As we approach show-season here in Europe, a new Vespa GTS has been spotted on the roads of Vietnam. But what can we expect for 2023 from the classic Italian marque?
The scooter was spotted, despite it’s disguise, and photographed by Hoang Son with the story later published on https://tuoitre.vn
Details of whether this was local market scooter being tested there, or if Piaggio thought a prototype had less chance of being spotted on the crowded roads of Vietnam are not yet known. However, it is a safe bet that any cosmetic changes applied in one market will feature worldwide.
The overall design of the Vespa GTS does not appear to have changed much for 2023. From these photos we can see there is a new rear light unit and possibly new indicators too.
The photographed Vespa also sports a different shape of rear view mirrors. The report also suggested that the sides of the scooter appeared larger too, but that could have simply been a result of the attempt to disguise it. Nevertheless, a wider GTS would fuel those age-old rumours of a 350 or even 400cc engine being fitted into a Vespa scooter one day… or space for batteries in a hybrid model…
One thing that was spotted however was the new smart key lock. Instead of a traditional ‘mechanical’ key, the Vespa’s new magnetic key uses RFID technology, in theory designed to reduce theft by breaking the lock.
A teasing advert on social media from Vespa does little other than confirm a new Vespa GTS is due to be launched soon, probably at the Intermot Show in Koln at the beginning of October.
The above image that we have enhanced suggests some funky new wheels are in the pipeline for the Vespa GTS. Other images suggest new speedometer/ dash layout and the obligatory cosmetic enhancements to trim.
Over on www.crazywheels.it they spotted that Piaggio patented a new fork, “inspired by that parallelogram, but it completely evolves it allowing the front suspension to work linearly and separated from the influences of braking and steering movements.” Their story goes on to mention the Piaggio MP3 models so there is a good chance that’s what it is for.
However, doing our own research here at ScooterNova magazine, we discovered a patent applied for earlier this year by Piaggio that seems to directly relate to the Vespa.
Vespa GTS ESS
Back in 2014 we attended a Vespa launch with the scooters being fitted with a new front fork, known as ESS (Enhanced Sliding Suspension). Piaggio told us this was an upgrade designed to improve handling and rider comfort. “The new design reduces sliding friction in the front shock absorber to allow improved road holding and suspension performance while reducing vibration to the handlebars.” In my opinion I thought it worked well, handling was improved and diving under braking reduced. Then, around 2017 it was quietly dropped and the older style GTS forks continued to be used.
Vespa 2023 front end?
The latest Piaggio patent however appears to be looking to improve the front end handling of the Vespa scooter, addressing the pro-dive and anti-dive behaviour of an ‘oscillating arm front suspension.” The patent application describes how the connection between fork, suspension and brake all affect the handling and that this is aimed at helping each element work with less detrimental effect on the other.
With nothing confirmed from Piaggio yet, we don’t know for sure if or when such a patent may be used, but previous experience suggests if they decide to go ahead we may well see it on new scooters in 2023.
As for new engines, a few years ago while at the Piaggio factory I was told that the Vespa would not go up to 500cc, and I think that probably still rings true. A 300, 350 or maybe a 400cc are more likely, and with the possibility of new suspension being fitted then maybe the chassis has been beefed up accordingly to suit more power.
What the new front end could also relate too of course is the smaller Primavera models, and one of those with an engine larger than the 125cc and 150cc motors currently fitted could be a whole load of fun to ride.
Any other proposals for the Vespa range would likely appear on the electric Vespa front. As always, we here at ScooterNova will keep our eyes and ears open and keep you informed as soon as we know any more.
ScooterNova magazine is an independent title published bi-monthly in the UK. Available from all good scooter shops or buy directly online via this link.
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