Will new Chinese tire tariff affect scooters?

The Obama administration has approved a 35% tariff on Chinese-made tires, effective in two weeks. The tariff will decrease to 25% over the next two years. Before you start stockpiling Cheng Shin and Maxxis tires, note that the tariff appears to only target automobile and light truck tires, and it’s unclear if it will include Taiwanese tires. So even if it does include scooter tires, it may turn out to be good news, because it’ll probably only hurt the cheapo importers.

The Chinese tire industry has ballooned in recent years, and U.S. tire industry officials blame China for lost jobs and sales. But as of 2008, only two U.S. tire companies were among the world’s top ten (#2 Goodyear and #9 Cooper) so it seems strange to single out China when Bridgestone, Michelin, Continental, Hankook, Kumho, Pirelli, and Yokohama are all more direct competitors, and sell OEM tires for cars sold in the U.S. (Perhaps they’re all manufacturing in China, but if that’s the case, it seems impossible that Goodyear and Cooper aren’t.) Now’s your chance, Coker, how about some scooter-size gumwalls?

(Thanks for the link, Eric.)

CBP seizes 1400 scooters at Texas border

Another Chinese scooter grey-marketer busted, this time by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. CBP’s press release doesn’t name the importer, but the scooter in the photo appears to be a CF Moto “E-Charm” CF150. It seems unlikely that CF Moto would risk importing illegal scooters, chances are this was another company buying CF-Moto scooters (or knockoffs) from a third party behind CF Moto’s back, possibly similar to the Lance/SYM controversy last month, (Though Lance presumably would have ensured their bikes were at least EPA-legal.)
(Thanks, bermshot!)

UPDATE: About 400 of the scooters were CF Motos, according to this story. Lev Mirman of CPI insists the bikes meet specs, and the government “grasping at straws to halt any shipment from China.” Also in our comments below, POCphil reports the seizure also included Aprilia Sport City 250s.

Dumba Dumba Dumba: Madness’ “City”

Madness’ awesome TV commercials for the Honda City, The City was a compact hatchback with a matching folding scooter that tucked into the back, a concept that deserves to be revisited with the Fit. The jingle was later reworked as the “In the City” single, and “Honda Honda Honda” was replaced with “Doomba Doomba Doomba.”

(Thanks, Heather, awesome find!)

CARB fines Viva $1.875 million

The California Air Resources Board has fined Viva Motor Sports and some Viva dealers $1.875 million for importing and selling motorcycles, scooters, and ATVs that didn’t meet CARB requirements. CARB chairman Mary D. Nichols summed up the case:

There are plenty of great motorcycles that meet clean air standards. Most dealers know this and carry only bikes that have their California smog certificate. Those who try to cut corners put themselves in a lose-lose situation. Violators pay penalties and damage their reputations while putting public health at risk.”

Only $268,000 of the fine will be collected if the companies follow CARB regulations in the future. Importers complain that CARB regulations are too strict and the approval process is overcomplicated, but CARB is one of few agencies that have the power to regulate scooter imports and punish violations, so it’s good to see them actually going after some flagrant violations.

Owners can return the bikes, if the bikes are not returned, they will be barred from future registration.

(Thanks to NoHo Scooters and Scooterism for the story!)

SYM vs. Lance

This whole thing might have worked out if Lance hadn't NOT EVEN BOTHERED TO TAKE THEIR OWN PHOTO of the damn thing.
Last week, Carter Brothers, SYM’s US importer accused Lance Powersports of buying SYM’s Fiddle II scooters from SYM’s Chinese supplier via a third party with the intention of selling them in the USA as the “Vienna” 50 and 125. (Are there any European-sounding “V” words left to name a scooter? Yes! But that’s another story!) Of course SYM demanded they not sell the scooters here and… well… let’s try something new. Instead of posting snarky commentary in which 2sb takes sides and gets in trouble and has to apologize profusely for being right, let’s just post their dueling press releases, which are far more entertaining than anything we could come up with, anyway. Enjoy:
Continue reading “SYM vs. Lance”

Benelli in trouble?

According to motoblog.it, Benelli sales have been lower than expected worldwide ((Google machine translation). Qiang Jiang, who bought the marque a few years ago, is threatening to close what’s left of Benelli’s Italian-based production and assembly facilities. American Benelli importer Power Sports Factory gave 2strokebuzz an Andretti 150XT (“Velvet” in Europe) to test, you may remember I crashed it in the snow on its maiden voyage, but I’ve put some miles on it lately and it’s a good bike, look for a review (finally!) soon. Surely a good review on a rinky-dink American scooter blog will immediately turn things around for QJ and Benelli.

TSR Vespa smallframe disc brake in the works

tsrdisckit4In the 2strokebuzz tradition of finding scooter news and putting it under a tarp in the garage, we bring you month old news of a new Vespa smallframe disc brake system in the works that uses the traditional smallframe fork. The Scooter Republic is an outfit based in Vietnam that has been stealthily producing some reproduction and bespoke parts like SS90 replicas and some crazy exhausts for the smallframe range. When contacted for more information regarding the new smallie stoppers, a representative from TSR said the unit is in the late prototype stage and heading for production. The project is advanced to the point where they are currently accepting deposits on the first round of production. Now there appears to be an option for smallframe enthusiasts to get modern stopping power without resorting to the use of a PK fork. One caveat for the unit shown and to be produced first is that it is suited for the older style V90/V50 rim. While the numbers of riders with these wheels are smaller it is a great look and it’s possible to convert a scooter with the new style hubs and rims to the old pressed steel hubs. Further news revealed the addition of an anti-dive solution as well as a prototype for the newer style rims. Contact TSR by emailing: info AT tsr DOT vn. The tsr.vn website doesn’t give any additional information beyond a cool scooter cartoon but it’s worth the price of the click.

Tuk Tuk USA lineup features… Ape Calessino?

Ape Calessino or Tuk Tuk USA?

Jeremy Korzeniewski of Autoblog reported today that Tuk Tuk USA has “officially been granted both DOT and EPA approval for its line of Mitsubishi-powered three-wheelers.” Jeremy’s clearly a big tuk-tuk fan, he’s been following Tuk Tuk USA for about year, and he also posted an elegy for BajajUSA’s three-wheeer.
Continue reading “Tuk Tuk USA lineup features… Ape Calessino?”

Venti venditio veritas?

Orin reports that Hammerhead’s Venti (and a 50-cc verson, the “Paris,”) are expected to arrive at his local shop in June. Opinions vary, both about the scooter itself and its potential in the market, but Hammerhead seems to be walking the walk and following through (rather quickly) on a concept that could be very popular. If they handle dealer support as well as they’ve handled everything else so far, and if the bike is of halfway decent quality, we’ll probably be seeing a lot of Ventis on the road soon.

UPDATE: (4/16) Ryan at Scooter-News heard a different story from Hammerhead themselves, including a possible name change.

When it rains, it pours

We’re serious to imform you below:

Illnoise at 2strokebuzz.com is being abusing Yuota company and Its Binqi Logo. Which has been badly damaged Yuota company, BINQI Logo and its market, which brings a big risk to Yuota company.

By phone discussion of Yuota lawyer and Yuota distributor USA, we decide to accuse Illnoise at 2strokebuzz.com and 2strokebuzz web PROVIDER on 2nd April, 2009.

Yuota Lawyer has saved 2strokebuzz contents is to post China Council for the promotion of international Trade (CCPIT) and THE SURPEME PEOPLE’S COURT OF THE PEOPLE REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Yuota Distributor USA is to accuse Illnoise at 2strokebuzz.com and 2strokebuzz web PROVIDER in USA without delay.

Claims for the loss of BINQI brand and Yuota company.

Claims 2strokebuzz web PROVIDER to close 2strokebuzz.com without delay.
Accusation will be in action w/o delay on 2nd April, 2009.

Illnoise at 2strokebuzz.com must delete this Links:2strokebuzz.com/?p=5012 before Accusation time.
Illnoise at 2strokebuzz.com must recover reputation of YUOTA company and BINQI logo on home page of 2strokebuzz.com for lasting 90days..

Daniel Chan at Yuota group

Funny thing is, I just posted a rant on Modern Buddy this morning about how we should all be more understanding about China.

Vintage Baubles From Viet Nam

chromeladySaigon Scooter Centre sent out an email to announce the availability of some new vintage scooter accessories. Mirrors, crashbars and other useless adornments may not be your style. But at least this is not a post about another Maxi-Scooter or clone scooter trend. Mods of the world rejoice. You can now have a nice chrome Pegasus or naked lady on your Series II Lambretta. I’m really just hoping that if I post enough news from SSC that they’ll send me an SS90 repro dummy tank converted to a real fuel tank, to review.