#21: Parts is Parts

Today’s question for Dr. Buzz (his “panel of experts” has become more trouble than it’s worth) comes from Joe W. in Philly:

Does anybody there know how to contact ******** or whatever their corporate identity is this month? Their website lists a “dealer” in Westchester PA who had never sold one, never worked on one. I took my scooter there and unfortunately it needs parts. The dealer is unable to get anybody to sell him parts. The phone number is a secret so nobody can call, I get a grumpy response from some of the other dealers on their list – maybe it’s the same situation…

(updated 5/14 with more details)
Continue reading “#21: Parts is Parts”

The Return of Scomadi

Scomadi Turismo Leggara 250
Speaking of the undead*, while we were hibernating for the last few (six) months, Scomadi came back to life. You may remember “Scomadi” as the sixth or seventh name given to the Piaggio-engined vintage-body “Lambretta” that was being hyped for years by the Khurana family (who went on to stick Lambretta stickers on Adlys), CMSI (who went on to Chinese-scooter obscurity), and PM Tuning/Lambretta Innovations. Apparently, PM Tuning finally realized that a mass production run was never going to happen and decided to finally go ahead and build the things themselves in small batches. The first batch of ten Scomadi Turismo Leggara 250**s feature carbon fiber bodies and sell for £7000, which would have been a likely-but-ridiculous price for a production version, but really isn’t a ridiculous price for a hand-built slick-looking collectible modern Lambretta. Cheers, mates, we’ll gladly test one for you! In any case, we’re glad to see all that work finally paying off.

PS: Scomadi, you need a title tag in the header on your website. Right now, your site is listed in search engines as a blank space!

* Italjet, not Haiti, I’m not Pat Robertson, geez.
** Italian for “League of 250 Scum, on Tour”.

Haynes’ “Chinese scooter” book

Scooter-Station notes that Haynes has released one of their famous service manuals targeted to Chinese/Taiwanese/Korean scooters. Probably handy, but it can’t be too specific, even though half the scooters made in Asia are Yamaha Vino knockoffs, there’s a lot of variety there, too, and surely a wide variety of tolerances and torques and such, which is where the Haynes manuals usually shine. Still, knowledge is power, and even if it just covers GY6-style engines in depth, it’d be useful.

Dealer Expo 2009, Part I: Overview


Every February, powersports dealers from around the nation descend on grey, shivery, boring Indianapolis to see what’s new in the industry. It’s a chance for manufacturers, importers, and distributors to wine and dine their dealers and hopefully round up some orders for the upcoming riding season. This was our third year at DealerExpo, though it was our first with actual 2strokebuzz press passes. Continue reading “Dealer Expo 2009, Part I: Overview”

Are they still around?

BigAssMotors is trying to breathe life into TNG by taking over their distribution in the Southwest. Though TNG has seen a couple promising stretches, they’ve been plagued by Costco’s return policy, quality control issues, Schwinn, manufacturer changes, dozens of importers selling identical-looking bikes, several years of disappointment regarding the Lambretta/Scomadi/L-Series, and rumors of lapses in business ethics (notably a BBS post about their warranty manager selling warranty-returned bikes out of his garage on Craigslist). Needless to say, the announcement was less-than-enthusiastically received on the BBS. (Thanks for the link, Matt)

2007 Dealer Expo: POCphil’s review


Since a week has passed and I still haven’t been able to collect my thoughts on the ginormous mindblowing extravaganza in Indianapolis, here’s POCphil‘s writeup. I’ll add my comments in italics where appropriate. -2SB

We were so excited to get to the Indianapolis Dealer Expo this year, we were running about 2 hours early. We took that time to go visit Speed City Cycles in Indianapolis, only a few minutes from the Show. Mike and Marybeth Tockey have created a fantastic shop with an ingenious use of space and rural/industrial feel that leaves room for a snack bar, lounge and a ton of scooters and accessories. Mike also builds award winning metric cruisers. Just hanging around his IWL Berliner is a treat. After a great tour and some bench racing we were back on our mission to deliver two scooters to the Scoot! Magazine/ Corazzo booth and still arrive early enough at the hotel for some hottubbing before showing up in time for the open bar at 4PM, whew!
Continue reading “2007 Dealer Expo: POCphil’s review”

L-Series site update

The Scoop points out that CMSI’s “L-Series” Website has been updated. Not much, mind you, they’ve added a posterized photo and a couple press releases, but it’s a start. POC Phil insists the new “L-Series” is the same prototype they’ve been showing off for years, with some minor cosmetic changes, and even CMSI’s Seattle neighbors Microsoft have never stalled a release this long, but Lambretta fans remain hopeful, and we look forward to the chance to talk to CMSI at the Indianapolis Dealer Expo.

PM Tuning’s L-series photos

PM Tuning (Lambretta Innovation) has a series of photos of the L-series “new Lambretta,” showing various stages of assembly, and more photos from the EICMA show (Thanks, Stephen and Chad) The engine is, in fact, the Piaggio QUASAR 250ie motor found in the Vespa GTS, Piaggio MP3, and several other Piaggio Group scooters. The bike is being evaluated by Piaggio for engine approval and another Italian company is preparing drawings and production plans. Several years in the making, the new Lambretta is getting tantalizingly closer, but there are still a few hurdles ahead.

Back from the dead: CMSI “L”ambretta?

Steve at The Scooter Scoop reports that CMSI (parent company of TNG scooters) had a prototype “Lambretta” on display in Milan. Not big news if it was the same Lambretta prototype they’ve been showing off for years, but it looks to be a new prototype (comments appreciated). You may remember that CMSI, losing a major investor and finding themselves unable to use the Lambretta name, but teaming up with PM Tuning and looking at a more global market, abandoned the name Lambretta USA and were marketing the scooter as “Scomadi” for a while, but the Scomadi site now features an “L-Series” logo and “coming soon.” Hope springs eternal…

Follow-up: Looking at the photos from the 2005 debut of the Lambretta prototype, the scooter in Milan is pretty vastly different. It appears to be more orange than red, (or poorly color-balanced) and the speedometer, rear turn signals, and glovebox, among other details, would indicate that this is either an entirely new prototype, or the old one was heavily modified. Any engine nerds want to take a stab at what’s inside?

Schwinn vs. TNG: Pacific Cycle’s response

I emailed Pacific Cycle, parent company of Schwinn Scooters for a comment on TNG’s lawsuit against Schwinn. Here was the response from Mo Moorman, Pacific Cycle’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations:

Pacific Cycle has no comment regarding ongoing litigation, except that we are surprised and disappointed by these claims. We feel the claims have absolutely no merit and intend to defend vigorously. Pacific Cycle stands by the quality of its products and its relationships with its OEM partners.

You may find it worthwhile to review a variety of scooter OEM’s Web sites to note the similarities between their catalog’s standard, stock models and scooters distributed in the U.S. and around the world.

Fair enough, and we’ve noted that there are hundreds of US importers selling the same handful of Chinese-made scooter models (most commonly based on the Yamaha Vino design) under different brand names. Perhaps CMSI has written off smaller fly-by-night importers as being not worth worrying about, whereas a well-known name like Schwinn is a much bigger threat. And again, the lawlessness of the Chinese business frontier will certainly cloud this case– TNG probably has little recourse against their Chinese suppliers. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, the Yamaha settlement last week was an interesting precedent. Perhaps Yamaha will parlay their trademark victory into more lawsits against US distributors of Vino clones, if so, both TNG and Schwinn could be looking at even bigger problems.

TNG files charges against Schwinn Scooters

Can you tell the difference?

As 2strokebuzz noted a couple weeks ago, the new Schwinn Scooters bear more than a casual similarity to the TNG Venice and Milano models, and as promised, we’ve dug a little deeper into the situation and our findings are rather startling. Tom Lynott, president of CMSI, makers of the TNG scooters, had no comment on April 4th, but since then, a source outside CMSI confirmed that CMSI were preparing legal action against Pacific Cycle, the parent company of Schwinn, Mongoose, and GT bicycles. A complaint, which alleges that Pacific Cycle effectively “stole” TNG’s product and business model after a proposed collaboration was abandoned, was submitted to the United States District Court in Seattle on April 6, (two days after our original story), listing six charges against Pacific Cycle: False Designation of Origin, Violation of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, Common Law Unfair Competition, Intentional Interference with Contract, Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Relations, and Breach of Contract.
Continue reading “TNG files charges against Schwinn Scooters”

Schwinn & TNG links linked?

We’re still getting a lot of hits from Schwinn’s link, and we just noticed that they’ve borrowed more than design cues from TNG:
Schwinn Scooters’ “Extras” Page
TNG Motor Scooters’ “Extras” page
Which got us thinking “maybe they’re actually related somehow” but Whois records and Google searches provide no indication that CMSI (TNG’s parent company in Washington state) is involved in Schwinn Scooters (a division of Pacific Cycle who own Schwinn, Mongoose and GT, based near the Pacific in Madison, WI). I’ve emailed TNG to hopefully find out more.
(UPDATE: 4-18-06: It turns out there’s much more to the story.)