U.S. “GTS300” snafu explained

I reported earlier today that Vespa GTS300S scooters were starting to appear in the U.S., which is weird, because they’re not on the site yet, and dealers were strangely insisting they were really 250cc models. Turns out it wasn’t anything sneaky, it was just typical Piaggio weirdness. Piaggio sent over a new U.S.-only model, the GTS 250ie Super, that had been accidentally misbadged as the GTS 300 Super. The 300cc (278, but who’s counting?) engine has not been EPA/DOT approved. This mislabeling occurred on “fewer than 100 scooters” according to a PiaggioUSA letter to dealers. The 250 Super is basically a regular GTS 250 with the louvered right cowl, a different seat, and a new instrument panel. The VINs allegedly confirm that they are in fact 250cc models. 20 years from now, wizened Vespa nerds will cherish the opportunity to warn newbies not to buy an old 1998 2008 Vespa 300 Sport without checking the VIN first.

Oh, and why aren’t they listed on the site? “Don’t get me started on PiaggioUSA,” said one dealer I contacted.

New PGOs (and future Genuines?)

PGO I\'ME 125The PGO I’ME 125 that we mentioned in June is now listed on PGO’s english site, as well as the Ligero 125, which appears to be a Euro-friendly BuBu 125 in Genuine’s Buddy International colors. (Interestingly, it seems PGO has never offered a 150cc BuBu on their site). Also new: the Black Magic 50, with a Buddy/BuBu rear end and an X2 front end (it’s called the “Young BuBu” on their Taiwanese site, and is also offered in what appears to be an electric version). The Hot 50 isn’t labeled as “new,” but I don’t remember it from before. The G-Max (Genuine Blur) Evo (4-valve version) is now listed on the Taiwanese site as 150 and 200cc models, and the 200cc model gets the fancy new digital speedometer that we’ve all been lusting for at Modern Buddy (Speaking of speedos, check out the the I’ME’s handsome cluster).

I’ve been assembling a long list of questions for Genuine, this news just gave me ten more. The way scooters have been selling, it’s a safe bet we’ll see some new Genuine models soon.

Bulgogi and P.E.A.C.E.

Alix Bryan of P.E.A.C.E Scooter fame passed through Chicago while I was at Amerivespa. I’d hoped to meet her for dinner at a Korean restaurant Sunday night with some Modern Buddy folks, but I got back kind of late and some wires got crossed so I ended up eating with Ryan instead. Sorry Alix. We made this peace sign out of the banchan dishes, in your honor.

Alix got some news coverage in Cleveland the other day, and her months-long journey will end Friday (August 8, 2008) with a victory lap around the White House (a group ride leaves from Vespa Arlington at noon), then Scoot Richmond is hosting a party for her at 5pm on Saturday, featuring the final raffle drawing. Congratulations Alix!

DOT-approved flip-flops T-shirt

DOT approved Flip Flops t-shirtAfter months in the works, new 2strokebuzz t-shirts are finally here! Share your love for the hottest scootering footwear of The Great Scooter Boom of 2008 with a 2strokebuzz “DOT-approved flip-flops” t-shirt featuring artwork by Rod Hunting based on an idea stolen from Silent Ron.
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Chicago city stickers expire today

Chicago motorcycle medallions 2008It’s Chicago “Vehicle Sticker” day! If you live in the city, your old car stickers and motorcycle medallions expire on June 30, and must be updated today. All motorcycles and scooters are required to display the tag. Despite commonly being called “parking medallions,” they’re required whether or not you park on the street. Remember that motorcycle tags do allow you to park in any “neighborhood” parking zone. Generally, hardcore enforcement starts at the end of July, so if you haven’t yet, send Miguel Del Valle your $45. This year, the medallion has been redesigned, it’s smaller and looks more like a dog tag, tastefully anodized in orange to match Blurs, Buddys, and Stellas. Good call, Miguel.

More MPG math:

The New York Times’ always-great “Wheels” blog points out that “miles per gallon” perhaps isn’t the best metric, or at least shouldn’t be the only metric, of fuel savings. A higher MPG figure gives the false impression that the savings are proportional to the mileage. Obviously, a higher MPG rating is always better, but as the fuel efficiency increases, the savings start to level off. Their example is that replacing a low-mileage SUV with an average-mileage car makes a much bigger fuel cost difference than trading an average-mileage car for a hybrid car. Let’s do some math and see what that means for scooters.
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ABS scooter brakes?

After visiting Dealer Expo twice, I feel entirely justified in questioning the quality of Chinese scooters just based on build quality and looks, but I’ve had limited experience actually riding them. This weekend, I got the chance to ride a cousin’s “Boss” brand Chinese scooter (Qingqi, maybe?). Aside from the steering column’s desire to whip to the left or right if nudged more than a few degrees from center, and a less-than-peppy engine, it wasn’t the worst bike I’ve ever ridden… until I tried to stop.
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Vespa GTS 300 Super


More GTS 300 Super photos in the 2sb Gallery. (Photos courtesy of Piaggio)

We’d long heard the rumors a 300cc Vespa GTS was on the way. That was big news in itself, 300cc is the biggest displacement ever offered by Vespa since its inception in 1946. At first glance, the body looks “retro-fied” like the recent LX-Special, but on closer inspection, the only differences appear to be a new (and arguably less retro) “horncast” (what was a light on the GTS is now an “air intake”), a slimmer taillight, grey beaded trim on the seat, and GS-style louvers in the left cowl. The louvers and grey trim alone go a long way toward emulating a vintage Vespa and making the bike stand out from the “run of the mill” 250cc version. Continue reading “Vespa GTS 300 Super”

Another (positive) Honda-inspired rant

Bob sent this great Honda ad from 1967. The ad’s a perfect illustration of everything Honda got right back then, and explains how they came to dominate the U.S. motorcycle industry at that time. There are a lot of ideas here for aspiring foreign scooter and motorcycle importers (in no particular order):
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WKRP 2008, and a MT victory!

Cincinnati Merciless Tigers March 2008
As usual, 2SB spent most of the WKRP rally with our family, aside from some rapid consumption of rather large bottles of Red Stripe in the basement of the Comet, and a quick stop at the C&D (cheese grits!) to save 2SBmom the trouble of making breakfast on Sunday. Luckily Jordan took some photos of the actual rally. Sunday brought good news for Merciless Tigers fans, the boys dominated their first outdoor-league game (with the help of the league office, who mistakenly placed them in an over-40 league, but that’s hardly their fault, right?) Final score was 5-nil or 6-nil or something like that, and we finally got some photos of the Tigers in action and a new team photo (above.) MT jerseys are now SOLD OUT, sorry!