Since then, there have been quite a number of variants of Vespa’s scooters but none have been an updated version of the legendary Sprint, until now, with the new 2015 Vespa Sprint 150.
While the original Vespa Sprint was a 2-stroke scooter, the modern incarnation has jumped to 154.8cc and is a 4-stroke machine, in keeping up with the 21st century and environmental concerns.
When our reviewer took delivery of the new Vespa Sprint 150, the immediate reaction was how smooth the engine was, compared to the original’s peaky 2-stroke engine sound. Oh yes, our reviewer was fortunate enough to have been a pillion on the original Vespa Sprint Veloce version and could vividly recall how the ‘Purring’ of the engine sounded like. The Veloce was a kick-start model, while the 2015 Sprint had an electric starter, which is essential in today’s trends.
The 2015 Vespa Sprint sure has mellowed indefinitely, especially on the sound; compared to the Veloce. Still, everything about the new Sprint 150 is quite accommodating, with the only complaint being the brakes aren’t exactly the type that give our reviewer the confidence when it comes to heavy braking.
Then again, it has been a long time since we had review a scooter or moped motorcycle, and reality is, none of these smaller capacity bikes have adequate stopping power that allows us to slow down from 110 kph to 20kph within a space of 50m unlike the bigger sportsbike or naked sports.
As a 150cc scooter, the single front disc provides adequate power to slow it a bit once the brake lever is activated but not enough to force the bike to a complete stop when such a move is urgently needed. To make the Sprint 150 slow down effectively, both the front and rear brake levers have to be activated as the latter is far more effective in reducing the scooter’s speed in emergency situations.
However, we noticed another peculiar tendency with the Sprint 150, at least on the review unit that Naza Primera, distributors of Vespa, had provided us. Its engine is prone to cut off when the Sprint 150 comes to a complete stop, usually at the traffic light junctions or when the cruising speed hits 20km/h or below.
On the day we had to return the Sprint 150 after completing our review with it, its engine had cut off approximately six times between our office in Glenmarie, Shah Alam and Naza Primera’s PJ headquarters. And the fifth cut-off happened while the Sprint 150 was cruising in a slow-moving congested road, prompting a moped rider behind us to spew colorful vocabulary after nearly collided with the Sprint 150 due to the sudden stoppage.
It’s good thing the Sprint 150 automatically switches to Neutral mode when its engine is cut-off or the ignition switched off or else the rider might have been subjected to a sudden aggressive mode if the gear had not been disengaged.
Braking issue aside, the new Vespa Sprint 150 performs very adequately where it matters on practically all road conditions. Despite its smaller tyre diameter as compared to those used by mopeds, the Sprint 150 is able to negotiate S-curves much more efficiently than the underbone bikes.
Acceleration and deceleration need some practice for riders not used to riding an automatic transmission bike. To fool the Sprint 150 scooter into higher acceleration mode when negotiating a sharp bend is to apply some hard breaking prior to reaching it, where the scooter would increase its power to enable navigating the corner a breeze.
For night time riding, the standard beam lights up the road ahead quite adequately while the high beam mode is more or less redundant in the same manner as it merely lit up the billboards ahead and not so much on what’s directly ahead of the scooter. Of course, the high beam mode will be instrumental in warning incoming vehicles in the opposite direction of the approaching Sprint 150 during day- or night-time riding particularly in a dual-way, single-lane road.
When it comes to carrying extra stuff and personal effects, the new Sprint 150 has a generously large cargo boot underneath the seat just like the original 60s/70s Vespa Sprint. Unlike the original, the latest incarnation of the Sprint did not have a spare tyre located below the steering handlebar. What it has in the same location is a glove compartment but despite its namesake, it is not adequate to store a pair of riding gloves inside other than the tool bag and some small items.
In the original Sprint, there was no glove compartment but it did have one other storage area that was situated on the left side of the scooter below the pillion seat. That storage compartment was the reason why the old Vespa Sprint had the bulging body design on its rear section on both sides. However, for the new Sprint, the bulged look has remained intact even though there is no longer a storage space in its overall design.
2015 Vespa Sprint 150 specifications:
Engine: Single cylinder 4-stroke SOHC with 3-valve
Compression Ratio: 11:4
Transmission: Automatic, Continuously Variable (CVT)
Bore & Stroke: 58 x 58.6mm
Cooling System: Forced Air Circulation
Maximum Horsepower: 12.8hp @7,750 rpm
Maximum Torque: 12.8 Nm @ 6,500 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 8-Litre
Seat Height: 780mm
Suspensions: Front – Single arm with coil spring, coil spring with adjustable preload (rear)
Brakes: Single 200mm disc (front); Mechanically operated drum (rear)
Dry Weight: 122 kg
Sales Price: RM13,888 w/GST