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The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat

April 30, 2009
Back to Big People goes the GTS

Orin O'Neill cell phone photo

I was going crazy Tuesday, waiting for the call. I didn’t have to wait all day; Joe called late in the lunch hour to say the GTS was ready.

The new throttle body had arrived on Saturday. I was starting to feel like a drug addict denied a fix. I so wanted to take the GTS for a ride.

An hour-plus bus ride and several-block walk later, I was at Big People, writing a check. I put the key in the ignition and turned it. All the instrument cluster lights came on, just like they’re supposed to. I gingerly squeezed the brake lever and pushed the starter button. The GTS fired right up.

I wasn’t quite ready to trust it on the Spokane Street Viaduct, so I took the surface street home. Up the Admiral Way hill, no problem. I still feel uneasy, but we make it home. I tuck the GTS into the garage, and turn it off. Halfway out the garage door, I turn around and insert the ignition key. Once again, the instrument cluster lights up, and once again squeezing the brake lever and hitting the starter button yields a quick crank and a lawnmower idle.

Late that evening, I go back to the garage. The GTS fires right up. I pull on a helmet and head north on California Avenue. No problems, it’s running fine. I turn around just short of Admiral Way and head south.

It’s been raining all evening, but the Sava tires grip the pavement quite well. We go all the way to Fauntleroy and back with nary a hiccup. Okay.

Wednesday morning, the plan is to do some laps of West Seattle. I want to be sure the problem is solved before venturing out on a long ride.

The GTS ran well all the way to Fauntleroy, and didn’t miss a beat on Beach Drive. I stop at the intersection of 63rd and Alki.

The engine quits.

I scuttle it over to the corner. I squeeze the right brake lever and hit the starter button. The starter cranks, but the engine doesn’t fire. I squeeze the left brake lever, crank the throttle all the way open, and hit the starter button. Same deal.

AAA Plus RV membership has become an even wiser investment. Once again, a gigantic tilt-bed wrecker comes to fetch the little scooter, and once again there’s no out-of-pocket expense.

I have the driver take me and the GTS home. I’m beside myself, having written a rather large check that I’m guessing cleaned out my checking account. In that frame of mind, the only thing left to do was put the GTS on Craigslist. The post was one of my better bits of writing, if I do say so myself.

A couple of prospective buyers call. Sure, you can come look at it. Then Jeff calls from Big People. Don’t sell it, he says, they’ll come get it and fix it at no charge.

Okay. If I have to sell the GTS, I’d rather not do it at such a loss. And I wouldn’t want to have anyone I’d sell it to on my conscience if they had problems with it. Jeff said another one they were working on was acting the same way, so they’re talking to Piaggio about it.

The story continues. Stay tuned. Favicon

  1. April 30, 2009 7:03 pm

    im so sorry to hear this..:( i bet the dealer takes care of you. i would guess the electrics are having a hard time. a buddy here in Dallas had his entire wiring loom replaced and it took 5 months. but had zero problems since. sorry

  2. April 30, 2009 7:52 pm

    JamesJohn, electrical problems have been pretty much ruled out. Lights, instruments, all that stuff works fine. I’m guessing it’s fuel delivery or software. It’d be so 21st century if it’s the latter…

  3. Jack Monaghan permalink
    April 30, 2009 9:00 pm

    Crappy Crap CRAP!!!! I was worried that the throttle body diagnosis might not be correct. BPS is using the electronic diagnosis tool right? If it’s fuel delivery the tool should show the problem. Chances are it would then either be the fuel pump itself (they have had a history of failures) and or the fuel injector. Neither are cheap, I had to have both replaced. Since then no problems after 1000 additional miles. I would hate to see you sell it. GTS’s are too much fun for that. With all of the support and promotion you provide the brand you might want to send an e-mail or letter to Vespa yourself. I think it would carry some weight. Keep us posted how this turns out. We’re rooting for you.

  4. April 30, 2009 9:06 pm


    I hope they get this problem fixed. I know what you mean about trusting it (anymore). Such an expensive paperweight. . .

    anyway, hope they get this problem solved for you Toute Suite and Gratis

    Hope this doesn’t spoil your Victoria Rally plans, or you could just take the PX . Yes , I know, it’s nice to have options


  5. Gary permalink
    May 11, 2009 6:45 am

    Buy a Honda and you will not have these problems

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