2021 Vespa Sei Giorni II test: vintage style and surprising performance

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Sure, it’s cute, but it’s also a lot faster than you might think.

Kyle Hyatt / Roadshow

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Venn diagram for people who ride scooters and people who ride motorcycles would look like a big circle, but strangely, it isn’t. I do not really understand the reason for this tribalism, especially with regard to Vespas.

Vespas are cool, and always have been. They offer the convenience of a scooter with enough power and performance to hook it up to a motorcycle, at least in town. It is this duality that makes the Vespa Sei Giorni II limited edition particularly attractive.

Part of the appeal of the Sei Giorni is its powertrain. It uses Vespa’s latest and highest performing engine: the HPE single cylinder 278cc four valve. This engine was introduced in 2018 as the most powerful Vespa engine ever, thanks to its 23 horsepower. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough to confidently push the Sei Giorni to 80mph, although 85mph is a much larger demand.

This engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission, which on a scooter is great, unlike in passenger car applications. Using a CVT means there is no need to worry about a clutch or shifting. Getting off the line and picking up speed is all about grip and tear, no subtlety required. This simplicity significantly lowers the entry bar, adding to the scooter’s appeal for new riders.

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The Sei Giorni differs from other Vespa models by its windshield and “meatball” race numbers.

Kyle Hyatt / Roadshow

But just because the Sei Giorni is a simple machine doesn’t mean it isn’t sophisticated. It uses disc brakes on both ends and also comes with anti-lock brakes. The brakes aren’t visually impressive – they’re only 220 millimeters in diameter – but they work surprisingly well. An interesting quirk of the scooter design and motor location is that the rear brake surprisingly stops and takes a bit of getting used to, especially when coming from a motorcycle.

The Sei Giorni rides on relatively large 12-inch alloy rims (for a scooter, anyway), which gives it a more secure footing on the road, helping it reach hassle-free highway speeds. The wheels are matte black in color, feature a red stripe and are unique to the Sei Giorni. The matte blue-gray paint with racing numbers, an analog gauge, a tinted screen and the resistance piece, this stunning fender-mounted headlight are also unique.

What is not unique to the Sei Giorni, but somewhat unique to the Vespa, are the various storage areas and amenities like the USB charger and the phone compartment in the front fairing. Also noteworthy is the large storage bin under the saddle that lifts without tools to allow excellent access to the engine. The under-seat storage area has an electronic lock, making it relatively secure when parked. There is also a fold-out bag hook, perfect for shopping.

As a very tall rider (I’m 6ft 4in tall) the Sei Giorni is surprisingly comfortable and incredibly fast. The scooter is ready to jump the line with unexpected vigor, leaving traffic in its dust. In short, it’s a hell of a riot. This Vespa is a two-wheeled machine that stands up to rowdy behavior, even from a relatively sober rider like me.

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12-inch wheels, disc brakes and two-channel ABS make the Sei Giorni stop extremely well.

Kyle Hyatt / Roadshow

The high wheels make the Sei Giorni fun to lean like a motorcycle. It’s stable but incredibly agile, which makes it adept at handling traffic and dividing lanes. It is truly rapid intra-urban transport. I’m used to going where I go pretty quickly on a motorcycle, but the Vespa is on a whole new level.

The Sei Giorni has a super plush single saddle that helps smooth out any bumps that the scooter suspension can’t quite cope with, and thanks to the solid build quality there’s thankfully little vibration making its way through. through the seat, handlebars and step. I wouldn’t necessarily want to drive hundreds of miles of freeway on one of them, but I don’t think it would be a total chore either.

Another big draw to scooters in general is their fuel efficiency. Of course, being the most powerful Vespa ever, fuel economy suffers somewhat but isn’t bad at 73.4 mpg. In my testing, I was able to come close to that number despite my larger than average stature and an enthusiastic throttle hand.

The Vespa Sei Giorni II bridges the gap between motorcycles and scooters well. It’s very fast and exciting to drive, and it feels like you’re cheating cutting through traffic. Of course, its form factor and appearance may not appeal to everyone, but what is it?

It’s not a cheap scooter, at $ 7,749, but its increased performance over lesser Vespas and next-level convenience is totally worth the price. It’s a rare blend of style, functionality, and fun that will change the way you move around your city. The Sei Giorni is a fantastic machine, and that leads me to seriously consider a Vespa as my next two-wheeler purchase. Even if you are a die-hard motorcyclist, maybe you should consider one too.


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