Vivo Stella-to-“GS” Conversion Kit

Vivo Scooters in Edinburgh, Scotland is selling parts and kits to convert P-series Vespas and the LML Star (Genuine Stella, 4T or 2T) to a vintage-looking style. A chintzy-looking fiberglass kit was available from another manufacturer a few years ago, but this one features (mostly) metal parts and seems to be better-designed. Vespa purists may scoff that these kits could be used to fool inexperienced consumers, but considering the cost of a Stella plus $1500 for a painted kit, it doesn’t seem cost-effective as a ‘scam.’ I like the Stella the way it is, and I certainly don’t get the point of disguising a vehicle as something it’s not (especially when the real thing is readily available at a lower price) but I can accept Stella owners wanting prettier cowls and maybe ditching the ugly P-series-type horncast, and it’s always nice to see options like this available.

Check out Eric’s Modern Buddy thread for all the pros and cons arguments you’d expect.

Nopooh’s Motor X Tees

Oh, geez, I was wearing one of my favorite t-shirts over the weekend and it occurred to me that I promised them a plug here (MONTHS ago). Check out Motor X – Graphic Tees from nopooh. “Francorchamps” (left… that’s a model, not me, he looks better in it.) is my favorite but they have a few great ones. I like their subtle non-douchey designs and I hope someday they give a few rare old motorscooters the same graphic treatment.

Lambretta Helmets

It’s Lambretta day here at 2strokebuzz… Heritage Helmets in the UK are offering a handsome new range of vintage-inspired three-quarter Lambretta helmets in the anglo-italo-mod vein. The St. George Cross version (pictured left) is our fave. The lineup also features goggles and several more modern designs with a shorter profile (shall we call them “three-fifths helmets?”). The casques are manufactured in Italy by Project. We recommend and wear full-face helmets here at 2sb, and rarely even mention anything else, but these might be irresistible to a certain subset of our readers. I of course nagged the nice PR lady about the scooters themselves, she tells us there will be an unveiling next month, which matches the timeline in our earlier story.

Vintage Carousel Ride Scooter

Philadephia-based online vintage-resale boutique Three Potato Four is currently offering a vintage carnival-ride scooter for $1250. Most of us rarely pay that much for a actual, running vintage scooter but, you have to admit this thing is a neat find. They’re calling it a “Vespa” and it has a few Vespa-like features, but scooter nerds will recognize most of the features as more Lambretta-esque.

Thanks to Vina for the link.

40% off a Veloce book

Sorry for the late notice, but Veloce Books is offering 40% off any book if you order before Sunday night. Use the code BEBRAVE. They’ve got several great scooter books and loads of vintage car and motorcycle books. They recently sent me their new “Vespa Scooters Essential Buyer’s Guide,” I’m working on a full review, but it’s nothing short of essential for first-time Vespa buyers, if you have a friend that’s looking for a vintage scooter, they need that book. Some of their books are a bit pricey, and they’re based in England, but a whopping 40% discount should bring the prices with shipping down to a reasonable bargain.

I’ve reviewed their Lambretta LI series Scooters and A-Z of Popular Scooters and Microcars here on 2strokebuzz, by the way. Look for the Buyer’s Guide review soon.

Corazzo 2-for-1 closeout

Speaking of Corazzo, they’re offering their closeout “Max” or “Hoody” jackets FREE, with any new jacket order. Just order from their online store and let them know which Max or Hoody style/size/color you want. Obviously the pick’ns will get slim soon, it’s just while supplies last. Also be sure to ask for your signed photo of Bradford wearing nothing but a Corazzo underhoody.

1, 2, 3: Accessorize And Transform

Welcome to my stream of consciousness. First, after thinking about comments by ‘stefan’ in my last post about trends in the scooter world I thought about a blank canvas scooter that could be customized as wanted. Second, I noticed a photo to the right of the 2sb page that had a close up of some leg shield and thought it was a picture of an accessory so I thought of the currently absent from the 2sb advert rotation Gen-U-Bin. This Gen-U-Bin is pretty cool and even if it’s not your cup of tea, it should illustrate the kind of product that could be bolted on to a chassis that can change the look and character. It’s a bit different than a universal top case from the fine folks at GIVI (who I’ll get to in another post). It’s specific to a model to change function. Third, I was reminded of the stuff from SX Appeal that changes the shape and functional attributes of the scooter like the Pack Rest and saddle bags.

My question for the readers is to point to how they or others have transformed their scooter from one thing to another by adding something. Taking off bodywork was around long before the Ruckus, but how will folks add back from the blank canvas? I’m not talking about a fuzzy seat cover, a top case, chrome crash bars or other embellishment. But stuff that has taken a regular scooter and turned into the scooter that the owner really wish had been built for them. When you wanted it all and got it, where did you put it?

Posting links directly to photos of your creations will probably not show up but I’ll try to check often and approve them.

Pinasco Gears Up For New Stella

Pinasco sent out an email announcement last week describing their new exhaust for the 4-stroke LML Star (AKA, the Genuine Stella 4-stroke. It is described as made from special INOX steel. That must make it fast. The dyno charts included in the email showed an increase in power from about 7.5 to 8 HP, but increasing the RPM range by about 1000 RPM or more. The best part is that it looks pretty cool. I think that’s what’s most important. So when the Stella breaks through the red tape to put smiles on the faces of Californians and other fans of two superfluous strokes, Pinasco should have something with which to void your warranty.

We’re not “2strokebuzz” on eBay

A couple 2SB fans noticed a GS150 Airbox auction on eBay from seller in Sacramento, CA named “2strokebuzz”. I’ve got nothing against this guy, and he has good feedback and he’s been using the name on eBay since 2001. He doesn’t seem to be pretending to be related to the site or anything, but I emailed him anyway, asking politely if he’d consider changing his name, or adding a disclaimer that he’s not related to us.

He claims he’s “spent the last 20 years riding and restoring scooters,” and is “active in the vintage club scene.” So it’s possible it’s just a coincidence, though it seems weird we’d never heard of each other until now, in the smallish world of vintage scootering. Anyway, I’m not gonna hassle the guy, it’s not that big a deal, neither of us uses eBay much anyway, but I just figured since he didn’t seem interested in clearing things up, it was up to me to make it publicly clear that he’s not me, and vice versa.

Scootmoto Update!

Speaking of 2SB cashing in (stop laughing), we’ve finally updated Scootmoto with about a dozen new items, including:

(Finally!) NEW 2strokebuzz T-shirts, a very limited-edition tribute to one of the greatest albums ever, and because our son Calvin (obviously) needed one, we did a few onesies. We only printed 36 shirts, so if you’re actually twee/old enough to get the reference, order fast!
Continue reading “Scootmoto Update!”

Another Adidas/Vespa event

Johnny at Motoworks let us know there’s another Vespa party at the Adidas Original store (923 N. Rush Street) this Thursday (4-1-10) from 5-9pm. Last year, they had similar parties all over the country, so if your town has an Adidas Original store, you might want to give them a call. They promise “first dibs on new Adidas gear” and a 15% discount at the party.

(Note: Motoworks’ new location at 1710 North Avenue is having a grand opening party on April 17, so save that date, and we’ll post more about that later!)

Now, I’ve been wearing Sambas since Pelé played for the Cosmos (Hmm, “Pelé” is in the Mac spellcheck dictionary, nice!). I love Adidas, I love Vespa, but I gotta say, the party last year was a disappointment. I had the impression that the Adidas Originals boutique threw a party at least once a week (Missy Elliot Line! El Salvador Line! etc…) without much thought into pleasing the specific target market. They had a generic trip-hop DJ, and a few chicken salad sandwiches, but (even after being asked a week early) couldn’t wrangle a scooter parking zone for the evening. A respectable dozen or so scooterists showed up, pretty excited about what we’d seen online, only to discover that a tiny fraction of the line was actually available in-store (two shoe styles, a couple t-shirts, and a “meh” tracksuit). No one wanted to stay long, with meter maids hungrily eyeing the assortment of semi-legally-parked scooters outside, and even though the 15% discount was extended to online orders placed through the store, no one bought much. So it may be worth checking out, but I’m betting the Motoworks store opening party will be a lot more fun.

Now More Than Ever…

Several people have sent us the Denver Post story about Sportique’s financial woes. That’s certainly a sad story worth reading, and proof that even the best scooter dealers are in big trouble right now. Sportique’s been around for twelve years and certainly has a reputation equalled by only a handful of shops, so if they’re in trouble, we’re all in trouble.

A lot of fly-by-night scooter shops (and a few good ones) have already closed down, and many more will close in the next few months. This attrition of dealers is actually a good thing in one way: we’ll finally see fewer strip-mall dealers selling questionable or illegal bikes with virtually no aftersales support. Dealers that survive are the ones that know their stuff and love scooters. Anyone who’s been involved in scootering for more than a few years knows the market is brutally cyclical, but scooterists in the know hoped to see these “good guys” — great shops run by true scooter fanatics — survive. These shops aren’t bandwagon jumpers, they knew what they were getting into. They realize that a hemorrhage of sales can be replaced with chirping crickets in a matter of months. A few shops have been around since the eighties and have already been through the cycle. But even with vision and responsible planning, the triple whammy of the global recession, the end of a scooter-sales boom, AND the winter lull is proving too much to endure.

So this is a call to arms: if you like your local dealer, they need your support now more than ever. It just plain sucks to be a scooter dealer right now. So if you’ve been considering a new bike, or a performance upgrade, or a new jacket or helmet, or a rebuild, now’s the time to do it, and it’s more critical than ever to buy local and support the people that have supported you. Your dealer’s prices might be a bit higher than online or catalog prices, but they’ve worked hard for your business and chances are, they’re up against a wall. Your dealer needs you. Fewer dealers and fewer sales means fewer new scooter models being imported and fewer new scooterists, and reduced parts and accessories availabilty. If your local dealer closes, you may be stuck driving to the nearest big city (or the bigger city past that) for service and accessories. If importers start shutting down, you’re going to need to learn foreign languages to find parts.

If you’re new to scootering, 2008 was as big as it gets, but the lean years are great, too. A smaller scene separates the real life-long scooterists from the trendies, creates tighter bonds between scooterists, and paves the way for the next ‘boom.’ We’re going to lose some dealers, it’s a fact, but we MUST keep the best dealers going. With just a little boost from customers to survive these worst-case-scenario next few months, the best shops will eventually thrive, even through the lean years ahead.