A few weeks ago, I got my first look at the Vespa 946, the first new model the company has put out in six years. I was impressed,
but had my concernsabout the practicality of the design.
I recently got to take one out for a spin, and while I stand by the view that the back of the scooter is too big and the seat seems uncomfortable for a passenger, I don’t really care anymore.
That’s because the 946 is a lot of fun to drive.
This was my first ever ride on a scooter (I got my motorcycle licence last month), so I can’t tell you how the 946 compares to other Vespa models or the competition. But after a morning tour of Brooklyn with Vespa Northeast Regional Manager Michael Fiduk, I was convinced it’s an excellent way to move around New York City.
The 946 is easy and intuitive to ride. You don’t have to change gears manually like you do on most motorcycles, an advantage in stop and go traffic. Easing off the throttle slows the scooter significantly, so you don’t really need your brakes except to come to a full stop.
The 946 is no good on the highway, but it does get up to speed nicely and feels fine at 40 mph. Fuel consumption is basically negligible, since you get 130 miles to the gallon.
The $US9,946 starting price is a bit high, but it does get you a sleek and distinctive ride.
Based on lack of experience, I can’t recommend the 946 over the competition. I can say, however, that anyone hesitating to use a scooter as a city ride should give it a shot. It’s a speedy, pleasant way to move around, even in New York (though I didn’t cross over into much more populated Manhattan).
If you want to get started and have the money, the 946 is a stylish way to do it.
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