2019 Lambretta V200 - Classic by nature
Lambretta used to be one of The Brands to have in your garage, way back in the distant twentieth century. Cool as a cucumber Italian styling combined with peppy two-stroke engines led to massive adoption across Europe but as the years wore on - combined with poor management from various owners - Lambretta’s star status began to fade. Now, though, it’s back, with the V200 leading the charge.
This model comes with a steel body and frame, LED lighting, a USB port, Bosch ABS up front and a 166cc engine designed by an Austrian company Kiska which has also designed donks for KTM and Husqvarna. The powerplant is built by SYM in Taiwan.
Aesthetics are straight out of the 1950s. There’s a sleek, bomb-style rear end, a flat leather seat and a forward-leaning headlight with ‘Lambretta’ stamped inside. The mudguard turns with the wheel, which is a 21st-century difference, although there are variants that retain the fixed-fender. A big LED brake/indicator unit dominates the back and looks great.
Despite the heavy-sounding ingredients, the V200 feels quick on its feet, easily darting in and out of Auckland traffic. The engine produces 8.8kW and 12.2Nm and throttle response is good, although the CVT gearbox takes a few revs before engaging. But then so do all such units. When you’re on the move the powertrain is silky smooth.
The little Italian will hit 100km/h comfortably enough, at which point the speedo needle moves into a red zone to warn you of your outrageous speeds. There’s no wind protection on our tester, so things can get a bit buffety. Despite that, I got a few laughs passing truckies in a full racing tuck.
Instrumentation consists of the aforementioned analogue speedometer with a black and white digital screen below, showing revs, fuel, odometer and battery voltage. It works nicely, being easy to read in all lights but not so bright that it dazzles at night. The screen can reflect glare at times but given the nature of being on a scooter, it’s usually only a matter of seconds until you’re facing a different direction.
The indicators beep when they’re on, similar to how indicators in a car tick-tock, which is a nice feature too.
Lambretta has positioned the mirrors low to keep your peripheral vision clear, which makes the scooter feel even smaller than it really is. That’s not a bad thing - the opposite, in fact. It means you can squeeze through pent up traffic without worrying about nicking a wing mirror, and slot into narrower parking areas in the city.
The wheels are 12-inch units, which do fine in most urban environments. You’ll want to avoid the larger potholes though, which should be a rule with any two-wheeler. Suspension is handled by telescopic forks up front and dual shocks at the rear. The brakes are quite good too, with the front under Bosch ABS control. The rear will lock with enough of a fistful, which is great for skids but not so much for actually stopping.
I’m around 184cm and I wouldn’t recommend the V200 for people any larger - it’s a wee thing, this. I found the most comfortable position was halfway into the pillion section of the seat, to give my knees added room. The seat itself is quite comfortable although slippery, something that will likely sort itself out through more usage.
Under-seat storage is generous, with enough room for a helmet plus gloves or two litres of milk, a loaf of bread and a bar of chocolate. There’s also a small amount of glove box storage, where you can plug in your smartphone for a quick juice-up on the way to work.
Competition? At $5990, there are a few options.
Piaggio has the Medley 150 for $5490 while Yamaha’s Tricity three-wheeler asks the same as the Lambretta. If you want something from another part of the mid-twentieth-century, Peugeot offers the Django for $5990 as well. Honda also has the PCX 150 for the same price tag as the Medley.
But if you want truly classic Italian looks with modern engineering and without paying five digits, the only real option is the Lambretta.