A Vespa In Berlin Is The Only Way To Roll

There are a few reasons seeing a new city by scooter beats a car, a bicycle, your feet or public transportation, and every one of those reasons was borne out during a recent 10-day stay in Berlin atop of the powerful, stylish Vespa GTS Super 300.

A motorcycle is dangerous, first, and attracts attention, second. Nobody minds a sweet little put-putter like a Vespa rolling into their neighborhood. A car? It’s a hassle in a city, plus you’re enclosed and it removes you from the smells and sounds of your immediate neighborhood, something you’ll want as the days go on and you want to feel, on a visceral level, where everything is and where you are.

A bicycle or on foot is great, but if you’re trying to get to a landmark clear across town, it can take forever, and who has forever? Before you know it, your visit will be over and it’s the 9-hour flight back to the USA.

Yes, the Vespa GTS Super 300 was the ride for me. Like any Vespa, it’s practically as simple to operate as a bicycle, and as much fun. You’ll need some basic equilibrium in your DNA, but based on my test this scooter is almost impossible to tip over – that’s how balanced it is.

Finally, it’s as stylish as a pair of Gucci shoes or Armani Suit; one feels classy whilst touring instead of people being able to spot your nationality before you even open your mouth.

It’s got a redesigned front, reshaped handlebar, new ergonomic seat and full-LED lighting that’s more than bright enough for your needs and the price is right if you’re looking to buy – around $7,000.

It’s fast enough to do 65 MPH on freeways, and Vespa was kind enough to put a “miles per hour” gauge under the kilometer-meter, perhaps sensing that some of us have an American high school math education and we’re not going to learn the metric system any more than we’re going to learn actually how much 3.50 euros are in American dollars – it’s just “more money.”

The 2019 Vespa GTS houses the latest version of Vespa’s 278cc single-cylinder, 4 stroke, 4 valve, liquid-cooled engine with electronic injection, known as their 300 hpe (High Performance Engine.) Incredibly, the more powerful engine actually uses less gasoline than previous models, achieving around 71 MPG depending on your driving habits.

The drum brakes of yesteryear are kaput, replaced by 220 mm discs with hydraulic calipers and ABS protection, and they are fabulous, more than enough to stop you quickly even on slick surfaces.

And speaking of surfaces, my Vespa, often parked on the sidewalk outside my Air BNB in Steglitz, could well manage easing the unit on and off curbs when necessary – I didn’t have to look for wheelchair-accessible ramps.

Double hydraulic shock absorbers with adjustable preload with 4 settings set you down easy, and if perchance you need to push backwards, it’s ridiculously effortless, just do the Flintstone-feet thing.

It’s got handsome two-tone allow rims, a new front grill and, happily, an analog instrument panel. It took me a minute to realize that the gas gauge, bathed in red light, wasn’t trying to alert me to something amiss. Your saddle is spacious and comfy and made of fine leather that won’t fold under the sticky tree sap that doused my bike every time it was parked.

And the drive? It’s fairly perfect whether you wish to cruise at reasonable speeds, or blast off ahead of everyone else from them weird red lights in Germany that blink red and yellow for a split second before you get the green. You can cruise freeways or streets with equal aplomb, and you can park where you wish – no one objects.

But best of all, after my week in Berlin, I felt I knew the place better than if I’d used any other method than a scooter, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, wienerschnitzel by weinerschnitzel.

Article originally posted by forbes.