Tag Archives: scooter

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…


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!


Holy Crap!!! You like us!

I just hopped onto the stats page on WordPress (because I just desperately like any task I do to be liked by people… it’s a condition that stems from being the last kid picked for kickball back in grammar school or something) and I just noticed that on Thursday, our daily view count topped not only 100, but sailed to 118!!! This means 118 of you netizens out there actually gave a crap about what we’re sometimes writing about on here!

Seeing such good news, it prompts me to write some more.  We’ve had some interest by others who like the idea of the Slow Kids, but there’s just one slight problem: None of them have scooters Disappointed smile  So, stick tight and you will soon start to see things gelling around here.  And, hopefully I can manage my time enough to get back to going to rides and rallies with other clubs!

So, thank you for the views and keep tuned here!


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!


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!


“IIIIIII…. would scoot 500, er, kilometers…”

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So, I have had the Kymco Agility 125 for about a week officially.  It has yet to have a name, but it has been put to the magic number of 500 kilos.  So far, the break-in period is going fantastic, and I even have a bit of observation to report:

-It’s a punchy little guy!! Just *barely* slower than the Buddy 125 on initial acceleration, but from what I’ve seen, same top speed.  It may even be a hair faster, but I won’t push it to WOT until I get 1k on it

-Fit and finish, while Spartan, is tight! Not one squeak, rattle or loose bolt yet.  Although, being a single cylinder scooter I know loose bolts are coming and are a fact of life.  But so far, it’s proving itself well

-The tires? Eh. The sudden drop-off on the lip of the tire means there isn’t extra real estate to go “knee down” in the turns, and they have modest grip.  They just are cheap tires.  But, when you get a brand new scooter for under $2200 US with ALL FEES, you have to expect a cut corner or two.  This is the only place other than the copious amounts of flat unpainted plastic that shows the Kymco’s budget roots.

-Average MPG so far? 88 Miles Per Gallon.

-The suspension is tight, but perhaps a bit *too* tight.  It can be a rough ride on less developed or less maintained roads.  Of course, the tight suspension also lends itself to great cornering and it’s sporty, almost Agile if you will, feel.  It’s not for everyone, but again at this  price point you can either get comfort and sloppy handling or a bit of a rough ride and excellent handling.

All in all, this is a great urban scooter perfectly suited for the quick-punch acceleration and maneuvering critical in large urban environments.  This bike was tailor made for the commuter with decent underseat storage, sporty handling, quick acceleration, a rear rack that’s actually USEFUL and decent looks that don’t scream “Chinese Scooter Clone” just because it’s inexpensive.

Granted, this bike still costs more than the nicest Chinese clone, but not by much.  And, after seeing what this bike can do… why the hell would anyone buy a no-name bike when they can have a Kymco at this price?


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!