The Vespa Investigation

A while back I blogged about possibly getting myself a scooter to get around the GTA in the pleasant months. I was hoping to get one pretty soon, especially since the TTC strike put a real kink in my plans.

However, after a little investigation into costs and logistics, I’ve decided to put off my purchase until at least the end of the summer.

This weekend I encountered a few people that asked me about scooters and the cost and stuff since they were interested too. I am by no means an expert, but here’s what I found out.

The Scooter
There are lots of brands out there to choose from! Vespa is perhaps the most popular and well-known, but other brands include Honda, Yamaha, TMC, Piaggio (Vespa), Kymco and more. After doing some research online I decided that a traditional Vespa was probably what would satisfy me the most. I didn’t want to be a brand whore, but I just couldn’t say no to the Italian styling, quality assurance and familiarity the brand presents. Though I did seriously consider the Yamaha Vino, and may still revisit it.
I spoke with a dude at the Vespa store here in T.O. and we assesed my needs. I wanted something with enough “get up and go” to take me from Toronto out to some of the surrounding cities/burbs, that could carry two people, had suitable storage and a possible top case or rack for more carrying capability.
The Vespa LX 150 in Plum fit the bill.

The Cost

Ahh, now the not-so-lovely part of the Vespa buying experience. The cost. It’s a whopper.

The list price for the LX 150 isn’t too bad. A little on the high side compared to other brands, but they can command what we marketers call prestige pricing because of the name and reputation they carry.

List Price: $5,700

And we mustn’t forget the freight, PDI and documentation costs involved in a new vehicle.

Freight: $250
PDI: $100
Documents: $75
Taxes: $796.25

That brings us to a total cost of $6,921.25 for a brand new Vespa.

One thing I will point out though, is that there is room for negotiating with this price. There is no way I would pay full price right off the bat. I would probably try for at least a grand off the list price, but I have no idea what I would actually get.

I did find out from the cute counter staff that it’s much cheaper to buy at the end of the fiscal year, for obvious reasons. Either that, or at the end of the season. I found out when their fiscal ends, but I shall keep it as my little secret so all the good bikes aren’t taken before I get there!

Additional Costs

Another thing to factor in when purchasing a scooter is that you will require an M licence, insurance and plates.

I would estimate insurance to be around $500/year. I estimate the M license process would cost around $200-300 total, and that the plates cost $20, then $42/year to renew.

This is starting to get expensive! And the testing process for the M license is time consuming. First you read the little motorcycle booklet and take a written test. Then you have a 90-day permit (M1, similar to G1) to learn how to ride your scooter sans passenger, alcohol and night-time driving. Then you take your M2 road test at some obscure location and have that license for the next 22 months, or 18 months if you take a safety course.

All the while you’re paying a premuium on your insurance because you are an inexperienced rider. What a bummer. The rates should go down after you get your full M though.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I’d need to buy a helmet for about $150, and any accessories such as rack or top case would cost more, too.


So there is my rundown of costs and hassles involved in getting a scooter. What I have therefore decided to do, is purchase one either new or used at the end of the season/fiscal year to help save me some money. My dad will store it in the garage and I’ll go for my license, etc. next spring. I’ll then be able to ride it for the entire spring, summer and fall next year :)

If I am paying approximately $50/month in insurance and $20/month in gas, I will still be paying less than the cost of my TTC pass! And scooters are pretty good on emissions, so I don’t feel as though I am creating too much pollution. I will be able to get around when I want and go where I want and have an easy way to carry things like groceries and friends. I can also park for free in the city of Toronto. Whoopee!

So, have I convinced you to buy a scooter yet?

6 thoughts on “The Vespa Investigation”

  1. You haven’t convinced me to get a scooter, as I don’t even drive… but it’s a great idea..

    For me though, I just really hate winter and fall if I have to ride in that and it’s freezing, or raining…

  2. Yeah, I’d do poorly in the cold too!!

    I hadn’t realized they were so expensive… maybe buying used would be a lot cheaper?

    They look great though!!

  3. Yeah, you can’t ride them in the winter. I’d just get a TTC pass for the crappy months. I’d also use tokens to get around when it’s raining.

    It’s still cheaper than transit!

  4. I bought a used Piaggio X9 500cc a year ago for just over $4000. buy used and you will save a lot. if you plan on a passenger stay with a 250cc or higher. I took the Ottawa safety course and got my licence at 65 years of age. riding the scooter makes me feel 20 well not quite, again.

  5. I would suggest looking at used, also. I purchased a 2-year old Vespa for $1,600 (US) off the sticker price because it had a dent in it. People who bought a scooter on a whim, or who are upgrading to bigger ones often have scooters at fair prices in good shape. Best of luck to you!

  6. That sounds like a pretty cool concept, especially if you live in the city.

    I haven’t been around in a while – love your new background! :)

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