Watch out Piaggio, here come the Americans

University of Minnesota researchers led by Rajesh Rajamani (a man who wrote the book on Vehicle Dynamics and Control— or at least a book) are working on a three-wheeler of their own. While giving a nod to unnamed “companies in Europe” the scientists claim to be special in that their research is unique for efforts based in the US. As Piaggio touts their age-old tilting wheel technology this group also uses this approach with computer-controlled regulation of wheel angle in turns. Dr. Rajamani also mentions “the perception of safety,” an aspect of the MP3 that its marketers are counting on to be a big draw. Dr. Rajamani refers to the perception of small vehicles being less safe but it is admirable that he at least mentions the concern.

As tilting at 3 wheels is now the official academic and industry focus, one wonders how the old non-tilting two-wheels-in-front trikes of the past were deficient. Micro car enthusiasts may defend the old designs and modern versions can claim they’ve been at the forefront of the market but they both lack in that 2-wheel feel.  Now this new effort seems to bridge the gap with a tilting recumbent.  Check out the video.  The clip is not as slick as the Piaggio marketing videos of their MP3, but the background suggests that the vehicles of the future are being tested a stones throw away from Scooterville in Minneapolis.

Track Day Season Wrap-Up

Last Saturday, 2 Stroke Buzz racing team stalwart Matt DeVries took to the track for the final track day of the season at Iowa International Raceway in Marshalltown Iowa.  The Squadra Corse/Crafty Planet/Brookspeed pilot enjoyed the first outing using modern slick tire technology The experienced scooter racer also took the opportunity to try out the Genuine Scooter Company Buddy 125 provided by Bob at Scooterville Minnesota.  Even in standard off the showroom floor form, the Buddy performed admirably after some acclimation to some reduced transmission side clearance. 

Malaguti gets their own MP3

But will it be as user friendly to those with disabilities? reports that the racing division of Italian scooter and motorcycle manufacturer Malaguti, Malaguti Corse (they haven’t updated the racing website but they field a 125cc team with Japanse rider Tomoyoshi Koyama who last year had two podiums on a Honda), have developed a sponsorship arrangement with MP3 maker Nortek.  I just hope that Malguti won’t go the way of the mainland Chinese scooter mills that have put battery draining alarms and MP3 players in their 2-wheelers.  I do hope that some more sponsors of any kind get out and put their euros, pounds sterling or dollars behind a few more current and former 2-stroke riders like Ant West, Chaz Davies and Casey Stoner.

Organized Drag Racing
at Scooter Weekend Meinerzhagen

A sign of scooter rallies to come in the U.S.?  I could only hope.  Also, I could only hope to not stick out like the creepy old guy hanging out near the playground.

From the Scooter Center scootermatic news letter:

The Whitsun bank holiday weekend is over and so is a superlative Scooter weekend! Despite of two accidents on Saturday morning it was a great weekend with lots of joy for everyone – custom scoots, racing, sprinting and meeting great people! Thanks a lot goes to our customer MCE Sport Matthiesen for the invitation as well as for the properly organised Run. We are looking forward to next year Whitsun – a day off and awesome good scooter meeting!!! What else one can want!?

 Small, grainy, but none the less interesting photos here.