Thoughts On 2-Wheeler Trends?

As powersports industry struggles from snowmobiles to scooters, there will be changes for producers and consumers. Some folks may make less money on each sale and there may be fewer options for people looking to purchase a new ride. But transcending the current problems and powered by the fact that as long as there’s a desire to buy a product there will be someone selling, the question arises as to what the next trend in the market will be. Manufacturers and customizers want to get out in front of the trend to maximize their share of the market and claim ‘FIRST’ with a bit more authority than the rest of the herd that shifts directions and takes the landscape like locusts on a fresh field. The Kneeslider’s Paul Crowe offers some interesting thoughts on the motorcycle market in relation to ‘customs’ and what the next trend may or may not be. As for scooters there have been a few trends like ‘sport’ scooters that take after a full fairing sportbike and just cut out the tank and make room for a step-through area or ‘retro’ scooters that create few sharp edges in their plastic skin, often reminiscent of the classic Vespa. Both kinds, in my opinion, often leave out the thoughtful design but that’s a top for another day. Are there other trends to be embraced in scooters? Why do we need new ones? Wouldn’t making one right for once be a good idea?

EPA Retracts Certifications
from Four Chinese Manufacturers

The EPA has withdrawn certification for off-road vehicles from four US importers, Hensim USA, Loncin USA, Peace Industry Group, and Seaseng, affecting 200,000 vehicles. All four companies used broker MotorScience Enterprise to handle their emissions testing. Three of the four companies also import scooters, but it appears no scooters were included in the action. The EPA alleges MotorScience provided “tailpipe emissions information was either incomplete or falsified.”
Continue reading “EPA Retracts Certifications
from Four Chinese Manufacturers”

Chinese traffic accidents

Via Gome, via Jalopnik:

Yes, that’s dozens of low-speed collisions from Chinese security cameras. Car-on-car. Car-on-scooter. Scooter-on-scooter. Scooter-on bicycyle. All of the above-on-pedestrian, and my favorite, Tuk-tuk-in-reverse-on-multiple-pedestrians.

It’s very tragic, yet a little bit funny (just like Gome) At least everyone seems to be moving pretty slowly and no one is hurt, at least not visibly gored. Try not to picture any of those collisions on American streets with SUVs going twice as fast.

Mods and Rockers 10 Chicago

Jordan reminds us Ton Up Chicago’s Mods and Rockers Street Clash is next weekend (Friday June 18-Saturday June 19 2010). This year it looks like they’re moving it from Delilahs to the new(ish) Bottom Lounge on Lake Street. As great as Delilah’s is, it’s been way too crowded in years past I’ve gone (was it at Bottom Lounge last year?) so the new venue (and the less busy street/area) should be a big improvement. Not that an improvement was needed, the event, venue, and artwork have always been top-notch. This year promises an even fuller two days of events, including Quadrophenia at the Music Box, bands (Irving Parkas!), rides, and the centerpiece bike show. Sadly, I’ll miss it again this year, but Jordan will surely give us a report.

Update: We hear the Discovery Channel is shooting the whole thing, so you’ll definitely want to shine up and show off!

Chicago’s Improved Adhesive Meter Receipts:

The Expired Meter posted about Chicago’s new motorcycle-friendly meter receipts, with a closing quote from some negative creep scooterist.

I actually checked them out after talking to The Expired Meter, they are a big improvement over the old adhesive receipts, and definitely better than the cheapo thermofax paper. We appreciate the effort from the city and LAZ, though my concern about theft still stands (not to mention the hundreds of other complaints people have about the whole parking meter operation in general.)

All that said, most meters have a very limited parking window anyway, so they’re not an option for commuters or overnight parking. And even though Chicago’s metered spaces seem to be growing exponentially, a Chicago Road Use Tax medallion allows you to park on a wealth of (unmetered) residential side streets without a neighborhood permit. Eventually, those will probably be metered as well, but for now, parking in the city is about as clear and hassle-free as it’s ever been.

New Lambretta Oddly Like Old Lambretta

The 2010 Motorcycle Grand Prix season kicked off this afternoon at high noon CST (20:00 local time in Qatar). In Grand Prix racing the competition begins with the lights in front of the riders going from red to off. There were 25 riders lined up for the start of the race. When the lights flicked off, 24 125cc motorcycles pushed off from their starting position to begin the race. Toward the back of the field, history repeats itself. As the case with many scooter rides with your pals, there was a Lambretta that couldn’t quite get started and was being frantically pushed to one side pleading for assistance. Just like any large group ride where the front can’t see the back, the rest moved on and the lonely rider was left behind. All the hard work of the team and rider had gone for not. Poor Louis Salom, a former Red Bull Rookie league front runner, had been left in the lurch by a mechanical problem. Lets just hope that by the next round in Japan they sort out their mechanical gremlins and are rewarded with better luck for their efforts.

(Note: A Piaggio product won the race)

“Schoolgirl hit by scooter slams rogue riders”

Aside from the headline, which sounds kinda like a porn video, this story reminds us that as indignant as we get about events like last week’s incident in Arizona, scooterists and motorcyclists can be a threat to pedestrians and cyclists and we’re not always as careful or responsible as we could be. I’m sure the sort of british chavs responsible for this specific incident don’t read this blog (or care about anything but themselves,) but I know plenty of people that read 2strokebuzz have no problem riding after a few drinks, and/or like to show off, and ALL of us get distracted from time to time and make bad decisions. Most of us also drive cars a good share of the time, and fiddle with Pandora, and have screaming kids in the back seat. So (rightfully) say what you will about the driver of that sanitation truck, but never forget that no matter what you ride and how careful you are, you’re capable of inflicting harm on others, too.

Ducati/Piaggio merger rumors

Businessweek and others are reporting that “McKinsey & Co Inc. is studying a possible merger
between Ducati Motor Holding SpA and Piaggio.” Before you get too excited, note that McKinsey & Co Inc. are regarded as occasionally-dangerous hypemongers. One commenter following up Autoblog’s story notes:

You may recall that McKinsey created the corporate strategy for Enron. Much of their work, which is often highly touted and quoted, is about suggesting mergers and consolidations, both internal and external to companies.

Still, it’s interesting to think about, in the greater scheme of Italian motorsports musical chairs. On one hand, homogenization strips brands of their individuality. On the other hand, Ducati’s credibility (with half of Piaggio’s revenues) couldn’t hurt Piaggio/Vespa/Guzzi/Aprilia in the U.S. market. And we’d all be invited to Ducati Island.

Our Favorite Pro Journo

At 2strokebuzz, we pride ourselves on our many ‘scoops,’ stories we covered before the professional powersports media and other blogs. But we still get plenty of our news through the usual channels, and over the past couple years, one professional powersports journalist has really impressed us by often going beyond the usual re-hashed press releases and digging up some interesting stories. In just the past couple days, Guido Ebert of Powersports Daily has:

Ebert, like any modern journalist, rehashes his fair share of press releases and does favors for friends, but we’re all surely guilty of that, right? If you’re looking for more in-depth and professional motorcycle industry information than 2strokebuzz can provide, you should be reading or following him on Facebook or Twitter.

Lambretta in MotoGP 125, WTF?

The provisional 2010 MotoGP 125cc Rider list was released today with two riders, Italians Luis Salom and Marco Ravaioli, representing team “Lambretta Reparto Corse” (“Lambretta Racing Department”) Surely, this is a joke, right? One can name a team whatever one likes, but both have “Lambretta” listed as their bike for the season. Both riders were abandoned by Chinese manufacturer Loncin, I can imagine one of the several entities posing as “Lambretta” these days sponsoring a 125cc GP team, but surely they will not be riding anything resembling a Lambretta, modern or vintage, on the track?

Thanks for the tip, Cy.

Corazzo behind New USTT Foundation

Our friend and Corazzo owner Bradford Duval stepped down from the presidency of the VCOA a couple months ago (Mike Bobadilla of Vespa Club Los Gatos took his place, btw) but he’s putting his time into another great two-wheeled organization. The new United States Tourist Trophy Foundation is looking to send Alaskan Jimmy Moore to the Isle of Man TT in May/June. The backers of the USTTF feel Moore is the man destined to be the first American on the podium in the races’ history, and they need your help getting him (and his bikes) there. Read more at

When that’s done, Bradford, Eric Almendral and I need your help getting Silent Ron to Dakar on a Blur 220EFI next winter. Eric and I have a new years’ resolution to make Ron the first American to not kill himself in the desert of South America on a Taiwanese moped.