Smoky two-strokes clobbered by SUV in emissions test

We overlooked this story from Portland, OR’s Williamette Week, assuming it was just another rehash of the “Vespanomics” story. But the Scooter Scoop read it and brought it back to our attention. Suspicious of all the pro-scooter hype out there, they did their own tests, comparing a “Piaggio-made” (ha) Stella, a 1968 Vespa, and a Subaru Tribeca. The results weren’t pretty for rotary-valve 2-strokes, but it should also be noted that the Tribeca is hardly the worst offender in the SUV kingdom. A 4-stroke Vespa LX or a Bajaj Chetak vs. a Ford Expedition or Hummer would have been an entirely different story, we demand a rematch!

8 thoughts on “Smoky two-strokes clobbered by SUV in emissions test”

  1. I missed the methods section of the scientific piece of work. Also, I think they’ll be surprised at their ‘clean’ biodiesel. It’s renewable, but the deisel engine is 2 cycle just like the vespas. And with rising prices of gas I have a feeling that dirty or not, people like to spend less on gas. They may be better off overall with a used festiva, but I gaurantee that they’ll spend way more on gas with even the green SUV Tribeca than on a scooter. “Choose wisely”, said the creepy knight at the end of the last Indiana Jones movie.

  2. I just read this story in the WW over lunch. It’s retarded!

    Everyone knows that two-strokes belch hydrocarbons. That’s a problem. But overall air polution has gotten better over the last 20 years. The real problem is CO2. So what’s 8.6 or 7.1 percent of a 150cc engine compared to 1 percent of a 3 LITER engine? The 3 liter engine will be pumping out way more CO2.

    Plus everyone knows that Patrick jets his engines rich. ;-)

    The funny thing is that practically all of Portland’s many scooter shops are competing for space in the back of the WW. The one shop that doesn’t advertise with WW is Patrick’s P-Town Scooters. The WW is notorious for dissing restaurants that don’t advertise is their self-important weekly.

    It would be interesting to see a Bajaj or a modern Vespa tested.

    Fuck it. I’m going to start riding my bike though I really shouldn’t bother. I saw Al Gore’s movie last week and I left with the conclusion that we’re FUCKED. CO2 levels are off the charts for a geological perspectives. It’s only a matter of years before the planet become Venus’ twin. There isn’t much we can do at this point. I’m buying a gun and stock piling noodles and lentils.


  3. The earth doesn’t need saving. To anthropomorphise, it will take care of itself.

  4. Brooke, Diesels get a bad rap. They don’t really make 2 stroke diesels anymore. My understanding is that some old 18 wheelers were 2 strokes but this was like back in the 60s or something. (We’ve all seen that huge 2T diesel ship engine too.)

    Mostly diesels dump out carbon particulate and acid-rain-causing sulfer. So they look dirty and they are, but it’s just dirt. Dirt causes smog and lung problems but those two issues have gotten better. Problems with acid rain are mostly associated with coal burning power plants and over all acid rain levels are way down from the 70s. Diesel fuel is being reformulated in the US to have less sulfer. They have lower CO2 levels than comparable cars. Biodiesel isn’t going to have any sulfer in it.

    I have a couple of friends who work at Freightliner. They are just finishing up massive reengineering of diesel trucks to burn hotter and cleaner and to handle the soon-to-arrive lower-sulfer fuel.

    former owner of two crappy diesel vehicles: an International Scout and a 64 190d. I say the U.S. needs more diesels on the road albiet cleaner burning ones than the ones I drove!

  5. I was thinking that deisels fired ever time around. Now I like them even less. But to hell with acid rain or not. I’ve never almost puked from a scooter driving by but it happens on a daily basis with busses and big trucks in the city. Biodiesels aren’t as bad but I’d much rather smell some good ol motul than french fries. I own one of these

    and it’s not from riding, walking, biking around SUVs. I hope those folks at freightliner pull off something good.

  6. Oh crap, that reminds me: I left my scooter idling at home when I left for the office.

  7. In India I remember getting blasted by diesel exhaust walking in the streets. It was almost like I could feel the grit landing on my eyeballs.

    I just remembered another 2 stroke diesel. In rural parts of India (actually not far from the Bajaj factory) I remember seeing a horrible medieval beast of a vehicle. It was a black three wheeler, kind of like an Ape but extended. It was used like a bus for moving people. People would climb in through the back. In order to find a seat, people had to climb over each other inside a very crude/primative cage-like compartment of a passenger section. It had larger car-sized tires. There was a 2 stroke diesel engine attached to the front tire via chain. I think the engire turned with the tire.

    You could tell you were coming up on one of these things because there would be a trail of dark exhaust lingering in the air for about three blocks behind it. What made it particularly cruel was that the 2t diesel exhaust exited up and out of the front of the vehicle. It seemed like it would pass through the passenger compartment before being left behind as it proceeded.

    I saw a couple broken down on the side of the road. The engine was caked in oily muck. Looked about 2 inches think.

    My guess is that the appeal of these things in India was exactly because they were so primative. They looked homemade. The engine probably broke down a lot but was easy to fix and I bet it ran on practically any old crap you poured into it, 2t oil, crankcase oil, etc.

  8. Brooke, thanks for the mask tip! I could have used one on my daily mountian bike commute down Ashalnd in Chicago a few years ago. I vividly recall being stuck behind a completely full garbage truck on the Webster bridge.
    Just downwind of the tannery factory.
    It was also high summer.
    Sweet memories…

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