May 8, 2013
In 2003, writing about the CycleWorld motorcycle show, I wrote:
The Ruckus has “personal injury lawsuit” written all over it. (…) What can I say? it was hands-down the most ridiculous, ugly, pointless vehicle on display in the entire arena. And Grace, Vina and I all loved it. It’s basically a 2-wheeled ATV. You can’t look at it without thinking about ways to hurt yourself riding it. It simply inspires jackassery. It’s just begging to be covered in chicken wire and papier mache, or to be ridden “Bad-Route-style” through the woods while tripping, wearing nothing but cutoff shorts and a gorilla mask. Love it. It’s the future of scootering.
Here we are, ten years later, and my prophecy is fulfilled: Are You F*#kin Nuts? Chicago 2013. Actually it was fulfilled last year, when 40 riders attended the mostly-Ruckus-centered event, but as an expert globetrotting scooter journalist who posts once every two months these days if you’re lucky (you’re not), it passed right under my sad-old-man Cushman-polishing radar. We’ve been seeing more and more hot-rodded Ruckii at our own rallies in the past few years, and as far as I’m concerned, everyone’s welcome at most of our rallies, so we’re glad to have ‘em, and more power to ‘em, but obviously it’s not my demographic, I can’t even pretend to understand it, and I’m sure they’ve had their own blogs and tumblrs and sext aggregators and whatever it is that hipper, younger, carefree scooterists do these days to justify their existence. So as 2strokebuzz enters its wane of old age (seriously you guys, I need to pull the plug on this thing and put it out of its misery) cheers to the next generation, you’re just as stupid as we were and if you’re luckier than us, you’ll stay that way.
March 2, 2013
Congratulations to Patrick “duo” Harris of Minneapolis for winning the 2012/13 Cold Weather Challenge! It was a close battle for second and third with only the distance of the ride separating the two. Here are the winners:
First Place – Patrick “duo” Harris of Minneapolis, MN with a 13.6 mile ride at -6F on his 2004 Stella GB150.
Second Place – Sterling Chin of Pleasant Grove, UT with 15.9 mile ride at -1F on his 2003 Stella.
Third Place – Brenden Smith of Grand Junction, CO with a 14.4 mile ride at -1F on his 1979 P125X.
Our bonus random drawing goes to:
Anthony Armstrong of Dallas, TX with a 29.9 mile ride at a balmy 53F on his 1961 Series 2 Lambretta Li150.
Thanks to all how entered and see you next year!
January 31, 2013
With less than a month to go will anybody be able to beat Patrick of Minneapolis with his -10º entry? Be sure to check out entrants photos over on scoot.net
December 16, 2012
Jeffraham Prestonian posted a rebuttal and alternate challenge (in the NOHO thread since we’d blocked the CWC thread from anything but entries). Jeff’s a good dude, and he makes some good points, so I thought we should link it up in a fresh post (open to comments!) and take the chance to spiel a little…
First off, as you’ve surely noticed, 2SB has slowed down and is going through some changes. I started it as a zine in 1995, and it’s been online (mostly) since 2000. I’m pretty much ready to retire, and since Matt (with support from our pal Peter from Piston Ported) took the initiative to run the CWC this year, I told him he could do it however he wanted.
But I support his decision to restrict the Cold Weather Challenge to vintage(-ish) bikes, and here’s why:
Over the years, I’ve gone way out of my way to write about modern scooters and try to make new scooterists and modern scooterists feel like part of 2strokebuzz. I tried to look outside the ska/mod/skin thing, and show how diverse scootering was, even then.
In 1995, the main means of communication among scooterists was photocopied flyers and phone calls, followed distantly by Usenet (already with a rift between alt.scooter, and alt.scooter/classic, I haunted the former.) There were only a handful of worthwhile scooter shops nationwide. The only ‘modern’ scooters available were from Honda and Yamaha, and both were selling crusty models introduced in the mid-80s (the same models that contributed to Vespa’s demise in the U.S.). A big city would have a club or two, but if you didn’t live in L.A. or Chicago, it was hard to find anyone to ride with. There was a rally SOMEWHERE in North America any given weekend, but it may be a 14-hour drive to meet the same small group of regulars that would show up at all of them. Most of us were young, unmarried, childless, and underemployed.
In the late 90s when Vespa came back, and a few other marques showed up in the U.S., the rift grew, and I didn’t like it, and I spoke out about it. I felt like all scooterists needed to band together and be supportive to grow the ‘scene’ or ‘hobby’ or whatever it was and any scooter on the road was a good scooter.
Today, there are still a lot of reasons for scooterists to band together, and they do, and I like that. But things are easier now, just about any decent-sized city has a shop, and a couple clubs, and a weekly ride, and a couple rallies every year. Thanks to the internet, you can find infinite people with your same interests, either in your town, or around the world.
At the same time, after years of writing about modern scooters and trying to keep track of some truly shitty importers and too many importers that were nice enough but just didn’t know what the fuck they were doing, and dealing with legal threats and shady people and sifting through Google News looking for stories to repost, I’ve realized that even though I ride a modern scooter (far more than I ride vintage scooters these days), and I’m very satisfied with it, I just don’t get the same throb inside as I do when I see an old Vespa. It’s still fun to ride, and it’s fun to hang out with modern scooterists and go to big rallies where everyone’s welcome, but it’s also good to realize that there’s a lot of events going on, and more people with scooters than I’ll ever meet, so it’s great to have the option to spend a weekend with people I’ve known for 17 years, riding the unreliable bikes that got me interested in this whole mess. If I go to a car show, even a car show where anyone’s welcome, it’s gonna be the vintage cars that are gonna make me drool, and I’m gonna walk right past the ’95 Thunderbirds and Low Riders and custom vans and NASCAR replicas and customized modern Minis. No dis, it’s just not my thing, and I’m too old and WAY too busy to feel obligated to pay attention to stuff that doesn’t interest me much.
So hey, Jeff, I’m not offended at all that you’re offended, and I’m glad you’re picking up the event for the modernistas. Between the mild winter and the slow death of the commitment to 2strokebuzz, we only have one entry to date, so maybe yours’ll be more successful, and I’m cool with that. But to Matt (and me, too), there’s something special about dragging an unreliable, decades-old decomposing scooter (or a shiny restoration that you should really be more careful with) out of the garage in the dead of winter and sticking it to Mother Nature. Doing the same thing on a modern bike, even a warrantied, factory-fresh bike with electronic ignition, is still quite an accomplishment, and it’s absolutely cool to celebrate that, too. The Stella ‘loophole’ isn’t perfect, but it makes the line simpler to draw, and our sponsor probably asked to include Stellas simply because he supplies parts and accessories for Stellas.
So no hard feelings, it’s all good, the more people on scooters the better, the more scooter blogs and shops and clubs and rallies and winter challenges the better, I hope it all keeps growing so we can celebrate our differences as much as we celebrate our similarities, with the option to do both as the mood strikes.
November 29, 2012
There has been no shortage of scooter shops closing over the past five years or so with most of them being fly-by-night shops trying to make a quick buck selling inferior imported bikes or ones that got caught up in Vespa Boutique mania, so it’s a real bummer to see one of the good shops closing up. Mike Frankovich posted on the NoHo facebook page that he will closing the doors to his North Hollywood shop. NoHo opened up 10 years ago around the same time as other great scooterist owned shops such as Sportique in Denver, Scooterville in Minneapolis, and Pride of Cleveland. We wish Mike the best of luck!
November 27, 2012
Below you will notice a few rule changes this year but also note there are actual prizes this year!
1st place receives a $50 gift certificate to Piston Ported and 2 shirts and shop rag from Factory Tools.
2nd place receives a $25 gift certificate to Piston Ported and 2 shirts and shop rag from Factory Tools.
3rd place receives a $25 gift certificate to Piston Ported and 1 shirt and shop rag from Factory Tools.
Bonus random drawing from all entrants 1 Piston Ported shirt and 1 shirt from Factory Tools.
November 12, 2012
Piston Ported, Factory Tools, and 2Strokebuzz presents the 2012-13 Cold Weather Challenge. There will be a few changes this year, namely it will be open only to vintage and 2 stroke geared scooters (such as 2 stroke Stellas). The Challenge will run from December 1st, 2012 to February 28th, 2013. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers as well as a bonus prize, chosen at random from all entries, which means that even if you live in Hawaii you could still win something. Don’t put the scooters away just yet, stay tuned for more details and complete rules.
November 8, 2012
Jeb, of Fido, passed along this teaser image from EICMA with Italian description. The photo depicts an LML star with an automatic engine. Last year we saw an even more compact PK with the same powerplant wedged inside. Now the Retro Vespa kits to convert a P-series into a VBB-appearing ride may have a new appeal. The holy grail of vintage modern is nearly at hand. It will certainly outdo the La Vita disaster, but will it still look a bit Tranny?
October 5, 2012
September 27, 2012
1977 Mopeds is a shop at the epicenter of the modern American mopedlar world. They have a new feature on their site that is as much eye-candy as social aggregation for the 50cc bikes with vestigial pedals. It’s called Garage. The concept is a bit like facebook where you register, make a profile put up pictures of your ride and ‘like’ other people’s creations. But it takes it a step further and indexes all the trick bits people compile into their showcased moped builds. So if the member documents their build well enough, you can glean enough info to re-create the machine yourself. The parts are cross-referenced to other bikes which have the part and to the product page where you can buy the part in question. It’s not too pushy on the product placement as it’s the second choice when you click on a part and keeps the feel of a user focused site. Users can add multiple bikes and you can tell some of the better builders have a signature style. It’s not just for the tuners and 30 mph boy racer. Stock and restored builds are also welcome.
Plans for the future include awards for top bikes, manual libraries and tuning indexes to help users along. In the vintage scooter world some efforts like this have popped up in the past but with less homogenization and standard input formats. The great Scoot.net and Scooterhelp.com have been individually priceless assets to the scooter community. 1977 is trying to tie it all together in line with their own site and it looks pretty nicely done. It probably takes an entity with a material interest to pool it all as such.
Take it for a spin and feel free comment below and say how much it’s too much like pinterest and tumblr.
September 2, 2012
I came across this video on Youtube showing the death of the 2 stroke engine is greatly exaggerated. Athena, an Italian powersports engine aftermarket parts company shows off their own direct injection system for aftermarket cylinders. The video makes some impressive claims. I think a 4-stroke versus 2-stroke smackdown needs to occur, pitting Hondas 50cc FI scooter engine against this Athena tech.
We’ve seen DI systems from Orbital and subsequently Aprilia, Piaggio and Evinrude in the past. But coming from Athena suggests this could be in place for retrofitting and maybe turning a 5% oil burning piston-ported 150 two stroke generating a mind blowing 5 HP into something clean, efficient and still not ‘stroke-wasting’.
July 6, 2012
Saigon Scooter Center has thrown their hat into the electric scooter ring. It’s not another new Lambretta rumor, but a conversion of old to new. Vespa and Lambetta models appear, named VTronic and EBretta respectively. It’s a bit disappointing that they stuff a behemoth of a 13″ wheel in the back. And the custom cowl on the P-series conversion looks a bit off. But hey, they are making options for the people that want their transportation energy to not come from fossil fuels. At least not fossil fuels burned near them while riding.
Brits must have excellent eye sight. Most of their websites rely on the smallest photographs possible to differentiate products or events from smudges on the screen. Brit Ex-pat run SSC sustains the long tradition even overseas. Long live the Queen.
Any readers riding electric scooters right this moment? Home brew, conversions or off the shelf?
June 17, 2012
Just a few days stand between us and Amerivespa 2012 in Lake Geneva, WI. I’ve heard they already have 500 registrations, which would make it one of the largest rallies in North America, ever. Online registration is available until the 19th, and it’s a MUST to get your money’s worth. We’ll be sharing a vendor booth with Piston Ported (and something called “Factory Tools” that Matty won’t talk about), please stop by and say ‘hi!’
May 21, 2012
If no one’s going to give Phil Waters a reality show, we’re going to have to settle for this.
May 18, 2012
The Amerivespa team has recently updated the schedule. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited about a rally, I am really, REALLY, looking forward to seeing y’all there. Also, looks like we’ll be sharing a mersh table with Piston Ported. (Thanks, Peter!) Remember: it’s just about mandatory to pre-register, to be sure you get all the swag and a seat for the dinner.