Motorcycho


17 years ago, when 2strokebuzz was a ‘zine and the Internet was new, I ran across Norman, who publishes the great biker zine, Motorcycho. He’d send regular (far more regular than 2sb) packets with his new zine, always with a stack of stickers and postcards and other ephemera, and it always made my week to get a new issue. The other day, Norman came across 2sb on Facebook and dropped us a note, and I’m thrilled to tell you he’s still at it. Not only does he blog pretty regularly, he’s also still getting a new issue of the magazine out once in a while. He’s also got some patches, shirts, and records available, I have a couple of the old 7″ers and they’re great. Now please excus me while I catch up on several years of blog posts…

Interesting note: Norman hails from Port Roberts, Washington, which is a Wikipedia page worth checking out.

Last Call For Early Bird Amerivespa Registration

Amerivespa organizers posted on their facebook page that early bird registration has been extended until February 5th, so if you want save a few bucks now is the time to register. This years Amerivespa will be held in lovely resort town of Lake Geneva Wisconsin that should provide for some spectacular rides, that world famous midwestern hospitality, oh and probably beer.

Scootmoto Update

I’m going to shut down our sister shop, Scootmoto for a while and start from scratch, probably integrating it into the 2strokebuzz main site. The shopping cart software was junk to begin with (expensive junk at that) and a couple years later, it’s almost unuseable.

I’ll leave it open for a couple days, so if you’ve been eyeing a 2strokebuzz “Beat Happening” t-shirt or any of our other wares made by scooterists, for scooterists, act fast. I’d offer a storewide discount, if the cart software would allow me to. Sorry. Free scootmoto decals with all orders, how ’bout that? (Yes, we always did that anyway.)

Stock levels are subject to inaccuracy, but I’ll let you know right away if we’re out of something.

This is a Test, and an Update.

I’ve been trying to get 2strokebuzz posting reliably to the 2sb Facebook page for months, is today the day it finally starts working? Let’s see.

While we’re talking site news, I apologize for the lack of posts lately. You may have noticed Brooke and now Matt have been posting occasionally, which is great, and hopefully they’ll keep them coming. Honestly, I haven’t ridden a scooter for months, though I have been working on my Vespa 150 and hope to have it running reliably for Amerivespa in Lake Geneva, WI in June, I’m really looking forward to that. I also recently (finally) finished designing a special issue of American Scooterist celebrating the life of one of America’s most outspoken devotees of the Vespa and scootering in general, John Gerber, who passed away in 2010. It’s on press now and will ship to VCOA members soon.

MP3s Lost In Translation: An Efficient Italian Assembly?

SIP Scooter Shop shared a video on their Facebook page today. It is a National Geographic program clip about the Piaggio factory in Pontedera. The video has a few shots of vintage machines in their museum. But one of the views that appealed to me was the factory building tucked in the Tuscan hills shown in the background of the test ride shots. I don’t know if the buildings are the same, but it was reminiscent of those old aerial photos of the factory from the 1950s. Other parts show the processes involved in the building of their larger engines (What are they doing tossing crankshaft halves into big vats of rocks?!) and the assembly of the MP3 hybrid scooter. Not a 2-stroke in sight. I wonder where they build those? I focus on the visual aspects of the video because it’s all in Italian, a language I do not understand. If anyone wants to translate any remarkable points of what looks to be a standard factory tour for the kind of shows that used to make the Discovery Channel great before they jumped the shark, feel free to post below.

Corradino D’Ascanio Honored With Exibit At Pontedera

The New York Times Wheels Blog offers a report on the man behind the original design of the Vespa. The most interesting note for those immersed in all things Piaggio, is that he was left to design trade show displays instead of the helicopters that he really wanted to work on. He was a great designer because he started with the user and moved out from there. Today most things start with an industrial designers screen and are forced around a user, with poor results. Step away from the CAD software and Illustrator, dudes. Just because it makes a pretty picture does mean that it will make a useful object. D’Ascanio knew this. Lets be thankful that he didn’t have the tools that modern designers have.

Thanks to Scooterville in Minneapolis for sharing the post on facebook. The owner, Bob, once designed sets and trade show displays and now sells Vespas. Full circle.

Modern PK Automatic at EICMA

This is just a short post to beat Bryan and the new cub report, Matt, to the punch.

It appears that rumors are true (but are secrets really lies?). LML has shoehorned an automatic into a PK body. They are showing it off at the big bike show EICMA, in Italy. I noticed the photo posted in Scooter Mercato‘s facebook feed. Thanks, Dave.

Discuss. (Likely more analysis to follow.)

The Last Grand Prix Motorcycle Race & The Ghosts of Lambretta

The British rider Danny Webb has put the Mahindra Motors Racing 125cc Grand Prix motorcycle on Pole Position for the final round of the 2011 Championship at Valencia, Spain. This is significant on several levels.

Mahindra Motors acquired the Italian firm Engines Engineering prior to the 2011 season in an effort to go racing. Engines Engineering had be entering machines in Grand Prix racing before, but it was under the Lambretta name in 2010 with Marco Ravailoli and a raft of temporary guest riders. While the young Italian and his teammates made valiant efforts under the Lambretta Reparto Corse banner, the switch to Mahindra racing colors and new riders, Danny Webb and Marcel Schrotter, has resulted in a better points placement this season. German and British hands seem to be able to get old Lambrettas going a bit quicker.

The Lambretta to Mahindra conversion also mirrors an Indian continuation of the Lambretta efforts. Interestingly, Scooters India Limited (SIL), the company that took over producing Lambretta models in the subcontinent, is up for sale. Piaggio, Atul Auto and Mahindra have all thought about acquiring the state-run factory, but have reconsidered in recent months. If they had bought the currently money losing company it would have made for a very tidy story!

The saddest and most important part of this event is that it is the last time two-stroke machines will compete at the top level of World-Class racing. It’s not that four-stroke 125s haven’t raced before and been magnificent. But for the last 40 years two stroke machines have dominated at least one class of Grand Prix racing and now it comes to an end. Not by lack of competitiveness, but by simple rule change. Manufacturer goals have changed and that sweet 2 Stroke Buzz plays no role in these aims. The new class will be single-cylinder four-stroke engines and Mahindra and others including Honda and KTM will field machines. But it certainly won’t be the same. Not the same noise, the same smell, the same simple beauty of the two-stroke steeds.

If you’d like to see the event, you can watch live from MotoGP.com for a price. The race starts at 4:00 AM CST on Sunday (tomorrow) morning. Less than an hour later will be a distinct end of an era.

Future Of The Past

Is a new slogan for Giannelli exhausts, or maybe just a poor google translation. The company is reintroducing many of its pipes for mopeds and scooters from 1980’s on the angle that if it was good enough 25 years ago it’s good enough for old guys with more money to relive their youth with now. Also appears the company will introduce a new exhaust for the 4-stroke LML Stella/Star. Living in the past not for you? Well then maybe the MyMuffler program from Polini is more your style. I’m sure you often thought “boy would I like my name emblazoned on the can of my exhaust” well now you can!

More Four Stroke Vespa PX Rumblings

SIP Scooter Shop reports that they have a reliable source confirming that Vespa will be showing off their new 4-stroke powered PX series scooter at the upcoming EICMA show in Milan this Fall. The Genuine Scooter Company LML-made Stella 4-Stroke has recently made it to dealers around the country. But will the new PX come back to America? Would current Vespa dealers want it? One thing that many will be interested in is the design of the engine. Will it be unlike the LML and fit into the classic Vespa frame?

File it all under RUMOR until we see it rolling around Rome.

Hostile Takeover II

Choosing the (few) rallies I can attend these days tends to be a matter of finding a free weekend, and checking what’s going on. Sadly I missed Cincinnati and Niagara this year, and I know I can’t go to PVSC or Amerivespa, so when the opportunity to go to Hostile Takeover presented itself, I jumped at the chance. Rarely would I be so excited about visiting Des Moines, IA, but when I think of the fun I’ve had in rural Ontario and Ohio, Moline, IL, and even Vegas (I’m not a fan), I knew Des Moines had a lot of potential.
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