Tag Archives: motorcycle

Vespa World Days and more!

Wrapping up just a couple weeks ago was the 12th Annual Vespa World Days. This year was held in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Thousands of riders and spectators attended the event from all over the world.

Here’s a link with some of the details and delightful photos.

Vespa Wrap up

And in other Vespa news, we are inching ever closer to a fully electric model.

The Vespa Elettrica is set to be released later this year, boasting 80-160 miles per charge, depending on which model you have. The Elettrica X has double the distance of the base model, says Piaggio designers. It is supposed to maintain brand design, but offer some of the bells and whistles you’d expect from such a hi-tech machine. This will be an interesting addition to the Vespa family.


A little humor and updates

Happy Weekend Slow Kids!

I thought to myself that I should share this little comic a friend of mine sent me. It’s so great, especially for those of us that live in the Southwest United States.

Stay tuned for my engine rebuild series. I’ve got all the parts I need and I will be attempting to rebuild my LML 5-port engine over the coming weeks. With a little one and a full time job, there’s little time to devote to a new project, but I’m really itching to get the V running again. It’s going to be premier weather in no time.

Anyway, here’s the humor!

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FINALLY back for a new year, and the word is: Determined

So, I know… it’s been ultra dead around here.  This is because life has got in the way of scootering BIG time.  So much that I hardly see anyone that I regard as friend or family with work and school goings ons (Is that even a word?).  But, we trudge on.

The Agility is doing well, in case you were wondering.  We’re still a “gang” of one running scooter, one non-running.  But, the Kymco is plugging along just fine.  In fact, I was gifted with a rather goal-specific Christmast tiding from my mother in law for the bike: A brand new DETACHABLE top case!

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The mounting hardware doesn’t quite fit, but the mounting plate fits right on to the rear rack like it was custom made!  It’s a locking ABS plastic economy deal, but since most of the rest of the bike is the same grade plastic (only thicker) it will do just fine.  The lock for the lid is also the lock for the latch to the base plate, so it only takes one key.  A few test runs shows that it could use a bit of firming up on the mounting points, but otherwise I think it will do just well for the epic journey.

As for the journey, you bet it’s still on!  I have to start getting in gear since Amerivespa is only 6 months away, and there’s still plenty to do.  The biggest hurdle right now is actually getting a new passport.  For reasons unknown to me, my mother refuses to give me my birth certificate. She’s more than willing to photocopy or scan it, but for some reason she thinks she has eminent domain over my only proof of birth and hence info for my evidence of immigration. And, the entity that is the Department of Homeland Security has determined that passports are required for all Mexico entry.  So, once I can figure out how to get a certified copy of my proof of birth, we shall be on to stage two: Actual planning!  So, stay tuned because I PROMISE I shall start keeping this blog more up to date since the epic Mexico to Amerivespa road trip …thing… will start having many more posts!

That, and I’m open to submissions for a snazzy title.  Yes, I intend to make a scooter trip video that does NOT suck, unlike the variety of vids that are on YouTube and the like right now.  And, being an audio engineer I fully intend to do the voice overs right and even compose the music myself (yes, I am taking all of my production cues from “Long Way Round”. What of it?) 


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


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…


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!


Musings after 1500k

 

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It’s been quiet around here.  That’s to be sure.  BUT… there has been some interest because yesterday we hit our HIGHEST per-day count yet: 69 BABY!!!

So, I figured it would be a good time to discuss the musings of using a commuter bike as the main bike for someone who’s ridden and lusted after fine Italian steel much of his life.  

As you see above, the Agility 125 has become part of the family, even taking it’s  own spot in the living room.  While some may question why take such care of a “commuter” bike, it is still *my* bike, and the only one I have.  And, while my new digs (The new “bunker” if you will)  are nice, the surrounding neighborhood is still on it’s way up.  I don’t want to take any chances, and this way it keeps nice and preserved without being beaten by the Arizona sun constantly. 

As far as growing performance, it’s settled into a top speed of about 65K-Mph (Kymco Miles Per Hour), which registers to about 61 Mph by GPS.  It has great pep and acceleration all the way up to about 45-50, but then plateaus pretty quick there after.  The ride is still stiff, but the bike makes up for the rough ride by some amazing cornering and handling hampered only by the strangely profiled tires.  With new tread, there’s no reason why I couldn’t drag with the best of them!  Seriously, this bike handles great, and way above it’s class and price point.

The brakes are a bit of a sore spot.  They’re “OK”, but not great.  And, the front disc has developed a squeal that I just can’t get rid of. I’ve tried sanding the pads, constant applications of brakecleaner to remove dust… nothing.  Still there. May have the dealer look into it after I can afford to do my 3rd service interval.  Other than that, all the rest of the material of the bike is holding up well into it’s 1500th Kilometer.  No broken bits and every bit of plastic seems to be in great condition.  The only minor bit is that the center stand likes to stick when folding it back up, but that’s the only thing I could find to harp on.

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All in all, the bike has proven a great daily driver.  It’s neutral styling doesn’t attract the wrong attention, while it doesn’t look like a cheap China-Container scooter.  It’s build quality is impressive for the price point, and the performance is solid.  No, it’s not as smooth as a Vespa LXV or as sleek as a Honda PCX, but we’re talking about bikes that cost two to three times what this did!  And, I’ve been seeing more pop up on the roads here in Phoenix.  When gas makes it’s innevitable climb above $4/gallon as it does every winter, I’m sure that with the number of dealerships Kymco is pushing in Arizona, we’re going to see A LOT more.

And, as for the great Mexico to San Diego Amerivespa trip?  This could be a contender.  Yes, I haven’t forgotten about that promise.  The pressures of full time work, more than full time school and moving into a new place may of taken me offline for a bit, but I have still been thinking of that journey.  Current conditions may preclude me getting another vintage scooter for the great trip, so the Agility may have to step up to the challenge of fighting the journey South of the border instead.  And, so far? It may just do fine!

Although, the ride is a bit rough, there’s no doubt the machine is up for the challenge!  And to make a trip on what is considered to be the cheapest quality-made bike on the market could be a bragging right on it’s own!