After 29 days of voting and 459 total votes, the best scooter ever was decided – it was all between the Vespa PX200, Lambretta SX200 & Italjet Dragster 180. And the winner is….
The Vespa PX200, which amassed 86 votes (19% of total votes).
In a tightly contested battle, it was the Lambretta SX200 came second with 79 votes (17%), and the Italjet Dragster 180 clinched third with 78 votes (17%).
Choosing the best scooter ever isn't easy, and as expected it caused a lot of discussion between die-hard scooterists, unsurprisingly most of the attention was on the battle between Lambretta vs Vespa. Some said in the comments that this is “an impossible question!” whilst others were more than happy to proudly share photos of their own scooters - thankfully though, we do have one clear winner!
Now it was extremely close, and whilst we’re not surprised that it was the Italian giants battling it out for the top spot I can definitely see how the PX200 got the winners medal. It’s a timeless design and is (clearly) a hugely popular scooter from back in the days of the mods.
But what made the PX200 the Lexham official Best Scooter Ever?
The Vespa PX200 was an icon for the revival of the mod scene, and defined the “second coming” of the mod era in 1977 when it was released, up until 2001 with different variants taking over.
The very first PX200 was shown in Milan 1977. Fitted with two drum brakes, a steel chassis and improved front suspension with stability improvements with a revised rear axle – known on the market as the P200E (with the electronic ignition). Current chairman of the BSSO (British Scooter Sports Organisation) Steve Chapman elected for the PX200 as it was the best choice in scooter “when you just need to get somewhere smoothly, with no fuss, this can’t be beaten”.
This was then re-released in 1982 as the PX200E, as we know it. You may have also seen the T5 on our list, which is a model variant from 1985 based on the PX. Various other versions continued until around 2001 (the model with 12BHP) with the ’98 to ’01 models being Euro 2 compliant. 2017 saw the end of the PX, as it wasn’t able to meet the then current emissions standards.
Known in the scooter community by many as the “best all rounder”, it was clearly a favourite amongst those who voted in our poll – and was therefore crowned the winner!
Not forgetting the Lambretta SX200, only 7 votes away from the top spot
The SX200 was justifiably a giant in the scootering community. Initially coming out in 1966, the SX200 was released at the height of the mod era and was top of the Innocenti line, and production ran until 1969.
Considered by many as one of the best looking scooters produced by Lambretta, the SX200 was also popular due to it’s ability to be tuned for increased power and speed – so was popular in the scooter racing scene at the time (and perhaps to this day with the BSSO!). Ali from popular scooter site ‘Diary of a Detour’ noted the SX200 as one of her picks, saying it’s “the most stylish Lambretta model”.
The SX200 also had quite a few dealer specials in its time, including Supertune “Rallye”, Rafferty Newman “Wildcat” and Arthur Francis “S-Type”. UK had load of colours available for the SX200, but not that it really matters as chances are they are all custom now! In fact Steve Chapman from the BSSO chose both the SX200 and PX200, but stated his “ideal model would be the Lambretta SX200 Supertune special”.
What about the Italjet Dragster 180?
Something I think is a bit of a ‘marmite’ design, many will say this 2 stroke scoot deserves a place on the podium for simply being such a uniquely recognisable scooter out on the roads – and being a scooter that can seem to turn 50 year old “retired mods” back in to excitable kids they once were!
This is one that Iggy from Scooterlab nominated, and personally is a scooter I will always think is insane, for all the right reasons. As Iggy put it, “Italjet ripped up the scooter design book and reinvented the wheel back in 1998”. It’s not just the design that was innovative with Bimota hub-centre steering and exposed trellis frame, the Piaggio 2 stroke engine is also a work of art in itself, putting out 19.4bhp @ 8000rpm and was extremely quick back then - and still is to this day!
The Italjet is also looking at a re-design for 2020, and will be released in the UK in a 125 and 200cc variant, with the 125cc scoot hitting the CBT & A1 licence limit – so whilst it is no longer a 2 stroke with incredible acceleration & power, it will still be a class-leading performance by a scooter. It’s one I’m definitely looking forward to seeing, and maybe even one we’ll get on BikeMatters?
Ready to ride?
There were a few missing scooters on our list, with honourable mentions going to: the Vespa Rally 200, Gilera Runner 125, and even the Zundapp Bella! Who do you think should have won our poll, if not the top three?
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Have a read of the expert's full pics below (full results poll right at the bottom):
In the first of our series to find The Best Bike Ever, we are starting off by looking at scooters. With the help of experts from the industry (or just people mad for two wheels) we’ve got opinions this time from Andy Gillard, Ian Grainger, Steve Chapman & Ali Richards (also Brett from BikeMatters) who have compiled their favourite three and put together a potential list for The Best Scooter of All Time. But we still need your help to decide – at the bottom of the article you can leave your vote for the best scooter ever!
Whilst the best selling scooter (and motorcycle) ever is the Honda Super Cub, which has sold over 100 million units worldwide since its conception, will it be one of the best according to our panel? Have a read, and let us know!
We have asked scooter experts the ultimate question: what is the best scooter of all time?
Andy Gillard - ScooterNova
Andy is the editor & publisher of Scooternova Magazine and has been in scooter journalism since 1997. Formerly the long term editor of Scootering magazine, Andy has an incredible wealth of knowledge on all things scooter related.
Scooter 1: Vespa 50 (and subsequent variants)
Reason: It wasn’t the first 50cc scooter, but when Piaggio launched the Vespa 50 in 1963 they created a stylish machine that could be ridden by those aged 14 years and upwards in their native Italy.
The Vespa 50 went on to mobilise not only a generation at home but also abroad legislation saw a version fitted with pedals in the 1970s to comply with some local regulations, and in the 80s in the UK it helped mobilise a young scooterboy movement. While today’s version may be an expensive automatic machine, the original 3-speed 2-stroke scooter is a very important machine throughout Europe.
Scooter 2: Lambretta DL / Grand Prix
Reason: Italian designer Bertone drew two production scooters, both of them Lambrettas for Innocenti of Milan. The dl (Grand Prix in the UK market) was launched in 1969 and was a svelte, sporty-looking evolution of the Slimstyle Lambretta that had been in production since 1962.
As it turned out this was the last new model from Innocenti before they sold the brand names and factory tooling to the Indian Government who subsequently set up Scooters India Limited, a company that continued to produce the Bertone designed Lambretta until 1997. They also licenced its production to satellite factories around India and as far afield as South America, taking this Italian designer scooter worldwide and continuing to mobilise the masses of developing nations long after the Europeans had moved on. The Indian production of this Lambretta also kept the British scooter scene alive with new scooters and parts, for which the scooterboy youth culture is eternally grateful.
Scooter 3: Suzuki Burgman 650
Reason: The rise in popularity of the modern commuter scooter during the 1990s saw an 'arms race’ between the manufacturers of who could produce the largest capacity machine. The Japanese led with the Honda 250, then Yamaha and Suzuki too. Yamaha launched the TMAX 500 in 2001 which very nearly got my vote here, and indeed was a best seller in Italy for many years, but when the Suzuki Burgman 650 arrived in 2002, it became the largest-displacement scooter in the world. It was also the first to have an electrically-controlled CVT (two automatic and a manual transmission option are all available on each scooter) and if you add to that the electrically operated screen and mirrors, heated seat and enough luggage capacity for a couple to spend a fortnight touring Europe in luxury, this large capacity mile muncher is a winner.
Not as sporty as the TMax maybe, or as fast as the later Gilera GP800/Aprilia SRV850, but as a fast, practical, luxurious scooter this is hard to beat.
‘Iggy’ Ian Grainger - Scooterlab
Iggy is the man behind the popular scooter website scooterlab.uk, and, again, is another who has worked in the scooter & motorcycle scene for many years. Iggy has been a regular contributor to some of the biggest scooter and motorcycle publications in the UK including Scootering, MCN and Motorcycle Monthly.
Scooter 1: Lambretta Li 125 Series 1
Reason: This is the scooter that moved me away from a lifetime of Vespas. Bought as an ugly duckling I was smitten as soon as I rode it. Timeless styling, cool, good looking and turns heads. A beautiful classic scooter.
Scooter 2: Vespa T5
Reason: This machine rocked the boat when it arrived in 1985. It looked different from previous Vespas: square rear end, oblong headlight... but it was fast. The 125 could beat a PX 200 on the road, it was also ripe for additional tuning. Scooter Boys (like the 17 year old me) soon loved them.
Scooter 3: Italjet Dragster 180
Reason: Scooters are all about being different and the Italjet ripped up the scooter design book and reinvented the wheel back in 1998. Futuristic styling, hub-centre steering and that super-quick Piaggio derived 2-stroke engine. Fast Forward to 2020 and the brand new Italjet Dragster will be ripping up our streets and gaining new scooter fans around the world.
Steve Chapman - Chairman of the BSSO Scooter Racing
Currently the Chairman of the British Scooter Sports Organisation (Scooter Racing in the UK), Steve has been around scooters since his teenage years. As a scooter and scooter racing enthusiast a lot of Steve’s free time as you’ll guess is dedicated to two wheels.
Scooter 1: Vespa SS 90
Reason: Many of us started our journey into adulthood on the seat of a small frame Vespa.
My 50 Special probably used more polish than petrol in 1984, and a little bit of that magic feeling stays with you.
I have had a few small frames over the years, but when it comes to choosing one it’s between the Spanish 125 super with the spare wheel around the rear light and the SS90.
Perhaps I’m just fascinated by unusual places to put a spare wheel – but the SS just nudges it for me.
Scooter 2: Lambretta SX200
Reason: Could be any of the early 200cc 3 series, really. Depending on the trim, I love them all – but in the mid-80s I was lucky enough to own an SX200 with just one previous owner and only 13,000 miles on the clock, so there’s a touch of bias. My ideal model would be the Supertune special.
Scooter 3: Vespa PX200
Reason: The later model - with disc brake, electric start, comfy grips - because when you just need to get somewhere smoothly, with no fuss, this can’t be beaten. Mine had the woolly blanket option, and I could ride to work in the snow wearing trainers. The blanket also seemed to make it less attractive to joy-riders (what do they know?!!).
Ali Richard - Diary of a Detour
Ali’s love of scooters started at just 16, and she soon became a dedicated follower of the UK Scooter Rally scene. As a keen photographer and writer Ali’s website diaryofadetour.com has become a popular destination for many scooterists.
Scooter 1: Vespa Primavera
Reason: I have a soft spot for Vespa smallframes - the Primavera is my favourite. I love its diminutive size and it's so easy and comfortable to ride (for a short-arse like me) and it packs a punch for a smallframe. I owned one when I turned 17 and it did me proud, taking me and my pillion to rallies 200+ miles away at a decent cruising speed. I like the storage compartment in the side panel and just the overall style of the scooter.
Scooter 2: Lambretta SX 200
Reason: Although many of my scooter friends are GP lovers, for me the SX200 is the most stylish Lambretta model. From the shape of the front light, the horn cover and the side panels, it's sporty and sleek. I love them best with a two-tone paint job which emphasises the flashes on the side panels.
Scooter 3: Vespa 150 Sprint
Reason: Again, this might be controversial as many will prefer a Rally 200, but I love the headset shape of the Sprint, the curvy and voluptuous panels and the storage compartment in the side panel. It may not be as speedy as a Rally but from a purely aesthetic point of view it gets my vote.
Brett is the smaller half of the BikeMatters presenting team and first got into scooters at the age of 16. As a fan of scooters big and small, Brett has become the go to Scooter test rider in the team.
Scooter 1. Piaggio Typhoon
Reason: A truly personal choice here… Freshly after leaving high school and daunted with a 30 mile round trip to college and back, it was a Piaggio Typhoon 50cc that was my ride of choice. The 2-stroke restricted 50cc beast was out in all weathers, sun, heavy rain and hail whilst maxing out at 30mph. We had our moments but the sporty air-cooled Italian scooter with those chunky tyres handled it well. Most importantly it was the catalyst to becoming a biker. And all these years later the Typhoon 50cc is still available new in the UK and doing well!
On a side note, with the 125cc variant, though not as popular as the Italjet Dragster or Gilera Runner, was another very popular scooter for modifying and tuning up. So the Typhoon itself has another fan club for that reason too, I hope there is a lot of old skool bored-out Typhoons still about!
Scooter 2: Vespa GTS 300
Reason: I have a feeling the other contributors are going to be voting for classic Vespas and Lambrettas... and rightly so, but I thought why not throw another modern scooter in the mix? The Vespa GTS (particularly the 300cc) is an extremely popular scooter in towns and cities for rather stylish commuters. The GTS though is the scooter of choice for many scooter rally goers! It was the main go-to for a modern scooter with classical styling that was more than capable of touring or handling longer journeys. The modern build quality meant you weren’t so likely to be broken down at the side of the road, unlike many of its classic scooter brothers and sisters.
The GTS today is offered in various models from Touring to Sei Giorni. Most recently, Vespa released the Supertech HPE, so the first large body Vespa to have a full digital display accompanied with Vespa’s most powerful 278cc engine to date - producing 23.8bhp. So Vespa continues to put out a lot of options for the GTS series.
Scooter 3. Honda Super Cub
Reason: I feel by default the Super Cub needs to be mentioned by being the most popular bike ever sold. I think most people will know someone who once in their life has owned a Super Cub, for me that was my Dad.
The Cub is a pretty darn bulletproof machine with the typical Honda build quality and reliability. The Super Cub just does the job perfectly and that is clear to see from its sales figures across the world over the years. It is great to see Honda bring out a new version of the Super Cub, mixing that classic look with a modern twist for today’s market. How many bikers around the world would have cut their teeth on a Super Cub? A fair few I reckon....
Time to vote for your favourite scooter of all time
This is our selection of best ever scooters, but which do you think deserves to be crowned The Best Ever Scooter? Let us know in the poll below!