What is the Piaggio Ciao?

Piaggio made the Ciao between 1967 and 2006. Yes, that’s the same Piaggio behind the legendary Vespa scooter. 

Unlike the Vespa, though, the Ciao is a moped, complete with pedals, aimed towards a younger audience.

During its 40-year production, Piaggio made 3,5 million Ciaos.

Like a first-generation Puch Maxi, the Ciao can be used as a regular bicycle.

The transmission is disconnected by pressing a small button near the rear sprocket wheel, and “bicycle mode” is activated.

Just remember to shut off the engine first!

Quick trivia:

  • The first Ciao mopeds had circular headlights. After 1974, Piaggio replaced them with rectangular-shaped ones.
  • There’s a cargo trike version of the Ciao called the “Ciao Porter” (featured in the video below:)

Piaggio or Vespa Ciao?

In some countries (such as Canada), the Ciao goes by the name of the “Vespa Ciao.” Presumably, this is because of the Vespa brand recognition.

But apart from the slightly different name, both versions are relatively similar.

Piaggio/Vespa Ciao Specs

2006 Model:

Engine: Single-cylinder, two-stroke

Displacement: 49 cc

Gearbox: CVT or 3-speed manual transmission

Drivetrain: Belt-drive

Ignition: Magneto flywheel or CDI

Fuel system: Carburettor

Fuel tank capacity: 2.8 liters/0,74 gallons

Starter: Pedals

Front brake: 103 mm drum brake

Rear brake: 136 mm frum brake

Wheelbase: 1040 mm/ 40.9 inches

Wheel size: 17″

Total weight (dry): 40 kg/88 lbs

Source: bikez.com, 2006 Italian Ciao Sales Brochure


Derivatives of the Ciao

Piaggio Si (Piaggio Vespa Si)

Original image by Rippitippi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Made between 1979 and 2011, the Si model mostly kept the same engine as the standard Ciao.

However, there were a few noteworthy changes – the biggest one being a circular headlight in place of the rectangular-shaped one the standard Ciao had at the time. 

Furthermore, it also had a rear shock absorber. 

And although the engine is the same in terms of power, the cooling fins on a Ciao Si are much longer. 

Kinetic Luna

image of kinetic luna in sri lanka

Although the Kinetic Luna was made by India-based Kinetic Engineering, it’s essentially a licensed copy of the Ciao underneath.

First introduced in 1972, the Kuna became a popular moped in India, largely because of the successful “Chal Meri Luna” ad campaign.

If you’d like to discover more about this ad campaign and the Kinetic Luna itself, check out the Specs & Stats post for it here.