Far Eastern manufacturers have copied various Italian scooters for a number of years but usually it’s Vespa who bare the brunt of this plagiarism. Well not any more…
A couple of years ago a controversial new Lambretta emerged and was imported into the UK by Lincolnshire based WK Bikes, who are also home to the Quadzilla range of off roaders. The ill-fated Lambretta LN 125 looked ok but was expensive for what was essentially a Chinese air-cooled engine in a Lambretta style chassis. Legal issues over the iconic name and problems with distribution saw WK dropping the marque at the end of 2012.
WK knew the Lambretta shape was still very popular though so they sourced their own affordable take on this design classic. The WK Bellissima comes in both 50 and 125cc, costs just £1299 for the 50 and £1399 for the 125 and actually looks quite well built and stylish. Ok it may not be quite as plush as some of the more mainstream scooters but it is still a decent looking learner legal machine. Styling wise the Bellissima has the characteristic Lambretta Li/SX two tone side panels with what are known in the classic scooter world as ‘darts’ running along the panel (the two chrome flashes). The seat is also reminiscent of an old Lambretta and the Bellissima also comes with a sixties style rear luggage rack fitted as standard. That’s pretty much where the similarities end though, other up to date details include a front disk brake, 12” tubeless alloy multi spoke wheels, electric start and modern lighting… oh and of course it also has a four stroke automatic engine – rather than a smoky old two stroke.
We took the 125cc version out for a quick spin and I must admit I quite liked the styling when I first clapped eyes on it up close, it’s retro and yes it does try and cash in on a 50 year old Italian design but it does it quite well (although 99% of Lambretta aficionados won’t agree). The engine starts easily on the button and the scooter pulls away easily enough, it’s not the fastest 125cc scooter I’ve ever ridden but at just £1399 it’s not likely to be too technically advanced. It’s got a 7.37bhp air cooled lump, rather than a liquid cooled engine so power isn’t huge but it will see close to 60mph on the clock, which isn’t too slow. The suspension and brakes aren’t bad either, I’ve ridden worse for sure and to put things into perspective, my mountain bike cost more than this scooter, as did the lens for the camera that took the photos. £1399 is a small price to pay for instant mobility, it’s a budget priced workhorse, a commuter scooter for the rider on a budget who still wants to look good arriving at his, or her workplace, college or for a coffee date in town. If you want to be retro but don’t want the hassle or expense of buying a classic machine the WK Bellissima is well worth a look. WK are served by a nationwide dealer network and the range come with a two year warranty. WK Bikes are currently doing quite respectably in the Thundersport and Mini Twins racing classes with their Chinese built WK 650i, they also contested the IOM TT in 2013 and sponsor bikes in BSB so they’re certainly no fly by night company, they’re here to stay.