As our unusual winter winds down here in N. America, it’s getting to be that time of year where thoughts turn to the upcoming prime riding season as well as this summers Amerivespa. There have been shows and build-offs in the US. But I’d like to see some more customs in the class of what SIP Scooter shop has most recently shared on their Flickr and Facebook galleries. Check out the custom show photos and be inspired!
This is as much as a ‘note to self’ as a call to action of Western Atlantic/Eastern Pacific scooterists and scooter shops. Stickers on Stellas and Baskets on Buddies are all fine and good, but I’m talking about top to bottom uniqueness. Who has some plans in the works for something special like those seen at this Ried Custom show? What are the latest jaw-dropping custom or preservation jobs you’ve seen?
No, I will not be recapitulating Godwin’s Law. But instead I will offer forth this pictorial display of complete bad-ass-a-licious-ness that is the process of turning a raw smallframe project into a sweet custom ‘racer’.
For Scooter Center’s 20th anniversary, GP One Tuning has participated in the build of a celebratory machine. You may know this Austrian tuning house for their CNC engine cases. Look them up on Facebook and they have plenty of eye candy in their galleries (as well as being where I picked up the main link).
I would criticize the use of the larger than 10″ wheels. That’s normally a deal-breaker for me. But overall this is shaping up to be a scoot that’s jam packed with goodies. Check back on the GP One or SCK sites for updates. They already have progress from that first raw material page.
Since there is no Cold Weather Challenge this year we’ll try to overcompensate with lots of winter riding stories. What could be more fun than riding in the winter? Why, ice racing of course! Check out these great pictures from an ice race in Germany via BlechBild
…so says lambrettaweb.com (via scooter-infos.) Sorry to get your hopes up, ha. I’ve stopped guessing (and caring) which of the dozen fighting parties is behind which models or which hype, or if any of it will ever see the light of day, but maybe you’re still holding out hope that something good will come of all this.
Three Norwegians are taking part in an overland rally event called Budapest-Bamako on Vespa scooters. The rally is described as a poor-man’s Dakar and is not unlike the early days of the most famous desert rally, now run in South America for security reasons. The trio are just taking part in the African leg of the journey ending in Guinea Bissau (Yes, I just linked to the CIA World FactBook. Just want to remind people that there is information on the interwebs other than on Wikipedia!), but still no easy task as it appears to be the most challenging part. Their web site and their facebook page detail their progress and challenges. When you think making a trip across a few States in the US for Amerivespa is going to be too difficult, read up here an get motivated to put your big boy pants on and ride.
Scootermercato shared an Italian language article about a new Lambretta design. I like the color and the headlight has been moved to the front of the leg-shield. The angle of the headset and light position likely taunt those passionate Lambrettisti who adore the the first series of LI model scooters that followed the LD with enclosed bodywork. The photo looks great because the scale would be perfect if those would be 10″ wheels. But they are 12″ and if placed alongside other models it’s lack of proper proportion would be more apparent.
If you are interested in the Lambretta Saga, check out the Lambretta.com site. It is now mostly a posting of legal actions the supposed true copyright holders are taking against everyone involved in anything tangentially related. Tartarini the younger designed this new bike. They should have just done these bikes under a name of a different Lombardy river or maybe just the Italjet founder surname.
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.
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.