Powersports Mail-Order Mega-Warehouse Condescends To Scooterists *UPDATED*

While perusing the local craigslist today I came across a post (which I dutifully tagged as spam) announcing the new scooter oriented online shop by traditional powersports mail-order powerhouse Dennis Kirk. Their new site is called dkscooters.com and offers accessories and gear for the scooter owner. For many years the Rush City, MN based retailer has had excellent catalogs aimed at several powersports divisions from off-road to metric cruisers. Now in the digital age they’ve made a separate website to group the items that would be more likely purchased by scooterists. They have covers, locks, jackets and even one token brand of 2 stroke oil. But when looking in the top category on their left-hand menu, helmets, I found it lacking. Not that they didn’t have my preferred brand or that they didn’t have a Valentino Rossi replica lid, but that of the 163 options there wasn’t a full-face helmet to be found. Do scooterists not deserve the same protection offered to other power-two-wheel enthusiasts? Do they really think that scooters are so harmless that no one needs the protection available to a cruiser pilot? Or is this completely sensible and the only question is why the website isn’t entirely pink with bunnies around the border?

Write this post off as a narrow minded rant if you’d like. Dennis Kirk will probably have no problem with the free advertisement (normally I’m a big fan and until now shopped their at least once a year). And it could be said that you shouldn’t even buy a helmet online without trying it on first, and you should buy it from the local shop where you tried it on. The behavior of embracing and marginalizing scooters at the same time just seems a bit insulting.

UPDATE: Dealer News reports on the news of the DK online store for scooters. The article gets some interesting comments from a few of the prime movers in the scooter commerce arena. LINK

Can YOU Beat Piaggio To An Electric Vespa?

Jeb from Soundspeed Scooters in Seattle dropped a line to say their electric vintage Vespa conversion kit is now available to the general public. The price tag isn’t for the weak of heart but it has a few things going for it. First it’s the only way to get a good looking electric scooter. Second is that the price is over half made up of the new lighter Lithium battery pack. Hopefully advances in technology can drive this price down in the future. But most importantly it’s stated to come with directions. I’m sure people have run in to DIY projects about electric motorcycles with vague descriptions of the accumulation and assembly of parts. This kit is supposed to fit any largeframe Vespa. While Piaggio has made (and burried) the Zip and Zip in the past and has promised a hybrid vehicle to be coming soon, it’s not here yet. Any tree huggers up for taking the situation into their own hands?

In Memory of Marshall Tito: A Scooter Contest

To celebrate the upcoming officially recognized birthday of Josip Broz Tito I would like to offer the opportunity for one lucky trainspotter to win a fantastic Scootmoto decal. The first person to identify the model scooter displayed at 1:07 of this BBC video will win this prize. Don’t put links in your response below just the make and model and I’ll ‘fact check’. (If the feed goes dead here’s the direct link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8032132.stm )

Disclaimer: Not an official contest. Subject to Bb pulling the post and replacing it with a helmet review. But I swear I’ll send one to the first lucky winner, as soon as I get around to it. -bgk

Merciless Tigers FTW!

Merciless Tigers FCAfter several seasons in multiple leagues (summer, winter, indoor, outdoor, mens, co-ed, over-40m etc.) and sometimes several games a week, our beloved Cincinnati Merciless Tigers have finally won the highest honor of the Soccer City Men’s Open Blue Division, top of the table after a 7-1-0 season. They’re also holding steady at .500 (1-1-3) in their current outdoor league. Congratulations to our men in black, Soccer City Men’s Open Blue Division Champions!

Merciless Tigers 7 1 0 8 3(6.63) 27(3.38) +26

The BWS Goes NBA

2009-yamaha-bw-s-nbaYamaha officially announced their partnership with the National Basketball Association and the availability of a Yamaha BWS adorned with an NBA look. The scooter comes with some special paint and a fairly sharp looking seat as well as a sticker pack to customize the ride in line with one of a handful of NBA teams. The news was originally reported several months ago by Motoblog.it but I hadn’t gotten around to posting about it until today’s email from Yamaha Motor Europe. Don’t worry about this product catching you off guard, Americans. It is a new promotion of a U.S.-based sports league using a great scooter that is no longer available in the US. It just makes me feel a bit odd as well as wish they still sold the old-style Zuma in The States. Anyone interested in importing one I’ll promise I’ll post any photo of it that you’d like to send in.

“Stop Slandering Scooters!”

More reaction to the “Straight Dope” story and U.S. News’ followup from TreeHugger. The arguments get more convincing that even 4-stroke scooters aren’t as “green” as we’d like to think, but there’s a lot of speculation and comparing apples to oranges in all these stories. Our fingers are crossed that someone (better-equipped and less biased than 2strokebuzz or PiaggioUSA) can find and crunch some real numbers, find a fair metric by which to compare a variety of scooters, cars, and SUVs, and settle this debate. (Thanks for the link, Kathy!)

More Vaporware From Pinasco

gommaThings are heating up in Padova. Andrea Pinasco announces another mouth watering item for the scooter racer in all of us. The word “items” would be more appropriate. Pinasco claims to be providing a line of radial slick tires for 10 and 12 inch wheels. It is not just the variety of sizes that is remarkable but that they come in soft and medium hardness as well as a rain tread. Now the average scooter racer has options near equal (in number) to Superbike or MotoGP racers.

These Made-In-Italy tires, along with other Pinasco offerings announced over the last year or so, would be fantastic news for aspiring Nori Hagas riding PX125s. But these amazing new products seem to never become available in the US or even from the large popular German outlets like SIP or Scooter-Center. Maybe someone in Italy can point out where someone may procure these tantalizing supplies.

Vintage Baubles From Viet Nam

chromeladySaigon Scooter Centre sent out an email to announce the availability of some new vintage scooter accessories. Mirrors, crashbars and other useless adornments may not be your style. But at least this is not a post about another Maxi-Scooter or clone scooter trend. Mods of the world rejoice. You can now have a nice chrome Pegasus or naked lady on your Series II Lambretta. I’m really just hoping that if I post enough news from SSC that they’ll send me an SS90 repro dummy tank converted to a real fuel tank, to review.

Who Cares About Old Italian Stuff?

tebaldini_ferrua_savinoresI can’t say I’m completely enamored with everything to come from the Apennine Peninsula. I am not the kind of guy to throw out Italian phrases with the zest of someone passionate about the culture. I am much more likely to enjoy saying ‘auspuff’ than ‘marmitta’. But something seems consistently inspired about the people of boot-shaped strip of land extending south from the Alps into the Mediterranean Sea. The New Cafe Racer Society noted a small collection of historic images from the Gran Circuito Del Sestriere. The three men pictured in the example shown seem to be surrounded by great products of creativity, if not art for art’s sake. Are we, modern humans in Italy or elsewhere, surrounded in the same way? Do we take it for granted? Will generations to come recognize it where we cannot? At least click on the link and enjoy the old pictures of scooters and cafe racers. They are fun to look at and imagine what it was like to live there, and then.

How’s your Piaggio stock doing?

According to Reuters UK, Piaggio reported a 28% drop in net profit in 2008, which reminded us to check on our Piaggio stock: It’s at €0.95, an all-time low since Piaggio’s June, 2006 IPO at €2.30. Poor sales, a bad economy, and the weak Euro all hurt Piaggio last year, as did nearly €100 million in new debt from stock buybacks and a €.06-per share dividend last year, which will be offered again this year, which seems counterintuitive, but what do we know?
Continue reading “How’s your Piaggio stock doing?”

Beer run

If it’s starting to sound like dealer expo is mostly about booze, guilty as charged. We had a great cheap Cajun dinner at this place Yats, too.

2009 Chicago Motorcycle Show

We’ve threatened to skip the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show the last few years, but we always ended up going anyway. This year, the promise of a new dedicated “Scooter Pavilion” finally scared us out of attending (success frightens us), but 2sb readers Maggie and Sara filled us in on what (little) we missed. Maggie treked up from St. Louis and was unimpressed with the Scooter Pavilion, aside from the Aprilia Scarabeo makeover and Kymco’s new Yager GT300i. (Here’s Maggies complete flickr gallery.) We agree, Maggie, the Yager looks like some good competition for the Sym HD200i (and PGO’s I’ME, if we ever get it here). As far as that other beast, we generally detest tribal graphics, but it works on the Scarabeo. Also: We’re really hoping those pinstripes aren’t standard on the Kymco Grand Vista. Sara, on the other hand, enjoyed Tow-Pac’s booth: “I can’t even imagine how slow a Honda Metropolitan is with a trike kit on it, but it was good for a giggle.” Sara, please be sensitive to people who, for whatever reason, can’t enjoy two-wheeled riding… and, uh, want to go really slow.

We’ve almost finished our Sym writeup from last year’s Dealer Expo in time for this year’s Dealer Expo, which is this weekend, by the way. We’ll be digging up dirt from dealers, seeing new bikes and products, and posting live from the show all weekend, with more in-depth coverage to follow next week.