scooterlife - photog's blog

Motorcycles. Scooters. Wheelchairs. Tape. Whatever rolls.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Stella Comes Home

Thursday morning I headed to Georgia to pick up a sweet little low-mileage 2003 Stella in Atlanta. Another early roadtrip, another nice sunrise in my sideview. Ah, yes, the twin suns of Tatooine. Go to ATL, we must.

The E150 Cargo Van was fairly new, so I helped break it in.

Even at a cruise of 80+, the gas mileage wasn’t too bad. Somewhere around 18 or so. Still, this wasn't much fun:

With the cargo cage in the back, it looked like a giant Hav-a-Hart trap. So I put a quart of 2-stroke oil and a copy of the latest Scooterworks catalog in the back, waited quietly, and trapped this:

Here it is, restrained. You ain’t going anywhere, fella. Kayak straps, a bath mat, a towel, and my patented TLAR (“that looks about right”) method worked fine.

Got some fuel for me, and headed back.

These are just grab shots from tonight—fuzzy and the orange is washed out a bit with the flash in some shots, but they’ll give you an idea of what the 80’s vintage Vespa PX series—what the Stella is--looks like.

Note that there’s no spare tire under the left cowl. That’s an aftermarket SIP performance pipe/expansion chamber there, which negates the use of the spare tire carrier under the removable left cowl. The original exhaust was catalyzed. The battery stays intact, though the bike can be kick started and traditionally that’s how it’s prodded to life anyway.

That SIP pipe is a work of art. Nice welds and finish on it.

The Stella is practically identical to the 2005 Vespa PX150, but with a few key differences. One of them is the inclusion of upgraded Bitubo gas shocks on the Stella. You can see the front here and the Grimeca brakes. These bikes have single-sided forks up front, reminiscent of their Piaggio aircraft landing gear origins. The Stella also uses heavier-gauge steel.

The wheels are 2-piece, making tire changes a snap--especially if you just swap the spare. There's a pretty wide range of tire choices available. These are Conti Zippy's and they've got a good reputation; when they wear out, a sporty set will go on.

The engine and transmission snug up under the right cowl.

Here’s a glimpse of the underside, showing the pipe routing and the rear brake actuator (which is on the right floorboard).

Front locking storage is plenty for the usual—a quart of oil, gloves, tools, lock, and personal items.:

Here’s the engine/transmission. The Stella utilizes a 5-port (bridged 3 port) 150cc reed induction motor, while the Vespa uses a 3-port 150cc rotary valve motor. The Stella makes about 2 more horsepower than the Vespa—10 vs. 8. On a small bike, that’s a pretty big difference, and between that and the gas shocks (and the $1200-$1400 price difference) I was immediately sold on the Stella vs. the PX150.

Here’s the cockpit. Pretty simple stuff—the shifting is done with a twist grip on the left (along with the clutch), and the right front brake is where it should be. The rear brake is on the right side floorboard.

This particular bike has about 115 miles on it and only 5 miles on a Pinasco 177 kit, Dellorto 24/24G carb, and the SIP pipe. Top end should be 70+ and it should hustle its way to that speed fairly well, with the front end spending little time on the asphalt--though the Pinasco kit is considered a "touring" kit and is mild compared to others. Mileage should be around 75-80mpg unless I’m flogging it. Over the coming weeks I’ll work on dialing in the jetting.

MSRP on these critters is $2900. Used ones go for $2200 and up and are holding their value fairly well. This bike will be a daily driver for me.