Italjet SX1 (and another Dragster rant)

Italjet has launched another model in Europe, the 2-stroke 50cc SX1. Brooke recognized the engine as a CPI design, though the body appears to be unique in its generic-osity. Italjet’s European site has been “under construction” for some time, so details are thin on all their bikes, but so far, they’re marketing what appears to be a CF Moto Torpedo clone, this generic 50cc CPI-powered snoozer, a Kymco Agility with custom bodywork, and a Chinese 400cc cruiser that six other companies are selling, while continuing to hype an overpriced 650cc Hyosung sportbike (the Grifon) and a Piaggio engine (likely Chinese-made) that may someday be wedged into something resembling a 10-year-old Dragster frame. The Roller Craft is at least distinctive, but expensive for a 50cc Chinese-made scooter, and it’s not available yet, either. Even if you consider any or all of their bikes exciting, there’s no parts/service consistency to the lineup at all.

U.S. importer LS Motorsports is planning to import the Torpedo,, Roller Craft, and Dragster (of which only the Torpedo is currently available). Italjet’s strength back in the turn of the millenium was innovative design, yet they sold the tooling for many distinctive models to Kinetic in India. Their success is arguably dependent on the promise of an updated and well-built Dragster, yet they keep wasting time and money developing these thinly-disguised and indistinct Asian bikes. Sure, it’s important to have a full line, the Dragster’s not for everyone, but the Dragster will be what brings customers into the dealership and builds their brand recognition. There’s little evidence of progress on the Dragster front for the last two years, and at best, a new Dragster is likely still a year away. If we do see a Dragster in 2009, it had better be worth the wait, which is to say it must be better than the original (let’s be honest, even the original had flaws). Nothing Italjet has done since they resurfaced is providing much evidence that it will be.

12 thoughts on “Italjet SX1 (and another Dragster rant)”

  1. Top of the line Dragster = way overpriced vaporware. WTF is Italjet thinking? Do they really think that they can fake out the motor scooter enthusiast by fielding a model lineup consisting of overpriced Chinese clones that can be bought so much cheaper via Internet channel sales? They have to be smoking something better than I have. What a shame! Italjet has become merely the next venerable Italian marque to sell out and cheapen their brand by selling brand-engineered Chinese (ROC) crap. (Don’t you gloat, Vespa, you’re not much better)

    They can all keep their ROCrap, I’ll stick with my TGB 303R-150. It may be a little boring, but at least it’s a high quality. inexpensive, well performing Taiwanese scoot that isn’t posing to be “Italinan”

  2. At least rebadging a chinese manufacturers’ scooters makes sense from a “selling out” perspective. What they’re doing is even weirder, they’re spending time and money to (only superficially) redesign existing scooters from several manufacturers.

    Guzmán says “All models will have Italian VINs”, so maybe they are actually assembled in Italy, but it’s clear that body parts and engines are coming from China, CPI, Kymco, Hyosung, and all over the place. That’s how European-market Benellis keep their Italian VIN, but at least they’re getting most of their parts from one source, Italjet’s lineup just seems incredibly overcomplicated.

  3. Reading the Dragster rant makes me wonder what Italjet is waiting for? Is it possible they’re waiting for the 300cc Piaggio motor?

  4. Supersoul: Have you actually seen a Dragster 180. They are fantastic bikes. Go to a scooter rally and see one. Your opinion will change.

  5. I rode a 2-stroke Dragster 180 way back when they were new. I’ve wanted one ever since, but the truth is, the original design wasn’t perfect, and Italjet’s parts and service network sucked. They’ve had 10 years to work out the kinks and get it in production again, and in the meantime, there are dozens of bikes that are almost as cool, many of which are a lot cheaper. My point is, if it hasn’t happened yet, it’s probably not gonna, and every month we wait, the more disappointed we’re going to be if/when it finally does come out.

  6. morrisseyscoot : I am familiar with the Dragster and appreciate it in its original Italian form (i.e. designed and manufactured in Italy from Italian made parts). It just frosts me to hear that Italjet thinks that they can source everything from China, assemble and ship it here AND charge European prices. Oh yeah, and I should buy this machine because of Italjet’s great reputation for parts and service in the USA???

    Give me a break! If I want yet another Chinese scoot, I’ll buy it from one of the many good quality Taiwanese manufacturers already doing business here. Let Italjet blow their smoke up somebody else’s butt.

  7. I agree. It’s probably not going to happen. Man, the future is depressing for scooters. You are right Bb, 2008 is the end of the scooter boom.

  8. I think this summer’s still going to be huge, still. A crappy economy, high gas prices, and general insecurity are great for scooter sales.

    Then when President Obama takes over in January, and peace is restored worldwide and the economy turns around, the scooter industry is going to fall flat on its face, which is great, I liked it better when I could buy used scooters for $800 and I wasn’t running into my parents at scooter rallies. : )

  9. “Then when President Obama takes over in January, and peace is restored worldwide and the economy turns around, the scooter industry is going to fall flat on its face, which is great, I liked it better when I could buy used scooters for $800 and I wasn’t running into my parents at scooter rallies. : )”

    Ha, Ha. I was just thinking how old some of the folks looked in the WKRP pics.
    Some even made me look young.

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