Genuine Buddy 170 for 2011,
Electric IDEP coming to Europe

Bosco on Modern Buddy beats us to the scoop: 161cc fuel-injected Genuine Buddy in three new colors for 2011. If they can keep the price reasonably close to the carbureted models, these will rule the scooter market.

In other PGO Buddy news, PGO’s promisingly redesigned eBuBu is called “IDEP”, it’s a “Buddy” with electric motors mounted within both wheels, It’s due in Europe soon.

LML Electric Scooter Revealed At EICMA

As posted earlier, LML Italia has promoted the arrival of an electric scooter. The German scooter shop SIP has delivered the goods with four snapshots of the literally green Star Electric. The scooter is an electric conversion of the popular LML Star (aka Genuine Stella). Electric conversions of largeframe Vespa scooters has been available as custom work from Soundspeed Scooters in Seattle. I’m betting a Stella Electric may come in at a similar price as the conversion plus an old project someone has never finished. We’ll wait and see. How much would you pay for an electric Stella?

SIP Scooter Shop Photos And Hints Of Another New Lambretta

SIP Scootershop has a great collection of photos on flickr from INTERMOT in Germany. Among the photos were several interesting snaps of new offerings. First, one that caught my eye as a novel design for an electric scooter. I’m not sure of the origin. Please, if anyone recognizes it chime in. According the the INTERMOT booth chart the company next to Hyosung-Germany is “SUZHOU HANDE ELECTRIC BICYCLE CO.”. I think it’s just a good use of long, horizontal, flat floorboards and the raised channels space as well as other ergonomically sensible configuration aspects.

But most interesting was the appearance of the Lambretta name in one of the photos. Sadly, no machine. While several entities vie for the Lambretta name and image, the teaser image on the web-site is attractive if even just the tail end. This group is apparently Irish, spreading the claim to yet another nation. Hopefully we’ll have even more to write about this and other new Lambretta efforts soon.

Your Government at Work?

The cause of the several-months-long 4T Genuine Stella delay is revealed thanks to FOIA request. The emissions stickers weren’t sticky enough, and the idle mixture screw wasn’t sufficiently tamperproof. I don’t know if “Epoxy coating” means they were supposed to glue them in place, or if that’s referring to the dumb plastic cap that covers the 1/2″ hole in the airbox (Nevermind, looking at my photos of the prototype, the 4T carb isn’t inside the airbox), but either way, that seems like a pretty minor issue. And honestly, that screw is there because it sometimes needs to be adjusted.

I applaud the U.S. and California governments for looking out for our security, safety, and ecological future. I’m absolutely glad they’ve ramped up enforcement. But they basically screwed Genuine here, badly, after ten years of letting anything with two wheels enter the country.

The real irony? The pollution created by shipping these buggers back to India and back (1000+ scooters, by land and sea) has a measurable environmental impact that surely outweighs the infraction. But that’s (mostly) outside the U.S., so who cares, right? Way to save the earth!

Props to Ralph for taking the trouble to find out instead of speculating on the boards for four months, like the rest of us.

The 2010 Paris Auto Show,
aka École des Faux-Scoots

Everyone and their mom including Mini (BMW) and Smart are planning to unveil world-changing e-scooters at the Paris Auto Show on September 30 and October 1. Everyone and their mom has a really nice set of magic markers. We’re not anti- e-scooters, I just think this is a lot of hype for what will ultimately be some pretty underwhelming vehicles. And you all know how 2sb feels about concepts.

Marginally more interesting to me are as-yet unsubstantiated rumors of a new BMW “big” scooter and an odd Marabese-designed 4-wheel scooter called “Quadro” set to be unveiled the day before the show. Here’s a “spy” video of the Quadro, merci, Charles for the news). While a four-wheeled scooter brings to mind a certain Onion story and the SMRFmobile 5-wheel MP3 from last weeks’ comments, Charles argues that Frenchmen want a big powerful safe scooter they can drive with a regular automotive license, so there’s apparently a thriving market of aspiring T-Max and MP3 owners pining for those extra wheels. We shall see, I guess.

(People sending me the Smart and Mini links are too numerous to thank personally, but thanks to all of you!)

MORE! Photos of the MINI and Smart scooter prototypes via Nathaniel and Eric, who rightly mentions the Mini concepts seems a bit more realistic and thought-out, whereas the Smart ones look like macro photos of Playmobil scooters (I’m paraphrasing there).

A Vectrix Participates In Zero-Emissions Race Around The World

The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme reports the launch of the United Nations Environment Programme ZERO-race. The ZERO-race pits various electric vehicles in an 80-day race across Europe, Asian and North America. Included in the four-vehicle line-up is a Vectrix scooter. While the company may struggle with glimmers of hope, a German team hopes to take one around the world to promote zero-emissions alternatives. Only one of the vehicles has four wheels so it seems that traditional cages are the odd man out in this ‘sprint’. Maybe an electric MP3 could enter next time around. Any Vectrix riders out there supplying their steed with solar go juice?

Jet Blue Vespa Giveaway

What’s up with these contests lately that give away Vespas (in the case of the Jet Blue One Thing Thats Green Sweepstakes, a lot of Vespas) as a runner-up prize, with “top” prizes that no one would want (in this case, flights to the third world, or the “opportunity” to listen to Deepak Chopra’s mullarkey in person? Admittedly, the washer and dryer look nice, but we’ve got that covered.

(Via P.Z. Meyers)

Soundspeed Scooters Outfits Electric Lambretta For Upcoming Tom Hanks Film

I was recently made aware of the handiwork of Jeb from Soundspeed Scooters that will be featured in an upcoming Hollywood film. April from Scoot! Magazine posted a story about a new film starring Hanks and Julia Roberts that features Hanks riding scooters during a midlife crisis. Further intelligence from the horses mouth revealed the handy electric conversion kit to change a classic Lambretta to a zero-emissions-near-you vehicle that will be used in the movie. The Lambretta in the photo was used as a template and the kit was shipped off to the local shop that outfitted a different Lambretta. Maybe you could talk Jeb into making another kit for your Innocenti that hasn’t seen the road in a while or to use while you build up that MB Race-Tour 200 engine.

You can read more about the film in April’s post and links in the comment section of their blog. It sounds like a familiar tale. I’m fairly certain scooter fans will discuss the film on several levels from now until well after release. The question I’m most interested in is what 4-stroke engine recording will they use in the film to represent the running Lambretta?

“The Vespa Experiment” results

Here’s a video recap of “The Vespa Experiment,” a Pacific-coast tour by three musicians on Vespa scooters. One of the musicans, Amber Rubarth sums it up:

I feel like this whole tour was all about getting to the core of life and purity and innocence. And, just getting back to the musical part and not in the business of it.

Sure, apart from the fact that it was PiaggioUSA marketing scheme, business didn’t enter into it at all, ha. The music’s not my thing (noodly earnest mellow acoustic pop) but they seem like nice kids. As far as PiaggioUSA marketing schemes go, it seemed pretty successful, and if nothing else, three musicians had a good time and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so Vespa FTW!

CARB fines Viva $1.875 million

The California Air Resources Board has fined Viva Motor Sports and some Viva dealers $1.875 million for importing and selling motorcycles, scooters, and ATVs that didn’t meet CARB requirements. CARB chairman Mary D. Nichols summed up the case:

There are plenty of great motorcycles that meet clean air standards. Most dealers know this and carry only bikes that have their California smog certificate. Those who try to cut corners put themselves in a lose-lose situation. Violators pay penalties and damage their reputations while putting public health at risk.”

Only $268,000 of the fine will be collected if the companies follow CARB regulations in the future. Importers complain that CARB regulations are too strict and the approval process is overcomplicated, but CARB is one of few agencies that have the power to regulate scooter imports and punish violations, so it’s good to see them actually going after some flagrant violations.

Owners can return the bikes, if the bikes are not returned, they will be barred from future registration.

(Thanks to NoHo Scooters and Scooterism for the story!)

Electric Lambretta GP?

dscn0053gp1The current issue of Scoot! Magazine features an ad from promising an “All-Electric GP200e” with a photo of a vintage Lambretta GP.

The link redirects to, which features absolutely no info on the scooter. Wheego is an electric car company that like most electric car companies seems to have already hyped their vehicles profusely, then missed a few self-imposed deadlines. Wheego is apparently backed by EarthLink founder (and ex-Mobil-exec) Mike McQuary, whom I will never forgive for the hour-plus I spent on the phone cancelling my EarthLink account, but my distrust of this endeavor goes beyond that experience.
Continue reading “Electric Lambretta GP?”

Hyped to death

BusinessWeek talks about why GM just doesn’t get it:

Why won’t [the Volt] be knocking socks off? Because by the time dealerships actually receive their Volts, the impulse buyers will have been seeing the vehicle for almost three years. To GM’s most cherished buyer demographic, the Volt will be old news by the time the first one hits the streets.

The same applies to most products, including scooters. People often accuse me of favoritism towards (for instance) Genuine and SYM, and being mean-spirited about other brands. To be fair, I’ve had less-than positive things to say about both Genuine and SYM, but I think part of the reason I have so many good things to say about them is that they’re two brands that do a great job of building up hype while keeping expectations realistic, then deliver on time, with a product that’s even better than what was expected.

Most other brands just don’t do this well. Piaggio posts photos and press releases months, sometimes years, before a product is available in Europe. Then, any excitement from the European launch is long-gone by the time products finally arrive in the U.S. To make matters worse, U.S. models are often stripped-down versions of their European counterparts. Diamo (Italjet) and CMSI/TNG (the Lambretta/Scomadi/”L” series) hyped vaporware for years and years and never came through. Cobra/Peirspeed’s exciting MadAss250 was old news when it arrived a few weeks ago, a few years after dealers and consumers expected to see it.

The small-but-dedicated American scooter media is always hungry for news. Bloggers, journalists, and newsgroup admins become players in this careful balance between hype vs. reality. We love a scoop, but we hate empty promises, especially when they’re repeated for years, and our bullshit detectors have become finely honed since 2000 or so. Obviously, getting press is important (What the hell has Kymco done in the last 9 months?), but press is useless when products are years away from reality. Ultimately the decision to release information is up to the manufacturers, and they could be doing a better job of it. Genuine (since the Stella) and SYM (recently) have done well to reach out to the small-but-dedicated scootersphere, always being honest and realistic about their plans. This communication benefits the company, who keeps interest in their products high, the media, who get something to talk about, and consumers, who get a realistic forecast of the direction of the industry and reliable new-product information.