Quarantasei means 46 in Italian, and if the name of this sleek new scooter were written numerically, someone might be led to believe that Piaggio was trying to snatch legendary MotoGP racer Valentino Rossi away from Ducati. Not so!
Here, “Quarantasei” refers to the birth year of the greatest scooter of all time: the Vespa. Today’s Vespa model line is well-established and successful all around the world, despite rather high prices. There is quality, rational design, a solid-performing 300cc four-stroke engine, agility in traffic and adequate safety features.
Vespas have never been more efficient and pleasant to ride than they are today. But Piaggio does not rest on its laurels. So, it revisited the current lineup to see what its most-productive evolutionary step might be.
From the way the front shield is curved to form the footboard to the sharply pointed rear end, side ventilation louvers, “floating” seat and airfoil-shaped handlebar, the Quarantasei was clearly inspired by the original 98cc Vespa.
But this is not a design exercise; it is a realistic project aimed at a sophisticated consumer. As such, the machine is superbly refined with high-tech features. For example, front and rear lights use LEDs, and the shapely body is formed in aluminum. In a nod to tradition, the front suspension remains trailing-link type; I wonder when Piaggio will turn the components around to make it a much-more correct (from an inertia point of view) leading link. Maybe in another 65 years…