Wednesday, August 15, 2012

1979 Vespa P200E

At the risk of jinxing everything I am hoping to do a fly-and-ride next month to Iowa to pick up this beauty. It has 1200 miles on the clock since a ground up restoration in 2009 and aside from a couple of paint nicks it is said to be in perfect running order, spare wheel and all.


In the past five years I have put nearly 70,000 miles on my Triumph Bonneville which have included several day trips around Florida and several multi day trips as far north as the Catskills in New York state. However mostly it has been a case of commuting the 27 miles to work on the Overseas Highway.

While there is no known upper limit on modern Bonnevilles I'd like to save some mileage on my bike and at the same time indulge my unrequited love for two stroke Vespas. I rode across country 30 years ago on an identical ride and after my disastrous time spent with the unreliable Indian Stella scooter and the electrically challenged modern Vespa GTS I have decided to return to the fold of the slower, mechanically simpler original Vespa design. 15hp, 63mph, 60mpg and no centrifugal belt to break, no rollers to wear out, easy wheel and tire changes, no special tools needed, and no broken exhausts or evaporative cannisters to worry about. Vespas are considered urban riding tools but I know better.


I met Roberto Patrignani after he rode his Vespa to Tokyo from Milan. He rode a Moto Guzzi 50 across Africa and a Garelli 50 across the US. He was convinced the easy step through Vespa was the ultimate light weight inexpensive touring motorcycle. It worked for me across the US and Mexico, thirty years ago.


I am very excited to have a P200 of my own soon, once again. Please God. Conchscooter indeed.





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10 comments:

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

Good luck to you on hopeful acquisition. Do you have an opinion on the cheap Chinese scooters? Especially as an entry level model for around town transportation.

Anonymous said...

Michael...where in Iowa are you going? you are welcome here if it fits your agenda. Cuz Lynn

bobskoot said...

Mr Conchscooter:

If I were to buy a Vespa, It would be the P200E. I love them. I think the "E" is the battery-less one which does make it more desireable. I can hear the "blipping sound" of the 2-stroke from here.

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

Conchscooter said...

The seller says his is the Euro model with battery-free ability (though in my recollection the headlight dims horribly) and speedo in km/h so I'll be ready to visit Vancouver. Aim hoping we firm the deal this weekend.
Lyn: if it all works out a flying visit is entirely on the cards. I'd love to clip Wisconsin, even marginally as I've never ridden there. And see you of course.
Jeffrey. Daelim, Sym, Kymco are all good brands. Buy from a dealer. New scooters on Craigslist for $800 are unreliable, have poor suspension and unsafe brakes and I am generalizing here to encourage you to put $800 down on a secure name brand. Only do it if you can't get the thought out of your head.

bobskoot said...

Mr Conchscooter:

They stopped bringing the Euro model into Canada because it is magneto powered and without a battery you could not turn on your tail lights in an emergency so most had to be converted to be used with a battery. The lights dim because the RPMs are to low to produce enough power. I believe all your lights have to be AC: alternating current type. If you want to put in a charging system to charge your phone whilst riding, you need a dc rectifier when you install the power outlet. You can buy this stuff on the 'net. A regular P200 can be converted to "Euro" but it costs a few hundred $$ to do it.

because it is AC current, I don't think you can install an LED headlight

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

PS: I am so excited for you. I have always wanted a manual shifting scooter

Conchscooter said...

No, no. I am not modifying it, I seek simplicity, no cell phone chargers or heated clothing, though I wonder about Iowa in September. Thanks Bob, I am excited too partly because the current owner is fastidious and cautious and has been devoted to his Vespa. I feel bad wanting to take it from him.

bobskoot said...

Mr Conchscooter:

One thing I will say that if you ride continuous high speed (ie Speed limit) and the temps are hot, I don't think that engine is really completely broken in yet so I would use 3% oil mix instead of 2%. 2 strokes use oil to cool.

If you bought it in Oregon I would have come down to see you, but Iowa is too far for me. Make sure you bring extra inner Tubes, and a few extra spark plugs (just in case)

Happy Vespa'ing

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

PS: take care of my KW loaner

Orin said...

Well, welcome back to the fold. It will be nice to have you, uh, Scootin' Old Skool again!

Sorry.

__Orin
Scootin' Old Skool

Conchscooter said...

Thanks. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

KWBound said...

Conchscooter,

Here's a P200e with a sidecar for Cheyenne. No more backseat auto rides for her! I can see you two now going down US 1, Cheyenne in her sidecar seat, ears flapping in the breeze, doggie goggles on to keep the highway bugs out of her eyes. What a great way to travel with your best friend in the Florida Keys! Check it out:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170896994729&lgeo=1&viewitem=&vectorid=229466