vespa reifenprofil

Vespa tire profiles under the magnifying glass

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You don’t need a university degree to realize that the tires of a scooter have a much smaller contact area with the road surface than car tires, for example. Riding a scooter is correspondingly more dangerous for the rider, their passenger and other road users. As a result, the topic of safety, which is already a high priority for Vespisti, is becoming even more important. Below is an insight into the profile of Vespa tires.

What tread depth is prescribed by German law for Vespa tires?

A general guideline is a tread depth of at least 1.6 mm, measured at the weakest point of a tire. Please note that this is a minimum value, i.e. the tire may no longer be used below this value for safety reasons. Some models also have an integrated display of the minimum tread depth.

How is the tread depth calculated/measured?

Probably the safest method is to use an appropriate measuring device. If the long-term purchase of a tread gauge is too expensive, you can alternatively use the edge of a 1 euro coin, which everyone usually carries in their wallet.


As tires wear unevenly, we recommend measuring at different points on the tire. For this purpose, tire manufacturers have set up bars at different positions to make it easier for us to read the tread depth. The euro coin, for example, must be positioned vertically so that we can read as accurately as possible. The brass edge of the coin is 3 mm thick. If it disappears completely into the groove, the profile is still OK. Conversely, if it is visible, we know that it is high time to replace the tire.

Practice shows us that tires with a minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm are already quite worn, to the detriment of road grip, and therefore represent a safety risk.

Why are worn tires a safety risk?

The more the tire is worn down, the less grip it has, which leads to a longer braking distance. This in turn significantly increases the risk of accidents, as the braking time is often underestimated. Another indication is that tires spin more often when starting off, or that the ESP light flickers when the road is slippery due to rain. At the latest, when we have to contend with aquaplaning due to a lack of road grip, the red alert level prevails.

All-season tires are subject to their own rules

While a tread depth of 2 mm is sufficient in summer, it should be 4 mm in winter. So-called wear indicators are attached to the tire to make it easier to find the right spots. Arrows with the lettering TWI (Tread Wear Indicator) point out the points.

Regardless of what is written on the tire, the legally prescribed minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm applies in Germany. Exceptions: In the USA and some countries in Europe, a minimum depth of 0.8 mm is permitted.

Where do we get excellent quality and inexpensive tires?

The answer is quite simple:
From our trusted Vespa dealer, SIP Scootershop. You can get everything you need for your Vespa there.
They have no less than 500 tires to choose from. Some of them are from our own production (commissioned), but the most popular manufacturers are also available.
This means the right tread and the right rubber compound for every type of use.
No wishes remain unfulfilled when it comes to sizes either.
We are talking about 8-inch tires for Vespa 98/125/150 as well as the rare 9-inch tires for Smallframe. 10-inch tires for the latest PX models and Lambretta are also available.

SIP also stocks tires with treads for original equipment enthusiasts as well as slick tires for racing, sports tires for the best cornering, winter tires for cold days and special tires such as whitewall tires or tires with a high speed index.
The proper storage of tires at SIP guarantees first-class goods. If you wish, you can even have the tire fitted to the rim of your choice. Simply order complete tires. Here is the direct link to the tires at SIP: Tire selection at SIP Scootershop

Air pressure also has a major influence on safety

Regardless of the size/quality of the tire, every tire loses air over time. The warmer the outside temperature, the greater the loss of air pressure.
Rule of thumb
It goes without saying that the air pressure specified in the documents refers to the tires that are fitted ex works.
Air pressure is determined by the unit of measurement PSI. In Germany, the unit of measurement bar is more common. 1 bar corresponds to approx. 14.5 PSI (USA).

Before we make reckless considerations about whether it is more dangerous to drive with worn tires at the front or rear: Forget it! There is no compromise. Worn tires are a no-go and must be replaced immediately.
Rule of thumb
Just like the tire tread, the air pressure has a decisive influence on road safety. Therefore, check your Vespa’s tread depth and air pressure from time to time and correct them if necessary.

Here are some FAQs answered

Why do new tires have hairs that look like tiny antennae?

A kind of balloon presses rubber mass from the inside through vent holes. The escaping air then creates these hairs. The hairs are therefore caused by the production process and have no other function.

What do the colored stripes on new tires mean?

These markings are merely orientation aids for the robots used in production and warehousing. The stripes and colors have no meaning for end users.

Why is there a red/yellow dot on the sidewalls of the tires?

This point indicates the lightest position of the tire that should be positioned on the valve during mounting. This reduces any possible imbalance right from the start.

What do the embossed numbers on the tire sidewalls mean?

Example: 130/70/10
130 mm = tire width
/70 = 70 % of the tire width is the height
/10 = 10″ tire (1″ = 2.54 cm)
59 = Load capacity, 243 kg (table on the web)
M = maximum speed
Designation approx. 11/17 = 11th calendar week in 2017
PSI air pressure, 41 PSI = 3 bar
Embossed arrows indicate the running direction of the tire

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