The scooters we will be using to circumnavigate Australia will be PX200 model Vespa's.

The Vespa has become synonymous with the word 'Scooter' over the years, and while far from the only scooter manufacturer or even the first, it is undoubtedly the most famous. Initially introduced after World War II, by Piaggio & C. S.p.A, a company experienced in Ship Building, Carriage works, and Aircraft development, as a means to sustain itself after the effects of war, the Vespa (Italian for Wasp) became a symbol of independence and freedom to travel.

With the company's experience in aircraft design and manufacture, the pressed monocoque chassis and trailing link front suspension became a trademark which continues even with today's models.

Engine Single cylinder two stroke 200 cc
Bore 57 mm
Stroke 66.5 mm
Displacement 198 cc
Max.power 11 CV
Injection Electronic
Start Electric and kick start
Starter Mechanical
Lubrication With automatic oil-fuel mixer
Cooling Forced air with centrifugal ventilator
Induction Rotating valve in crankcase
Gear Four speed
Chassis Body in pressed and welded steel monocoque
Front suspension Single-arm with overhanging wheel, dual effect hydraulic shock absorber (Trailing Link)
Rear suspension Oscillating engine, dual effect shock absorber
Front brake 200 mm disc with hydraulic reservoir on the handlebar
Rear brake 150 mm drum
Wheels Rims in pressed steel, drums in light alloy
Tyres 3.50" x 10"
Length 1,780 mm
Width 700 mm
Wheel base 1,245 mm
Moving weight 95 kg
Max. speed 110 km/h
Fuel tank capacity 8 litres (6.5 + 1.5 reserve)

Introduced in 1978, the Vespa 'P' Series, was quite a contrast to the more curvy, sleek designs produced in earlier years. With it's boxy front mudguard, and relatively angular side cowls, it was not considered the most beautiful scooter to leave the Piaggio factory.

Strangely enough, the P series kept selling. Numerous minor revisions and additions such as an automatic oil feed, electric start (in addition to the kick-start), electronic ignition and front disc brake have been added over the years, and have continued to sell even when more 'modern' scooters have been released and ceased production. To date in excess of 2 million P Series Vespa have been sold and contrary to many rumours, are still in production although their distribution worldwide is now reduced due to European and other international emissions regulations forcing reductions on 2-stroke engine usage.

The P series Vespa have added numerous achievements to their name over the years and many people have accomplished great feats, and undertaken many adventures upon these small but strong machines.

One of the mightiest accomplishments for the PX, was in the 1980 (second) Paris-Dakar Rally. In a team put together by Jean-Franois Piot, with assistance from four time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Henri Pescarolo, two Vespa PX200's (of the 5 that started) ridden by M. Simonot and B. Tcherniawsky crossed the finish line.

Photos can be seen at www.

Another accomplishment for the PX Vespa, and arguably the greatest is that of Giorgio Bettinelli and his travels around the world. Giorgio's numerous travels over the years such as Rome to Saigon, or Terra del Fuigo to Tasmania, combined have taken him approximately 144,000 kilometres, effectively around the world 6 times. Giorgio has documented his travels in the book 'In Vespa - Da Roma a Saigon' which unfortunately is only available in Italian Language.

Photos and more about Georgio Bettinelli can be seen on the Benetton - Colors Website


While we cannot match Georgio for distance, we're certain Australia will provide conditions as challenging if not more so than anywhere in the world that a PX series Vespa has gone before. 

For more detailed information on the history of Vespa Scooters, please visit  


The Route

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