Yamaha to supply offical scooters for MotoGP in 2007 campaign

Yamaha has been supplying the FIM Grand Prix paddock with BW scooters (a.k.a. old-style zumas to us in the USA) for several years now.  This year they’ll be the official paddock scooter for MotoGP.  The scooter model has changed to the Yamaha Jog RR (a.k.a. a cool scooter that will never grace our shores to us in the USA).  Yamaha will also offer an exclusive special edition replica model at dealers across Europe with MotoGP logos and track maps of each of the Grand Prix stops in the 2007 season.  The Season kicks off in one week at Losail for the Grand Prix of Qatar.

2007 Dealer Expo: POCphil’s review


Since a week has passed and I still haven’t been able to collect my thoughts on the ginormous mindblowing extravaganza in Indianapolis, here’s POCphil‘s writeup. I’ll add my comments in italics where appropriate. -2SB

We were so excited to get to the Indianapolis Dealer Expo this year, we were running about 2 hours early. We took that time to go visit Speed City Cycles in Indianapolis, only a few minutes from the Show. Mike and Marybeth Tockey have created a fantastic shop with an ingenious use of space and rural/industrial feel that leaves room for a snack bar, lounge and a ton of scooters and accessories. Mike also builds award winning metric cruisers. Just hanging around his IWL Berliner is a treat. After a great tour and some bench racing we were back on our mission to deliver two scooters to the Scoot! Magazine/ Corazzo booth and still arrive early enough at the hotel for some hottubbing before showing up in time for the open bar at 4PM, whew!
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CDOT’s Chicago Scooterist Roundtable: May 4

After gathering input from Chicago scooterists last month, the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Department of Environment are hosting a Chicago Scooterist Roundtable at the Chicago Center for Green Technology (445 North Sacramento Boulevard) on Friday, May 4, 2007 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Our contact Charles Roesner tells us, “At the session, scooterists will be encouraged to discuss the potential positive impacts of increased use of scooters in Chicago. Scooterists will also have the opportunity to detail the challenges and barriers that they face while riding scooters in Chicago. They will be able to make suggestions and recommendations to CDOT and DOE as to how the environment for scootering in Chicago could be improved.”

This meeting is something many of us have dreamed about for years, so mark your calendars and take the afternoon off work. For more information and action plans, email 2SB, or check the CHIscooterList.

Colaninno: “We will make a new Vespa for India”

Roberto Colaninno and Ravi ChopraDave McCabe sent me the following article on New Year’s Eve and, sadly, I’m just getting around to posting it, even though it’s probably the most interesting Piaggio news since EICMA. The story, written by Adil Jal Darukhanawala, appeared in the December, 2006 issue of Bike India. I generally don’t swipe entire magazine stories, but it’s not on the web and most of us don’t have a subscription to Bike India, so here goes: (emphasis is ours, click the thumbnail to enlarge it)

Piaggio Plans new age Indian Vespa along with a slew of other two-wheelers as it prepares to re-enter the Indian bike sphere.

The Vespa, replete with classic style but new age mechanicals could be back in India as parent Piaggio gets ready to increase its presence in India’s booming automotive sphere, according to no less an authority than Roberto Colaninno himself. Speaking exclusively to BIKE INDIA at EICMA in Milan, Colaninno told us that India was too large to ignore and also too vibrant to be tackled with existing models. Having been absent in two-wheelers since its deal with Kanpur-based LML Limited expired a few years ago, Piaggio has concentrated on a range of utility three-wheelers and has done pretty well in that area to date.

At the Milan Show BIKE INDIA caugt up with both Roberto Colaninno and also Ravi Chopra, CEO of Piaggio Vehicles in India and they both confirmed that it was only a matter of time before the company went on to add both two as well as four wheeled vehicles in its portfolio. “We will make a new Vespa for India, classic shape yes but totally new engine and technology to compete with others,� were the actual works of the Piaggio bossman.

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Piaggio targets 1 million units, more foreign production

Allow me to dissect some quotes from this Forbes story:

Piaggio SpA plans to open production sites in Brazil and Vietnam to reach its production target of 1 mln vehicles by 2010, chairman and CEO Roberto Colaninno said…

That means every Farm and Fleet will get a weekly shipment of 48 Piaggio Flys, an LX50, and one top-end Moto Guzzi.

The producer of motorcycles and light commercial vehicles manufactured 650,000 vehicles in 2006,…an additional 200,000 units were produced by Piaggio’s joint venture in China but are not consolidated in the group’s sales…

They’ll be counting Chinese production as part of that one million, I bet.

Colaninno said that Piaggio has superceded its restructuring phase and will now focus on growth.

Scooterists don’t need Forbes to tell us Piaggio is focused on growth, to the detriment of any other attribute.

Colaninno added that the group will have three business areas — Europe, the Americas and Asia/Africa — which will have their own production sites and distribution networks.

HOLD THE PHONE– are they saying that Piaggio products for the Americas will be produced IN THE AMERICAS? (i.e. Brazil?) Very interesting.

The group’s brands — Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Guzzi and Aprilia — will be maintained but have similar distribution channels, he said.

How has Derbi stayed out of this mess? And will high-end motorcycle buyers stand for Brazillian product?

The story also reports that production in India is up, with a new diesel engine plant in the works. It’s hard to say these days what’s built where, and where the components come from, but if the Pontedera factory is not already an anachronism for tourists, it looks like it may be within the next decade. We look forward to more corporate chest-banging at Piaggio’s Berlin Conference tomorrow.

Mid America Scooter Racing Association


The Mid-America Scooter Racing Association (MASRA) is looking to revive scooter racing in the Midwest. They are scheduling open track days starting in the spring, and hoping to share some race dates with the ESRA in Circleville, OH. MASRA is looking to make it easy for anyone with a 250cc-or-below scooter (manual or auto, kitted or stock) to get out on the track and learn about racing

MASRA organizer Matt Devries also recommends US Mini Road Race as a good starting point for racers: “Don’t worry about their classifications, they would consider lap speed as opposed to displacement knowing full well that a cr50 is going to be faster than any P200.” USMRR is open to all small-displacement bikes including scooters, with a full season of racing scheduled.

MP3 faces a growing scooter-car market


The Kneeslider (and the motorcycling press in general) are paying a lot of attention to commuter-friendly three- and four-wheeled motorcycles and microcars such as the VentureOne Tilting 3 Wheeler, KTM’s X-Bow, and the Bombardier Can-Am Spyder (more on the Spyder). As more car-like motorcycles appear, smaller cars (Mini, Smart, etc.) are also growing in popularity, and the line between cars and motorcycles was further blurred at Dealer Expo with a surprising number of trikes, oversized ATVs, dunebuggies, motorcycle training wheels, enclosed scooters, utility cars, and the like. Piaggio must ensure that their MP3 will remain the focus of, rather than becoming consumed by, this trend.

Word at the Expo was that the MP3’s greatest competition may come from within. PiaggioUSA recently spread the word that the 400cc model will come to America later this year. Dealers, who are still waiting for the 250cc version, found the 400cc announcement poorly-timed (and the shipping date optimistic). Piaggio, obviously, would be happy to sell customers either model, but if 250cc sales are disappointing, the 400cc might arrive too late to keep the public’s interest. The Vespa LXS faces a similar situation: again, dealers say U.S. shipping estimates are too optimistic, and the announcement will hurt sales of the “regular” LX in the meantime.


Sorry about the sparse updates, it’s been a crazy couple weeks. Things’ll hopefully be back to normal soon (and I will post all the fantastic news/info/links people have sent lately).

I’m abandoning my family for my first 2strokebuzz-related business trip. Tomorrow morning, I’m off to the Dealer Expo in Indianapolis. Hopefully, the show (and our coverage) will be an improvement on last week’s Chicago International Motorcycle Show. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of dealers, journalists, bloggers, and manufacturers — and building lots of contacts for future stories. I’m also hoping to get some feedback on a new site I’m working on, and I’ll hopefully make a public announcement on Monday.

“Berryoke” at Frank and Mary’s (2905 N. Elston, Chicago) tonight… see you all there?

MBI Riders’ Choice Awards: Vote now!

MBI70.gifNominations have been whittled down to a few choices per category, and it’s now time for you, the public, to vote in the Motorcycle Bloggers International Riders’ Choice Awards. Luckily, 2strokeBuzz didn’t make it past the nomination stage, so I won’t be biting my nails on Awards Night, but a lot of scooters–and scooter blogs–did make the cut. Represent!