• Nov 21st 2008 at 12:47PM
  • 6
Click above for more high-res shots of the new Vespa S 50

Vespa has been building stylish, metal-bodied scooters since the late 1940s and has quite a number of small displacement engines under its stylish Italian belt, so it knows how to make a good powerplant. Although the little scooters are still probably best recognized for their buzzy little two-stroke units, all Vespas have been powered by much cleaner four-strokers since 2001, and Piaggio has been refining these units all the while. The latest edition of the Vespa line, the sporty S model, has just been bestowed with a new version of the SOHC four valve single cylinder engine that reportedly makes more power and uses less gasoline than before. Vespa claims that its new 50cc Vespa S makes a little over 4 horsepower, is quicker than any other scooter on the market with a similarly-sized powerplant, can hit 39 miles per hour right out of the box and will manage somewhere between 70 and 80 miles per gallon of gas. Get yours now for $3,199.

[Source: Vespa]


The New 2009 Vespa S 50 Debuts with Most Powerful Small Displacement Engine Available in Market Today

New 50cc four-stroke powerplant delivers a sporty punch of good, clean fun

NEW YORK, November 19, 2008 – Italian manufacturer Piaggio, renowned for revolutionary ideas in personal transportation, announces the debut of the 2009 Vespa S 50. This all-new addition to the company's iconic scooter portfolio blends all the premium Vespa product benefits, such as Italian styling and the unique single-steel chassis, with a newly engineered four-stroke, four-valve SOHC engine. To develop the most powerful 50cc four-stroke available today, Vespa engineers minimized weight and maximized the power curve, creating a performance character that to-date has been exclusively associated with two-stroke technology. The new engine variant not only gives the Vespa S 50 a distinct performance edge in the 50cc category, but offers all the environmental benefits of modern four-stroke design.

Clean, Lean, and Ready to Twist and Go

All Vespa scooters retailed in the North American market have been equipped with fuel-efficient, clean-running four-stroke engines since 2001, but the new Vespa S 50 engine pushes the weight, power and efficiency equation to a new benchmark. Handily out-accelerating every other scooter in the 50cc category, including two-stroke equipped competitors, the Vespa S 50 is the scooter to own when performance, not size, matters. To boost output even more, engineers shaved weight wherever possible, including lightening the valve clearance adjustment mechanism for reduced inertia and improved rocker/valve action. The result is higher engine speeds and more power. At the same time, the four-valve head improves air/fuel flow, which means optimized combustion, reduced fuel consumption and lower than ever emissions. Like all Vespas, the S 50 features a 'twist and go' continuously variable transmission (CVT) which transforms all that improved horsepower into smooth and easy acceleration and riding from start to finish.

Original Vespa Lines, Progressive Features

When you are the original, it's easy to continue classic family lines. The Vespa S 50 has the same pedigree as the first Vespa prototype built by Piaggio in 1946, with all the core values that have defined the brand ever since: eco-friendly engineering, elegance, passion, individualism, and integrity.

The Vespa's high-strength steel body acts as the scooter's structural frame, a chassis design solution unique in the world of scooter production. In
addition to superior strength, the frame is exceptionally rigid, resulting in excellent road holding and precision control. The scooter's low center of gravity also makes riding it supremely simple.

Equipped with an advanced front disc/rear drum brake system, the Vespa S 50 offers confident stopping power. The advanced mixed-type braking system includes a front 7.8" diameter disc with hydraulic linkage and a dual opposed piston hydraulic caliper. The back has a 4.3" diameter drum with mechanical linkage. The 11" front and 10" rear wheels with light alloy rims add to the Vespa S 50's excellent stability. A wide arc front halogen headlight ensures great visibility at all times.

The 2008 Vespa S 50 has a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $3,199. Available colors include Dragon Red, Shiny Black, Taormina Orange and Montebianco. For more information on the Vespa S 50 and the entire Vespa model line visit www.vespausa.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      The efficiency of scooters is lowered dramatically by the use of a gearless twist and go transmission. Motorcycles with 5 or 6 speed conventional transmissions do better, even with a much larger engine.

      Compare the above Vespa (50cc, 4 horsepower, 39mph, 75 mpg, $3199) to the

      2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250 (250cc, 36 horsepower, 95mph, 55-75 mpg depending on riding style, $3499)

      If Vespa went back to 4 speed manual transmissions like it used to have in the 1960s and 1970s, they would get considerably better mileage. Modern 6 speeds like the Ninja 250 would do even better.

      The larger engines aren't working nearly so hard in day to day riding, either, and thus will last longer under similar usage.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I don't know about anyone else but, more powerful 50cc engine is a phrase that makes me shake my head. I know it is a good idea logically, but emotionally, 50cc's just don't do it. I used to race a 72cc YZ80, long, long ago, and the whole time I owned it I lusted after a larger motorcycle.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I don't understand why these things don't get 100mpg. I was just looking at the Yamaha V Star 250 that gets an actual 78 mpg in every test I have read.
        • 8 Months Ago
        They can indeed get mileage that high, depending on how you ride. In reality, neither that Yamaha 250 or the Vespa S is likely to surpass 100 mpg, but the Vespa's 50cc engine is sure to be more fuel efficient than the Yammie's V-Twin.

        • 8 Months Ago
        internal combustion engine that wastes 80% of the fuel energy as heat? ice conversion of energy sucks, even in a prius it sucks.
      • 8 Months Ago
      a little over 4 horse power hmm... piaggio that owns derbi, had a 50 cc gp1 scotter with 7,2 horsepower so there is nothing reveloutionary in that.
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