Don’t say it was unexpected (1, 2) but 2sb has learned that Piaggio has taken some sort of legal action against Hammerhead, the importer of the Venti 150 vintage Vespa lookalike. Our source tells us “Piaggio sent Hammerhead a cease-and-desist order in regards to the Venti yesterday.” We suspect it was actually a C&D letter rather than an order“ (there’s a difference) or if it’s based on the design of the Venti or the marketing language used in their flyer, but either way, domestic legal action against importers is usually a safer bet than an international legal contest, especially when China is involved. The good news for Hammerhead is that they’re raking in publicity leading into Dealer Expo (just a couple weeks away), so we applaud their market savviness , if not their design and engineering.
Way, WAY more Venti 150 info and photos on the Dallas/Fort Worth Scooterist board. Apparently it is a plastic body and the photos show a real prototype that was made to spec in China. The photos look pretty impressive, and the importer is candid about its possible shortcomings. I have to admit that I’m excited about this, somewhat because it’s so Vespalike, but moreso because it appears it’s actually the result of a U.S. importer working with a Chinese manufacturer to design a scooter (at least the bodywork) rather than buying a containerload of off-the-shelf Vino knockoffs. In any case, it appears there’s a real scooterist behind it and not a fly-by-night opportunist, and you gotta love that. An interesting tidbit: it sounds like Adly is working on a similar project, probably with a Lambretta twist. Back to the Venti, wouldn’t there be intellectual property issues with Piaggio? I’m of the opinion that if Piaggio has a problem with it, they could just shut the hell up and make a vintage-styled Vespa themselves, for crying out loud, but lawyers don’t think like I do. (Thanks for the link, bbehanna.)
0° is pretty darn cold for Lexington, KY, so Whit and Michael of Vespa Lexington decided to give the Cold Weather Challenge a shot. Despite exceptional video, photo, and text documentation, Michael only did 7 miles and Whit just rode around the block in shorts and a t-shirt like, in his own words, “an idiot.” Nice work anyway, guys, and I believe Michael’s still leading the CWC Kentucky division.
The website is up, and registration is open for Amerivespa 2009, July 2-5 in Los Gatos, CA. Nice artwork! Don’t forget the dates fishtail nicely into the Motogiro America AND the MotoGP at Laguna Seca, so you might want to go ahead and take two weeks off work.
“It’s simple,” we always say. “Why can’t someone just slap a modern engine in a Vespa frame already? Why can’t Vespa just put the 160GS back on the assembly line? Why can’t LML/Stella make a California-legal 250cc Vespa? Everyone would buy it, no matter what they charged!”
Well, here’s proof, straight from an ad in Dealer News that it’s not so easy to make a truly-vintage-looking scooter in this day and age: Ladies and Gentlemen of the scooter buying public, witness the Venti 150 (click on photo to enlarge).
Continue reading “Venti 150: The impossible dream”
Well, another cold snap through the northeast last week brought us an almost entirely new top 5 in the Cold Weather Challenge Former leader Colin Doyle was knocked to third place by Bob Hedstrom of Scooterville in Minneapolis (-16°F!) on a Vectrix electric scooter, and on his heels, Tom from Omaha (-11°F), with a second entry, vowing to not let Minnesota take the CWC title. Colin’s down to third, then Luigi G. sits in 4th place at -7°F (with a long writeup in the comments.). Rounding out the top 5 is Stefan from Cleveland, at -6°F. Stefan is clearly delusional from the cold and demanding some Malört.
Say what you will about a Vectrix leading the CWC, I think it’s cool, and Bob’s got two 50cc bikes and two 30+-year-old Vespas nipping at his (cold) ankles, which I see as proof that ANYONE could win this thing.
Read through the comments, we have a lot more entries, and good stories, and try a cold ride, anyone who posts a ride under 32° (and/or the coldest ride in his/her state) gets a prize for participating!
Scooterworks here in Chicago’s having a big “Cabin Fever Sale” on (Saturday January 24, 2009). They’ve got free t-shirts for the first 50 people there, closeouts on helmets and apparel, and new and used scooters at “The best prices of the year,” including 1.9% financing on new Genuine scooters. (click on flyer to enlarge) Guess they’ve got to make room for all the Blur 225 Turbos and Stella 300 Eco-maticas.
The Scooter Scoop gets a sneak peek at Sym’s new Honda- Cub-like “Symba.” Nice!
PiaggioUSA announced on January 16th that The Vespa GTS 300 Super will be sold in the U.S., though the scooter isn’t included on vespausa.com yet and no availability date was mentioned. Specs appear to be the same as the European model, with the same body as the U.S.-only GTS 250 Super. “The GTS 300 Super doesn’t just stand out in the crowd – it gets you out of the crowd,” quipped PiaggioUSA CEO Paolo Timoni. The GTS 300 Super (which features a 278cc engine, debate away!) is the largest-displacement scooter ever to bear the Vespa brand name, and a subtle but very handsome upgrade from the 250cc model.
UPDATE: Here’s the full press release. It’s due in March.
Clearly, 2sb has jumped the shark when Boing Boing and Jalopnik beat us to a scooter story. For the three of you that haven’t seen it, check out the Wooden “Daniela” Vespa. The body was hand-made by Portuguese craftsman Carlos Alberto, and it features a real engine and lights. One photos shows Alberto in motion on the scooter, so it apparently runs! Whether it’s rideable or not, it’s absolutely inspirational and beautiful.
One of the most dramatic events of 2008 British motorsport was the victory by Scott Redding in the 125cc Grand Prix race at Donnington Park. Redding’s win ended an over thirty year drought for Brits in the One-Two-Five class as he set the record for being the youngest Grand Prix winner at about fifteen and a half years of age. MotoGP.com posted a nice report on the Gloucester lad passing his Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) test. Scott can now drive himself around on a scooter. I am fairly sure 50ccs of unbridled 2-stroke fury will make him feel a bit like he’s moving in slow motion compared to his Aprilia RSW125. But maybe he can get some help tuning the bike from his Team BQR mechanics. Mr. Redding is pictured on MotoGP.com while astride a Piaggio Zip 50 scooter. Scott races for Blusens Aprilia. As Aprilia is under the Piaggio umbrella of companies, I hope they set him up nicely with the ‘ped for free.
Lots of activity in the CWC over the past week, I’ll update later today, I promise, but you can scroll through the comments and do the math if you can’t wait.
This week the Vectrix electric maxi-scooter has proven itself in the CWC and the company has announced a smaller version of the ‘zero-emissions’ (near you) scooter. Autobloggreen says the VX-2 is slightly smaller and likened performance to a 50cc scooter. Top speed is claimed at 30 mph with a range of 45-50 miles. The numbers don’t seem like anything new in the electric scooter world. Old EVT Yamaha Vino clone scooters (warning: sound on page) had similar specifications. The literal lingua franca scooter website, Scooter-Station.com, has a photo posted and reports that the scooter will weigh in at over 400 lbs. Again nothing new in the weighty world of electric scooters.
In more inspiring news, Soundspeed Scooters in Seattle is offering a Lithium polymer battery pack for the EVT 168 (linked above) and 4000e scooters. The Li polymer power plant is supposed to reduce the weight of the scooter by 100 lbs. I’d imagine the battery could also make the proposition of their Electric Vespa conversion system a bit more attractive as well.
The two developments leave a shopper for a small electric scooter with two general choices. Neither choice is an inexpensive option with the Lithium version of the EVT 168 coming in at around 4200.00 and the Vectrix VX-2 at around 5200.00. But it will come down to choosing a novel chassis design with a heavy curb weight or a slightly more svelte scooter with dated, less inspiring design approach.