Lambretta's for the modern age
Earlier this month, during Milan Design Week, Lambretta announced two new models, the G350 and the X300, the G350 to accompany the existing V Special range.
The G350 was first presented several years ago, but like many manufacturers, covid and global lockdowns coupled with the supply shortage we are still feeling today slowed everything down. We still dont have an exact date for the UK release, but we would expect it towards the end of the year or the early part of 2023.
Now let's get one thing straight from the outset if you're a die-hard classic scooter fan who may have one too many mirrors fitted to your classic Lambretta, partial to a nice parka, Fred Perry shirt and a bit of Northern Soul or Ska music then this scooter is not for you. The Classic scooter scene in the UK has always been very cliquey. While there will always be exceptions, a large proportion of that scene refuses to accept anything that's not a vintage Lambretta or Vespa or, at the very least, classicly styled.
The new Lambretta models, especially the X300 are none of the above; they are modern scooters aimed at the younger generation no doubt the name will still attract a few members of the old school, but this is not the target demographic. Lambretta's current owners are looking to the future and trying to support the next generation of scooterists while giving a respectful nod to yesteryear.
Styled in a similar way to the current V special range but with some key differences. The easiest to spot are the rear indicators, rear light, front glove box and those new vents on the side, which give a more aggressive look. The whole scooter has been redesigned but still uses the same design language found on the V Special.
One stand-out feature is the new double-arm link front suspension which helps give the front more attitude compared to the traditional fork setup found on the V Specials. The G350 also features a full-colour TFT digital display designed with a nod to classic Lambrettas in mind.
The main talking point of the G350 is the engine, and rightfully so, the four-valve liquid-cooled 330cc CVT engine puts out just over 27bhp. To put that into some kind of comparison, the Vespa GTS 300 puts out 23bhp.
Very few people were aware of the all-new X300 model before it was announced, and is the most interesting of the two for me. Not because I think it's better than the G350 but simply because it's a brand new design that doesnt borrow any styling from the existing V Special models, instead using bold geometric lines, which are very much in vogue at the moment within the design world.
The speedo is a combined analogue and digital affair and is the first model in the Lambretta range to feature a keyless ignition system.
One feature the X shares with the G is the vents on the side of the glove box. But that's where the similarities end. Even the engine is different in the X300. Instead of the 330cc engine found in the G350 the X300 uses a 275cc 4 valve, liquid-cooled motor with a quoted power output of 25bhp, still pipping the Vespa GTS 300 to the post by a whole two horses!
One feature I quite like is the ample rear light, somewhat of a marmite choice, but it gives off art deco vibes, is very easy to see, and gives a good presence on the road.
The X also features arm link front suspension and full LED lighting.
But the big question, is it a real Lambretta?
To the dismay of the classic scooter brigade, yes, it is. Lambretta is now owned by Dutchman Walter Scheffrahn, who has brought the Lambretta name back to life thanks to close collaboration with Vittorio Tessera of Casa Lambretta fame, bringing solid Lambretta heritage to the table. Unlike previous "fake" Lambretta's in the past, which used the badge without permission, the Lambretta of today is fully authorised to use the name and has the blessing of many of those linked to the original Lambretta business.
If Lambretta had never gone out of business, who knows what type of designs they would be coming up with today? It's safe to say they wouldn't just be releasing the same old Lambrettas but with modern engines and tech. They would likely have followed in Vespa's footsteps, who killed off the last of their retros when the PX was axed in favour of more futuristic designs. Despite what the scootering groups on Facebook may have you believe, the old mod types make up less than 1% of the scootering market in the UK. They just like to make a lot of noise, and seeing anything but vintage metal adorned with the famous Lambretta name upsets them.
Thankfully, only a few scooterists like to dress like an extra from heartbeat and refuse to accept anything modern. It's usually the "mod" types that are the most anti-modern, which is ironic when you consider that when the mod movement first started, mod was short for modernist. The original mods were all about modern scooters, fashion, and music. A far cry from the comedy mods of today who should really be called "olds" due to their love for old scooters, old music and old fashion.
Times change, and things move on. After all, being stuck in the past is like walking forward with your back facing the front. You'll always miss out on what's in front of you.