Monthly Archives: November 2011

Ahh the clutch….

So, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted about my “learning” process. There are a few reasons at hand, but until today, it’s literally and figuratively, stalled.

My V has been in the same exact spot it’s been in for 3 weeks now because a) I’ve been pretty busy and there were a few unexpected days of rain in AZ …. b) FRUSTRATION with my ability to learn to ride such a finicky beast and c) I’m just really tired of stalling 100 times and then having a bitch of a time getting it started again (more on that later).

Today, I had time and sunshine so it was on the agenda to take her out. Thanks to my scooter gang partner, taking her apart to find out what the freaking problem is with the kick start… It turned out that the ignition is not the original one and has an automatic kill switch inside that I wasn’t aware of, therefore preventing the bike from getting spark if the key isn’t in the correct position, and also taking her down the block to find out the clutch “issue”. So hats off to neotrotsky for hooking up the secret trick to getting the V going.

I’m not only no longer afraid of the scooter, but I’m also pretty damn confident that with this nugget of information, I’ve also got her number. Take that, clutch! HA HA!

Anyway, here’s the shameless plug: Check out out new YouTube channel. This page is not only documenting my journey as a brand new rider, but it’ll also have rallies, like our cross country trip to Amerivespa next summer. So, we hope you enjoy our silliness and our future adventures.

Until next time!

~wend E


EICMA 2011: Piaggio Beverly Sport Touring 350. Even they go big..

And, as if the new Aprilia auto motorbike and BMW Maxi-scooter news wasn’t enough to make you think that the scooter scene in general had compensation issues, I present to you this:

 

The new Beverly Sport Touring 350 is the largest Piaggio to date for the line.  The Beverly has done VERY well for the makers of Vespa, selling 310,000 bikes in various displacements since 2001.  This time around, they went nuts with a 350 engine with an output of 33hp, 150/70 rear tire, sport styling and one of the first bikes to use the ABS/ASR braking system for maximum safety.  Yep kids, this thing has brakes more complex than your Volvo and the size to match.

Now, with the wow aside, is Piaggio pushing the limits of the definition of a scooter? No doubt the Beverly line (sold as simply the “BV” in some of the US showrooms strangely) is the fighter that Piaggio has put in the ring to compete with Honda’s taking of the Italian home market, and has given Piaggio a more modern face.  But, wit this bike dwarfing most large-wheel commuter bikes, one wonders that at the price, will they be able to stay competitive price wise with Honda or Peugeot?

No word if this will be available in the US, but if it is, expect a price to start well over $6500 to $7k.  Remember, Italian style isn’t cheap.  Then there’s that whole Italian economy insolvency thing that could hamper exports….


EICMA 2011: BMW introduces… a Scooter! No, serious.

What you see isn’t a concept rendering: It’s said to be BMW’s next leap in their motorcycle lineup. The Motorrad C600 Sport/C650 GT is the Maxi-Scooter that BMW hopes will propel them to new markets where the C1 Scooter they previously attempted could not.

The new bike, which is said to drop around the first quarter of 2012, will sport a twin cylinder 650cc engine that will deliver up to 60HP (!!!) to the rear wheel by means of a CVT. The bike, which is a first for BMW, is also said to start at a “competitive price” to other Maxi-scooters in the market. Given the aging population in the US and the growing interest in large displacement bikes such as the VMAX and Suzuki Burgman, this could stand a serious chance. And, if they are true on their price point, expect this bike to drop for just shy of $10,000 US, which is a bargain for a BMW motorbike.

So, what say you? Is a BMW big bike worth hanging with the rest of the scooter population? Is it too big? Just right? Too much?

Yes, this post may be a bit late on the news, but a complete computer crash of the computer here at the Slow Kid’s Administrative offices (i.e. the corner of a townhouse where a cheap Ikea desk sits) has delayed posts a bit, so bear with us.


LML releases a torrent of new tech: Automatic Stars, Fuel Injection and even Sidecars!

EICMA 2011 is supposed to be the big time event for motorbike manufacturers, and while Piaggio may of made many go “Meh”, LML (the manufacturer of the Star scooter better known as the “Stella” from Genuine Scooters in the US) has come out swinging!  They released not one new bike but a HALF DOZEN new models with tech that wouldn’t seem possible on a bike based off of the steel Vespa P-series scooter.  They include:

The new “Star Light” 4T with CVT.  Yes, they have released a fuel injected 50cc version of the venerable Star scooter… and it’s an AUTOMATIC?!?!  Say what you will about non-shifty bikes, this is said to be a steel bodied scooter that offers modern convenience with full style.

(Could this be the supposed “smallframe” Star we’ve been hearing about?)

Next are the new Stars in 50cc, 125cc and the inclusion of fuel injection on their bikes.  A cooperation with Polini has also produced a performance kit for the 4T Star/Stella that includes an exhaust, cylinder kit and Mikuni 22mm carb, but it wasn’t mentioned for what displacement of engine.  but, if it’s for the 1504T, the 22mm carb would be a nice upgrade from the 2o currently used.

Also included were several new “special editions”: The Corsa, the Off-Road and the Bicolor (meant to invoke the two tone P’-series scooters of the 80’s)

Lastly, LML released a factory version of a sidecar for their new bikes that actually looks quite stunning.  It’s less on the chrome, but still retains the vintage-esque character.  No word on pricing or availability yet

Of course, most of these innovations will probably NOT make it to the US, since the bike market here is a joke to the rest of the world.  But, there is at least one importer here who is serious about Steel bodied scooters from LML and hopefully they’ll take a chance on a few of these bikes.  We may see some of these as re-branded Stella scooters, but only time will tell.

A special thanks to Eric at ModernBuddy for giving us the scoop on all of the hot new bikes coming out of EICMA 2011!!!


Behold: Vespa’s “Model 46” concept: A retro-retro bike?

Piaggio, like most manufactures of the world, has brought a showing of bikes to the EICMA 2011 bike show.  This is a big event in the world of motorcycles, and usually attracts the best of what companies have to offer.  Over the next few days I’ll be sharing the scooter side of things, but to start off I figured I would show what Vespa is billing as the “Quarantasei”. 

While stylistically it’s obviously a nod to Corradino D’Ascanio and his original prototype ’46, which was one of the first bikes to incorporate all of the design elements that later would be carried over to the bike we know today as the Vespa

While the new body sports integrated taillights, turn signals in the handle bars and an over-stylized body, the engine is reported to be a 3 valve single cylinder, fuel-injected unit that produces 9% more HP than the previous LEADER engine that it replaces.  It also is sporting a rear disc brake, which is often something lacking in the sub 250cc Vespas.

While some have raved about the new Vespa’s direction, this blogger thinks it’s not *that* great.  It surely follows the current Vespa’s track of over-stylized bodies that sort-of evoke original designs, but technology wise it doesn’t bring a lot new to the table.  Then again, there have been HUGE debuts of new bikes by LML (which we will cover later), BMW (yes, BMW is making a scooter!) and Honda that make Piaggio’s offerings seem a bit weak. 

But, what do you guys think? Is it a bold move in the right direction for Piaggio to snag market mind share from the public, or does the “retro-retroness” of the body just try too hard?