Tag Archives: Piaggio

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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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’)


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? 


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.


In the Wild: Another Agility!

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It’s not exactly Earth-shattering, but in a city that prides itself on a plethora of “bro-dozers” and “cowboy Cadillacs” seeing scooters is always refreshing.  And, as the economy has taken a sharper downturn than the financial gurus would like us to believe, quality makes of scooters have been coming to the forefront.  Of course, this also means there are a ton of Chinese junker clone scoots coming out of the woodwork too.  But, I think many people are getting wise to their tactics.

This also means new brands or brands that aren’t well known may fight against the stigma that every bike not a Vespa is a “Chinese” scooter. Really, it’s the Chinese clones that have ruined the reputation of scooters in the US as being “real” bikes.  But, companies like Kymco, Genuine Scooter Company and SYM have thankfully not given up.

Proof? Dunno if it’s proof, but I saw another new Agility 125 on campus today! This gentleman bought  it from the dealer in Avondale (who charged him freight, assembly and “paperwork” on top of tax/title/license, while my dealer informed me that freight and prep are included in the MSRP by Kymco… interesting).  The Agility is priced right and has a modern look without the modern Piaggio or Honda price.  And, it’s made in a plant OWNED and regulated by Kymco, even if it is on the Mainland.  Far different than those build-and-forget crap Chinese scooters.

Good to see I’m not the only one on campus who gets it!


On The Road Agaaaaaiiiinnnn…..

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It’s been a while, I know.  But life has thrown some severe curves at us.  It has eaten up two bikes that I have tried to incorporate into my life and along the way thousands of dollars. During the journey homes have been shifted, friends gained and lost, jobs gained and a long trudge to two degrees has evolved.  But, the while is over.

Actually, it took a LONG while, and even then it was a fight but here it is: The new steed of mine!

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A 2013 Kymco Agility 125!!!!  Top speed of around 65mph (a smidge faster once broken in I am told), amazingly tight construction and a price that wouldn’t even bag me a clean USED Vespa.  And, it comes with a  2 year warranty! 

With Kymco’s hard push into the US market, I could no longer ignore the marque.  After finally test riding one I realized something pretty profound: They have passed some of the Japanese in build quality, and their “commuter” bikes like the Agility actually may be BETTER than Piaggio’s budget line of Flys and Typhoons!  I am dead serious in this respect too.

I would have to be.  I don’t make enough money to throw around on bikes that “maybe” better.  I had the option of buying a 2009 Piaggio Fly 150 with only 900 miles for about $800 less, and I *still* went with the Kymco. 

That is how Impressive it is in build and performance.

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Looks may be a bit debatable since you either love or hate the modern styling.  There is a lot of treated plastic on this bike (hence it’s flat black finish), so it’s going to take a lot of upkeep with the plastics protectant.  But, the wheels run a 12” rim, unlike the Genuine Scooter Co’s Buddy which rocks 10” steel rims.  The handling shows with the larger, wider running gear as well.  The suspension is VERY tight and almost rough, but in the corners this bike grips hard, making use of that tight suspension. It’s not as smooth and refined as the Vespa, but this bike is $1,899 MSRP.  Yep. That’s the everyday price.  Out the door, I paid $2149. 

You try finding a bike this well built for under $2200!  I couldn’t.

So, there it is.  I will do a proper report once I get more than 12 Kilometers on the machine.  Until then, stay tuned!