On a windy Tuesday night, I was on my way home from work. It was dark, with the street lights and billboards being the only source of light.
Just as I was about to enter into Hatirjheel, a slick-looking, old-school yellow scooter whizzed past my car.
I finally caught up with the scooter, it was eagerly waiting for the traffic lights to turn green. Under the street-lights, the scooter's shiny metallic body shone up.
The word Vespa was etched on the bottom right corner just above the wheel, which explained its retro Italian design.
Manufactured by Piaggio, the word Vespa in Italian means the 'wasp.' Over the years, the two-wheeler has evolved from a single model scooter manufactured in 1946 by Piaggio & Co SpA to a full line of scooter-series.
From their inception, Vespa scooters are known for their paint and pressed steel unibody which combines in a unified structural unit, a complete cowling for the engine, a flat floor-board and a prominent front fairing.
Vespa VXL is the flagship Vespa scooter in Bangladesh. In addition to its classic design, the two-wheeler has a legendary round shaped headlamp and shiny colour varients.
Inspite of its old school looks, it is packed with modern amenities like front disc brake, tubeless tyres, a semi digital speedometer and more.
Vespa VXL is available in two variants – the VXL 125 and the VXL 150. Despite of being two different varients, both have similar features like an automatic clutch, a displacemet of 125cc, a mileage of 45kmpl, a three phase electrical system with auto ignition and three valves per cylinder.
The VXL 150 is available in yellow, red, matt black, maze grey and white, while Vespa VXL 125 comes in azzuro provenza, yellow, matt black, white, red and maze grey. VXL 150 is a cosmetically updated and more powerful version of the Vespa VXL 125 scooter.
The scooter's retro design continues to draw inspiration from the Italian manufacturer's iconic old-school design philosophy. Both versions have a classic round headlamps which is a throwback to the retro designs of the series. The two-wheeler has a trendy design for the chrome alloy wheels accompanied by a 3D logo and an elongated single-piece seat.
The VXL is built on the same single piece steel monocoque chassis, underpinning rest of the Vespa range.
Vespa VXL has mechanical similarities to other scooters of the Vespa stable with a host of upgrades like beefier tyres, bluetooth connectivity, GPS and a smartphone connect feature which has provided the ride a fresh lease in life.
The VXL 150 also has a feature called 'Find Me' that allows the owner to find it in a crowded parking lot. Other updates include wider tyres, a new digital display in the instrument cluster and a mode button on the switch gear.
Both of the VXL has 200mm front disc brake accompanied with a 140mm drum brake in the rear. The VXL 125 gets a broader 110-70 and 120-70 section tubeless tyres.
Suspension setup consist of a single side arm suspension at the front and a hydraulic monoshock at the back.
Though Vespa offers fuel-injected engines in its other global models, the ones on the South Asian markets have to make do with a carburetted one.
The Vespa VXL 150 is powered by a new 150cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine that delivers 11bhp and 11Nm of torque, through a CVT gearbox.
The VXL125 on the other hand is powered by a 125cc air-cooled engine that churns out 10.06PS of power and 10.6Nm of torque. This power is transferred to the rear wheel via a belt drive and an automatic CVT transmission, which makes the VXL 125 a joy to ride in the city.
Vespas VXL series sits in a category of its own and has no direct competitors in the local market other than Aprilia's SR125 and SR150. Suzuki's Burgman Street can also be considered as a competitive option.
While the two-wheeler may not be a prime favourite for its price, but due to its elegant retro looks and exclusivity, the scotter may be a prime favourite for the local niche market.