If you’re expecting massive changes to the 2017 Vespa GTS 300ie, then you’ll probably be disappointed, because visually, there’s little to distinguish the new GTS 300ie from the previous model. Subtle changes include the LED running lights that are integrated to the indicators, and the new instrument pod. But other than that, the new GTS 300ie can easily be mistaken for the old one. Not that it actually matters to most Vespa enthusiasts, apparently. The significant changes made to the Vespa flagship, however, are those that can be felt, because for 2017, the GTS 300ie gets ABS and ASR.
ABS stands for anti-lock braking system, while ASR stands for Assisted Slip Reduction, otherwise known as traction control. While ABS is becoming quite common on scooters in this price range, traction control is not. So it’s quite a surprise to learn that the 2017 GTS 300i.e. has this active safety feature. If you think that’s absurd, you have to consider that the 278cc Quasar motor is capable of churning out a healthy 16.45 lb ft of torque to that tiny rear wheel. As you may already know, high centrifugal force plus slippery surface equals wheelspin, and that’s not good unless you’re competing in a flat-track racing series.
The not-so-obvious update made to the GTS 300ie, on the other hand, is the Enhanced Suspension System, or ESS, as seen on the Sprint and Primavera. It may not be apparent at first glance but it has something to do with the mounting of the front suspension, which now pivots on a swivel pin rather than clamped solidly to improve front-end feel. Riding the previous model and the new one back to back, you’ll notice that the vagueness of the old setup was completely eliminated but thankfully still retained its superb anti-dive characteristics.
Another not-so-obvious change made to the GTS 300ie can be found under the seat compartment, where it grew a couple of liters in capacity. Strangely, even if the GTS 300ie is physically bigger than the Sprint and Primavera, the storage bin on the GTS 300ie can hardly fit a full-face helmet. At least it can easily swallow two jet style open-face helmets. But while the underseat compartment grew, the glove compartment behind the legshield shrunk a little bit in capacity because the ECU for the ABS and ASR resides there inside a plastic box just below the fuses. A convenient USB socket is included where you can charge your mobile phone on the go.
The GTS 300ie still makes use of the 278cc liquid-cooled and fuel injected single cylinder 4-valve Quasar motor from the previous model that produces a maximum 22 bhp and, as mentioned earlier, 16.45 lb ft of torque. While not the smoothest at idle, the motor smoothens out eventually off idle and pounces forward with authority with every little twist of the throttle. Crack it open for a little longer and watch the speedometer needle sweep effortlessly towards 130 km/h, catching not a few Japanese scooter riders by surprise during traffic light GPs.
For a 148 Kg. scooter, the GTS 300ie is deceivingly quick and surprisingly agile, which makes it such a hoot to ride around town. The steel monocoque chassis, combined with carefully sorted spring rates, gives the GTS 300ie a solid feel and a highly refined ride even on badly pockmarked roads. Stopping the GTS are a pair of ABS controlled disc brakes with a two-piston caliper up front and single piston caliper at the rear. Both offer progressive stopping power.
At PhP 365,000, the Vespa GTS 300ie faces stiff competition from Kymco in the form of the Xciting 400i at PhP 335,000 and the Maxsym 400i from SYM at PhP 318,000. While both maxiscooters possess ABS and are expressway legal, neither has traction control and both are more than twice the size of the GTS 300ie, which may pose some problems filtering through traffic. The GTS 300ie, on the other hand, is not expressway legal but is compact enough for your daily commute and fast enough to keep you entertained during long rides. You just have to take the longer route when going out of town, though. Now, if you own the previous GTS 300ie, there’s little reason for you to upgrade to the new one unless you want the safety and security benefits provided by ABS and ASR. But if you want nothing but the biggest and most powerful Vespa there is, you’re looking at it.
Engine: liquid-cooled, EFI, single cylinder, SOHC, 4-valves, 4-stroke
Displacement: 278 cc
Max power: 22 bhp @ 7500 rpm
Torque: 16.45 lb-ft @ 5250 rpm
Seat height: 790 mm
Fuel capacity: 9.5 liters
Dry weight: 148 kg
Top speed: 130 km/h
Price: PhP 365,000
Editor’s rating: 9.5 / 10
Plus: Powerful motor and refined ride
Minus: A bit pricey