Nahaufnahme Vespa Frontscheinwerfer mit Blumen daneben

Let there be light – Vespa headlights and bulbs

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A lack of or inadequate lighting is a major cause of accidents on the roads. Motorbikes and scooters, which include all Vespa riders, are of course particularly at risk in traffic.
For this reason, the following stipulation was made in § 17 para. 2a of the Road Traffic Regulations (StVO):

“Anyone driving a motorbike must also drive during the day with dipped headlights or daytime running lights switched on.”

A motorbike in this sense includes all motorbikes, regardless of whether they are mopeds, mopeds or motorbikes.

Different bulbs and lamps

On all new Vespa models delivered in the 2010s, the bulbs are mostly uniform. The specially developed LED bulbs ensure optimum light output with a long service life. The situation is completely different for the old models up to the PK or PX series. The differences in terms of sockets and voltages or wattages are almost limitless.

At first glance, the first thing you think of when you think of lamps is the headlight at the front. In fact, however, there are many more lights on a Vespa. From turn signals to brake lights, speedometer lights and tail lights, there are many different types. If there is no information about the installed lights, the exploded view from SIP Scootershop will help. The corresponding lamps are stored there for all Vespa models.

Differentiation according to volts and watts

As already mentioned above, the various lamps can be differentiated according to volts or watts. Volt describes a unit of electrical voltage. Watt, on the other hand, is a unit of power. Depending on the task of the lamp, different wattages are used. In many cases, the figures are divided into 5W for tail lights, 10W for brake lights and 21W for turn signals. However, this is only an empirical value. In some cases, higher wattage bulbs are used for the brake lights and lower wattage bulbs for the turn signals.

Front view of two moving Vespas on a road.
The scooter headlights must also be switched on during the day

Bulb socket

There are also numerous differences in bulb bases, which will cause a bead of sweat or two for inexperienced Vespa mechanics. Sockets are basically screwed, plugged in or turned. In the case of Vespas, these are plugged in or turned in almost all cases. The most common types are the “B”, “P” and “SV”. Especially for type “B” there are so-called twist locks, which can withstand strong vibrations without any problems. It is not possible to unscrew the lampholder by itself, as is the case with screwed lampholders. The letter “B” is an abbreviation for bayonet. The appended number indicates the diameter of the base in millimetres. The designation “P” describes a lamp with a maximum diameter of 26.5 mm and a base diameter of 15 mm. “SV”, on the other hand, is the abbreviation for all lamps with two caps.

As an addition, another letter is very often given. This letter describes the number of contacts. The number of contacts ranges from “s” (single) to “p” (penta).

Replacing the bulbs

Replacing bulbs is basically not a big deal and can be done by a layman with a little technical understanding. One should always work very carefully. The vapour-plated reflectors behind the bulbs are very susceptible to scratches and damage. First, the bulb in question should be uncovered so that it can be changed. Depending on the type of cover, a screwdriver or ring spanner of the appropriate size is required for this. The headlights are protected from the rear against the ingress of moisture. This protection must be removed before the bulb can be removed. The new bulb can then be inserted. As is generally known, the bulb should not be touched with bare hands. A clean cloth is recommended for this purpose.

Depending on the degree of soiling, it can also be helpful to clean the inside of the headlight before reassembly. Home remedies such as all-purpose cleaner or washing-up liquid with warm water are recommended for this.

Close-up of a green Vespa tail light
Tail light SIP MK II for Vespa Primavera/Sprint 50-150ccm

Upgrading the headlights

While LED headlights have already been installed on the new models, there are now also more and more options for replacing older headlights. SIP Scootershop offers special headlight kits for almost all model series. In addition to the headlights, the matching bulbs and screws are also offered so that the conversion can be carried out without any problems. The significantly better light output increases road safety on the one hand, and on the other hand, the riding pleasure at night increases significantly.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is not for nothing that cyclists are obliged to use lights. A fine of up to €50 may be imposed for missing or inadmissible lighting. However, it should always be in the Vespa rider’s own interest to ensure adequate lighting. Better visibility ensures more safety and riding pleasure.

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