Sunday, January 28, 2007
Shiny Scooters and Snow Don't Mix
The weather broke, or perhaps my resolve to keep the new Vespa GTS clean, safe and off the road until it was completely dry. Either way I was on the road again yesterday. The temperature was 31° F when I left and had risen 10 degrees by the time I returned home. The roads were clear and damp without ice or slush. I had hoped to see what the GTS was like in snow so I turned off into a shaded parking lot that was still snow covered. It was a gravel lot so traction is much better to begin with but there were a few areas packed smoothly that would simulate snow on the road.
The Vespa GTS feels more stable in the slippery stuff than the LX150 did. The advantage of the smaller scooter is that it's lighter weight makes it easier to physically wrestle if the wheels should slip out from under you. A foot down on the ground and holding the handlebar can keep the scooter from falling to the ground. I didn't push the experiment with the new GTS though---I'm not ready to see it fall down yet. Maybe after it gets dirtier. For this experiment I was content riding in circles, stopping, trying to slide, and generally increasing my comfort level with the new handling characteristics.
Still being in the break in period of operation I didn't push the scooter too hard on the highway and kept my top speed below 65MPH. Acceleration is smooth and positive and the increased weight makes for a more stable ride. Handling on turns and curves is smooth and the GTS feels almost as nimble as the LX150.
More snow is called for today so I'm not sure yet if I will ride or not. Part of my concern is doubt in my familiarity with the new scooter but a big part does not want to get it dirty and covered with salt spray. As I ride more the scooter will become less precious and allow me to use it as I want.