to make sure you’re not breaking the law.
How fast does a 150cc moped go? That’s an essential question insurers are interested in because higher speeds and lack of stability can make the riders more susceptible to accidents and injuries. With the average 150cc moped top speed being 60 miles per hour, it is understandable why additional provisions need to be considered for insurance coverage.
Depending on the answer to the question ‘how fast does a moped go?’, you will get a better understanding of what the insurance laws require from a scooter owner.
People who ride scooters do not need very high speeds to get from one place to another, but sometimes the great feeling of freedom you get while you ride at a higher speed is something to look forward to.
Even if you are not a speed enthusiast, Vespa has many different models that vary when it comes to the maximum speed they can reach, but after having read this article, you will be able to choose the model that would suit you best when it comes to highest speeds.