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Vespa GTS 300i.e.: No, that’s not a typo

June 17, 2010
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It now says 300i.e.

Say goodbye to the 250s (Orin O'Neill photos)

While the GTS was being serviced at Vespa Milwaukie, I was offered a test ride “on a new 300.” I thought, finally, I’ll get to see for myself if there really is a difference in performance!

We walked out to the forecourt, where there was a white GTS 300 Super with a dealer plate. But my host led me to a Dragon Red GTS. Huh?

Then I noticed the emblems on the right quarter and glovebox door.

They said “300,” not “250.” Piaggio has been upgrading every scooter in its multi-brand portfolio that used to use the 246cc QUASAR engine to the 278cc version; for 2010 it’s the GTS’ turn. And before you hurl your invective about deceptive marketing, please remember that EVERY MOTOR VEHICLE MANUFACTURER IN THE UNIVERSE ROUNDS OFF THE ENGINE DISPLACEMENT, OKAY??!!

I fired it up and headed out onto McLoughlin Boulevard. Kept up with traffic, which usually goes about 10 mph over the 40 mph speed suggestion, no problem.

The 300i.e. felt solid as a rock. And made me realize just how beat my GTS is. It wasn’t exactly in pristine condition when I got it (the seller told me he once took it somewhere in his truck without tying it down), and it has been bumped, banged, scraped and even fell over on me when my foot slipped on some sand the city of Seattle had claimed to have cleaned up.

Nicely balanced, yes. Climbs hills effortlessly, yes. So does my GTS. But without my GTS’ squeaks, rattles and groans because all the body bits are tight and securely mounted.

Once I got my GTS back I did realize the 300i.e. moved out from a standstill a bit more smartly, and required a tiny bit less throttle input to maintain any given speed. But that was because I was thinking very hard about such things. I probably wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

2010 Vespa GTS instrument cluster

For 2010, the GTS gets a new instrument cluster.

There are some more noticeable differences for 2010.

The LCD instrument cluster has been replaced with the analog number shown above. I have grown to dislike the LCD display, not just because it’s difficult to read, but because it isn’t really giving you any additional information. The tachometer bar shows you the engine turns 1500 rpm at idle, and 6000 at speed, no matter what that speed is. The ambient temperature readout seems grossly optimistic (I’ve always believed it’s because the sensor is mounted near something hot), and again is not useful, even when it flashes to tell you it’s below freezing. Except mine flashes at 37°F, which is above freezing.

There’s a new Metallic Bronze color, joining Cortina Gray, Dragon Red, Volcano Black and Midnight Blue.

And, SAY HALLE-frickin’-LUJAH, the gawdawful Sava tires have been ash-canned in favor of Pirelli GTSs. The Savas are famous, not only for being incredibly noisy, but for going from round to dodecagonal as they wear. I’ve always believed Piaggio went with the Savas because they weren’t going to hit their target price point otherwise, but since 2006, when the GTS was introduced, the euro has weakened.

That means a 2010 GTS 300i.e. goes for the same price as the outgoing 250, $5,999 (plus tax, license, setup, etc.). And the luggage rack is still standard.

2010 Vespa GTS 300i.e., in Dragon Red

I'd take one in Dragon Red. If I were buying a new one...

Knowing what I now know, my position on the 250 vs. 300 question has not changed: I wouldn’t trade my 250 for a 300 just for the extra 32ccs.

But put an insurance check in my hand, that’s a different matter altogether. Favicon

Plus: For the same price as the 250, you get a 300. With DECENT TIRES!

Minus: Not worth trading for if you’re happy with your GTS 250i.e.

The details

MSRP: $5,999
Built in: Italy
Construction: Pressed steel monocoque
Curb weight: 326 lbs (148 kg)
Length: 76.4 in (1941 mm)
Width: 29.7 in (754 mm)
Wheelbase: 54.9 in (1394 mm)
Seat height: 31.1 in (790 mm)
Front susp: Trailing link w/single hydraulic damper & coil spring
Rear susp: Swing arm w/dual hydraulic dampers & adjustable coil springs
Front brake: Hydraulic 220mm disc
Rear brake: Hydraulic 220mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-12
Rear tire: 130/70-12
Engine: 278cc liquid-cooled single cylinder w/electronic ignition and EFI
Transmission: Continuously variable w/centrifugal clutch
Power/torque: 21.1 hp (15.8 kW) @ 7500 rpm/16.4 ft-lbs (22.3 Nm) @ 5000 rpm
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