The classic two-piece rim of the older Vespas basically tells the same story as the Vespa itself. Born out of necessity, very practical in design and easy to change. Just as practical as the Vespa was designed with the step-through, the two-piece rims were also designed with practicality in mind. In this day and age, modern rims without a tube offer more riding comfort and safety, which is why the importance of the traditional rim has declined somewhat. But more on this in the following.
In the past two-piece construction
As already mentioned, rims used in the past consisted of two rim halves. These are fixed by a nut on a thread of the opposite half. A significant advantage compared to one-piece rims is the uncomplicated change of inner tube or tyre in case of a puncture. With a simple open-end or socket spanner, the inner tube can be replaced or the entire tyre changed in a very confined space.
Switching to modern alternatives
Even though the split rim has certain advantages, the disadvantages clearly outweigh the benefits. For example, the use of a tube and tyre is now obsolete. In case of a hole in the tube, there can be a sudden loss of air, which can lead to dangerous falls. In addition, the weight is considerably higher due to the two-part rim, which leads to a significant decrease in rolling behaviour and comfort.
For these reasons, all modern Vespas are equipped with one-piece rims, where the tyre is mounted on the rim without a tube. These so-called tubeless tyres (TL) provide improved rolling behaviour and increased spring comfort. In the event of damage, the air cannot escape as quickly, which protects riders from serious falls.
A major disadvantage is the mounting. Mounting the tyre on the rim is only possible with a machine that is usually only available at a tyre shop. For all Vespa mechanics who don’t want to go to a dealer, the SIP Scootershop service is ideal. When you order a rim or tyre, you can book the fitting service at the same time. The tyre is mounted immediately and, if desired, directly balanced. After about ten working days, the new tyre or rim is conveniently delivered to your home and can be mounted directly.
Suitable aids and tools for fitting
For Vespa riders who change tyres frequently and do not have this done at their local dealer, there are some tools that are recommended. For example, a tyre changer makes it easier to mount or remove the tyre from the rim. Suitable rim protectors ensure that the tyre is not damaged during fitting and can be gently applied to the rim. Similarly, tyre mounting pastes are best applied with a sponge to prevent damage to the tyres.
Replacing small parts
While in many cases only the tyre or rim alone is replaced, it is advisable, especially with all tubeless tyres, to also replace the valves, wheel studs and the locking cotter pin. These inexpensive small parts have to withstand high loads and should therefore not be reassembled.
The rear wheel rims of Vespas equipped with ABS are a special case. In the past, there were often problems with fitting the rear tone wheel. Here too, the Vespa experts at SIP have found an optimal solution. A special mounting kit contains all the nuts and bolts that enable the mounting of rims from other models on models with ABS.
Basically, changing tyres and rims on old and new Vespas is no witchcraft. With a little experience and interest, fitting can be done quickly and easily. However, you should work very carefully, as an incorrectly fitted rim can result in a bad crash. If in doubt, it is better to seek the advice of a qualified workshop to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the next ride.