Again, sorry we’ve been kinda slow here, it’s been a nutty couple of weeks. I’m taking the Blur camping this weekend, and while I’m not nearly as stylin’ as these two fine ladies and their Series I Lambretta tent (so simple even a woman can assemble it!), I’m looking forward to a nice long ride on the Blur. I’m really enjoying the Blur, and I have a lot to say about it, when I get time to organize my thoughts. (Thanks to Aimee for the link, the video is from the amazing British Pathe Archive.)
Good news and bad news for American fans of the Piaggio MP3: Despite promises to deliver the three-wheeler by December, and reports that the American version will be unveiled to dealers at Piaggio’s October dearler meeting, CNN reports the scooter won’t arrive until first-quarter 2007. Worse news; it will sell for a somewhat-ridiculous $7000. The good news is the model described by CNN is the 4-stroke, 4-valve 250cc Quasar engine with electronic fuel injection (earlier reports suggested we’d get the 125cc LEADER version).
Piaggio really seems to be marketing this thing to — as CNN says — “those who are simply afraid of falling over.” I continue to suspect that while the MP3 is likely somewhat better-handling than most two-wheelers, anyone afraid to ride a motorcycle or scooter is going to feel just as terrified on an MP3 the moment the wheels are unlocked from parking position. We also wonder whether the MP3’s size and weight will further intimidate such people, or inspire car-like confidence.
Thanks for the link from Mad Man Maddox, who also points us to some other exciting three-wheeled vehicles in the works.
Motoring.co.za’s review of the Kymco Agility 125. You don’t hear much about the Agility, but it’s available here, for a mere $2000, $600 less than the Genuine Buddy.
I’m falling behind again, it must be the beginning of hockey season (and the launch of the Galewood Cookshack, more on that later).
- Last Tuesday, 200 workers at Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India’s Gurgaon plant went on strike The strike was settled on Sunday, and today HMSI promised US$87 million in investment in the plant and new product development in the next three years.
- From St. Maartens: How not to steal a scooter.
- According to Hemscott.com, Roberto Colaninno expects Piaggio’s Indian- and Chinese-market sales to increase to 25% of the group’s sales by 2010, as opposed to 15% currently.
- Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services have upped Piaggio’s long-term debt rating from BB- from B+.
- St. Louis joins a growing list of cities with a minibike pickup service to discourage driving while intoxicated.
- And finally, something to think about next time you’ve brought a long-dead bike back to life after a marathon drinking ‘n’ wrenching session.
The Chicagoland ABATE meeting is Wednesday night, hopefully a big group of scooterists can make it out. I’ll post info on a group ride if anyone steps up and plans one.
Honda is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Helix (and boy is it showing its age, but people keep buying them) with a special gold edition, the “Fusion SE.” Nevermind that the traditional 20th anniversary gift is china, not gold. I guess a scooter made of porcelain wouldn’t be a good idea, nor would a Helix made in China. (from The Scooter Scoop)
Neil at Vespaway had an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times about scooter parking in the Big Apple.
The Pioneer Press interviews MPLS locals and Scooter-book-authors Michael and Eric Dregni. I don’t imagine Brooke will let their Zuma-bashing stand.
The 2006 Scooter Cannonball Run stopped in Cleveland yesterday and is nearing the home stretch, ending in New Jersey on Tuesday. 2sb pals had mixed results; Scott Baxter and Rob Downs both DNF’ed with dead bikes, but J.D. Merryweather and Jsrjr (on a brand-new Blur) were both doing well, last we heard. Here’s a link to the route and rider blogs, sorry I didn’t post that earlier.
Rubbermag reports that Miguel Galluzzi, the designer of the Ducati Monster as well as many other Ducati, Cagiva, and Husqvarna motorcycles, has been named the new Manager of the Aprilia Style Centre. Aprilia Brand Manager Leo Francesco Mercanti gushes, “â€¦Aprilia has always stood out for its different and original styling. In this context, Galluzzi, who is not just a creative genius but a passionate motorcyclist, is without a doubt the right man to guide the Aprilia design team to new heights of excellence.” Scooters are likely beneath him, but the Scarabeo line could sure use his help.
This slipped past me last week in one of the several stories about LML declaring itself “sick:”
LML is believed to be in talks with one Italian, one Chinese and two Indian companies and the talks will continue as the revival of the company is still sought after.
Genuine is surely sick of hearing LML conspiracy stories, but it’s just so much fun to come up with them. This story is as close to “Tom Cruise’s Baby” as scooter news gets, because anything could happen. Is Piaggio looking at LML? Is Genuine? Is Genuine working with PGO to take over LML? Is Bajaj considering LML (see the last story)? Hero Honda? Will the government rescue LML? Will LML employees set themselves on fire? Sure, the most likely outcome is that nothing will ever happen, but it’s fun to think about, and it kills any vintage scooterist to think that that assembly line could be sold for scrap metal tomorrow. (Thanks, John, for pointing out that important detail!)
Bajaj is returning to the scooter market with 75 and 125cc automatic scooters next year, followed by an automatic 150cc model. The company abandoned scooter production last year — including the historic Chetak line of Vespa-like metal geared scooters — as small-displacement motorcycles gained popularity in India. Now they’ve been caught in the middle of a worldwide scooter boom with no scooters in production and only one scooter model, the Wave, at dealers. Can a new Chetak be far behind? Will the new 150cc automatic bear the Chetak name?
Total Motorcycle’s exhaustive review, with several rider opinions of the Kymco Venox 250 fake-cruiser thingy. I don’t understand the need to disguise a bike as something it isn’t, but the testers liked the Venox, and if it keeps newbies from buying a 1300-cc cruiser until they learn how to ride, good for Kymco.
Piaggio reported higher sales in the first half of 2006 (over the first half of 2005), and once again named North America as an important growth market for the future.