Monthly Archives: October 2012

Scooter Pic of the Day:

I know, I know… it’s been quite a few days since the last “of the day” pic.  I’m sorry!! I had this pesky thing called “work” and a bunch of plays needed lighting and sound built for ‘em.  But, to make up for it, here’s a pristine example of a “modded” Lambretta in the 60’s style.  About as much farkle as your brain can take before it implodes…


Scooter Pic of the Day: 2 for 1-er

Yes, yes….I  already posted one, but in a very non-masculine moment:  OMGWFTBBQ!!!!1!! This is so cute!!!!

This is part of an installation at Federal Station in Melbourne, Australia. Haven’t found out much about it, but I’m digging for more.

Ok.  I promise I got that out of my system.  Carry on.  I’ll post something more-motorsport related later, like scooters taking on the Dakar rally or images of the Brighton Beach Riots or something.

(Doesn’t change the fact that I want one of those as a pet. Just sayin’)


Scooter Pic of the Day:

The best post wedding transport ever!  I wish I could of done this, but when me and the Mrs. Trotsky (would that make her Frida Kahlo? Nevermind… art/history nerd joke) got married, we were so broke that I didn’t even have a scooter.

It was a happy but sad time to be sure… Happy to marry, but sad there was no kickass Stella like this to ferry us home. 

(It’s ok: We actually got Jack-In-The-Box on the way home since we didn’t even get to enjoy the wedding food we were so busy. Fast food is always tricky on a scooter)


Scooter Pic of the Day

A Sunni gunman in Beirut, Lebanon with an AK-47.  This Elite 150 was pressed into service the other light during the rising Sunni/Shiite clashes that have been escalating due to the war in Syria.  While it’s never good to make light of strife in any part of the world, you have to admit that if you’re going into war on a scooter, a Honda is a reliable choice.

Image courtesy of scoothub on Tumblr


And, for a REAL modern scoot: The new Piaggio Fly

While some makers of original retro bikes are giving up and caving to the modern demands of everything for zero effort, Piaggio is introducing a bike made specifically for the modern scooter rider, the Fly. 

Now I’ve always liked the Fly’s basic approach.  I’m not a fan of the dealership tactics in the US that pretty much cost you 30 to 40 % on top of the MSRP just to buy one of their bikes. But the Fly is a bulletproof reliable automatic that I would encourage EVERYONE who is looking for a dead-stop reliable commuter bike to look into. 

And, with the Fly being one of Piggaio’s top sellers, this new one should do well.  So , what do you think of the new direction in styling. It’s a subtle difference, but definitely in the vein that Yamaha and Honda have started in Italy’s market. 


An Automatic Stella?!? Yes, they’re making one.

No, you are not hallucinating: That is an ad touting the all new, 4-stroke AUTOMATIC 125cc LML Star.  This is the same line of bike sold in the US, but under the Genuine Scooter Company ‘Stella’ name.

From the press release, it’s everything you love about the original steel-body scooter clone, but without the manual transmission (and the spare being on the WRONG SIDE OF A P-SERIES!!! But, perhaps that simply bugs me alone).  But, there are some fundamental issues I find with this bike….

The appeal of the Stella (or the “Star” for the rest of the world) is that it isn’t like your everyday scooter.  It’s as close to the original P-series Vespa that you can get without spending the money on the brand-exclusive, hipster-priced original.  And, LML has been making bikes for Vespa and on their own for a VERY long time.  Their quality is typical vintage P-series scooter: Durable, easy to fix and, well, quirky but will always survive whatever you throw at it.  When they made the switch to 4 stroke mills, I accepted it.  It’s the way of the environmental awareness drive in society, and it’s better for the planet and our resources.  So, I’ll be cool with that.  But, now the engine doesn’t even resemble what the original rocked, and that to me is not cool.

You see, there are people who want things the easiest way possible.  They want it to “just work”.  They want everything done at the push of a button.  They want their meat sanitary and packaged in synthetic wraps with a free anti-bacterial wipe to be reminded it doesn’t come from a real animal.  They get offended when there’s dirt and the occasional bug on their produce.  They flip out when their computer needs to reboot once every month for a restart to install free upgrades and updates on their software that will take a whole 5 minutes.  They want it as easy as possible and want it to “look” like it’s easy and cool all at the same time.

This is where the Stella/Star/Vespa P-series doesn’t fit their life. It’s a mechanical, simple and stylish common person’s bike before “retro bohemian chic” was a selling point.  It’s as organic as it gets, as mechanically connected to riding on the road as you can be without dragging bits of yourself along the asphalt.  You are a part of the machine, and every clutch engagement, every gear, every turn and every blip of the throttle is yours for better or worse. You have COMPLETE control.  And people today don’t like control, because it means they need to actually put in effort.

And who wants to actually DO something when you can make an engineer do it for you? Amirite?

So, to me this is NOTHING like a vintage scooter.  It may be in a metal body, but this is not “just like a Vespa P-series”.  It’s a new bike. No better than a Kymco, Modern Vespa or Honda.  It’s boring, bland and designed so any fashionista can ride it and claim she’s “sooooo ‘mod’  “.  And I’m sure it will sell AMAZINGLY well if it hits the US.  And, we will then lose our manual shifter bikes soon after because of poor-sales.

Is it no surprise that Piaggio of Italy also just “leaked” that they are developing a PX-bodied revival scooter with an automatic CVT as well? 


Scooter of the Day

Well, in an effort be better about posting the ongoing adventures of the people who actually are behind the blog, I have decided to take a page from someone I saw on Tumblr and post a “Scooter of The Day” pic.  Just because.

And the first entry?

They McDeliver!  Get it? Such witty slogans those overseas McDonald’s franchises come up with…


Over at the In N Out with the Phoenix Meetup Scooter Club

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So, I had a weekend night with no shows.  This meant, as a production tech with no life, I had zero on my plate on a hoppin’ Friday night.  But, I saw on the local Phoenix Meetup board a notice that there was going to be a meet at the Tempe In-N-Out burger joint.  So, after a quick wash of the scooter and a fill up, I headed out to finally try to be social with *other* riders in the valley.

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As it turned out, it was a great time! There were about 12 others there on bikes of all types.  From a couple of Chinese rides to top-of-the-line Vespa GT300’s, there were even a few Kymcos (Including my trusty little Agility) and even a 4-Stroke Stella and vintage style Honda Helix!

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Turns out that the rider, Keith, is a reader of this very blog!  It was crazy hearing him recount articles that I have written on this very page… it was like someone was actually reading this drivel.  And, it was a first chance for me to hear a 4-stroke Stella in person, and it’s almost too quiet.  And, it didn’t “smell” right, but that’s the 2-stroke enthusiast in me.  Otherwise, it was a sweet machine.

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Another bike that caught my eye was this Honda PCX.  It was a really slick machine at night, but after sitting on it I came to the conclusion that, after riding the Agility, the seat “hump” on the PCX’s saddle was just in the wrong place, forcing me forward. But, from the owner’s reports there is more than enough power, if it weren’t for the limiter chip installed in the bike from the factory. Major suck on limiters..

As I mentioned, there were a few Chinese scooters there, but they were all running which was unusual in it’s own right.  One of the riders, Prescott, was already mentioning his interest in looking for a step up from his ride (which cost about $1049 from what he reported).  But, it sounded in working order and he like the rest there was a great guy and very welcoming!

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There was even another Kymco in the mix to welcome others of the Taiwanese marque.  This Grandvista had a few years on it, but from the looks and sound you would never know!  These bikes hold up extremely well and seeing one look this good after a few years only increases my confidence in my bike.

It was a great meet up and I had a chance to finally meet some other riders in the valley. It was honestly refreshing not having to deal with the vintage-snobs and the cliquish club riders that have pretty much faded into obscurity in the valley.  Hopefully I can get on a few more of these rides when I can get even a little time off. 

And, the weather was PERFECT: 71 degrees and clear skies.  Can’t get better than that.


Kymco Agility Carry… I WANT!!!!

All I can say is that I want this front rack setup for my scooter!!!

It’s a 50, but there’s no reason why I couldn’t just find a way to order the front shield and put it on my 125.  It’s a front rack…for a Kymco!  Yes it’s ugly, but I might as well embrace the ultility aspect of the bike.  What’s even cooler is the legshield inner rack.  It comes with a messenger bag that snaps on.  THIS would be perfect not only for my commute to work but for upcoming long distance trips.

Want.

Now, how the hell to get it…


Slow Kids Field Trip ‘13, Part 2: From daily life to preparation

For most of us, our scooter is a daily mode of transport.  It’s the workhorse of the transportation world and as such is ridiculed by many other motorcycle riders as not being a “real” bike.  As someone who’s ridden everything from Triumphs to Harleys to Vespas, I of course would disagree. 

But, that’s not to deny that they are made for a particular environment.  It’s why I myself chose the Kymco Agility 125.  It’s a durable, reliable if not boring looking scooter.  It does the job of commuter better than nearly anything on the road for it’s price and it doesn’t look like a Chinese POS (which is very important in the scooter world ). And it does the daily chores expected of such a scooter with ease (such as the weekly bottled water runs seen below)

Or even grabbing a pizza:

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But, when you talk about cross country trips, THEN people really start looking at you like you’re nuts, and perhaps you may be just a little.  But, that’s half of the joy: Taking something designed for one purpose on an adventure doing something completely out of the ordinary.  When we think about Amerivespa, it means taking our daily riders and subjecting them to several THOUSAND miles of asphalt, gravel, dirt roads and NO roads in two different countries.  That means that both the bikes and the riders are going to have to prepare for things they never had to do before (for most). 

In the following entries, I’ll highlight my experiences with cross country riding, and how it’s going to be far different on a scooter.  I may do it with this Agility I have.  And why not? It’s known for being bulletproof reliable, simple to work on and made to be abused.  I also may do it on a Stella or a vintage P-series that has the same reputation from 30 years ago.  Either way, the choice of bikes is critical.  Also, there is the physical training of taking your body and wrestling a single cylinder small bike across Northern Mexico and the Southwest US.  It will be anything but easy, and probably more physically grueling on the rider than doing it on a fancy BMW or Kawasaki Adventure bike with 1200cc’s of power and custom made off road suspension.  Then of course there is the financial and mental preparation.  Any motorcycle adventure succeeds or fails on proper planning when it comes to logistics and financing.  Do we need carnes? What about Passports? What is the exchange rate? What if we break down and needs parts? What if we need a tow? HOW do we tow it home if needed? All of these are critical. 

So, stay tuned and you will see how we as city commuters start to attack the daunting task this next summer.  I think the difference in perspectives will shed some light on an awesome subgroup of riders most motorcyclist overlook… even when they are your own kind!