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The debate rages on

August 10, 2011
Stella 4-stroke and Vespa PX

Genuine Stella, left, and Vespa PX (Orin O'Neill illustration)

In scooter circles, the discussion has been going on for years: which is better, the Vespa PX or the LML Star/Genuine Stella? France’s recently sought an answer.

As you may know, the Vespa PX was re-introduced to the European market a while ago after a way was found to make its 2-stroke engine comply with Euro 3 emissions standards. LML introduced its 4-stroke Star in Europe last year; you probably know the sad tale of the delayed intro of the 4-stroke Stella to the U.S.

Click here to read a translation of Scooter-Station’s article. If you’re proficient in French, here’s the original article.

Keep in mind, the comparison (which for good measure includes a Vespa S) is of 125cc versions, which are more prevalent in the French market. Plus there’s the apples/oranges nature of comparing the 2-stroke Vespa to the 4-stroke Indian scoot.

In a nutshell, the PX wins on details and finish while the Star is less expensive, and its 4-stroke engine requires less owner attention. FWIW, you don’t have to shift gears on the S. 😉

However, the equation could change radically if rumors of a 4-stroke PX to be introduced this fall at EICMA turn out to be true. Like the Stella, a 4-stroke PX could be sold in California and other states that have adopted California’s emissions standards.

This could get interesting. Stay tuned. Favicon

  1. August 11, 2011 11:14 pm

    I loathed my own Stella for the underpowered unreliable thing it was. However LML has forced Piaggio to bring back two stroke scooters which is a great thing, and perhaps we will yet see a four stroke P-series before I die.

  2. Jack Riepe permalink
    August 15, 2011 2:42 pm

    Dear Orin:

    As you are aware, I do not have a scooter — yet. But I cannot fathom that serious vehicle manufacture would still include the two-stroke engine. There are states in the US that are gearing up to ban or restrict two-stroke lawn mowers, and I cannot see how scooters of new manufacture would be long tolerated for their clouds of blue smoke every time the throttle is turned.

    I once owned a shit-hot two-stroke street bike (750cc) in the mid-seventies, and I can’t imagine riding a quirky engine of that nature today — with or without the smoke,

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  3. August 15, 2011 7:27 pm

    Jack, my PX was quite well-behaved, environmentally speaking—it never spewed clouds of blue smoke, and wouldn’t even emit wisps when it was cold. I used Motul 710 synthetic 2-stroke oil, which I suspect makes a huge difference in that regard, but Stellas owned by friends and acquaintances are equally smoke-free. But I have agree with you—the 2-stroke engine is what software types call a kluge, a way to achieve internal combustion with 1/3 fewer parts than a 4-stroke. From a manufacturing standpoint, cheaper and smaller, which is certainly a consideration in this case. But ultimately, not an ideal solution…

  4. Dan Gould permalink
    August 19, 2011 3:20 am


  5. Ken permalink
    August 21, 2011 2:56 am


    The Stella is on the left and the right image is the new 2011 PX (Good catch, Ken. I fixed it. —Ed.). The means of meeting Euro-3 emission standards was achieved with the PX125 and PX150 models quite some time before the PX was discontinued and no changes were made for the re-introduction. Indeed, your own PX150 made the grade! What did fall by the wayside was the PX200 which Piaggio did not succeed in advancing beyond Euro-1, hence mine which was part of the last shipment in 2008.

    As an unreformed Vespa nut, the 2-stroke engine is my delight (we have a 4-stroke MP3 as well). Its simplicity means it can be fixed on the side of the road and I deeply regret the failure of the Modern Vespa to meet the ideals of the original design, especially with changing wheels. You are quite correct about the amazing difference made by synthetic oils in eliminating smoke. I am convinced that a fuel-injected 2-stroke would be a major advance in classic Vespas, and I hope that Piaggio is putting effort into that instead of trying to cobble a dimensionally larger 4-stroke engine into the original elegant monocoque frame as LML has done.

    Finally, the whole 2-stroke smoke/emissions saga is a fiasco; just how many are there in the US? And what share of the pollution problem do they have? It is a politically-correct nonsense! I suspect that is the reason why New Zealand was happy to have the last PX200s, together with Australia which got the second-to-last shipment. There is no suggestion to ban lawnmowers, chainsaws, etc here.

    Best, Ken.

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