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Modern PK Automatic at EICMA

November 8, 2011

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

November 5, 2011

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.

LML Star 200 4T for (Gasp!) Indian Market

July 12, 2011

Speaking of the Stella/LML Star, at least one Indian blog is suggesting that the LML Star 200 4T (allegedly available in Europe this month) might be a hit in India. Despite scooters’ raving popularity in India just a decade ago, India has become more affluent and motorcycles dominate the current scene. Bajaj discontinued their Vespa-like Chetak in 2005, and abandoned scooters entirely in 2009. LML currently manufactures the Star only for the export market. But that’s due to change by the end of the year, when they’ll re-introduce it in its homeland.

And if you’re excited about the 200cc Stella (which isn’t due in the U.S. anytime soon, we hear) check this out: PJ found a video of a top-secret new LML model.

Piaggio adds a wheel to the MP3

April 27, 2011

With Mini, Smart, and now Volkswagen all (tentatively) targeting the scooter market, isn’t it time for Piaggio to build a car? Indeed it is. Piaggio’s Indian-market NT3 is based on the Ape platform and Piaggio expects it to be available in India in late 2012, and eventually in Europe and Asia. Props to Piaggio for not calling it “Il Nuovo Vespa 400” even though pretty much everyone else is.

Thanks for the link, Scooterism! You all follow Eric on Twitter, right?

LML Must Pay Tariff on “Engineering Drawings”

October 17, 2010

To your average Economic Times of India reader, it’s a boring Indian tariff law ruling. To a scooterist, it’s a gateway into a world of mystique and speculation. Where is LML importing engineering drawings from? Are they related to LML’s long-delayed plans to manufacture their Clipper/Vespa ET4? Is it an 8-stroke 1200cc Stella? WHEN WILL WE GET IT!?

(Thanks, Rob!)

SIL to be Sold,
Lambretta Future Unclear as Ever

September 29, 2010

The Indian government is looking to sell their majority share of Scooters India Limited, who manufactured Lambrettas until 1998, and currently manufacture the Vikram three-wheeler. Mahindra and Mahindra and Tata Motors have both expressed interest and at least one story suggests that on top of a promised $30 million relaunch of Vespa production in India, Piaggio (gasp!) is also interested in SIL.

SIL’s greatest asset may be their “world right (to) the trade name Lambretta/Lambro,” but according to the in.com story linked above, SIL’s ownership of the name is currently in dispute with the Swiss/Italian Lambretta Consortium, who appears better-equipped to win the fight.
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Vespa PX to return?

September 9, 2010

With rumors swirling that the 4-stroke LML Star/Genuine Stella sales are sparking a P-series competitor from Vespa, our pals at French site Scooter-Station asked Jean-Philippe Dauviau, Marketing Director of Piaggio France “Will the PX be produced again?”
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CARB approves Stella 150 4T

February 2, 2010

newstella2

Modern Buddy moderator Eric Almedral has posted the California Air Resources Board approval certificate for the Genuine Stella 150 4T, and confirms that it’ll be available in the U.S. in 2010. My bet is that it’ll be here sooner than later, and probably the Stella and it’s claimed 130MPG will be one of the few bright spots for the scooter industry at DealerExpo in a few weeks.

When we test-rode the bike last year, we didn’t really talk about its importance to the scooter industry and scene. Read more

Italjet refuses to die

January 12, 2010

Once upon a time — more than a decade ago — an Italian motorcycle company with a history of offbeat scooters decided to make a big push into the booming European scooter market. The designs, notably the Swatch/Vespa-hybrid Velocifero and the ahead-of-its-time Dragster captured the public imagination worldwide. Since Italjet were Italian, they inevitably botched it all up, closed up shop, licensed their models to Kinetic in India, then annually announced the rebirth of the Dragster (vaporware!) at EICMA while slapping “Italjet” stickers on cheapo Chinese bikes for the European market. One model briefly made it to the U.S. during this period, a cheap Chinese knockoff of their own late-90s Torpedo. Meanwhile, Kinetic chunked out one uninspired model, the ex-Italjet Millenium, as the “Blaze” for the Indian market, and teased the world with an occasional Velocifero press release.

But all that’s about to change! I’m going to bring Italjet back MYSELF!

Dear Sir,

Seasons Greetings for 2010.
We “Autoprima” situated in india city of Pune(near Mumbai) where this is Automotive industrial hub and the manufacturing company for Italian ITALJET scooters.
We are export dealer of KINETIC -ITALJET and having “italjet millenium 125 C.C. scooters 4 stroke and 100 C.C. 2 stroke in our stalk as well inventry of Parts . You may forward this to the perspective buyers of ITALJET scooters.We will apreciate if you contact us for further business oportunity.
Thanking you ,
Yours truly,

Prakash Kulkarni,
AutoPrima
Pune . India
Cell :00919823263107
E-mail: autoprima@hathway.com
emitest04@hotmail.com

Yes, I want a scooter so bland and outdated that it’s named after a point in time, ten years ago. I’m dialing as soon as I can find a replacement battery for my Nokia 101. Italjet is back, the end.

Indian media looks back at the Chetak

December 23, 2009

Rediff and The Hindu look at the Bajaj Chetak and its importance to India. It’s interesting that all this nostalgia is spilling now, a few years after the Chetak was discontinued, simply because Rajiv Bajaj chose to make a big deal about the demise of the uninspired Kristal. It almost seems like the whole brouhaha was calculated to spite his father. No one will really miss the Kristal, but the decision is important on a symbolic level, and it seems strange to absolutely rule out future scooter production. Which makes me even more positive that a retro Chetak is imminent, ha. Then again, LML has that market pretty well covered now.

The end of Bajaj scooters?

December 21, 2009

Rajiv Bajaj announced last week that Bajaj Auto is halting all scooter production. Their only current model, the Kristal, is selling only a few hundred bikes per month, compared to hundreds of thousands of motorcycles, which are far more popular with Indian teenagers. The company is also looking to compete in the automotive business. A few years ago, I predicted a rebirth of a retro-styled Chetak in 2010, and even though this news sounds dire, and comes so close to the new year, family patriarch Rahul Bajaj is on my side, so I’m sticking to my prediction. Never underestimate the power of nostalgic elder Bajaj.

Bajaj considers new “sport” scooter.

June 30, 2009

Despite the 2005 demise of the mighty Bajaj Chetak, with Rahul Bajaj stating “Holding on to anything from the past is a sign of weakness,” we were almost certain there’d be a full-on retro Bajaj Chetak out by now. Sadly, Bajaj’s only scooter over the past few years has been the disappointing-selling Krystal, and there are no signs of a return to metal-bodied scooters, even with LML’s marginal success. But Bajaj is finally admitting they bailed out of scooters too soon, and is currently developing a “powerful sport scooter” to regain some scooter market share.

LML launches 4T “Stella” in India

May 18, 2009

LML has apparently launched their 4-stroke “NV” (known to us as the Genuine Stella) in the Indian markets of Delhi and Ghaziabad. This Indian-market version surely varies to some degree from the DOT/EPA/CARB-approved version scheduled to come to the U.S. in early 2010, it’s good to read more about it. Sadly, this story seems to have many factual errors, such as the claim that it’s branded as a “Vespa,” or listing every country besides the U.S. as “Stella” territory. (It’s also a safe bet this is a third-generation re-write of an LML press release, and the bike’s not actually on the market yet) Two interesting numbers: They’re claiming almost 130 mpg, and an MSRP of $851 for the deluxe version. Genuine suggested 120mpg, so that’s maybe not far off, but the price is rather hard to believe. Genuine’s surely marking them up a good deal to make it worth their while, but we’d like to think it’s not that much.

Also good to see that the Indian scooter market is bouncing back a bit. Remember, we’ve been predicting a “retro” Bajaj for 2010, though if LML is only selling 1500 scooters a year domestically (and only 5000 worldwide), maybe India’s not ready yet. (Thanks for the link, Pete Selkowe!)

The New Stella, unveiled

May 7, 2009

newstella1
For more than a year, rumors have been circulating about a new 4-stroke version of Genuine Scooter Company’s Stella motorscooter. Genuine confirmed the model a few months ago, but has otherwise been very quiet about the project. This week, Genuine allowed 2strokebuzz a quick look at a “New Stella” prototype (and a ride!) just before it was sent for CARB testing in California.
Read more

BSA e-scooters

November 12, 2008

Speaking of England and electric scooters, this should make both mods and rockers cry: BSA Motors has launched a line of e-scooters in India.

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