Visiting Saprol Vespa Repair In Bali, Indonesia
Photography by Ted Gushue
Bali is not exactly known for its thriving car culture. Roads are shoddy, small, and generally inhospitable to the majority of cars that we’d expect to see on American roads. In Bali, and largely all of Indonesia, the scooter is king, and king of the scooters is, of course, Vespa.
They’ve been a weapon of choice for navigating the increasing traffic jams on the tiny Island nation since forever, and they’ve needed talented craftsmen to repair them for just as long. As a result, several Balinese institutions have arisen over the last decades that cater to an increasingly aging Vespa population.
I was visiting a ceramicist in Ubud when I passed by a chap by the name of Saprol who was wrenching a beautiful robin’s egg blue Vespa 150, sporting a grin ear to ear. He and I didn’t have much in common in terms of language, but over the course of 20 minutes he showed me around his shop as we motioned to each other our mutual love of all things Piaggio.
There wasn’t a single actual word exchanged between us, but I was able to make out that he’s been tweaking, tuning and repairing Vespas on Bali for over 15 years (sign language 15), and that it’s his life’s passion.
To me, that’s the beauty of this community that we are all part of. Brothers and sisters in petrol-powered matrimony: anywhere you travel in the world, you’re sure to run into fellow enthusiasts.
If you’re interested, after doing a bit of research I was able to find him on Facebook, so if you find yourself on a 150 in Ubud needing a fresh tire, Saprol is your man.