Scooter in the Sticks’ Steve Williams has been test-riding motorcycles for the last year or so, and now he’s compiled all his reviews in one post. If you’re looking for a scooterists’ perspective on some current motormocycles, look no further; as always, great writing and great photography from one of our fave bloggers.
49ccScoot.com is a newish site focused on GY6 and Minarelli engine tuning and maintenance, with forums, videos, and more. If you’re looking for tips to hop up or fix your Chinese bike, this looks like a good place to visit to get an honest, reasonable answer without the snooty attitude you get from sites like, um, say, 2strokebuzz.
Via Jason Davis on Modern Buddy
Try these two great on-screen Rider Perception tests from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Then try them again, the obstacles and signs change, and you can adjust the speed.
When you’ve been riding a lot, and you’ve been trained to see obstacles, they start to jump out at you. Critics of MSF (and thankfully, there are few) argue that training does not reduce risk when riding. I agree that it’s important to remember that you’re always at risk, regardless of training. But even simple bits of knowledge like “metal plates and manholes are slippery” give riders an edge, how can anyone argue that it’s not worth learning as much as possible about hazards and two-wheel physics?
eHow features some weird/pointless scooter tips, such as How to Compete in a Vespa Rally, which seems like it was written in a couple minutes with no actual insight into scooters or racing. Do eHow writers just crank these things out for an easy paycheck or what? Aside from MotoGiroUSA, which is not specifically for scooters, and a couple one-off events over the years, are there even any European-style Rally road races in the U.S.? I feel bad linking to more of these articles, they don’t deserve the traffic, but there are listings for “How to Restore a Vespa,” “How to Become a Vespa Dealer,” “How to Join a Vespa Club”… all of which basically say “1. Use a little common sense. 2. Look on the internet for more information.” Thanks, eHow!
I haven’t watched a late-night talk show since Adult Swim’s been on the air, but if I did, Jay Leno would be third on my list behind Conan O’Brien and David Letterman. Maybe eighth if you threw in Craig Ferguson and Chelsea Handler and a few others. I’ve always thought his Tonight Show was about as bland as a show can be, a pale imitation of the already-bland Johnny Carson years.
But, the weird thing is, I like Jay Leno. How can you not? He’s by all accounts an affable guy, and he loves motorcycles. We might all be jealous of his collection, but motorcycle and scooter blogs are full of “Jay sighting” stories, always reporting that he couldn’t be more friendly and down-to-earth. And further proof: he allegedly turned down hosting an American version of Top Gear, admitting that the show would be worthless without Jeremy Clarkson.
Leno’s motoring blog Jay Leno’s Garage will feature a video report on the Genuine Buddy tomorrow (February 12, 2010). I’m really looking forward to it.
You’d think Jay’d be a Vespa guy, it’s a fact he’s got at least one vintage GS in his collection, and he spoke at PiaggioUSA’s 2008 dealer meeting (ah, 2008, those were the days! Rumor has it he was paid with a truckful of bikes, hopefully not recalled RSVs!.)
So it’ll be interesting to hear what he’s got to say about the Buddy, and surely legions of Buddy fans are waiting with bated breath. I agree an Americanized Top Gear would be horrible, but I bet we’d all love to see a Jay Leno motorsport show.
Even the Conan fans.
At 2strokebuzz, we pride ourselves on our many ‘scoops,’ stories we covered before the professional powersports media and other blogs. But we still get plenty of our news through the usual channels, and over the past couple years, one professional powersports journalist has really impressed us by often going beyond the usual re-hashed press releases and digging up some interesting stories. In just the past couple days, Guido Ebert of Powersports Daily has:
- been first to confirm that UM has closed, with many insightful details about their suppliers and dealer network,
- looked beyond Vectrix’ press release to learn more about their real new owners.
- Suggested dealers skip Dealer Expo this year, which perhaps isn’t so brave considering the show is run by a competitor, but it’s the first article I’ve seen publicly stating what most of my contacts in the industry have been saying in private, and
- revealed that Jay Leno plans to videoblog about the Genuine Buddy on February 12.
Ebert, like any modern journalist, rehashes his fair share of press releases and does favors for friends, but we’re all surely guilty of that, right? If you’re looking for more in-depth and professional motorcycle industry information than 2strokebuzz can provide, you should be reading blog.guidoebert.com or following him on Facebook or Twitter.
2SB reader Mark Neustadt shot and edited a series of road-trip videos on his Yamaha Majesty 400. You’d think nine-minute clips of a dude riding a scooter might get boring, but it’s shot pretty well and his Wisconsin roads sure look like a lot more fun than my Chicago commute. In fact, these might really help us all get through the winter.
Thanks Mark! Now stop fidgeting with the camera and mind the road, we don’t want to watch you lowside on YouTube!
Scooter Wallpapers Collection features 1600 x 1200 photos of scooters, mostly high-quality press photos with a white background. The selection is a little strange (no Vespas, lots of Derbi and several defunct brands) and the blog format maybe isn’t the best way to organize the photos, but it’s a neat resource.
Eric tweets that the new issue of Amazing Spider-Man (#602) features Mary Jane on a Lambretta. Is that computer-generated art or a gouache painting? And why is Mary Jane so huge? I avoid comic book stores because I’ve chosen to waste all my disposable income on scooters and records, but I might have to pick that up.
Speaking of comics, Eric (OTHER Eric) at Chicago Scooter Club recently posted a roundup of scooter comics, including Chynna Clugston-Major’s “Blue Monday” and “Scooter Girl” series and a new “Mods and Rockers” comic. And don’t forget Ed Brubaker’s Deadenders and The Originals by Dave Gibbons of Watchmen fame.
Artist Jay Nelson rigged up a custom Honda Spree with a surfboard-bearing roof, a retractable awning, and a wooden storage bin. (An early sketch shows he originally intended it to be a Vespa.)
Funny how stuff like this spreads around… The scooter was exhibited last Fall at Nelson’s “The Autonomous Zone” exhibit at TripleBase gallery in San Francisco. Apparently a current exhibition of Nelson’s work at Gottino, a restaurant in NYC, brought the scooter to the attention of a Portugese-language green design blog, and the image ended up on Notcot, where it was spotted at random by John Park at Makezine. In this case, 2SB reader Sharon spotted it there and sent it our way (Thanks, Sharon! This rant has nothing to do with you), but I’ll probably see the Makezine story later tonight when I’m scanning Google News Alerts, and it’ll be on every scooter blog and newsgroup in America by tomorrow, credited to Makezine. I just point this out because it’s interesting how blogs come across stories then other blogs link to the blog they saw it on rather than the original blog, and what could have been a big bonanza in hits for the person that originated the story ends up bogging down their server with anonymous hot-linked image hits. It’s the internet, whattaya gonna do, but I thought it’d be fun to track down the reason that a year-old art exhibition was suddenly getting a spike in attention. It’d be fun to do a website that pulls stories off Boing Boing and Metafilter and Slashdot and Digg and tracks them back to their original genesis, which is usually by someone that put a lot of effort into the story, and was forgotten in the process of re-writing, simplifying, linking, and forwarding.
Not that I don’t do the same thing, all day every day (though I generally don’t help myself to photos when I don’t know where they came from). I’ve been sort of reluctant to post this sort of sixth-hand story lately, but I guess that’s what what bloggers are supposed to do. Hopefully my occasional hard work on original content makes up for it. Sorry about the weird tangent there, but these things interest me.
Chad Schaefer (months ago) passed along five great stories from TIME Magazine’s newly-available-online archives. They were decades-old to begin with, so you’ll forgive the delay. Here are some excerpts, click the title to see the full stories.
TIME, October 17, 1955
…Italian motor-scooter enthusiasts, often harshly criticized for their desire to dominate the road, were still glowing at [79-year-old Pius XII’s] understanding words to a group of Vespa riders: “Those who complain of your noise, do they ever think that your speed may take you to church in time for Mass, or that you may be rushing a sick person to the hospital? Be patient with those who abuse you.”…
TIME, August 14, 1964
… Suddenly, the kids began ranging through town in packs, stopping traffic, banging on cars, chanting (“Up the Mods”), looking for trouble. They raided cafes for dishes and glasses to throw, knives and forks to brandish, chased each other up the beaches and down the streets under a hail of rocks and crockery. On the promenade, herds of noisy Rocker motorcycles roared incessantly; buzzing them in hand-to-handlebar combat were enough Mod motor scooters to hold mass Vespa services.…
TIME, January 13, 1967
…the New York police have found a way to let one man cover the ground of five: the motor scooter. Police Commissioner Howard R. Leary has already checked out 575 cops on 80 Vespas and Lambrettas. And he has just asked for funds to buy 300 more. Eventually, he wants all 2,000 patrolmen to mount up…
(no original title) TIME, June 13, 1969
…the next morning [U.S. Astronaut] McDivitt hustled out to the Air Show, where he and fellow Apollo 9 Crewmen David Scott and Russell Schweiclcart showed Cosmonauts Vladimir Shakalov and Alexei Yeliseyev around the American exhibit. The proceedings started somewhat stiffly; then a bottle of bonded bourbon was broken out and things began to loosen up. By the time the revelers reached the Russian exhibit with its plentiful stock of vodka, they were saluting everything from Snoopy to space medicine. Toasted to a light crisp, the space travelers finally piled onto their Vespas and scooted back to the American pavilion—two hours late for their ensuing engagement.…
TIME, February 7, 1972
…In 1970. only 55,000 Lambrettas were sold compared with 180,000 a decade earlier. Faced with the realities of a stronger economy, the late Innocenti’s son and nephew, who now run his company, have stopped production of the Lambretta in Italy but will keep a parts depot. They are arranging a deal with the Indian government and a Bombay company to move Lambretta production to India beginning in 1974…
Piaggio’s latest Vespa Vintage catalog is available online. The PDF download doesn’t seem to work, but you can peruse it in Flash. The first “Vespa Vintage” catalog came out around the same time Piaggio returned to the U.S., and sent many Vespaphiles running to their local VVRS (remember those?) expecting to find some of the lovingly depicted reproductions of rare bits actually in stock. The new catalog (have there been any in between? Is this a once-a-decade thing?) seems a little less, well, imaginary, and VespaUSA’s parts department has improved (a bit) since 2000, so now’s your chance to score that Piaggio-approved GS spare tire gas tank.