The Vespa rides again

Or, I ride the Vespa again.

I got the SIP ignition kit installed, which vastly improved the electrical situation. The original 6V AC magneto system gave a dull glow from the tail light (there is no brake light on this scooter) and a headlight that was adequate for very low speed riding around the neighborhood at night, but nothing else. Turning on the headlight with the engine at idle was not a good idea. Now I’ve got 12V AC, a nice bright tail light, bright halogen headlight, everything works – even at idle.

I also took the opportunity to clean out and de-rust the gas tank, and clean the carburetor and replace the gaskets again. Though I don’t have the original, marginally effective choke connected, it still starts and runs well. I put a new exhaust with an expansion chamber on it — it sounds about the same as before, but seems to have a bit more “oomph” than it did. Still not a race bike by any measure! I think it could whip the average Power Wheels though.

I’ve ridden it on a few laps around the neighborhood, and even on a few errands to the stores that I can get to without riding on a major road. It does reasonably well, with a top speed of maybe 40 if you have enough road to get there.

Unfortunately it’s now developed a fuel leak, which I suspect is the fuel tap at the bottom of the tank. I’ll try tightening it up but I’ll probably need to replace the gasket. I want to get that done before this Saturday, when I’d like to ride it in the neighborhood July 4th parade.