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?