Spectacularly lousy news out of Vancouver this week: Urban Wasp is closing down. Formerly known as Vespa Vancouver, UW has been the best place for all things Vespa/Piaggio/SYM/Aprilia for the past 6 years – they’re the only shop I’d trust to touch Lola (this is important; more on it later), they’re passionate about what they do, and everyone in the shop is awesome. I am beyond bummed out to hear they’re closing; even more so because it’s not entirely by choice: Piaggio has chosen to a) not enforce the “no dealer can be within 30 km of another dealer” agreement clause (Vancouver’s other Vespa shop is only 6km away from Urban Wasp), b) not care that they are losing an extremely popular and reliable dealer, and c) not act upon the numerous serious complaints about Vespa Metro by revoking their license (or at the very least, not renewing their contract when it comes up in March 2013). These factors, coupled with a representative who simply doesn’t care, have led Urban Wasp to close their doors for good at the end of this year.
Once Urban Wasp is gone, the only place to get certified Vespa service in Vancouver will be Vespa Metro, which is akin to a death sentence for your scooter. Metro’s mechanic is a man named Lorenzo, who has absolutely no business touching scooters: he is a disaster. Urban Wasp regularly has to fix problems caused by Lorenzo’s repair work, such as incorrectly done repairs, broken parts, enormous mistakes, accidental “fixes” with a lie to the customer that they caused it. This isn’t just hearsay; Shan’s Scarabeo 200 suffered at Lorenzo’s incompetent hands (his routine service led to a catastrophic oil leak, which caused her engine to sieze and require complete replacement .. which took them 5 months to do) – but there are countless horror stories about the shoddy work done at Vespa Metro, to the point where Piaggio has been asked to revoke their license (both for the irresponsible service levels and VM’s shady business dealings). Perhaps most damning of all, Lorenzo’s sister rides a Vespa LX50 .. and she takes it to Urban Wasp for service, because she doesn’t trust her brother to do a simple oil change and checkup on her ride.
If you’ve ever had any dealings with Urban Wasp – if you’ve been burned by Vespa Metro – if you want a reliable, responsible dealer who won’t cheat you and stands by their service department – then I beg you to email firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know your dissatisfaction with this situation. It will royally suck for Vespa owners if we have to rely upon Vespa Metro as our sole source of scooters/parts/service/advice – and I guarantee you I would rather sell my beloved Lola than risk having her destroyed by baffling incompetence.
In order to prepare for the end of Urban Wasp, they’re having a 50% off sale – all parts, accessories, helmets, gear, clothing, security items, etc are on sale. As well, all the remaining scooters have been discounted by insane amounts – if you were ever thinking about getting yourself a new Vespa, now would be the time to do it. Urban Wasp will be open until December 31st, and they’ve still got a good selection of beautiful scooters in stock. Lie to Santa and say you’ve been a very good boy/girl, and ask for a scooter for Christmas! Buy yourself or a loved one a new helmet, or get yourself some awesome gear! If you have girl parts and have been thinking about checking out the amazing GoGo Gear jackets, Urban Wasp has some in stock (as well as Corazzo gear), all for 50% off. I picked up a whole bunch of stuff for myself last night including a new helmet with saucy ladies and some official Vespa gear to show off my classy Italian side. We can all hope that the situation will change for the better very soon, but in the meantime, help Urban Wasp move some inventory by swinging by their shop on West 4th before the end of the year.