Tag Archives: Stella

The Ode to Stella 

I love my vintage Vespa, although I’ve barely ridden it. With the oppressive heat, a shady mechanic who is now out of business (thankfully?), and issues with know how and funding, riding my V has not been much of s possibility. I cannot believe that I’ve had this scooter for four years already. Once things are back under control, I will definitely be taking the time to get it back running (properly this time) and my butt on the road. 

With that being said, there is and always will be a part of my heart that adores the Stella. Genuine Scooter really made me happy with this one, and now that they have a 4-stroke, so if I ever move out of the Wild West, I’d be able to ride still. For several years now I’ve been lusting secretly for a Stella. She was one of the first scooters I ever rode on and has proved to be rugged and durable, on top of being dead sexy. 

Now, again, don’t get me wrong, my heart will always belong to vintage scooters, since that’s where the Stella sexiness came from after all, but there’s just something about the Stella that speaks to me in a different way than the V. Maybe because I’m American and Stella is American. We speak the same language, while tipping our hat to the originals. The V is Italian, and while on the outside, that sex appeal is second to none, we just speak different languages. I don’t speak Italian, though I think it’s a beautiful language, and I just don’t understand why, for such a simple machine it has to be so damn difficult to work on. Plus, the V is high maintenance with a high price tag. Parts are easy, since the motor is an LML, it’s just the frame that’s vintage truly. But it’s just such a pain, partly due to the fact that the ‘gentleman’ who built it obviously didn’t do it right for as long as it took him to finish putting it back together. 

Stella, she’s easy. Not in a floozy kind of way, but in a two-year warranty kind of way. A new and shiny, light and bright kind of way. She’s not so stubborn as the V, not so particular. Rather, she’s just easy going and ready for adventures. The V, has turned into a chore. A burdensome paperweight that hasn’t moved in longer than I’d like to admit, but there’s been no reason to move. Nowhere to go, because it’s not operational. 

There’s no way that I’d sell the V, especially in this condition, but there’s a part of me that is saddened by the way this scooter has gone. This was supposed to be a fun, liberating experience; something that I’ve wanted for most of my life. Yet, considering the circumstances in which the scooter was purchased, it would figure as much that the whole thing would go south. 

I’m not condemning the person who pressured me into this purchase by any means, I just think that the conditions could have been better. I would feel better about the scooter if it were due to a different situation. Not only that, but I paid way too much for the disaster this became. 

But back to Stella. She would have cost less, brand new. And I’d surely have a reliable bike to ride. I guess that’s the point. 

Anyway, does anyone have a favorite scooter they’d like to muse about? Please add your comments below!

Thanks for reading! 

 

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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)


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.


Basics of an LML motor… Super handy!

So, as I was surfing the youtube, I came across this lovely Minnesotan. I’m kinda partial to those from the frosty white north (hi family!) and this guy is really easy to follow. Not too much info, not too “know it all”, but instead the right speed of slow for me. Must be my MN showing.

Anyway, here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0mBF-ZWVu4

And the video:


Yes… a long time gone: A Message from Trotsky

Helmet Camera Bilt

But, hopefully not forgotten.

It’s been a bit rough over in this part of the net, for the grand army of two members are still on a bit of a struggle.  Sadly, we mourn the loss of my P200e still, and add to it the loss of the Rattler 110, which proved ultimately not up to the task set before it.  It suffered two engine seizes proving it’s poor design and inability to handle the heat. 

But, we soldier on. 

The ‘70 of the other member of this shindig is still around, but it sits unregistered.  Hopefully soon, it will be revived and soon I myself will be back to a proper bike.  The funds have not been available, but the future is looking bright for our house.  Soon, another Stella or Vespa will grace these pages and will carry me on.  But, until then, sit tight. 

The promise of adventure will still be fulfilled.  Last season just wasn’t the right time. This next season will be. I’m sure you have seen from the other member of this “thing” that we squarely have a goal in mind. We were not able to attend Wisconsin, but San Diego… that is easy!  Also, there may be even more adventure.  But that depends on two factors: My getting a quality stable bike, and her getting her bike on the road.  Not much in the way in the grand sense I suppose…

Stay tuned.


LML releases a torrent of new tech: Automatic Stars, Fuel Injection and even Sidecars!

EICMA 2011 is supposed to be the big time event for motorbike manufacturers, and while Piaggio may of made many go “Meh”, LML (the manufacturer of the Star scooter better known as the “Stella” from Genuine Scooters in the US) has come out swinging!  They released not one new bike but a HALF DOZEN new models with tech that wouldn’t seem possible on a bike based off of the steel Vespa P-series scooter.  They include:

The new “Star Light” 4T with CVT.  Yes, they have released a fuel injected 50cc version of the venerable Star scooter… and it’s an AUTOMATIC?!?!  Say what you will about non-shifty bikes, this is said to be a steel bodied scooter that offers modern convenience with full style.

(Could this be the supposed “smallframe” Star we’ve been hearing about?)

Next are the new Stars in 50cc, 125cc and the inclusion of fuel injection on their bikes.  A cooperation with Polini has also produced a performance kit for the 4T Star/Stella that includes an exhaust, cylinder kit and Mikuni 22mm carb, but it wasn’t mentioned for what displacement of engine.  but, if it’s for the 1504T, the 22mm carb would be a nice upgrade from the 2o currently used.

Also included were several new “special editions”: The Corsa, the Off-Road and the Bicolor (meant to invoke the two tone P’-series scooters of the 80’s)

Lastly, LML released a factory version of a sidecar for their new bikes that actually looks quite stunning.  It’s less on the chrome, but still retains the vintage-esque character.  No word on pricing or availability yet

Of course, most of these innovations will probably NOT make it to the US, since the bike market here is a joke to the rest of the world.  But, there is at least one importer here who is serious about Steel bodied scooters from LML and hopefully they’ll take a chance on a few of these bikes.  We may see some of these as re-branded Stella scooters, but only time will tell.

A special thanks to Eric at ModernBuddy for giving us the scoop on all of the hot new bikes coming out of EICMA 2011!!!