For low-speed scooting around town, experts say the Vespa LX 50 is the best small scooter you can buy -- although it's definitely not the least expensive. But most critics say the Vespa LX 50 scooter's superb build, style, steadiness and storage space make it worth the extra cash. "It's the quality… you feel it as soon as you get on," TheScooterReview.com says of the LX 50. The little Vespa LX 50 is heavier than other 50 cc scooters, which can make it tougher for small riders to move around by hand, reviews say, but it also gives the Vespa scooter extra smoothness and stability.
50 cc gas scooters generally top out at around 40 mph, and the Vespa LX 50 scooter is no different. However, these small scooters offer great fuel economy -- although one test found that the little Vespa scooter delivers closer to 65 mpg in real-world mixed driving, not the 100 mpg the manufacturer claims.
In some cities, you can park a 50 cc scooter on the sidewalk. Some states won't require insurance or registration. And you probably won't need a special motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license, as you will for a scooter over 50 ccs. The Vespa LX 50 scooter's four-stroke, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine actually displaces 49 ccs, and it uses a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
The Vespa LX 50's top speed of 39 mph limits where you can drive it. You could spend less and get the more powerful 150 cc Kymco People 150 (MSRP: $2,800), which is freeway-legal. However, considering the Kymco scooter's top speed of only 57 mph, experts recommend a bigger scooter if you plan to do much freeway riding. The Kymco People 150 scooter skimps a bit on storage space, too, according to reviewers. The Vespa LX 50 can't hold much, but at least it can fit a full-face helmet in the under-seat compartment -- something the Kymco People 150 scooter can't do.
We found very helpful, credible reviews of the Vespa LX 50 scooter. Consumer Reports conducts extremely precise tests, although it compares the Vespa scooter with only two other 50 cc scooters. TheScooterReview.com's tests are just as thorough and include reviews of 13 scooters, but some of the models are not available in the United States. Cycle World tests six 50 cc scooters; although testers don't pick favorites, their expert critiques illustrate the good and bad points of each scooter. A reporter at The Boston Globe writes a single-scooter review of the Vespa LX 50, giving the reader a good feel for how it performs in real life.
Consumer Reports tests the Vespa LX 50 scooter head-to-head against the Honda Ruckus 50 and Motorino Allegro 50, reviewing each one's ride, noise/vibration, seat comfort and riding posture, as well as performance. Testers also measure the scooters' real-life fuel economy and top speed.
Review: Scooters and Motorcycles, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, March 2009
This New Zealand-based website pits 13 50 cc gas scooters against each other in a head-to-head review. The Vespa LX 50 finishes fourth, behind the very similar Vespa S 50 scooter. Testers evaluate the scooters' performance, styling and build quality in this comprehensive write-up.
Review: 2008 50cc Super Battle, Editors of TheScooterReview.com
3. Cycle World
This review includes both criticism and praise for the Vespa LX 50. The Vespa scooter's big, heavy body (for a 50 cc bike) doesn't hurt fuel economy, and it makes for better wind protection and storage, tester Mark Cernicky concludes in this review.
Review: Fabulous Fifties: 2008 Vespa LX 50, Mark Cernicky, Oct. 2008
4. The Boston Globe
Although the Globe's Tania deLuzuriaga finds potholes to be problematic when on her Vespa LX 50, she likes the scooter's ability to cut through traffic and park anywhere. A chart shows the difference in fuel consumption and cost for a 40-mile commute in the Vespa versus a Toyota Prius, Toyota Matrix or Ford Expedition.
Review: Ciao Car, Hello Vespa, Tania deLuzuriaga, June 22, 2008