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2010 Land Speed Trials

November 25, 2010

The long-awaited first MSILSF scooter speed trial took place last Sunday (November 21, 2010). The event faced a late change of venue from El Mirage Dry Lake (which turned out to be not-so-Dry-Lake) to a (slightly hilly) half-mile stretch of Route 66 near Devore, CA. The new shorter and hillier course perhaps wasn’t ideal for speed testing, but attendance was good and at the very least, a bar has been set in the various classes for future events. Overall winner was Patrick Owens at 90mph (Yamaha TMAX 500), all winners are listed here. The California Scooter Company posted a good overview and some great photos. Two MSILSF events are already planned for 2011, a Salton Sea Endurance Rally in March and a trip to IMOLA in July, as they work towards getting scooters officially sanctioned for AMA/BUB events at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Book Review:
Vespa Scooters Essential Buyer’s Guide

November 24, 2010

Veloce Books is a British publisher focused mostly on vintage cars and motorcycles. They’ve released several scooter books, some reviewed here in the past, and all worth checking out. Their newest scooter-related endeavor is The Essential Buyer’s Guide: Vespa Scooters (subtitled “Classic two-stroke models 1960 to 2008“) by Mark Paxton. The word “Essential” in the title is not hyperbole, this book is truly a “must-own” for anyone considering the purchase of a vintage Vespa.
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Kawasaki W800

November 15, 2010

Kawasaki’s bringing back their vintage-styled vertical twin “W” motorcycle back, this time as the Kawasaki W800. No news on the US market.
Thanks, Eric/Scooterism.

An Alternate Reality?

November 12, 2010

The MV Agusta motorcycle, like the Vespa, was born from the remnants of an Italian aircraft manufacturer after World War II. But did you know the Agusta and Vespa very nearly had a lot more in common?

MV Agusta produced their first prototype, called “Vespa 98″, in 1945. After learning that the name had already been registered by Piaggio for its Vespa motorscooter, it was referred to simply by the number “98”.

Agusta went on to build a few scooters, such as the CGT, the Ovunque, and the Chicco. So if it was not for some paperwork, we could all be riding Ovunques today!

Thanks to our Belgian friend David V.

Isle Of Man Lambretta Racing c. 1970

November 12, 2010

This is a great video. You may want to turn up the brightness on the monitor but that may take away some of the appeal. The music is so good you’d think Mr. Illnoise had posted this. The event isn’t quite the closed-road TT, though the pilots just show their mettle by mixing it up with lorry traffic. Now you’ll excuse me while I go look for a petrol can in the carport.

Via the SIP Facebook page

#24: Dr. Octane

November 12, 2010

Today’s rather than answering a specific reader question, let’s rebuke a common misperception that comes up every few days on every scooter forum:

My (dealer and/or manual) told me to use premium gas in my Asian scooter.

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LML Electric Scooter Revealed At EICMA

November 3, 2010

As posted earlier, LML Italia has promoted the arrival of an electric scooter. The German scooter shop SIP has delivered the goods with four snapshots of the literally green Star Electric. The scooter is an electric conversion of the popular LML Star (aka Genuine Stella). Electric conversions of largeframe Vespa scooters has been available as custom work from Soundspeed Scooters in Seattle. I’m betting a Stella Electric may come in at a similar price as the conversion plus an old project someone has never finished. We’ll wait and see. How much would you pay for an electric Stella?

LML ready to counter Vespa threat

November 2, 2010

Can Vespa shut down LML in Europe with their new PX retread? We’re betting it won’t be easy. The LML was on the market first, and even their top-of-the-line 4-stroke model is quite a bit cheaper than the Vespa model it apes (no pun intended). On top of that, Italy and PGO are offering subsidies of up to 22% for the 4-stroke LML Star Sure, there is a crowd that would never settle for an LML over a Vespa, but we bet plenty of thrifty Europeans will choose the cheaper LML, especially where subsidies apply. And Vespa’s threat is further mooted with new LML models expected to be announced at EICMA this week. Rumors include automatic transmission, electronic fuel injection, an electric version, and 50cc, 200cc, and even 250cc variants. We don’t expect to see all of those (especially the 250) but you can bet on a few of those, and a “Create your Star” program becoming available soon, at least in Europe.

In the disintegrating U.S. market where the LML Star is sold as the Genuine Stella, Vespa is unlikely to import the PX. The PX models sold a few years ago were priced at about $5000 and were unavailable in California. That price would likely be higher today, and California’s CARB emissions standards are spreading to 16 states, including scooter-friendly Washington, Oregon, New York, and Florida.

Ironically, the Vespa’s dated-but-beloved 2-stroke engine might be it’s biggest selling point, as LML is allegedly phasing out their 2-stroke version. But it’s still a mystery why Vespa, who were forced out of the US market in 1985 by emissions laws, haven’t bothered to develop a 4-stroke engine for the classic Vespa frame in the ensuing 25 years. Vespa and Piaggio continue to innovate in other product lines, so perhaps it’s a smart decision (and minimal investment) to keep the Vespa PX frozen in time, but LML is likely to cut deeply into the PX’s relatively small pool of customers with the same classic body, competitive pricing, and more modern engineering.

2011 Vespa PX 125, 150 for Europe

November 2, 2010


As predicted a couple months ago, Vespa has taken note of LML’s success in the metal-bodied manual-transmission market. Scooter Station, Scooter-Infos, Hell for Leather, and Motoblog.it are reporting that Piaggio is dusting off the Vespa PX 125 and 150, which will be available in the first quarter of 2011 with some minor cosmetic changes and a catalyzed 2-stroke engine that (somehow) meets Euro3 specs.
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Mods Surely To Find New Pride From Film, Brighton Rock

November 1, 2010

Mark from Minneapolis passed on to us this trailer for the film Brighton Rock and it’s pretty Mod-tastic with more mirrors than a…place with a lot of mirrors. It shows off a pack of Vespa and Lambretta scooters looking for trouble. Was the Tokyo Film Festival a do-not-miss for the jet-set international Modernist? A quick search turns up the basis for the film. The cast includes the hard-working Helen Mirren. But will it be better than Quadrophenia?

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