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The Stella 4-stroke Review
Posted on 2012-03-13

With the Genuine Scooter Company’s four-stroke iteration of it’s flagship Stella in current import limbo, it’s been tough getting any fresh insight on how the bike actually performs compared to its popular two-stroke predecessor.

Thankfully, while US scooterists who pre-ordered the scoot continue to wait to get their grubby hands on the bike, Motorcycle-USA.com provides us with some new news in the form of a thought-provoking outsiders perspective on the idiosyncrasies of riding a bike that combines a bang-up-to-date engine with vintage everything else.

Contributor Gabe Ets Hokin observes that when modern-day car drivers or bike riders say they want to ride something straight out of the good-ole-days, they’re lying. We take so many advances of the past thirty years for granted that we forget that driving a thirty year old machine can be well, er, an experience.

Regarding the Stella he observes:

Like the original P200E (or PX150, if you ever rode one of those), the Stella is a refined, well-engineered product—within limits. The motor is appliance-like, clearly intended for maximum function and economy, so while it starts easily and runs well, it’s as far from high-performance as you can get. It’s rough and buzzy like a two-stroke, and retains the whirring, rattling noise a Vespa owner will expect. But the exhaust note is lower and thumpier, leaving no doubt of its four-stroke redesign. But riding it is a lot like the old P(only slower); redline comes quickly, necessitating quick shifting action on the handlebar-mounted shifter. Keeping up with traffic is easy, if said traffic isn’t trying to race with you, and the scoot quickly gets up to its 30-40 mph cruising speed. Faster than that is possible, but hardly relaxing.

Heck, that just about describes my description of riding any vintage bike. A friend of mine once described riding a vintage scoot as an “agricultural” experience to which I concur. That said, Hokin agrees that buyers looking at the Stella 4T are looking for the journey, not the destination:

But the Stella isn’t about doing the Hustle. It’s about grooving to your own soundtrack, and enjoying a very elemental scooter experience. It looks right, performs right (although the two-stroke was probably more fun) and will convince you—and anybody who’s looking—that you’re riding a vintage Italian scooter. It’s far from perfect, but so were the originals, which is probably why there are vintage Vespa clubs but no rallies for Yamaha Razz owners.