The Vespa 90 was a popular model of the world famous motorscooter line for more than two decades, and fans of the classic European styling and zippy two-stroke engine still sing its praises on Internet communities devoted to scooter lore. The rugged construction and connection to the storied Italian company's history have kept the interest level in the Vespa 90 high through the years.
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The Vespa scooter has been manufactured since 1946 by Piaggio, an Italian company that is Europe's biggest seller of two-wheeled motor vehicles. Originally inspired by American scooters used by the U.S. military in World War II, the Vespa ("wasp" in Italian) was the first brand of scooter to capture a global market. The initial design was seen as a reaction to motorcycles, and meant to offer a cleaner, easier and more comfortable riding experience for both men and women.
Vespa 90 scooters are known for their painted uni-frame steel bodies and large signature wind screens. A single headlight shines from the centre of the handlebars, and a flat, step-through floorboard area offers both protection from the elements and a modicum of modesty for women in dresses (something the original designer had in mind). The engine is completely covered and protected by a metal cowling, and the narrow padded seat offers enough room for two.
The Vespa 90--manufactured from 1963 to 1984--has an air-cooled, two-stroke engine with one cylinder. Motor oil and gasoline must be added to the fuel tank in a specific ratio. Due to the two-stroke engine, the Vespa 90 tends to exhaust dark, oily smoke, which is one of the reasons the model was discontinued and replaced by more environmentally-conscious four-stroke engines.
Suspension and Transmission
The suspension on the Vespa 90 has a one-piece front dampener and spring unit with a miniaturised swing arm. Wheels are mounted on ten-inch rims with four lugs (early models) or split rims (from the late '60s on). The transmission has a three-speed constant-mesh gearbox, and the ignition has a contact breaker and coil set-up. The Vespa 90 can reach speeds up to 42mph, thanks to its 3.1hp engine.
The oil in the Vespa 90 engine is evenly distributed throughout the gearbox, clutch and drive solely through the action of the gears and without the use of an oil pump. All oil should be changed on a regular basis to maintain peak performance, at least every 3,000 miles. Be sure to remember that oil made specifically for scooter transmissions is called "gear oil," which differs from the "crankcase oil" sold for use in car engines. Make sure to run the scooter before oil changes to allow for faster-flowing oil.
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