Mirror man turns into dead female movie icon shock: Vespa GTS 300 review

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Icon - The GTS was introduced in 2003 and this is the best yet
Icon - The GTS was introduced in 2003 and this is the best yet

I could be wrong, but I think I’m turning into Audrey Hepburn.

First of all, I’ve got a cat called Cat who’s a dead ringer for her cat called Cat in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Secondly, I’ve just spent the day whizzing around Rome on a Vespa like her and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday.

However, since the thought of me turning into a dead female screen icon might be a bit of a shock to my wife, maybe I’m Gregory Peck instead.

Right, now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s talk about the Vespa.

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Mirror man turns into dead female movie icon shock: Vespa GTS 300 reviewIcons - Audrey, Gregory and Vespa in Roman Holiday

Vespas are, of course, the definitive scooter. They may be more expensive than cheap Chinese plastic ones, but there’s a reason – they’re well made in steel, beautifully finished and have the name Vespa on the front.

As a result, particularly of the latter, riding one makes you feel like a young, unbelievably stylish Italian dude riding in an unbelievably stylish open face helmet, leather jacket and jeans to meet his unbelievably stylish girlfriend, pausing briefly for a cappuccino at precisely 10.55am, since anyone ordering one after 11 in Italy is immediately beaten to death with a wet lettuce for being a heathen.

Mirror man turns into dead female movie icon shock: Vespa GTS 300 reviewIcon - The GTS was introduced in 2003 and this is the best yet

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the new Vespa GTS. The GTS was introduced in 2003 as a larger version of the classic Vespa, at first with a 125cc engine, then 250cc and 300cc.

With 24bhp, this latest incarnation is the most powerful yet, with new suspension for better stability at speed and over rough surfaces, better Brembo brakes, new frame and wider bars for lighter handling, more ergonomic switches, keyless ignition, a more comfortable seat and a new LCD rear light.

Mirror man turns into dead female movie icon shock: Vespa GTS 300 reviewClassic - The traditional analogue dash suits the bike better than the new TFT one

The four models are the Classic, Super and SuperSport, which are all basically the same with different details and colours, and SuperTech, which instead of the standard analogue dash has a 4.3in TFT one with connectivity to call your Italian girlfriend and let her know you’re on your way after that cappuccino.

In practical terms, there’s a glovebox and enough space under the seat for two open-face helmets, and accessories include front and rear luggage racks, a screen and heated grips.

Mirror man turns into dead female movie icon shock: Vespa GTS 300 reviewBaby - It's also available in this 125cc version for newbie scooterists

There’s also a 125cc range with the same four models, and although with only 14bhp they’re not as frisky as the 300, they’re perfect for unbelievably stylish young dudes who’ve just passed their CBT.

Climb aboard the 300, and the new seat is splendidly plush, with a neutral riding position and enough legroom for even the tallest scooterist.

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Mirror man turns into dead female movie icon shock: Vespa GTS 300 review

The mirrors are good, the new switches are works of art, and the classic analogue dash actually suits the bike more than the TFT one.

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Start up, and the air fills with an enthusiastic putter, like the heartbeat of that girlfriend I mentioned earlier after you called to tell her you were popping over.

Mirror man turns into dead female movie icon shock: Vespa GTS 300 reviewSwift - With the most powerful Vespa engine yet, it's satisfying quick

Acceleration, with more horses under your belt than ever before, was more than sprightly enough to be first away from the lights in Rome traffic, and even when I was faced with more traffic ahead, the lightness of the bike, its slender curves and those wide bars made it a delight to dance elegantly through the throng.

Mirror man turns into dead female movie icon shock: Vespa GTS 300 reviewFeatherlight - With new frame and suspension and wider bars, handling is beautiful

Early scooters had 8in wheels and the engine over the back, which made handling them like wrestling with a wayward blancmange, but today’s have 12in wheels and the engine further forward, making handling much more precise.

Mirror man turns into dead female movie icon shock: Vespa GTS 300 reviewWhahey - Geoff tests the angle of dangle

The new suspension laughed off the city’s roughest streets, and if you do need to tweak it for heavier riders or pillion passengers, the rear is adjustable for preload.

The new brakes are also superbly smooth and effective, especially used together.

Mirror man turns into dead female movie icon shock: Vespa GTS 300 reviewWow - The locals are stunned as Geoff speeds away from a Roman traffic jam

In the hills above Rome, it proved just as delightful to soar elegantly along the sundappled straights and go lightly through the twisties.

Or possibly Golightly.

Oh wait, that was a different movie. With a cat in it.

Geoff Hill

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