“La Lambretta Cinese”

Motoblog is calling this thing the “chinese Lambretta.” I can’t read italian, so I’m not sure if it was meant as a joke. Aside from there already being a (at-least-half-)chinese Lambretta, they can call it whatever they want, it’ll always be a Zhejiang Zhongneng Gas Scooter ZN151T-F to me. It’s not the most hideous-looking thing out there (once you strip off the corkboard paint job), and it might even look more like a Lambretta than the rebadged Adlys, but I’m not buying one.

Piaggio’s “growth”

PiaggioUSA’s announcement at their recent dealer meeting to add more dealers and reduce dealer territories obviously has current dealers in a huff. The long-term damage of a growth plan based entirely on unloading quotas of bikes to a rapidly-expanding dealer network is not only bad news for dealers, it’s also troubling for consumers, and especially for Piaggio themselves. There’s a great thread on Modern Vespa with some good insight into how Piaggio works, and how this trend may affect dealer inventory, parts supply, and service.

Asian rip off scooter t-shirts

Some dude is knocking off those West Coast Scooters, AC/DC Vespa and Harley Vespa t-shirts. I’m not sure who printed them originally, a Google search for “West Coast Scooters” brings up ten Chinese-scooter-drop-shippers with that name and a CafePress shop that’s also knocking them off. Anyway, it looks like “RetroJungle” was selling them on eBay but there are no current auctions listed. A few months ago, someone was even selling knockoff Shepard Fairey Amerivespa 2005 T-shirts (redesigned to say “2007,” so I guess it’s a trend and we’ll be seeing poorly-made knockoff Merciless Tigers/2strokebuzz soccer jerseys any day now. While we’re on the subject, a guy in Kansas City is doing some “Skoot and Destroy” stuff, he didn’t know we’d already done it, or that Thrasher made us throw away most of the patches we made. I told him I didn’t care, as long as he made it clear it wasn’t coming from 2strokebuzz.

Suzuki Gemma 250 concept

The phallic Japanese concept maxiscooters just keep on coming, no pun intended. Suzuki’s Gemma 250 debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show this week. If I were the Scooter Scoop, I would probably further push my luck with some sort of Gemma Ward joke, but she’s not my type, and she was born the year I graduated from high school. (Update: Steve posted this story within seconds of 2sb, but didn’t make any supermodel jokes, heh.)

News chunks 10/23/07

  • A Korean student in England decided riding his scooter back to Korea would be less uncomfortable than a 13-hour flight.
  • The Times of London is digging the new Vespa S. Current rumor is 50cc and 150cc versions to the U.S. in the spring.
  • The Age of Melbourne, on the other hand, may be the first media outlet to see through the façade of Piaggio’s “green” marketing, after receiving a life-sized non-recyclable promotional piece featuring the MP3. Australia is hot for scooters this month. A University of Tasmania team has assembled the first Australian-made hybrid scooter, powered by Ethanol and batteries, and Sydney is apparently searching for its identity as a scooter city.
  • The Sun rides Aprilia’s new Mana 850cc automatic motorcycle.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio’s ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend sideswiped a photographer’s scooter in Israel. Oh, sorry, that’s not even interesting to E! Online readers.
  • If you’ve always thought “Sure, Segways are great, but man, I hate standing up, and I wish they were uglier, lower-tech, and more expensive,” Toyota has a concept vehicle for you.
  • In London suburb Croydon, citizens are teaming up to document “antisocial” scootering and report it to police in the wake of the death of a local police officer.
  • D.C. police are on the other side of the fence, after a scooter cop was hit-and-run by a white van. (Fact: recklessly-driven white vans now outnumber all other vehicles on Chicago streets, 6-to-1.)
  • For some reason there were at least… let’s see… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… five stories in the press last week about Piaggio’s new plant in Vietnam, without any new info beyond the announcement they made in February. Thanh Nien News had the decency to follow up their PR-wire story with a fairly interesting story on the vintage scooter scene in Vietnam.
  • A New Jersey yoga instructor and mother of six becomes the first woman in America to eat thousands of dollars of depreciation and trade in her SUV, replacing it with a $11,000 Vectrix electric scooter. The expense is totally justified by her reduced carbon footprint and the dozens of dollars she’ll save on gas between now and the first day it snows and she has to make six separate trips to drop her kids off at soccer practice, girl scouts, and karate. Yes, that’s pretty cynical. As Smarthouse points out, the Vectrix has many merits, and it’s a positive step for ecology, but as I’ve said many times, it seems that consumers aren’t considering all the factors when looking at the economic benefits of scooters, like this Wisconsin couple who seem to be ignoring the fact that riding a pair of 60mpg scooters isn’t really any better than driving one 30mpg car.
  • In that same story an Oshkosh, WI urgent-care clinic director estimates that scooter-related urgent-care visits will rise to 5,000 nationally this year, up from 1,300 in 2000. If the national urgent-care industry is actually keeping stats like that, we’d love to see them, but it seems a little unlikely that anyone would have been accurately tracking nationwide motorscooter injuries in 2000, or that any study of that sort would differentiate urgent-care visits from emergency-room visits.
  • A new SYM dealer has opened shop on the Incriminators’ turf. “You see them all over Hollywood,” store manager Tonya Stewart says, “[Scooters are] in movies and music videos, and stars are riding them as well.” Well, sure, Tonya, but those aren’t really SYMs now are they? God, I’m bitchy tonight. This is like 2strokeTMZ.

Mag 7 Rustic retry

As well as a Photo Scavenger Hunt, to take place on Nov. 4 (more info coming soon), The Magnificent Seven SC are going to reattempt the conquering of ten of Wisconsin’s Rustic Roads this Sunday, Oct. 21st. The route is about 210 miles, including highway riding, so a reliable scooter/motorcycle capable of 50mph cruising isa must. Meet at Blue Angel, 5310 N Milwaukee, at 7:30am Sunday. Everyone is welcome!

Ringway to Wintec

Metzeler unveils their new Feelfree Wintec scooter tires for scooters with a press junket, including a test ride starting in Copenhagen, over the Malmo bridge, and through through the countryside to the Knutstorp race track. I’ve been writing about scooters for over ten years. Would it kill manufacturers to just once invite me to Copenhagen, or fly me to India or give me an Fuoco for a month, or something? Other than (an awful lot of) free booze from Corazzo, and some books from Veloce Publishing, I’m just not feeling the love here.

SOS: Where’s Stella?

Orin at Scootin’ Old Skool actually retracted his story about the “return of the Stella” (at the time rumored to be around Labor Day). “Giving up” seems to me to be a pretty sure way of making sure the new Stellas are announced any day now. A watched Stella never boils, as they say.

As Orin points out, there have been plenty of obstacles, and no shortage of people who’d like to see the first containerload rolling off a freighter ship. If LML is making scooters that are worth bringing over, Genuine is surely working hard getting them here.

“Spec Racing” = “Test Ride”

Brooke points out that Kymco’s press release announcing their participation in this years’ International Motorcycle Shows features a pretty misleading headline (even with a “satire” disclaimer that was tacked on later). Still, it got us to post about Kymco’s participation in this years’ International Motorcycle Shows, which is pretty un-news-worthy otherwise. Kymco, you cunning bastards.