Tag Archives: Vespa break-in

And So It Ended (Part 2)

Just 318 shy of break-in.

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

– C.S. Lewis

Saturday, Nov. 21 | 21 Days Later: Let’s cut to the chase: The crew at Scoot Richmond say the Vespa’s oil loss came from its breaking-in period, not because of some deeper engine problem. A top-end overhaul isn’t needed.

(Part 1 is here.)

Ambivalence carried the day. “Are you sure?” is what I asked, since we – that is, I – had thrown away the St. Petersburg ride on what I thought was an engine malfunction. Did we just have to add some oil and keep going?

A boring recap: We left home for St. Pete on Oct. 14, rode about 400 miles in two days1 and suffered significant engine oil loss, about a pint, in Wallace, South Carolina, on Oct. 15.

I replaced the oil and we trucked the scooter back to Richmond, arriving on Oct. 29. They checked the oil level, found it was good, no leaks, and told us to put 500 miles more on it.

Back at Scoot Richmond.

We picked it up on Nov. 7 and put 490 miles on2 over the next two weeks, returning on Nov. 21. They checked the oil and it was okay.

Scoot Richmond, I should note, was very supportive throughout all of this. I have no reason to doubt them.

The theory is this: Most engines suffer some oil loss during their break-in periods3. It takes about 2,500 miles for a Vespa to break in. Linda’s Vespa has less than 2,200. So we lost the oil during the break-in to Wallace but didn’t lose any more during the 490-mile test.

Check the oil.

“Just keep an eye on it,” the service guy says. “If you have a problem, you’re still under warranty.”

And that…was that. We rode the 103 miles home and I checked the oil the next day and it was fine.

Talk about an anticlimactic ending. It’s tough to watch your cherished yearly ride get sucked away like precious water spilled on desert sand, but at least I learned to be more vigilant about checking the oil and knowing more about the bike. I just wish the lesson weren’t so costly.


1 – Yes, that’s a rather leisurely pace but it’s still fun.

2 – In two trips on two weekends, one to Gordonsville, Virginia, the other to Poolesville, Maryland, for the historic White’s Ferry. Both rides turned out really nice.

3 – Assuming you’re unfamiliar with engines (not that I am, of course, as these events testify) that’s the number of miles you have to ride the bike in order to smoothly wear in engine parts such as pistons and valves.