P!nasco’s instrcutions on the line for perf0rmances kIt install appears to been mutiIated by bo1th machInes trans1ati0r *and* by the text recognizer soft war e. (Thanks, Matty)
A while back, we linked to Cartype’s awesome gallery of model racecar decals, full of great references for scooter paint jobs, but their gallery of racing and parts suppliers decals and logos is even more fantastic.
Everyone keeps saying “sooner or later, China will get their act together and dominate the market,” which is probably true, and every U.S. importer wants to believe they’ve found the only good Chinese manufacturer, but here’s a clue about what we’re dealing with there for now.
Piaggio today announced the immediate availability of two 60th-anniversary Vespa models in navy blue (“Midnight Blue Metallic”). The LXV and GTV are retro-ized versions of the LX and GT that were originally released in 2006 to coincide with the Vespa’s 60th anniversary (and it took me until now to realize that “LX” is the Roman numeral for “60”). Continue reading “Vespa Navy”
Alfredo Mar, Niagara Rally, 1996
I did an interview the other day with Karen for the awesome Kickstart magazine, and it got me thinking about how long i’ve been doing this (12+ years!), and all the great people I’ve met through 2strokebuzz and scootering. I started digging through some old shoeboxes tonight and thought it might be fun to start posting some photos and stories from the old days.
There’s no better person to start with than Alfredo Mar. When I bought my first scooter in 1995, Alf was the first person I met on Usenet, and a few days later, the first scooterist I met in person. I remember seeing him in front of Arturo’s Tacos on his mirrored-out P200 in pressed slacks and a tennis sweater with a weird laurel where the alligator should be, and feeling entirely inadequate with my rusty Primavera, dirty jeans and biker jacket, but within seconds of talking to him, I knew we’d be friends. We’re still best friends, and our daughters are, too. This photo is from Niagara 1996, our first major road trip. (Check out Rich Easton lying down in the background.) Alf bought that burgundy P200 from Vespa of Chicago when he went away to college, but it’s been in my garage so long (I’ve moved with it twice!) I think I might have common-law ownership.
Mark Houghton has opened a new online outlet for Lambretta parts called Jet200 Performance. A quick scan of his online catalog shows he’s selling some tasty-looking bits for improving on the Lambretta experience as well as some work-a-day spares. Lambretta Club USA members qualify for monthly specials. Mark is a nice guy from the Seattle area and has long had a passion for the scooter from Milan. He’s the kind of guy that spares no expense on doing things right so hopefully his customers will be as happy as I’m sure he is with his new venture.
The new Stella print ad is pretty great. I like how Eric has continued P.J.’s sense of humor and general look and feel for the company, but is slowly subtly nudging it in a new visual direction.
The Kymco Cobra was once the favored clone style second only to the Yamaha Vino. While doing some ‘research’ on what the new offering from Italjet America (a.k.a. LS Motorsports) will look like andÂ I found an Italian site, Motorino.it, showing some photos of the ‘new’ it.50 scooter.
It looks sharp in yellow but it struck a chord of familiarity when I looked at the photos for a few seconds. I compared it to the Kymco Agility and it appears to be nearly identical. Differences appear to include the fender and headlight, but are minor compared to the similarities. The it.50 seat is like the Agility 125 rather than the jump-seat style on the 50cc of the Kymco model. The it.50 does not appear on the Italjet site but has been tipped to be a possible new model shown at the dealer show in Indianapolis in a few weeks.
The Agility is made in mainland China and the price is reflective of that. I wonder how many new Agility clones we’ll see in the coming few years. It’s not a bad choice for something to clone, regardless of what one feels about the state of intellectual property in developing economies.
Check out these groovy new helmet graphics from Shark’s “SK” line. Helmet graphics are (generally) embarrassingly dated and lame (Can you believe Troy Lee is still popular in this day and age?), so it’s nice to see someone applying a trendier look. These two casques are reminiscent of skateboard graphics, which is definitely an improvement over the usual “look” of helmets. Obviously, the market for such helmets has grown with the scooter explosion, where riders tend to be a good bit trendier than the sportbike/harley crowd, but it’d be nice to see this design trend escape from the super-expensive ‘designer’ half-helmet world onto some affordable full-face helmets. There’s so much competition in the market, any of the several well-known-but-indistinguishable mid-range helmet makers could easily set themselves apart by stealing a couple designers from the skateboard/snowboard industry and ditching the ridiculous practice of charging an extra $150 for a helmet with graphics.
Proof that bloggers live a few days ahead of everyone else: today LS Motorsports officially named our buddy Steve Guzman of The Scooter Scoop as National Sales and Marketing Manager for Italjet products, and went on to say (in a press release):
The full US Italjet product line can be viewed at DealerExpo at booth number 3711. The vehicles present will include the Dragster, the Roller Craft, 50.it and the Torpedo. Also present in the booth will be Diamoâ€™s new 4X4 UTV and ATV (500cc and 700cc), a new Diamo 50cc scooter, and the Fischer motorcycle.
As we mentioned before, it’s going to be a long weekend for Steve if those bikes get “stuck in customs.” Sometimes I’m jealous when friends get jobs in the scooter industry. All I have to show for my 12 years writing about scooters was one crumby quote in a Genuine Blur ad, and I didn’t even get paid-off for that. (I had to actually pay for my Blur, oh, the horror!) But I guess when it comes down to it, I’d never quit my day job refereeing tennis matches.
Right now in Chicago, we’re having a heat wave (it’s 21Â°F and sunny with an inch or two of snow on the ground) but it’s been mostly in the single digits lately. That hasn’t stopped SoloSC and Team MD (I think they’re serious) from planning an 80-mile round-trip ride to a ski jump competition this Sunday (forecast high 33Â°, low 22, with rain and snow). I think I already have plans that day.
At a press event in Mumbai today, Piaggio announced plans to re-enter the Indian scooter market, focusing on manufacturing hybrids for the local market by 2010. The press release states that the company will be selling Vespa/Piaggio hybrids in Europe by the end of this year.
Piaggio has been producing 3- and 4-wheeled utility vehicles in India for years, but has avoided the crowded scooter market. The press release also lists new agreements with partners and suppliers, and hints at more. It also outlines their operations in China (a partnership with Zongshen Group, making Piaggios for local and world markets), Vietnam (a new factory manufacturing scooters for local markets), and Japan (a new importer/distributor).
Big congrats to Chris “32” Davis and Sara Lachenman, Sullivan James Davis was born at 7:30am Friday, January 18, just in time for Raleigh/Durham’s FYBO rally. Good timing. “No number yet,” says 32, “We figure Curley can can give him a number later on.”
Stephen Heller of Scooterville MN commented on our Open House post to let us know that Stellas have arrived (and posted some photos of the uncrating):
It was pretty good timing as we got 15 Stellas in today. The green and the blue look great, actually the paint on all of the new Stellas is really nice. The switch didnâ€™t change as in the photos that have been shown before. The HT Coil isnâ€™t bolted onto the frame anymore, it is more like the PX150s. That also means that that the wires donâ€™t make the 180 degree turn when coming out of the junction box.
Great news! This time last year, there was only faint hope for LML’s return. If Scooterville’s got ’em, that likely means other top Genuine dealers will soon be getting their allotment of 15, if they don’t have them already. The next, larger, batch is expected in May.