Scooter vs. Car

September 30, 2008

Scooter vs Car (might be disturbing for some viewers). No idea if it’s real or staged or what. The video quality is good and (fingers crossed) the scooterist looks like it may be a dummy, so I’m guessing it’s a commercial or safety training video or something, but it really gets the point across: No matter how careful you are, sometimes the other guy just isn’t following the rules. (Thanks for the link, Steve from Andretti/Benelli)

PiaggioUSA 2008 Fall Dealer Meeting

September 29, 2008

From our spies at Piaggio’s fall dealer meeting:

Piaggio Leno

Dinner meeting features Jay Leno: 45 minutes of stand up, closing with “when Piaggio called me they said, ‘we don’t have much money,’ and I said ‘I’ll do it free, I’m Italian, I want to support an Italian product, I like Italian bikes,’ then I get here and find out how your sales are up and your dealers aren’t exactly hurtin’.

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Talking ‘Zines: Jeff Lillie’s PDX Scooter Rider

September 29, 2008

(2sb welcomes Karen Giezyng of Bumpstart magazine talking to Jeff Lillie about his seminal and beloved ’90s zine, PDX Scooter Rider:)

PDX Scooter Rider #3The Pacific Northwest is known for a lot of things, but many of you might not be aware of the region’s rich scooter ‘zine history. During the ‘zine explosion of the ’90s there were three different scooter ‘zines in publication. The Vespa Club of Canada published the region’s first scooter ‘zine, The Indicator in 1992. A few years later, in 1995, Jeff Lillie created PDX Scooter Rider. Susan Goodwin and Danean Mauer followed suit with the rollicking, P-Town Uncensored from 1999-2002 and from 2006-2008, I did Kickstart. (Karen’s new ‘zine, Bumpstart, is available now at Scootmoto.)

I recently chatted with the creator of PDX Scooter Rider, Jeff Lillie about his ‘zine and what it was like being a part of the scooter community back then.
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RIP, Reg Dunlop

September 28, 2008

Reg Dunlop on a Honda Elite A sad farewell to hockey player/coach, pool hustler, old-west outlaw, parking-meter scofflaw, philanthropist, motorsports fan and team owner, and scooterist, Paul Newman. On top of all that, he made the best damn pretzel sticks known to mankind, and I’m not being glib. He was a great actor, and a great human being.

With all his superlative accomplishments in film, “Slap Shot” might not have been his most critically acclaimed movie, but what other film is so crass, funny, and ridiculous while being so well-acted, gritty and poignant? Hard times demand comedy, do yourself a favor and watch it soon.

M&M considers Malaguti

September 27, 2008

India-based Mahindra & Mahindra is considering a purchase of Malaguti Moto. M&M recently bought Kinetic Motors, and thus owns the rights to several Italjet models. Malaguti, like Italjet, produced several popular scooters five years ago, even making brief appearances in nascent American scooter market. Today, both manufacturers appear to be limping along selling a combination of 2003-era bikes and less-inspired newer asian-made models.

Moped upgrades

September 25, 2008

1977 Mopeds tells Wired how to upgrade a vintage moped. Most of the advice applies to vintage scooters, too, especially the tires. No one should be riding around on 30-year-old CEATs.

Sagan, Einstein, Vespa

September 24, 2008

Carl Sagan uses Paolo, an italian teenager on a Vespa, to explain travel at the speed of light. (from episode 8 of Cosmos.)

One question: why is that Tuscan kid (at 1:06) wearing a Cleveland Barons sweatshirt?

(Awesome link, Matt, thanks very much. I actually remember watching this very episode in my parents’ family room in 1980.)

Piaggio integrates Moto Guzzi operations

September 24, 2008

Piaggio announced today that they’ll be incorporating the operations of wholly-owned subsidary Moto Guzzi into Piaggio’s infrastructure by the end of November, moving Guzzi production to Piaggio or Aprilia facilities, and “rationalising the technical, industrial, design and style operations of the two companies.”

“Forever Vespa”

September 24, 2008

A review of Pippo Cappellano and Marina Cappabianca’s film Forever Vespa from the 13th Cathay Pacific Italian Film Festival in New Zealand. The reviewer is a Vespisti (and admittedly a bit snobby about it!) with an astute grip on the current scooter craze, he notes that it’s an independent film so well-supported by Piaggio’s archives that it sometimes appears to be a Piaggio promotional video. It’s played at a few festivals, but I can’t find a trailer or any more info… anyone?

Fisichella named as Vectrix ambassador

September 24, 2008

Italy’s usually-decent F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella is having a not-so-great season with Force India, which will give him plenty of time to serve as an “Electric Ambassador” for Vectrix scooters.

Scootmoto stocks up

September 23, 2008

Less Gas, Less Space, Less is MoreScootmoto, 2strokebuzz’ capitalist sister site, has just introduced a whole slew of new products including three of Robotribe’s popular t-shirts in mens’ and womens’ styles, Karen Giezyng and Steve Talley ‘s great new Bumpstart* scooter ‘zine, emergency preparedness gear from the Scooter Patrol for Annihilation of Zombies, and back issues of the Vespa Club of America’s American Scooterist. More good stuff is on the way, and Scootmoto is always looking for more great DIY scooter apparel, gifts, memorabilia, and such.

UPDATE: We’ve also added Field Notes, great, rugged, vintage-style pocket notebooks perfect for mileage tracking, travel journals, technical notes, or other roadside ramblings.

*More about Bumpstart tomorrow!

The Vespa S 150: a review

September 22, 2008

Dave McCabe’s been riding the Vespa S for a few months now, here’s his perspective:


Cue the Muppet with the fedora and trench coat: “So you wanna buy a letter ‘S?’” The stylish Vespa S 150 has been on the market since March but many of us remain confused by what it is, and what Piaggio intended to do with this model.

What’s with the fancy red “S” anyway? How many cars these days have an “S” edition? The most well-known is the wildly-successful Mini Copper S. There are also “S”es adorning Toyota Corollas and Acura RSXs. The Volkswagen Beetle and the Porsche Boxster are as shamelessly consistent as the others, using the same racy calligraphic “S”—except in grey or chrome instead of red. This says nothing of similar variants such as the Honda S200, the Suzuki SX, and who knows what else. There’s definitely a trend here and maybe it’s a gotten little out of hand.
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2009 Yamaha TMAX Video

September 19, 2008

The Yamaha TMax is garnering some serious love from the motorsports press, and the new yellow color livens up the look a little. So leave it up to Yamaha to unleash an ultra- lame marketing campaign. The target market for a $8000 scooter is not sheepish motorcyclists, it’s people who specifically want to AVOID being lumped into the testosterone-fueled image-conscious world of motorcycles, but still want to enjoy 2-wheeled life. No one in that market (including me) will recognize the third-tier motorsports celebrities in the ad, nor will they empathize with their “image” problems (let alone their acting skills). And here’s another tip: get those stupid dated tribal-flame bullshit decals off that yellow T-Max, or I’m going to come to Cypress, CA with a heat gun and do it myself. You’re killing me, Yamaha.

The T-Max (once you take those stickers off) is possibly the most appealing scooter available domestically right now, and Yamaha wants to let America know. I understand that. But what does reinforcing scooter stereotypes do for your other scooter models? Wouldn’t it make more sense to sell it as a great scooter, rather than a passable motorcycle? Is it smart to market TMaxes to the small percentage of Americans that are already motorcyclists, rather than the much larger percentage that aren’t?

[Thanks for the video link, Ryan]

More MotoGP photos

September 18, 2008

The umbrella girls were on break

More photos from the Indianapolis MotoGP.
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Colaninno withdraws Alitalia bid

September 18, 2008

Piaggio chairman Roberto Colaninno and his group of investors have withdrawn their bid for Alitalia, after failing to gain support from the airline’s unions.

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