The name Lambretta conjures up images of parkas, soul music and ﬁghts on Brighton beach. The original scooter was the epitome of Sixties cool, and the Li 126 hopes to latch onto that mod heritage.
With its shaped tubing, ﬂat mudguards and bright white and blue livery, it’s certainly in your face. It’s well equipped, with SRAM’s IO cable disc brakes and mountain bike derived SRAM X.5 gearing – a nine-speed 12-28 cassette and 42-tooth chainring, enough to get up a fair lick of speed and cope with most hills in an urban environment, despite the bike’s 13.1kg/28.8lb weight.
The fork is a Kind Shock unit which has a coil spring at the crown offering around 35mm of cushioning. In normal riding it does the job, evening out rough surfaces, but if you get out of the saddle it bobs a lot, and if you hit a pothole at pace it can top out with quite an alarming clunk. The adjustable stem is a nice touch, enabling you to get the bar just where you like it, and big soft grips help with comfort, as does the padded saddle with cutout.
The 26in disc-only wheelset is sturdy and shod with Lambretta-branded WTB tyres, with a tread halfway between town and trail, and a big 2in volume that’s excellent on towpaths, grippy on the road but not exactly fast rolling. The stylish mudguards are ﬂat metal strips which look individual but the front one ﬂaps irritatingly, and at a fraction under 2in in width and with no curved edges, on very wet roads there’s some sidewards spray.
The ﬂat, plastic pedals are shoe-friendly but in the wet offer almost no grip – you won’t damage the soles of your expensive brogues but you’ll knacker your shins slipping off all the time. We’d bin ’em for something grippier straight away. Despite these niggles the Li 126 is a good bike for city-based riding plus the occasional jaunt down a towpath or byway. Provided you can live with the loud styling, that is.