SIP to produce smallframe cases


Hodgespeed let us know that SIP is currently in the process of making tooling to produce Vespa smallframe PK-style engine cases. Great news in itself, as they’d gone out of production, but to me, the interesting part of the post is the CAD drawings of the mold for one side of the case. You hear a lot of people saying “Why don’t they just make….” Here’s the answer, look at the complexity and SIZE of that mold, and that’s just for one case-half (engine cases having two halves, you see.) So knowing that SIP has invested tens of thousands of Euros already, with all the machining and production costs to come, and testing, and the concern that the demand might be less than anticipated, or any tiny mistake in engineering or quality control could be disastrous, it’s a wonder they’ve taken on the project, though I’d wager most scooterists are certainly glad they did.

Now, a note, because everytime I post something like this, I get emails once a month forever from non-english speakers: 2strokebuzz does not sell this or any scooter parts. If you are interested in this product, please contact SIP in Germany.

The Old Weather Challenge?

Jeffraham Prestonian posted a rebuttal and alternate challenge (in the NOHO thread since we’d blocked the CWC thread from anything but entries). Jeff’s a good dude, and he makes some good points, so I thought we should link it up in a fresh post (open to comments!) and take the chance to spiel a little…

First off, as you’ve surely noticed, 2SB has slowed down and is going through some changes. I started it as a zine in 1995, and it’s been online (mostly) since 2000. I’m pretty much ready to retire, and since Matt (with support from our pal Peter from Piston Ported) took the initiative to run the CWC this year, I told him he could do it however he wanted.

But I support his decision to restrict the Cold Weather Challenge to vintage(-ish) bikes, and here’s why:

Over the years, I’ve gone way out of my way to write about modern scooters and try to make new scooterists and modern scooterists feel like part of 2strokebuzz. I tried to look outside the ska/mod/skin thing, and show how diverse scootering was, even then.

In 1995, the main means of communication among scooterists was photocopied flyers and phone calls, followed distantly by Usenet (already with a rift between alt.scooter, and alt.scooter/classic, I haunted the former.) There were only a handful of worthwhile scooter shops nationwide. The only ‘modern’ scooters available were from Honda and Yamaha, and both were selling crusty models introduced in the mid-80s (the same models that contributed to Vespa’s demise in the U.S.). A big city would have a club or two, but if you didn’t live in L.A. or Chicago, it was hard to find anyone to ride with. There was a rally SOMEWHERE in North America any given weekend, but it may be a 14-hour drive to meet the same small group of regulars that would show up at all of them. Most of us were young, unmarried, childless, and underemployed.

In the late 90s when Vespa came back, and a few other marques showed up in the U.S., the rift grew, and I didn’t like it, and I spoke out about it. I felt like all scooterists needed to band together and be supportive to grow the ‘scene’ or ‘hobby’ or whatever it was and any scooter on the road was a good scooter.

Today, there are still a lot of reasons for scooterists to band together, and they do, and I like that. But things are easier now, just about any decent-sized city has a shop, and a couple clubs, and a weekly ride, and a couple rallies every year. Thanks to the internet, you can find infinite people with your same interests, either in your town, or around the world.

At the same time, after years of writing about modern scooters and trying to keep track of some truly shitty importers and too many importers that were nice enough but just didn’t know what the fuck they were doing, and dealing with legal threats and shady people and sifting through Google News looking for stories to repost, I’ve realized that even though I ride a modern scooter (far more than I ride vintage scooters these days), and I’m very satisfied with it, I just don’t get the same throb inside as I do when I see an old Vespa. It’s still fun to ride, and it’s fun to hang out with modern scooterists and go to big rallies where everyone’s welcome, but it’s also good to realize that there’s a lot of events going on, and more people with scooters than I’ll ever meet, so it’s great to have the option to spend a weekend with people I’ve known for 17 years, riding the unreliable bikes that got me interested in this whole mess. If I go to a car show, even a car show where anyone’s welcome, it’s gonna be the vintage cars that are gonna make me drool, and I’m gonna walk right past the ’95 Thunderbirds and Low Riders and custom vans and NASCAR replicas and customized modern Minis. No dis, it’s just not my thing, and I’m too old and WAY too busy to feel obligated to pay attention to stuff that doesn’t interest me much.

So hey, Jeff, I’m not offended at all that you’re offended, and I’m glad you’re picking up the event for the modernistas. Between the mild winter and the slow death of the commitment to 2strokebuzz, we only have one entry to date, so maybe yours’ll be more successful, and I’m cool with that. But to Matt (and me, too), there’s something special about dragging an unreliable, decades-old decomposing scooter (or a shiny restoration that you should really be more careful with) out of the garage in the dead of winter and sticking it to Mother Nature. Doing the same thing on a modern bike, even a warrantied, factory-fresh bike with electronic ignition, is still quite an accomplishment, and it’s absolutely cool to celebrate that, too. The Stella ‘loophole’ isn’t perfect, but it makes the line simpler to draw, and our sponsor probably asked to include Stellas simply because he supplies parts and accessories for Stellas.

So no hard feelings, it’s all good, the more people on scooters the better, the more scooter blogs and shops and clubs and rallies and winter challenges the better, I hope it all keeps growing so we can celebrate our differences as much as we celebrate our similarities, with the option to do both as the mood strikes.

NoHo Scooters to Close

There has been no shortage of scooter shops closing over the past five years or so with most of them being fly-by-night shops trying to make a quick buck selling inferior imported bikes or ones that got caught up in Vespa Boutique mania, so it’s a real bummer to see one of the good shops closing up. Mike Frankovich posted on the NoHo facebook page that he will closing the doors to his North Hollywood shop. NoHo opened up 10 years ago around the same time as other great scooterist owned shops such as Sportique in Denver, Scooterville in Minneapolis, and Pride of Cleveland. We wish Mike the best of luck!

2012/13 Cold Weather Challenge

Welcome to the 2012-13 Cold Weather Challenge brought to you by Piston Ported, Factory Tools, and 2Strokebuzz! Piston Ported is having a special during the CWC, check details below.

Below you will notice a few rule changes this year but also note there are actual prizes this year!

1st place receives a $50 gift certificate to Piston Ported and 2 shirts and shop rag from Factory Tools.
2nd place receives a $25 gift certificate to Piston Ported and 2 shirts and shop rag from Factory Tools.
3rd place receives a $25 gift certificate to Piston Ported and 1 shirt and shop rag from Factory Tools.
Bonus random drawing from all entrants 1 Piston Ported shirt and 1 shirt from Factory Tools.
Continue reading “2012/13 Cold Weather Challenge”

The Lions Roar; This Generation Not Like My Generation

Even though Bryan has his weekly VVV where he showcases a scooter centric videos each and every week, I had to share this new video from The Lions. The Lions feature members from Hepcat and a few other LA area bands and the video for their new single features some nice Vespa/Lambretta footage. Notice that only the Vespa riders receive credit at the end.

-Matt ‘With Fries’ DeVries.

The Cold Weather Challenge Returns!

Piston Ported, Factory Tools, and 2Strokebuzz presents the 2012-13 Cold Weather Challenge. There will be a few changes this year, namely it will be open only to vintage and 2 stroke geared scooters (such as 2 stroke Stellas). The Challenge will run from December 1st, 2012 to February 28th, 2013. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers as well as a bonus prize, chosen at random from all entries, which means that even if you live in Hawaii you could still win something. Don’t put the scooters away just yet, stay tuned for more details and complete rules.

The Vespa 946 Is A Step Closer To Reality

As promised earlier, the radically re-designed Vespa will be brought to market. The latest news from EICMA, as reported by Motoblog.it, shows a promotional photo where the new Quarantasei is decked out in commercialized trim. The controls, center stand, mirrors and turn signals are all aspects missing from the prototype that now appear on this pre-launch offering.

So it’s real, it’s arriving within the next year, and the question remains: Is it as interesting to throw a leg over as it is to look at? And will YOU be buying?

The (LML) Stars Aligns: EICMA Teases With Auto-Stella

Jeb, of Fido, passed along this teaser image from EICMA with Italian description. The photo depicts an LML star with an automatic engine. Last year we saw an even more compact PK with the same powerplant wedged inside. Now the Retro Vespa kits to convert a P-series into a VBB-appearing ride may have a new appeal. The holy grail of vintage modern is nearly at hand. It will certainly outdo the La Vita disaster, but will it still look a bit Tranny?

Check It Out: Mopeds Gone Social

1977 Mopeds is a shop at the epicenter of the modern American mopedlar world. They have a new feature on their site that is as much eye-candy as social aggregation for the 50cc bikes with vestigial pedals. It’s called Garage. The concept is a bit like facebook where you register, make a profile put up pictures of your ride and ‘like’ other people’s creations. But it takes it a step further and indexes all the trick bits people compile into their showcased moped builds. So if the member documents their build well enough, you can glean enough info to re-create the machine yourself. The parts are cross-referenced to other bikes which have the part and to the product page where you can buy the part in question. It’s not too pushy on the product placement as it’s the second choice when you click on a part and keeps the feel of a user focused site. Users can add multiple bikes and you can tell some of the better builders have a signature style. It’s not just for the tuners and 30 mph boy racer. Stock and restored builds are also welcome.

Plans for the future include awards for top bikes, manual libraries and tuning indexes to help users along. In the vintage scooter world some efforts like this have popped up in the past but with less homogenization and standard input formats. The great Scoot.net and Scooterhelp.com have been individually priceless assets to the scooter community. 1977 is trying to tie it all together in line with their own site and it looks pretty nicely done. It probably takes an entity with a material interest to pool it all as such.

Take it for a spin and feel free comment below and say how much it’s too much like pinterest and tumblr.

Athena Direct Injection 2-stroke Technology

I came across this video on Youtube showing the death of the 2 stroke engine is greatly exaggerated. Athena, an Italian powersports engine aftermarket parts company shows off their own direct injection system for aftermarket cylinders. The video makes some impressive claims. I think a 4-stroke versus 2-stroke smackdown needs to occur, pitting Hondas 50cc FI scooter engine against this Athena tech.

We’ve seen DI systems from Orbital and subsequently Aprilia, Piaggio and Evinrude in the past. But coming from Athena suggests this could be in place for retrofitting and maybe turning a 5% oil burning piston-ported 150 two stroke generating a mind blowing 5 HP into something clean, efficient and still not ‘stroke-wasting’.

New Maryland “Motor Scooter Law”

The Maryland MVA has announced a new Motor Scooter Law requiring titles, insurance, and a helmet and eye protection, in addition to existing laws that require a drivers license or moped permit.

Maryland has famously been very liberal regarding scooter operation, this law brings their requirements in line with most other states, but it’s interesting to see the word “Motor Scooter” used by a government license bureau. Most states differentiate between mopeds, motorcycles, and scooters in their laws, but use hazy and arcane terms like “motor-driven cycle” and “motorized pedalcycle.” Perhaps “motor scooter” still leaves room for interpretation (I haven’t seen the exact wording of the law) but it’s nice to see that terminology thrown around for once. Even if Maryland riders are not likely thrilled about the law, they can say “motorscooter” at the MVA and maybe not get a blank stare.

Thanks for the link, Alex Tasi (via facebook).