Pros: Pure Fun
Cons: People like them too much
If you are thinking about buying a scooter then this is the one to buy. Chances are you already know that Vespa imports two models. The Et4 which is 150cc ($3,995) and the et2 with a 50cc motor ($2,995). These models were introduced in Europe in 1996 and brought back to the US market in 2000.
I purchased a used et4 earlier this year with 1,545 miles on it to scoot around on. The Vespa et4 was not the first scooter purchase for me this year. I had purchased a Yamaha Vino which is 50cc. While I like the Vino, the top speed is only 38mph without having to make modifications. Thats just not fast enough to zip around on in town.
While I am not riding the scooter on interstate roads, its nice to know that the et4 can scoot up to 60mph with no problem.
Used vs New:
Buying a Vespa is just like buying a car. If you buy new you are set to go with a warranty. Most dealers do charge a set up fee and destination fee to be added on. Your $3,995 turns into more like $4,600 by the time you pay sales tax, set up and destination fees.
A used Vespa can be a great deal if you know how it has been maintained. If you buy used, be sure to find out if the owner has the purchase records, manuals, extra keys etc. Also look for body damage. Vespa's are like motorcycles in that they are worth less if they have been dropped or put down. Dropped means just that. It was knocked off its kickstand. Put down usually means worse as the scooter was put down on the ground while riding.
Depending on where you live you might need a Moped license or a Motorcycle license. Many states consider a 50cc scooter as a Moped and over 50cc as a Motorcycle. You should also check out the cost of insurance. Vespa's are trendy and they can be stolen easily. It may be worth the extra money for full coverage including theft rather then just liability coverage.
Vespa also has plans to import a new scooter to be known as the Granturismo. This model will be 200cc and larger in size. Plans are for it to arrive in February 2004.
If you have only looked at them with a smile on your face go visit a dealer. They can spend lots of time talking to you about why Vespa makes the best scooter. Check out the internet for scooter clubs. Owning a Vespa is lifestyle and I am sure you find tons of information regarding clubs and their meetings.
Again... bigger is better so 150cc or larger in engine is the way to go.