Vinashin Motor’s Diamond Blue 125

There’s already a long trail of modern Vespa knockoff attempts. Chinese manufacturers and importers have adorned their trade show booths and spam emails with primitive Fiberglas approximations and photoshopped mockups of Pontedera pretenders for years. The SYM Fiddle began life as a computer rendering of a Vespa LX in a Dealer Expo brochure. Even LML is allegedly developing the “Clipper,” an Indian ET4 clone.

But our new (unpaid, sorry!) Dutch correspondent David V. discovered a Vietnam-market scooter that takes the cake, the Vinashin Motor Diamond Blue 125 copies the Vespa LX right down to the hexagon badge cutout on the legshield. Amazingly, this design plagiarism isn’t even the most controversial aspect of the scooter.
Continue reading “Vinashin Motor’s Diamond Blue 125”

SIL to be Sold,
Lambretta Future Unclear as Ever

The Indian government is looking to sell their majority share of Scooters India Limited, who manufactured Lambrettas until 1998, and currently manufacture the Vikram three-wheeler. Mahindra and Mahindra and Tata Motors have both expressed interest and at least one story suggests that on top of a promised $30 million relaunch of Vespa production in India, Piaggio (gasp!) is also interested in SIL.

SIL’s greatest asset may be their “world right (to) the trade name Lambretta/Lambro,” but according to the story linked above, SIL’s ownership of the name is currently in dispute with the Swiss/Italian Lambretta Consortium, who appears better-equipped to win the fight.
Continue reading “SIL to be Sold,
Lambretta Future Unclear as Ever”

Your Government at Work?

The cause of the several-months-long 4T Genuine Stella delay is revealed thanks to FOIA request. The emissions stickers weren’t sticky enough, and the idle mixture screw wasn’t sufficiently tamperproof. I don’t know if “Epoxy coating” means they were supposed to glue them in place, or if that’s referring to the dumb plastic cap that covers the 1/2″ hole in the airbox (Nevermind, looking at my photos of the prototype, the 4T carb isn’t inside the airbox), but either way, that seems like a pretty minor issue. And honestly, that screw is there because it sometimes needs to be adjusted.

I applaud the U.S. and California governments for looking out for our security, safety, and ecological future. I’m absolutely glad they’ve ramped up enforcement. But they basically screwed Genuine here, badly, after ten years of letting anything with two wheels enter the country.

The real irony? The pollution created by shipping these buggers back to India and back (1000+ scooters, by land and sea) has a measurable environmental impact that surely outweighs the infraction. But that’s (mostly) outside the U.S., so who cares, right? Way to save the earth!

Props to Ralph for taking the trouble to find out instead of speculating on the boards for four months, like the rest of us.

Piaggio’s New Business Plan

Piaggio announced a new business plan today:

The plan is focused on new industrial plants in India and in Vietnam, on strengthening the commercial presence in Asian markets via new products and on development of new technologies for European and American markets…”

This clearly breaks the paradigm and thinks outside the box of Piaggio’s 2007 plan to build more scooters in India and Vietnam and Brazil, while strengthening their commercial presence in Asian markets via new products and on development of new technologies for European and American markets.

Colaninno is surely a visionary, but I bet I can predict his 2012 plan: Piaggio will manufacture more different scooters, and sell them to people, at a profit — wait for it — around the world! If we’re all lucky, that may still include the United States

Fuji X-100 (Not a Scooter)

As a scooterist/reader of this site, you’ll surely know the feeling of consumerist love at first sight. I’ve become obsessed with countless vehicles at countless rallies and motorcycle trade shows, and I’m sure you have too. Once in a while, you get to the point where you see an early prototype and know you will eventually own that bike, as long as the manufacturer doesn’t screw up between the concept and manufacturing stages (sadly they usually do!)

Well, this week Fuji Co. (The film/camera concern, totally unrelated to Fuji Heavy Industries of Fuji Rabbit scooter and Subaru fame) unveiled the camera of my dreams, and gave me a lot of insight about the scooter market and the difference between what consumers want, what they think they want, and what they get. On top of that, I know of at least two other scooterist designer/photographers that are counting the days and saving pennies until it’s released, so maybe it’s of interest to scooterists in general.
Continue reading “Fuji X-100 (Not a Scooter)”

The 2010 Paris Auto Show,
aka École des Faux-Scoots

Everyone and their mom including Mini (BMW) and Smart are planning to unveil world-changing e-scooters at the Paris Auto Show on September 30 and October 1. Everyone and their mom has a really nice set of magic markers. We’re not anti- e-scooters, I just think this is a lot of hype for what will ultimately be some pretty underwhelming vehicles. And you all know how 2sb feels about concepts.

Marginally more interesting to me are as-yet unsubstantiated rumors of a new BMW “big” scooter and an odd Marabese-designed 4-wheel scooter called “Quadro” set to be unveiled the day before the show. Here’s a “spy” video of the Quadro, merci, Charles for the news). While a four-wheeled scooter brings to mind a certain Onion story and the SMRFmobile 5-wheel MP3 from last weeks’ comments, Charles argues that Frenchmen want a big powerful safe scooter they can drive with a regular automotive license, so there’s apparently a thriving market of aspiring T-Max and MP3 owners pining for those extra wheels. We shall see, I guess.

(People sending me the Smart and Mini links are too numerous to thank personally, but thanks to all of you!)

MORE! Photos of the MINI and Smart scooter prototypes via Nathaniel and Eric, who rightly mentions the Mini concepts seems a bit more realistic and thought-out, whereas the Smart ones look like macro photos of Playmobil scooters (I’m paraphrasing there).

1, 2, 3: Accessorize And Transform

Welcome to my stream of consciousness. First, after thinking about comments by ‘stefan’ in my last post about trends in the scooter world I thought about a blank canvas scooter that could be customized as wanted. Second, I noticed a photo to the right of the 2sb page that had a close up of some leg shield and thought it was a picture of an accessory so I thought of the currently absent from the 2sb advert rotation Gen-U-Bin. This Gen-U-Bin is pretty cool and even if it’s not your cup of tea, it should illustrate the kind of product that could be bolted on to a chassis that can change the look and character. It’s a bit different than a universal top case from the fine folks at GIVI (who I’ll get to in another post). It’s specific to a model to change function. Third, I was reminded of the stuff from SX Appeal that changes the shape and functional attributes of the scooter like the Pack Rest and saddle bags.

My question for the readers is to point to how they or others have transformed their scooter from one thing to another by adding something. Taking off bodywork was around long before the Ruckus, but how will folks add back from the blank canvas? I’m not talking about a fuzzy seat cover, a top case, chrome crash bars or other embellishment. But stuff that has taken a regular scooter and turned into the scooter that the owner really wish had been built for them. When you wanted it all and got it, where did you put it?

Posting links directly to photos of your creations will probably not show up but I’ll try to check often and approve them.

Thoughts On 2-Wheeler Trends?

As powersports industry struggles from snowmobiles to scooters, there will be changes for producers and consumers. Some folks may make less money on each sale and there may be fewer options for people looking to purchase a new ride. But transcending the current problems and powered by the fact that as long as there’s a desire to buy a product there will be someone selling, the question arises as to what the next trend in the market will be. Manufacturers and customizers want to get out in front of the trend to maximize their share of the market and claim ‘FIRST’ with a bit more authority than the rest of the herd that shifts directions and takes the landscape like locusts on a fresh field. The Kneeslider’s Paul Crowe offers some interesting thoughts on the motorcycle market in relation to ‘customs’ and what the next trend may or may not be. As for scooters there have been a few trends like ‘sport’ scooters that take after a full fairing sportbike and just cut out the tank and make room for a step-through area or ‘retro’ scooters that create few sharp edges in their plastic skin, often reminiscent of the classic Vespa. Both kinds, in my opinion, often leave out the thoughtful design but that’s a top for another day. Are there other trends to be embraced in scooters? Why do we need new ones? Wouldn’t making one right for once be a good idea?

VVV: We Sell Soul

A couple hours left for a Vespa Video Vednesday, so here’s a quickie musical Interlude with scooters: The Spades (featuring Roky Erickson) doing We Sell Soul, featuring a nice slideshow of mod scooters. No one could be less mod than Roky Erickson, but it works. I’m DJing at Slaughterhouse, maybe this song will get me cut off so I can get to the bar faster.

If that’s not awesome enough, here’s a sweet Spacemen 3 cover. You heard they did a reunion show right?

New York: A Scooter Perspective

If WYNC’s Jim Colgan report “New York: A Scooter Perspective.” is accurate, NYC scooterists act as entitled and above the law as scooterists in many other cities. I love how many scooterists complain about lack of respect and tickets, while showing no respect for the law, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Still, kudos on a well-done piece that at least makes it clear that lane-splitting and parking on the sidewalk is illegal.

Thanks to Scoot Lemont via Modern Buddy.