Small frame vs big frame...
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1981 P200e, S-Works Stumpjumper
Joined: 17 Oct 2016
Posts: 260
Location: Los Angeles
Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:28 pm quote
Hey all, looking to get back into scootering after 25 year, um, "hiatus"... Originally thought I wanted to get another P200 but now I'm wondering what small frames are like... Any thoughts? Do you prefer one over the other (small vs large)? Advantages and disadvantages of each? (Advantages of P200 for me are auto lube, freeway-legal engine, a little more "solid" for lack of a better phrase...)
patina SS180, tired P200E, project-on-hold VBC 150
Joined: 01 Mar 2013
Posts: 32
Location: New Zealand
Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:16 am quote
Suggest you read the "Things to Consider before Buying a Vintage Vespa" thread several times.

Had a similar choice myself, and for my latest scoot went the large frame path on advice from local scoot specialist shop.

When I got back on 2 wheels after a 20 year break, I found a smallframe 50 for commuting, had it kitted so it would keep up with urban traffic (our limit 50 kmh = 30 mph). Great fun, and hadn't planned on doing any touring, so hadn't considered a larger scoot. But after a couple of years I wanted to do some touring and group riding, found a PX as it was the cheapest open-road option. Then wanted a more classic-style touring scoot, found a SS180 but was also looking for a tidy ET3 smallframe.

Auto lube is not an issue, you get used to mixing.

Lots of options to make a freeway speed smallframe.

"Solidness" of a P works both ways. A smallframe flows through corners better, on a P you have to work harder, sometimes need to get off the seat and haul it down into a corner.

I don't do much of my own maintenance, but some simple jobs like cleaning out a carb jet are more hassle on a smallframe due to engine / petrol tank location.

65 VNC Super, Series 1 50n (136), 50s, PX150, Douglas G, Ciao, Si, PX200E, PX vespacross project, Douglas Rod
Joined: 02 Oct 2015
Posts: 291
Location: Victoria
Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:23 am quote
P200 - solid, reliable, dependable and good for the highway.
Stock smallframe- great for inner city riding.
Tuned smallframe- great for the grin you'll never wipe off your face! (or the hole it will leave in your wallet!)
1979 P200e
Joined: 18 Mar 2013
Posts: 2667
Location: Lock Haven, PA
Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:44 am quote
Hipster - do you really think you're going to hit the freeway on a P200? I know some people here will do it, and some have kitted their scoots to do unbelievable speeds, but I, personally, don't need or want to go over 50mph on my P200. 10" tires and drum brakes do not inspire confidence on a freeway, not to mention that the scooter wasn't designed for that.

If freeway riding is in your future, then a modern Vespa is more than capable.

OK.. back to the question.... smallies look like fun, and being a short guy I'd love to have one (my P200 is too tall for me), but the P does everything I need to do. It's plentiful, and parts are easy to come by. It's not as pretty as earlier scooters, but it's good and reliable.

If you get a scoot where you need to pre-mix, it's a simple 30 second operation when you gas up. Full the tank, look at the gas pump. Then pour oil into the little cup up to the marked line, drop into the tank, and voila, done!

If you're having trouble finding a P200, consider a P125 which can easily be kitted up to 166 or 177, or a PX150 2005 model.

One other thing... not sure, most people don't talk about them here, but there always seem to be Bajaj 4 stroke scooters available out there for short money.
'79 P200, '74 VBC Super, '80 100 Sport
Joined: 23 Jan 2012
Posts: 719
Location: 32 37' 40" N, 117 2' 53" W
Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:32 am quote
I rode my first smallie a couple of months ago and it was a blast! Good handling and kept up with city traffic. I would definitely like to add one. But I would suggest you start with a P. Then when you start to find out all of your other scoot options you can get a second one. The P will give you the baseline of power and a solid ride, reliability if stock and facilitate your glorious return to scoots. Go get that silver one you were looking at and you will be set.

Freeway?? I ride like one...short...ramp to exit on the freeway, and dont get out of the filter lane. No more than that. Too sketchy.
'64 Motovespa 150S (177) , '66 Allstate SF, '64 VBB, '66 180SS
Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 755
Location: S.Salem, NY
Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:56 pm quote
Considering that I am 5'9, 140 lbs. , the TV200 is like a full size car and is a great cruiser, the 150S with a 177DR is like a fast sedan and handles so smooth, and the kitted small frame is like a sports car. What a blast !
50 N
Joined: 20 Dec 2015
Posts: 267
Location: North Aberdeenshire
Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:28 pm quote
Not that familiar with comparisons on the US market but think of the smallframe as a small European or Japenese sports car, dangerously underpowered in some guises, quite acceptable in others and barking mad when you spend proper coin.

Large frame will be your middling Dodge or Cadillac, much more comfortable and stodgey but with the same basic extremes.

Have to say as a first time buyer I'd look at the silver P2 in another thread, think it was you anyway, and you'll get an idea if it's for you or not. If not then walk away, if so then welcome to Hell and have a good look in all the chambers.
Mr. Clean
P,SUPER,V90, 50 Special
Joined: 27 Jul 2010
Posts: 10207
Location: This is't my locker!
Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:56 pm quote
Jaun gives good advice...

1st timer... go for that Silver P... or something similar...

Small frames are the funnest, but can be challenging to work on... however.. the tuning options are through the roof when you've got your "sea legs", know your way around the motor and are ready to keep up with.. or pass the P200's on the highway.

IF.. you've got giant, meathooks (big ol' Man Hands) ... then working on a small frame motor can be frustrating.... having said that... they're very fun!
Honda Monkey 125, Gilera Runner 50
Joined: 13 Aug 2016
Posts: 37
Location: Czech Republic
Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:36 pm quote
I am trying to solve similar "problem" here

What I find most surprising in Vespa community is general lack of info on sizes of bikes for various people and especially pics/vids with actual drivers visible.

Pure technical info does not help here because eg. Cosa an PK are nearly same in numbers and Cosa quite close to my bike and eg. shows me (1.93m) that on PX (like Cosa) I will have knees in handlebars when in reality on Cosa I had plenty of space, more then on eg. honda PCX or Honda Lead and so on. However this was only model I was able to test here in Czech Republic because of general lack of vintage interest here. So when I want to think about or test Special, PK (second in line after Cosa of what I am looking for) I am forced to internet resources ,but then there is that barrier without info, pics, vids for tall riders.
150 GLx, Rally 200
Joined: 09 Jun 2013
Posts: 256
Location: Netherlands
Mon Oct 31, 2016 12:48 pm quote
@puffybodie: If that surprises you already, you'll be constantly amazed in the Vespa community.

Best try to contact a local club, or go to a rally; real world comparison (accompanied by beer) beats pictures on the internets any day
Honda Monkey 125, Gilera Runner 50
Joined: 13 Aug 2016
Posts: 37
Location: Czech Republic
Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:39 pm quote
Well local club about 50km away have only GTS models and they do not have any vintage. Only dealer has that old Cosa. Other clubs further away mostly modern ones too and only couple of PX. Then there is Prague Vespa which was missed this year because of work and next year it is long time after I need to have replacement already. That is why I am hunting for internet level info which is however nearly non-existing with this vendor.

A lot of that of course part of history. Vespa was not here well known and still is not. For vintage it was always some old Ural/Dnepr or 2nd WW BMW or Harley or our own brand Jawa. They were as well better for our terrible roads where small wheels are not exactly you will like under your body. For scooters there were Babetta, 555, Stadion (ok more mopeds) or very nice CZ "pig" (this one actually small wheels, but then because of handling on our roads it got that nickname )
Vespa PX200e
Joined: 01 Sep 2015
Posts: 140
Location: Southeast Asia
Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:26 pm quote
puffybodie wrote:
I am trying to solve similar "problem" here

What I find most surprising in Vespa community is general lack of info on sizes of bikes for various people and especially pics/vids with actual drivers visible..
Me 1.93M on my px 200 before I got lairy with modifications


Honda Monkey 125, Gilera Runner 50
Joined: 13 Aug 2016
Posts: 37
Location: Czech Republic
Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:44 pm quote
@Jakester - nice one. Thanks a lot. You are rather further back on seat. Maybe I have twisted memories, but it looks like Cosa had somewhat more space then PX on your picture (we are very similar regarding body).
Molto Verboso
borrowed time
Joined: 17 Oct 2010
Posts: 1134
Location: inland empire
Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:38 pm quote
Vader and all have good advice.
I kinda got out of scooting, but oldscoot here got me to ride his small frame in the mountain roads here in socal. I LOVE SMALLIES!!!
I got a Lammy fall into my lap.....probably never giving it back....but that's beside the point. If I ever get a Vespa again....most def a smallie!
Too Many
Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 553
Location: Soap Lake , WA
Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:26 pm quote
Smallie Smallie Smallie

My husband 6'1" 190lbs rides my smallies and LOVES them as much as I do! I am 5'2" and am 115lbs so smallies are totally my jam!

NEVER ride either model on the Freeway! We always take the highway when we go to Seattle on our bikes. I used to have a Modern GT200 and I would ride that on the freeway and the day I was following my husband on his P200 while I was on the modern I about lost my shit. we only stayed on the freeway for one short stretch and then I chewed him out and said NO MORE That was SCARY!
'79 P200E, '77 Rally, '76 V90, '74 Rally
Joined: 07 Dec 2014
Posts: 143
Location: San Francisco
Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:44 pm quote
So, I went through something similar to this about 2 years ago. I was making myself crazy as well as MJ Rally with which model to get. I thought for sure I was going to end up with a Rally. I drove P200's in high school and I crashed them all the time because they were too bug for me, and also, I drove like a maniac. I went back and forth for a looooooooong time trying to figure out what I was going to get.
I almost got a Rally, that was overpriced, and then I continued to mull it over while checking out the forum and craigslist and reading a lot and scouring various sites. Which was good to do because the more I got information, the more I learned.
I ended up finding a P, exactly like the one I drove in high school, so I got it. It's been a completely reliable scoot! It's been super easy (for the most part) to tinker with. I have been able to do the minor stuff on my own, with help from the kind folks here.
I also ended up with a Rally, which I totally am in love with. While it totally fits me better, it's also a lot more temperamental. Had this been my first scoot, I think I might have regretted it. Now, it's nice to have 2, as if one breaks down, I can use the other one!
I also just picked up a smallie, and can't wait to get her going. They are so fun.

I say, as other have, get a P200. You can always get more! And you will.

I have driven on the freeway and it's not so fun. You feel every little crevice and bump not to mention the trucks wizzing by. To me personally, this is super stressful and not enjoyable at all. But others are okay with it.

Hope this helps!
Style Maven
74 50s x3 78 P200 84 Cosa PK50XL2 58 AllState 68 Sprint 80 50special '66(?) Super125
Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 7886
Location: seattle/athens
Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:15 am quote

I'm 6'2" and smallies don't feel too small for me, I love 'em. From the seat they feel nearly the same size as largeframes to me, but much lighter. They have slimmer hips and usually less carrying capacity. With the motor more centered & light weight, they feel much more agile at lower speeds.

But at higher speeds I much prefer the slightly longer wheelbase and more weight of a largeframe under me. Also big difference hauling even a lightweight passenger. So you'll be needing one of each obviously.

Smallies have a 1180 mm wheelbase and weigh dry from 148 to 161 lbs, while 10" wheeled largeframes range from 1200 to 1230mm wheelbase & weigh from 196 to 238 lbs dry.
2006 PX 150 & Malossi Kitted Malaguti Yesterday (Wife's)
Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 12959
Location: Paros Island, Greece
Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:42 am quote
V oodoo

Surprised you didn't just recommend a Cosa.
64 small frame, 130 polini, 4 speed
Joined: 19 Apr 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Portland, Oregon
Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:52 am quote
the thing I noticed is my position relative to the rear tire. At 5' 10", i'm about 2 inches forward of that rear pivot point and with the recent 130 poloni build and addition of a 4 speed, its easy bringing the front wheel up in 1st and 2nd. Takes some getting used to. I haven't taken it to top speed in 4th yet. Waiting on delivery of a new helmet.
1984 PX200E, 1962 Fuji Rabbit S601, 1963 GL, Gilera GSA, Vespa GS160, aTri-ped Micocar, and bunch of mopeds and shifty fifties
Joined: 04 Apr 2015
Posts: 205
Location: St. Louis
Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:01 am quote
Not sure if this is any more helpful than what has already been posted.
I am 6'2" and around 210lbs.
Stock-P200 is comfortable, reliable, and pretty quick. I can comfortably carry a passenger. More comfortable for me on longer rides, probably because it is bigger and heavier than my other scoots. I don't mind riding on a smaller highway, but it would be underpowered for a busy interstate with cars speeding along at 80mph.

Small frame is comfy too. Great for around town, very nimble and fun to ride. You can carry a passenger, but not as comfortably as the large frame. If you wanted something that required little work to be fun and peppy I would shoot for a 100-125cc model.-If you get a 50cc model you are going to have to do some work to create something that can keep up with traffic around town. A friend took over a a small frame build I started, it was expensive, but the finished bike was able to keep up with a stockish p200 really well.

GS160-Comfortable to ride, pretty reliable with a p200 motor swapped in. Feels smaller and more small frame like than a P series, but I don't have a small frame right now.
2015 GTS300, 1974 Primavera, 04 Ninja 250
Joined: 04 Apr 2013
Posts: 4510
Location: San Diego, CA
Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:51 am quote
ghost thread revival

notice the post from aviator - miss that dude
1984 PX200E, 1962 Fuji Rabbit S601, 1963 GL, Gilera GSA, Vespa GS160, aTri-ped Micocar, and bunch of mopeds and shifty fifties
Joined: 04 Apr 2015
Posts: 205
Location: St. Louis
Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:37 am quote
Oh, damn. I didn't realize how old the original post was.
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