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SCOOTERS: Vespa LX 150 vs. Buddy 125 (updated)

 
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ericalm
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STELLA FOUR STROKE FURY! + Vespa LX 150/190 + '87 Honda Helix CN250

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:29 am    Post subject: SCOOTERS: Vespa LX 150 vs. Buddy 125 (updated) Reply with quote

People on both ModernBuddy and ModernVespa are fequently asking for comparisons of the Vespa LX150 and Buddys. I've been pasting versions of this into various responses for a couple years, and finally decided it needs a more permanent home.

I own both the LX150 and Buddy 125 and feel I'm fairly objective about the significant differences between the two. Some are subtle, the kinds of things you adjust to in time. Others are more fundamental: beyond the specs, the scoots have their own characters.

Though the Buddy used as a basis for comparison here is a 125, I think most of this still applies. Big difference between the 125 and 150 is off the line acceleration and a slightly higher top end. The difference is noticeable but not dramatic. Also, Vespa has since introduced the LXS, a slightly less-expensive, sportier version of the LX.

The weight is more evenly distributed on the LX because (I guess) of the steel body. Most of the Buddy's weight is low and in the center/engine area. This makes the LX feel heavier, though it isn't (the difference is about 6 lbs.). It also means that it leans quite differently; it takes more effort to turn and you really feel it lean a lot more. At the same time, it seems to me like the LX has wider lean angles. This means that in some ways it's harder to learn to control the LX, but the rider may have more control at times because it's tilting under force you're exerting over it.

In comparison, the Buddy feels "loose." It tilts easily; I hit kickstand my first time out on it, which has never happened on the LX. When combined with its zip, this makes the Buddy a fun ride that corners and handles with ease at fairly high speed.

The Buddy is very easy to learn on, but as has been noted elsewhere, this contributes to the "deceptively high confidence" factor. New riders, in particular, should be wary of riding beyond their abilities. For me, this means having to be more conscious of how much control I really have when maneuvering because it's quite tempting to ride the Buddy at its limits.

The Buddy and LX offer very different riding experiences, but I think that's in their intent and design. A Vespa is a very idiosynchratic machine that offers a more mature, sophisticated ride. The Buddy is sort of like a teenager, eager, fearless, capable of doing all the "adult" things, perhaps even faster, but not as smoothly.

ModernVespa and ModernBuddy founder Jess described the Buddy as "twitchier" than an LX, which I think is a pretty good characterization. The Buddy is more "flickable," with more responsive throttle and handling. This may actually be desirable for a lot of urban commuting. However, the LX feels a bit more balanced and stable, especially at higher speeds. On the Buddy, a windscreen, tire and shock upgrades can help compensate for some of this.

In terms of performance, the Buddy 125 is faster off the line, but for most will have a lower top speed than the Vespa. (I suspect the Buddy 150 is about the same, but don't know for sure.) The LX150 will also perform better uphill and when carrying a heavy load.

The LX150 is freeway-legal in most states, where the Buddy 125 is not. That said, I wouldn't recommend riding either on crowded urban freeways or anywhere with a 65mph speed limit (where traffic is likely averaging more like 75). For fuel economy, the Buddy definitely wins out at 90+MPG compared to 70 or so on the Vespa. (Vespa is reportedly introducing a plug-in hybrid version of the LX in '09. EDIT: Nope. Not going to happen! The fuel-injected LX is coming in mid-2010 and will probably offer both better performance and MPGs. It's likely the Buddy will also go fuel-injected within a couple of years; that's the global trend due to environmental regulations.)

Mechanically, both scooters are very reliable and will last a very long time if properly maintained. The Buddy has a better warranty—two years plus one year roadside assistance as opposed to the Vespa's one year warranty plus roadside assistance.

All scooters have their quirks and while many of the LX's are well known (useless kickstarter), we're still discovering some of the Buddy's (you can pull the key out while in the on position and kill your battery). None of these are big enough deals to be deal-breakers.

There are few scooters that can compare to the aesthetics and fit and finish of the Vespas. The Buddy has one of the better "retro" scooter designs from Asia (less cartoony than a Honda Met, less generic than a Yamaha Vino, less over the top lame than the Lance Milan style Chinese scoots). Genuine has done a good job of selecting appealing colors and other styling choices for the US version of this scoot.

The Vespa does have more plastic than its vintage forefathers, but the frame and most of the exterior is still steel. This means that, yes, it is more expensive to repair if dented. It also means that the Vespa may survive crashes that will total a Buddy. (It also means insurance is more likely to total out a scooter with body damage due to cost of repairs.) On the other hand, the Buddy's exterior panels are very cheap to replace.

I suggest anyone thinking about both these scooters look at each one, sit on them, try to see how comfortable each is for you. (If possible test ride each of them.) If you're over 6' tall, the Buddy may feel a little small. There are Buddy owners of all heights, weights and sizes who say they can ride comfortably for hours on end. I'm 5' 11" and have size 12 boots and get a little fidgety after an hour or more on the Buddy. I also find the seat on the BlackJack to be a bit more comfortable than the stock seat for the other Buddy models.

The Vespa is much better suited to riding 2-up for average size adults. The seat is longer, there's more legroom for both rider and passenger, and the 150 shows its grit with power to spare when carrying more weight. If you plan on riding 2-up on the Buddy, I recommend sitting on it with another person and trying it on for size.

So is the Vespa worth the additional cost? Many will say "no" without a second thought, but I think it all comes down to what you want in a scooter, why you want one and how much aesthetics and fit & finish matter to you. When I first bought my LX, the Buddy was not yet on the market. If it had been, when considering all the factors above, the LX may still have been a better match for me. (It's hard to say now.) My wife, however, had only a little interest in buying a scooter until she sat on a Buddy. We bought one a week later. (While I spent 20 years pining for a Vespa. Go Figure.)

A lot of people have made analogies to cars, but basically it's like saying that not all 4-cylinder coupes are the same. The fact is, there are cars that may perform better than others, or are cheaper, or are get higher MPGs, that I would not buy because I didn't like their appearance, hated the dashboard, or thought the interior was uncomfortable, etc. Like most, I'd buy a car in my price range that I felt suited me better. I'd apply the same criteria when buying a scooter.

In the end, these are both great scooters and I don't think a new owner would be disappointed with either.

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Last edited by ericalm on Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:06 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Brodly
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150 Buddy Pamplona

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mentioned that the Vespa LX is freeway legal, but the Buddy is not. Is it just that the Buddy 125 isnt or are all Buddys not freeway legal. Although I don't plan on riding a lot on the freeway, I think that may be a major selling point for me (LA guy). Thanks
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ericalm
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STELLA FOUR STROKE FURY! + Vespa LX 150/190 + '87 Honda Helix CN250

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brodly wrote:
You mentioned that the Vespa LX is freeway legal, but the Buddy is not. Is it just that the Buddy 125 isnt or are all Buddys not freeway legal. Although I don't plan on riding a lot on the freeway, I think that may be a major selling point for me (LA guy). Thanks

Correct, that's just the Buddy 150.

My advice: If you need to go on LA freeways, get at least a 200cc scooter. Even my Vespa LX, which has been kitted to a 190cc and has other performance mods, probably doesn't cut it on the local freeways.

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peabody99
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2015 BMW F700GS, 2016 Yamaha TW200, 1996 Honda Helix, 2007 Buddy 125 (sold 2017)

PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HI Eric- not sure of you will see this in the review section..but what is the cost difference in professional maintainence of Buddy vs Vespa?
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ericalm
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peabody99 wrote:
HI Eric- not sure of you will see this in the review section..but what is the cost difference in professional maintainence of Buddy vs Vespa?

Maintenance is pretty much the same—they use the same oil filter, and cost of maintenance parts and odds and ends is comparable. Cost of labor may be different between dealerships (unless you go to one that sells Vespa and Genuine).

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spinbud
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Buddy 125

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:18 pm    Post subject: Buddy Reply with quote

Can't det parts for the Buddy
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ericalm
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately, parts availability is an issue with all scooters. I'm not making any excuses for anyone, it's just that this is not something unique to Genuine by any means. I've heard that even Yamaha and Honda have problems, though they may not rival what I've experienced with Piaggio/Vespa and what others have reported when trying to get Buddy parts.
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ICEE
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:37 am    Post subject: Not for highway driving? Reply with quote

My buddy can reach speeds of 72mph on the highway, good enough where I am at. However, the buddy is twitchy. You must be very alert at all times.
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sparty
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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

omg, eric's entire review got pasted into the comments section of motorcycle-usa's blackjack review page. http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/715/3387/Motorcycle-Article/2009-Genuine-Buddy-Black-Jack-Review.aspx I wish that guy would just point a link back to this page though, because the review is a bit hard to read without paragraph breaks.
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neafus
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:47 pm    Post subject: looking at buying a Buddy Reply with quote

I own a Lifan scooter as my starter scooter and i am looking at buying a Buddy 125. I know there is a significance performance idfference between a Lifan and Buddy but my concern is that many reviews say that the buddy is twitchy. Is this a pro with the buddy or a con?
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ericalm
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:56 pm    Post subject: Re: looking at buying a Buddy Reply with quote

neafus wrote:
I own a Lifan scooter as my starter scooter and i am looking at buying a Buddy 125. I know there is a significance performance idfference between a Lifan and Buddy but my concern is that many reviews say that the buddy is twitchy. Is this a pro with the buddy or a con?

"Twitchy" is sort of relative. What it means in relation to the LX is that the throttle is more responsive (which many people see as a plus), and that the handling isn't quite as smooth. The amount of weight or pressure I'd put into a swerve in the LX might feel exaggerated or be too much for the Buddy; it's just more reactive to rider input. It's not a jerky or unstable ride, though. It's more a different style and feel. It's also something that riders should quickly adapt to.

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bullitt02
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09 Buddy 125

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:02 am    Post subject: buddy 125 vs fly 150 Reply with quote

My wife and I just got an 09 Buddy 125 from route 66 in MDR. I am brand new to this world. We are very excited. I passed on the Piaggio Fly becuase I wanted to save some money and still further on the s 150 becuase of the cost of body repairs on the steel... (aesthetically this scooter is the best ). You've posted a terrific comparison on the LX 150, but if I buy a second scoot for me only , would you go with a fly or a buddy? I'm 6'0" 155lbs. Streets only west side. Please direct me to another thread if you've covered this before. Thanks for your input in advance.
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ericalm
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:27 am    Post subject: Re: buddy 125 vs fly 150 Reply with quote

bullitt02 wrote:
My wife and I just got an 09 Buddy 125 from route 66 in MDR. I am brand new to this world. We are very excited. I passed on the Piaggio Fly becuase I wanted to save some money and still further on the s 150 becuase of the cost of body repairs on the steel... (aesthetically this scooter is the best ). You've posted a terrific comparison on the LX 150, but if I buy a second scoot for me only , would you go with a fly or a buddy? I'm 6'0" 155lbs. Streets only west side. Please direct me to another thread if you've covered this before. Thanks for your input in advance.

Really, for the same reasons you bought a Buddy 125 for your wife, I'd say a Buddy for you too. If you want to go up a little bit, you should look at one of the Buddy 150s or the Black Jack, which has some performance enhancements.

If you both start riding, you'll probably soon want to go beyond the west side. Think about joining the LA Meetup Group (link below in my sig)!

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bullitt02
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09 Buddy 125

PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:52 am    Post subject: 2nd buddy Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice Eric. I'm picking up my seafoam green Buddy this weekend. We'll look forward to going to the meetup rides once we get skilled enough.
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ericalm
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:23 am    Post subject: Re: 2nd buddy Reply with quote

bullitt02 wrote:
Thanks for the advice Eric. I'm picking up my seafoam green Buddy this weekend. We'll look forward to going to the meetup rides once we get skilled enough.

Good to hear! We'll have some more low-key, casual rides scheduled soon I hope.

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SkooterKat
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Buddy 125

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great review. this is a debate a friend and i consistently go through. couple other things i've noticed since riding both an LX 150 and a Buddy 125; these are little things for the most part (except my last point regarding smaller riders), but if you've ridden both are things you tend to notice.

the Buddy's controls (like the lights and horn) are in a much better position. it's easy to ride with my thumb out and ready for anything. whereas the Vespa's controls sit much lower requiring a 12" thumb to reach comfortably. also, the buddy has loud clicking turn signals; some may find it annoying, but if you're someone who actually uses your blinkers, it's nice to have the reminder to turn them off. the Vespa has a clock on the display panel which the Buddy is missing. also, i feel like the handle bars on the buddy tilt slightly more toward the rider allowing you to sit a tad straighter, not hunching quite so much.

the buddy has more space and easier to access storage. the pocket in the front vs. the glove box is handier, but can not be locked. the space under the seat of a Buddy is large enough for a fullface helmet where the Vespa's is not. also, the Buddy's engine cools more quickly than the Vespa's.

if you're small, the Buddy's seat can be shaved to as low as 27" and still maintain some padding for comfort. the LX can't go much below 30". also, the narrower foot board of the Buddy is nicer for shorter legs. a light weight person on a Buddy 125 can accelerate sooner and faster and maintain higher speeds for longer than an even slightly heavier person on an LX 150.
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ericalm
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was talking to a Buddy rider who recently had his first jaunt on an LX and he mentioned that he preferred the handling of the Buddy. I think some reactions and preferences are based on whichever scooter you ride the most or which one you started riding on. A lot is completely subjective or influenced by other factors. I'd never noticed the differences in positioning of the buttons, for instance, because I do have large hands and I'm just used to them being wherever they are.

Seat height is a big problem for a lot of riders. I know quite a few how are significantly shorter than me who ride LXs. I also know a lot of riders who are much larger than me who ride Buddys. I tend to think that if I were larger, the Buddy seat and floorboard would feel too small and that if I were shorter I'd have difficulties with the LX.

Riders seem to be very adaptable to their rides. For most of us, things that stick out like sore thumbs on other scooters are second nature on our own.

As far as the storage goes, I could fit my XXL modular under my LX seat if I didn't keep so much other stuff in my pet carrier. It just varies by model and dimensions. I'm not attached to the glove box but make good use of it. I've Velcro'd pouches inside the door to organize my cell/iPod chargers, tools, locks and other things I couldn't keep in an open container. That said, I wouldn't miss it if I had a scoot with a bin instead.

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pier644
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:24 am    Post subject: The "Hill" Concern Reply with quote

Could you expand a little more on how the 125 handles the Californian hills? I live in Calabasas and there are a few hills to contend with to and from work. I weigh 235 and am obviously a little concerned, having come from a 750 Vulcan. I want something that my wife can ride, too, so a big bike is not going to happen. I'm about ready to lay down the money for a 2009 Buddy 125, but would like your thoughts on, well, "hills." (45 mph speed limits, too!) Thanks!
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ericalm
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:21 am    Post subject: Re: The "Hill" Concern Reply with quote

pier644 wrote:
Could you expand a little more on how the 125 handles the Californian hills? I live in Calabasas and there are a few hills to contend with to and from work. I weigh 235 and am obviously a little concerned, having come from a 750 Vulcan. I want something that my wife can ride, too, so a big bike is not going to happen. I'm about ready to lay down the money for a 2009 Buddy 125, but would like your thoughts on, well, "hills." (45 mph speed limits, too!) Thanks!

On a fairly steep hill from a stop, you'll probably be able to get up to 50, maybe a little faster. Shouldn't be much trouble on 45mph roads. Are you looking at a used scoot or going to a dealer? NoHo Scooters has some 125s for rent and the Hollywood Hills are nearby.

The Buddy 150s probably offer a slight advantage for hills but it won't be dramatically different and it's hard to say it it'll be worth the difference for you.

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CristinnaP
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LX50

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:21 pm    Post subject: LX 150IE Reply with quote

hey Eric,

I have a question about the LX150ie.
I puchased one a few days ago from a friend that convinced me to get it after we came back from a trip to Barcelona, where I must say that I had a great time wandering around with a LX50 that we both rented from a tourist agency(vesping.com). Anyway, she probably caught me in a moment when I was easily to impress and I got it from her.
Now, the problem is that just right after I got it(after 20-30min, or so), on my way home, I slow down for a red light and the engine dies completely!!! Crying or Very sad
A very dangerous maneuver anytime, but even more for a girl in the middle of a hellish traffic in Queens. You can all imagine my adventure...
I called my friend and she came with a pickup track and we took it to my garage.
My question is if I should be worried about this incident, is it something serious, does it worth to be bought?!
Someone told me that it may have problems with the fuel pump and that it isn't too expensive to replace it.

Thanks in advance....
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Clydeo
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Buddy 50. Suzuki TU250. Ninja 250

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 2:54 pm    Post subject: Buddy twitchy Reply with quote

I wouldn't call the Buddy "twitchy". It has responses that are both predictable and controllable. But it does have what in airplanes would be called a very quick "roll rate", which means it can be leaned over from side to side very quickly and with very little effort. Coming back to Scooters after 30 years on motorcycles, that was the most challenging aspect of riding a scooter. At high speeds, it can take a bit of muscle to get the bike to roll into a turn. If you exerted anywhere near that much muscle into turning a Buddy, you would quickly induce either a front wheel skid ( and a low side exit from the bike) or a rear wheel skid ( resulting in a high side exit, i.e.: getting tossed off the bike). But that's not the bikes fault! It's just physics. The Buddy gives you plenty of feedback, so you can easily tell when you are nearing the limits of the available traction. The bike itself is very predictable and has excellent handling capabilities. Like all bikes, it just takes patience and practice to get the best out of it.
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