Finally, I tried all the variators (gts250)
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'07 GTS (RIP) '09 GTS Ducati M750
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Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:33 pm quote
Not actually ALL of them, but I have now had a stock variator, a j.costa, and the polini in my bike. The costa and the polini have been in the bike with the motorsport booster and LeoV4road pipe.
All other variables are as equal as the same bike, 2 months apart, can be.
I know there is so much chatter about these two pieces on the interwebs, and I finally have hands on experience with both of them, under real conditions, and thought I would pass that along to other people. Reading all of the posts, and debates, and reviews , and shootouts can be nauseating, and impossible to figure out which one to get in the end.
My personal opinion is as follows:
The polini is almost as good as the J.costa around town. If you ride in the city a lot (i do), then the costa might just edge the polini between tightly spaced stoplights. (again this is regardless of the dyno sheets everyone has seen that has researched these parts).
BUT: the polini is way, way better up at top speed. Way better. Like no contest better. The costa feels more like a logarithmic taper up around the speedo, until you are topping out WOT on the highway and turning a zillion RPM to hold it there. The GTS will go fast with the 'costa istalled, for sure. I did 6 hours of full throttle up rte 95 from NYC to MA (cape cod) and averaged 80mph on the speedo, with bursts to almost 90. (again, on the speedo. GPS said 83mph top).
With the polini, on the same ride, same conditions, same me... I was a few MPH up from that: top speed on GPS was 85mph average was about the same as before. When I say "average" I mean wide open cruising, not overall trip average.
but the big difference was the fact that I was not spinning so hard to stay at that speed. I should have actually looked at the tach, numbers wise, because with the 'costa I was turning about 7.5k at 75, which is why I remembered that little fact, but though I know it was lower with the polini, I cant remember what it was... probably around 7k, just under, but for the same speed.

Anyway, if you dont want to switch variators based on what kind of riding you are going to do that day, I would highly recommend the Polini as the best all around choice. I know that as been said before, but now I personally feel it is true. I am sticking with the Polini.
I hope this helps someone out there trying to decide.

oh, I also got better mileage with the polini , for obvious reasons (engine not huffing so hard all day at WOT).
Next will be porting/polishing.. balancing and blue'ing..

Last edited by Joel Hamilton on Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:39 pm quote
nice review, Thanks for posting this
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Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:17 pm quote
How much is the price difference between the 2??
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Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:22 pm quote
evil monkey wrote:
How much is the price difference between the 2??
They are about the same..

Polini: $249 US at scooterwest.

'Costa: $270 at scootertrap.
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Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:24 pm quote
Joel, do you do your own work or are you having it done at B-Bretta?
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Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:25 pm quote
Does either the Polini or costa get rid of that flat spot from take off.

I fitted a malossi variator to my old sportcity and got rid of that initial lag from take off.
Performance was similar to how you describe the costa but held good top speed with engine revs similar to that of the stock variator.

Thought I had the perfect set up but the malossi started to loose performance and when I inspected the rollers were seriously flat sided, only after minimal mileage.
Ended up going back to stock and lived with compromised performance but good long term reliability

It would be interesting to hear long term results of both the polini and costa
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Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:06 pm quote
Nicely done. I am in an urban big city environment and of all the variators the Costa is the best for me. Not only is it faster 0-50 than the polini and the malossi, which makes for better urban commuting, but the way the costa goes down to slighty above stock performance at around 60mph, means that I can still get 70-75mpg on country/hiway cruises. Cant get that with either the polini or the malossi. To me, personally I could care less about accerleration on the top end. 99% of my commuting is in a big city.

So for me, the Costa wins hands down. It also seems that the weights last longer too, but id like to see what others with variators are experiancing.
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Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:16 pm quote
SubSeven wrote:
Nicely done. I am in an urban big city environment and of all the variators the Costa is the best for me. Not only is it faster 0-50 than the polini and the malossi, which makes for better urban commuting, but the way the costa goes down to slighty above stock performance at around 60mph, means that I can still get 70-75mpg on country/hiway cruises. Cant get that with either the polini or the malossi. To me, personally I could care less about accerleration on the top end. 99% of my commuting is in a big city.

So for me, the Costa wins hands down. It also seems that the weights last longer too, but id like to see what others with variators are experiancing.
98% is in a big city environment as well, and I changed to the Polini for better mileage (less RPMs) at high speed.
Brooklynbretta has been doing this type of work for me. They rule.
I have worked on motorcycles since I was a kid, but I just dont hae the time/inclination/tools anymore. Not so much anyway. I will do certain things, but I just dont have the tools for a proper variator install.
The polini is pretty awesome. having fun with it. I still have the 'costa, sitting in my unused topcase...
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Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:27 pm quote
Joel Hamilton wrote:
SubSeven wrote:
Nicely done. I am in an urban big city environment and of all the variators the Costa is the best for me. Not only is it faster 0-50 than the polini and the malossi, which makes for better urban commuting, but the way the costa goes down to slighty above stock performance at around 60mph, means that I can still get 70-75mpg on country/hiway cruises. Cant get that with either the polini or the malossi. To me, personally I could care less about accerleration on the top end. 99% of my commuting is in a big city.

So for me, the Costa wins hands down. It also seems that the weights last longer too, but id like to see what others with variators are experiancing.
98% is in a big city environment as well, and I changed to the Polini for better mileage (less RPMs) at high speed.
Brooklynbretta has been doing this type of work for me. They rule.
I have worked on motorcycles since I was a kid, but I just dont hae the time/inclination/tools anymore. Not so much anyway. I will do certain things, but I just dont have the tools for a proper variator install.
The polini is pretty awesome. having fun with it. I still have the 'costa, sitting in my unused topcase...
Well you shouldnt have any problems selling that Costa...
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Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:31 pm quote
SubSeven wrote:
Well you shouldnt have any problems selling that Costa...
I am keeping it, ust in case I fall out of love with the polini... I will be using the polini for the scooter cannonball, though. Keep in mind I will have the costa in the support truck... just in case...
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Sun Jun 22, 2008 3:45 pm quote
eeesh did i not say polini is best?

top speed is everything!!

if it aint fast, your last!


you can fine tune the polini for town work as well. i have mega heavy rollers in mine at the moment. but with 13.5 g rollers in or 13g itll be silly off the line.

you gotta get the polini out on a country lane. it only works properly WOT. it can pull out of corners almost as well as my mates 240 carbon lammy.
Molto Verboso
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Sun Jun 22, 2008 4:22 pm quote
How much of a job is is to change the variator?
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Sun Jun 22, 2008 4:48 pm quote
suit scoot wrote:
eeesh did i not say polini is best?

top speed is everything!!

if it aint fast, your last!


you can fine tune the polini for town work as well. i have mega heavy rollers in mine at the moment. but with 13.5 g rollers in or 13g itll be silly off the line.

you gotta get the polini out on a country lane. it only works properly WOT. it can pull out of corners almost as well as my mates 240 carbon lammy.
What is your top speed with the 13.5 rollers in? Considering this variator.
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Sun Jun 22, 2008 4:50 pm quote
Squonk76 wrote:
How much of a job is is to change the variator?
I have seen it done and it looked pretty easy if you have a variator tool. I bought mine at Scooterwest for $140 or something. Expensive but worth it if you plane on making other changes.
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Sun Jun 22, 2008 5:28 pm quote
Quote:
Ended up going back to stock and lived with compromised performance but good long term reliability

It would be interesting to hear long term results of both the polini and costa
That's my thinking too, and after almost 20,000 miles with a stock setup, I'm still happy with mine (and for sure happy with its longevity and reliability).

It does look like I will need new pulleys some day, though.
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250 GTS ABS
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Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:03 am quote
Since I had the J costa in my 2007 GTS and doesnt seem to work because when idling we heared a lot of rattling sound coming from the variator. This coming from the weights not touching the inner part of the variator .

There seems to much space when idling but no strange sounds at all when throttle. Dont dare to drive the bike though with that much strange sounds when idling. Have put the stock in again

So therefore I am thinking of buying a Pollini now. Could you please verify which weights you used in the pollini Variator..

I am driving Central London (max speed about 70 mph) and only coming on the highway once a month (pushing it to the rev limiter off course)
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Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:09 am quote
So for all you folks swapping out variators and such, can you confirm a few things?

1) does the stock Piaggio variator holding tool ( the one that's around $140) fit and hold both the Pollini and the JCosta?

2) does a stock Piaggio belt fit these after market variators and Malossi clutches?
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Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:19 am quote
starreem wrote:
So for all you folks swapping out variators and such, can you confirm a few things?

1) does the stock Piaggio variator holding tool ( the one that's around $140) fit and hold both the Pollini and the JCosta?

2) does a stock Piaggio belt fit these after market variators and Malossi clutches?
Yes and yes. For the J. Costa at least the only major change is the inner half of the variator. The outer half remains stock and the stock half is what the variator holding tool fits on to.

As for belts, stock belts fit just as the would with a totally stock set up.

Dave
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Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:21 am quote
Chetwynder wrote:
starreem wrote:
So for all you folks swapping out variators and such, can you confirm a few things?

1) does the stock Piaggio variator holding tool ( the one that's around $140) fit and hold both the Pollini and the JCosta?

2) does a stock Piaggio belt fit these after market variators and Malossi clutches?
Yes and yes. For the J. Costa at least the only major change is the inner half of the variator. The outer half remains stock and the stock half is what the variator holding tool fits on to.

As for belts, stock belts fit just as the would with a totally stock set up.

Dave
Dave,

Can't quite tell from your response...are you answering for he Pollini as well?

Thanks,

Tom
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Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:26 am quote
2007GTS wrote:
suit scoot wrote:
eeesh did i not say polini is best?

top speed is everything!!

if it aint fast, your last!


you can fine tune the polini for town work as well. i have mega heavy rollers in mine at the moment. but with 13.5 g rollers in or 13g itll be silly off the line.

you gotta get the polini out on a country lane. it only works properly WOT. it can pull out of corners almost as well as my mates 240 carbon lammy.
What is your top speed with the 13.5 rollers in? Considering this variator.
about 90 with a standard belt and without a 140 tyre. with a 140 it'll hit 95 if i had new piston rings . it was great when i had 20k on it, it went like stink with the polini in.

my scooter has slowed down now though due to the piston rings wearing i think, its got 28000 miles under its belt. its getting a re-built and tuned soon though. its too slow.


yes the stock belts ARE BETTER than the malossi ones. the standard one is kevlar, piaggio just dont advertise the fact.

the malossi clutches will fit with any belt and variator setup.

the variator tool holds the outer half pulley, not the varator its self, with these variator's you use the standard half pulley's.


i change rollers more often, but the polini variator is as reliable as the stock one. it requires more servicing though.


alberd, youll probably want about 13.5 or 14g rollers if you have an aftermarket pipe, i'm on heavy ones for top speed but its crap off the mark. i need to put 14's back in.

and you have roller rattle, its normal. mine rattle at idle, especially when theyre worn.


dont buy a polini variator if you can't be arsed to take these things apart every 3000 miles, the variator rollers need changing alot more often than the standard variator.
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Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:13 am quote
how loud can this rattle be...? Mine was really loud and didn't sound good to me at all... It really was the rattle not more than that I suppose..

I really want a reliable scooter though


And on the Leo Vince Pipe I would love to have one but I really dont want it to be very loud. I heared a scorpion once and really dont want that! That is way too loud for me. Any thoughts
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Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:20 am quote
suit scoot wrote:
[my scooter has slowed down now though due to the piston rings wearing i think, its got 28000 miles under its belt. .
What's your oil consumption like now, vs when it had 20K? Do you remember?

I'm reaching 20K now and have intervals where I'm running low on oil, and then other intervals where I have practically no oil consumption.
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Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:09 am quote
suit scoot wrote:
2007GTS wrote:
suit scoot wrote:
eeesh did i not say polini is best?

top speed is everything!!

if it aint fast, your last!


you can fine tune the polini for town work as well. i have mega heavy rollers in mine at the moment. but with 13.5 g rollers in or 13g itll be silly off the line.

you gotta get the polini out on a country lane. it only works properly WOT. it can pull out of corners almost as well as my mates 240 carbon lammy.
What is your top speed with the 13.5 rollers in? Considering this variator.
about 90 with a standard belt and without a 140 tyre. with a 140 it'll hit 95 if i had new piston rings . it was great when i had 20k on it, it went like stink with the polini in.

my scooter has slowed down now though due to the piston rings wearing i think, its got 28000 miles under its belt. its getting a re-built and tuned soon though. its too slow.


yes the stock belts ARE BETTER than the malossi ones. the standard one is kevlar, piaggio just dont advertise the fact.

the malossi clutches will fit with any belt and variator setup.

the variator tool holds the outer half pulley, not the varator its self, with these variator's you use the standard half pulley's.


i change rollers more often, but the polini variator is as reliable as the stock one. it requires more servicing though.


alberd, youll probably want about 13.5 or 14g rollers if you have an aftermarket pipe, i'm on heavy ones for top speed but its crap off the mark. i need to put 14's back in.

and you have roller rattle, its normal. mine rattle at idle, especially when theyre worn.


dont buy a polini variator if you can't be arsed to take these things apart every 3000 miles, the variator rollers need changing alot more often than the standard variator.
Hey!

I got Vespa GTS 300. With PM pipe. 140 rear tyre. All other stock.

And I need reliability. And MORE top speed for traveling on motorways. Max I hit on speedo is 140 km/h (87mp/h). But it is not always, only when I'm lucky.

I read that Polini variator would increase top speed. But requires more care. Does it mean reliability is worse? Coz on my 300 service is sheduled only every 5000km and bigger service only every 10000km.

What about that PM Tuning Fuel Injection Module? Does it help? Who should set it up? I have zero knowledge in these things.

I also found these things for GTS250, not sure if it would fit on my GTS300:
PM Tuning Transmission Kit - Piaggio 250cc i.e.
Several different clutches
Malossi Torque Driver - Piaggio 200cc - 250cc 4T
Variator Rollers (Polini 20 x 17 Variator Roller Sets 13.2g - 15.7g and PM Tuning 20 x 17 Variator Roller Sets 11.0g - 15.5g)

It is all on PM Tunning UK website.

So, any recommendations? ;o)
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Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:35 am quote
kadlis wrote:
Hey!

I got Vespa GTS 300. With PM pipe. 140 rear tyre. All other stock.

And I need reliability. And MORE top speed for traveling on motorways. Max I hit on speedo is 140 km/h (87mp/h). But it is not always, only when I'm lucky.

I read that Polini variator would increase top speed. But requires more care. Does it mean reliability is worse? Coz on my 300 service is sheduled only every 5000km and bigger service only every 10000km.

What about that PM Tuning Fuel Injection Module? Does it help? Who should set it up? I have zero knowledge in these things.

I also found these things for GTS250, not sure if it would fit on my GTS300:
PM Tuning Transmission Kit - Piaggio 250cc i.e.
Several different clutches
Malossi Torque Driver - Piaggio 200cc - 250cc 4T
Variator Rollers (Polini 20 x 17 Variator Roller Sets 13.2g - 15.7g and PM Tuning 20 x 17 Variator Roller Sets 11.0g - 15.5g)

It is all on PM Tunning UK website.

So, any recommendations? ;o)
according to Joel's review above, and a few other reviews i've read, the Polini variator will give you a few more mph at the top end, more if you go with the heavy rollers. the rollers need changing every 3000 miles or so - it's not that difficult to do yourself.

if the PM tuning injection module is the same or similar to the power booster sold at Scooterworks, it's received mixed reviews.
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Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:05 am quote
Joel Hamilton... Your my hero!
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Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:32 am quote
Beutiful review.

But again, this is for 250 only. No one on this forum has tried the Polini on the 300.

Many claim that the 300 should not rev higher than standard. But the question is.... Does the Polini varioter perform better on the same rpm as with the standard variator?
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GTS250ie 2008 Dragon Red
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Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:17 am quote
RE: Pollini on GTS 250
Hi Joe, I'm looking to improve my takeoff performance on my '08 GTS 250. I'm constantly getting SUV's who look at me as the only 2 wheeled vehicle they have a chance against so they are constantly cutting me off on lane merges. What weight rollers do you recommend to pair with the Pollini to get the best combination of faster takeoff and quietness while trying to maintain MPG and top speed?
Molto Verboso
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Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:52 am quote
Careful ! More recently Joel wrote:
Joel Hamilton wrote:
Polini is the most fun, but requires the most babysitting. the fun/hassle ratio is not so good here. The polini requires wrenching, and you will eat through rollers, and possibly through the case... really: fun, but requires attention.
Will make you feel faster off the line and will keep pulling all the way up to the top, then you will notice a little oil drip just under the variator in a few days/weeks/months depending on how you drive. The polini is a can of worms. A race tuned part means it really is meant to go like crazy for a short amount of time. keep that in mind.
From :

Variator advise

cheers
Molto Verboso
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Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:03 pm quote
woodenhead wrote:
Careful ! More recently Joel wrote:
Joel Hamilton wrote:
Polini is the most fun, but requires the most babysitting. the fun/hassle ratio is not so good here. The polini requires wrenching, and you will eat through rollers, and possibly through the case... really: fun, but requires attention.
Will make you feel faster off the line and will keep pulling all the way up to the top, then you will notice a little oil drip just under the variator in a few days/weeks/months depending on how you drive. The polini is a can of worms. A race tuned part means it really is meant to go like crazy for a short amount of time. keep that in mind.
From :

Variator advise

cheers
I think he was initially bummed that the rollers did not last that long. Mine lasted 2.5k

I have installed Malossi 11.5g rollers and will report later as to the results.

BTW - There is a new Polini available that has 9 rollers instead of 6. What that means I have no idea... anyone, anyone.
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Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:14 pm quote
"Quote: 9 rollers, anyone, anyone?"


Smother and less vibrations in theory.
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Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:06 am quote
polini maxi speed control on GT200L for 5000kms
hi

thanks for the report, i had the same hesitation, for the choice between j.costa & polini on my GT200L (03). Your report will help many people.

Finally as my vespa dealer didn't know well the costa, & i was unable to test it. I fitted the polini variator with 9/13g rollers & stock belt (1hour with the tools).

I'm really happy with it from more or less 5000kms.
Super take off, more acceleration, more brake engine & even more top speed: lock at the end of the speedo capacity with a pm 62 pipe & 130km/h with stock pipe.
THIS MOD REALLY CHANGES THE SCOOTER!
Mine had 20 000kms, when i fitted it, & it was a good evolution for fun & performances. Cheaper than buying a gts 250, & keeping my "vintage" GT carburated powered.

@genie:
About the rollers life, it's not the first time i read it, but i'm not sure that you have to change it every 3000kms not red it in the manual...
If they are more solicited with the better performances, they are also made for it. I checked mine after 3500km, they were quasi brand new!
My dealer told me that he changes his polini rollers each 9000 with the belt, that's what i'll do if i don't see any special dysfunction before...

I think that this variator may appreciate a performance clutch, for even better take off, & brake engine.
I may fit tha polini one, on next intervention of maintenance belt/rollers etc...before the vespa holidays...

best regards
Hooked
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Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:18 am quote
malossi 11.5g rollers?
cheers again

@bendcyclist:
what about the performances with the Malossi 11.5g rollers?
As i'll change mine in a few days,
i have know a mix of 9/13g

i'm looking forward to see about other weight,
i'm interrested in more acceleration,
& top speed 130km/h on a vespa, is far enougth for me!

regards
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Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:54 am quote
Re: Finally, I tried all the variators (gts250)
Joel Hamilton wrote:
oh, I also got better mileage with the polini , for obvious reasons (engine not huffing so hard all day at WOT).
Next will be porting/polishing.. balancing and blue'ing..
Any details on the milage? Stock vrs Polini, vrs Costa?
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Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:55 am quote
suit scoot wrote:
my scooter has slowed down now though due to the piston rings wearing i think, its got 28000 miles under its belt. its getting a re-built and tuned soon though. its too slow.


Are you not doing oil changes on time or does it sit a lot? With only 28,000 km it should still be like new. Hell UFO has over 70,000 miles on his MP3 250 with original motor and it's still going strong.

Wayne B
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Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:21 pm quote
Nice review! I really needed more top end MPH which is why I bought the Pollini. Can't wait to try it out!
Thanks!
Hooked
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Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:15 am quote
El_Ruben wrote:
Nice review! I really needed more top end MPH which is why I bought the Pollini. Can't wait to try it out!
Thanks!
for better top end MPH you should buy a 300ie
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Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:31 am quote
fish wrote:
El_Ruben wrote:
Nice review! I really needed more top end MPH which is why I bought the Pollini. Can't wait to try it out!
Thanks!
for better top end MPH you should buy a 300ie
which would be a waste of money!

The 300ie is faster off the line but in no way does it have a higher top end - it actually fares worse in mpg at highway speeds too...
Hooked
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Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:22 am quote
same as spending some money in after markets goodies that will give you some few power or its impression.
buy the way, when you'll have more full power, you'll need more break, more... that cost you more & more...

On my last GT200L that i rode for 40000km,
my experiences with the diferents varios, polini & jcosta were quite the same, more fun, but less mpg at "full speed", you can have quite the same buy changing the weight of the rollers & it cost quasi nothing compraing to the variators
In fact, the only real gain at full trottle i had by modifying the stock configuration was with a PM exhaust combined with heavier rollers, but this exhaust was so noisy that i sold it back a month later.

today i ride a stock GTS300 as a daily (20000km) if you take the cost of maintenance the stock config is farly the best config i ever rode i can compare it to the 200 carb, & the 250ie of friends mine is faster from the bigining to the full speed, i do not say it to proove anything, my automatic ride is my commuting & work, i have fun with mine "true" geared & air cooled scooters

if you wana go fast you should not buy a vespa.
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