Friday, September 28, 2007

Toys'R'Us Picks Scooter As Top Toy

Toys'R'Us has come out with their Hot List of toys for the holiday season. The complete list has 36 products, but they also have a "Fabulous 15" which is their most recommended toys. The Daisy Pocket Mod kid scooter from Razor made that list. According to the press release description:

"Pretty in pink, this fashionably fun Razor Pocket Mod is sure to be the talk of the town. This Toys"R"Us exclusive will get kids in gear with the latest and greatest in scooter technology. The trendy "Daisy" model boasts pink and pearl details, 12" tires and over 10 miles of smooth cruising capability at speeds up to 15 mph on a single charge. Riders can even store their gear in a special compartment under the seat. 2 rechargeable "12V Lead Acid" batteries required (included). Ages 12 and up."

While I wonder about letting a kid on a battery-powered vehicle that can go up to 15mph, I am still pleased to see that scooter toys are still being made for the kids. I would have relentlessly bugged by parents about this had it been available when I was a youngster.

While Razor has been producing these type of scooters for a couple of years, but this specific model is a TRU exclusive. The list is just a marketing ploy to generate interest in items you can only get at TRU. This model does sell on the Toys 'R'Us website for $199 while the original Razor scooter sells for $229.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Shout Out Louds Scooter Video

Sweden's Shout Out Louds have a recent video which has lead singer, Adam Olenius, riding a beat-up old Vespa. If you follow indie music, you may recall "The Comeback" from the Shout Out's first album. I hear it frequently on Indie Pop Rocks. The new song, off their album Our Ill Wills is called "Impossible." I'm researching to see if there is a deeper connection between scooters and the Shout Out Louds. But for now, enjoy the video!

Missing your magazine?

Well, you're not the only one. As of this morning, we were missing all of our current issue magazines. Due to some issues with our printers, the magazine that we sent to print during the first few days of September still hadn't arrived at our warehouse. This puts us seriously behind as the magazines are supposed to be in the stores on Sept 15. You do the math and imagine how the delay exponentially increases my pissed-offness by the day.

So, if you are looking into your mailbox and wondering where the October issue is, rest assured that you are not alone. We should get it this week and send it right out. We're also looking to work on correcting whatever communication errors are happening with our new printer. I am not pleased to have delays and want to do whatever it takes to rectify it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lemax "Red Moped"

Lemax makes inexpensive holiday resin/plastic items. Its Halloween and Christmas village items are available at Michael's craft stores. Nikki & Susan told me about a "Red Moped" figurine which is stocked in the Christmas area. It is approximately 2.5-inches high and 2 inches long. Michaels has it for $3.99. Each year I rummage through the Lemax items and I'm finally glad to find a scooter in them! Thanks Nikki & Susan for the heads up!

It's not a moped, but a cute Vespa copy.It must be a special GS as it has 2 cowl doors and the ultra-rare body box which is behind the seat. Score! Just another lesson for collectors..don't be afraid to search under the term "moped" as you might find a cool collectible names by a clueless person. :)

The photo is from the "Lemax Fan Pages" which catalogs all the Lemax products out there. A good resource to bookmark for future searching.

PEACE Scooter rolls into town

On Thursday, I met up with Alix of the P.E.A.C.E.Scooter Ride. She has been on the road since July, bringing her examination of peace to the US. Alix has a great attitude (and would have to, in order to do this ride)as she has her own ideas, but is very respectful of others. Sure she is idealistic and very ambitious with her project, but she is trying to wake up and make up for those of us who are lulled into complacency by the government, the media and our own mundane lives.

We chatted over dinner for about 2-3 hours and she talked of how she was motivated to take on this trip. She actually took out a loan for it, so if you've got some spare dollars to send her, you can do so at her site through PayPal. Her Buddy scooter was generously donated by Genuine Scooters, and she has received great service and assistance from shops all along the way. Wherever she goes, people open up to her and talk about what peace means to them. I admire her ability to give up her home comforts for a road trip with a mission. Check out The PEACE Scooter site for her upcoming itinerary and read her adventures. Perhaps you can ride-out with her if she comes through your town. She's ending up at Crawford, Texas. We'll see what happens....

Alix in Santa Cruz.

Friday, September 21, 2007

News from Piaggio Dealer Meeting...

The Vespa LXS in Action.

Piaggio USA just had their dealer meeting and here are some highlights:

The LXS is finally on its way. It will have an MSRP of $4,099, it will be available in black, white or red. Unfortunately, the US version will not have a "touring" seat rather than the unusual and cool solo seat on European models. Luckily, the solo seat will be an accessory option.

The MP3 will now be available in 400- and the 500cc version (which is a rebadged Gilera Fuoco 500). Preliminary pricing places them at $8,200 and $8,600, respectively. The most obvious difference between the 400 and the original 250 (besides the engine) is the reduced storage under the seat. The concession is that the 400 now gets an accessory plug. Our sources that test rode both bikes say, "the 400 is marginally faster off the line with just a tad more power towards the top of the throttle. The 500 is significantly faster and stronger."

As for Aprilia, they are releasing a Scarabeo 200. Its MSRP will be around $3,800 and it has an appealing, re-designed headset. Otherwise, the bike retains its unique Scarabeo shape. It is reportedly, "a really nice ride."

The more rugged, rear end of the MP3 (a rebadged Fuoco)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

R. Nichols Scooter Shirt

You may recall the R. Nichols scooter stationery that I included in a past installment of the Scooter Collector. He makes cute little paper cut-out-style illustrations which have a few scooters in them. Now, he has a t-shirt that features one of those illustrations. It is obviously girlie-girl, but totally cute. I expect to see some of these out on the rally circuit! You can buy it for $20.

Browse his site out for stationery items such as this scooter card. Look under the "Teeny Tinies" and "Riviera' categories.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Vectrix Not Meeting Sales Goals?

According to a small bit of news by Thompson Financial Services carried on Vectrix sales aren't meeting forecasted expectations. The article cites "quality issues in MAXI scooter production ramp-up and reworking of previously shipped bikes."

Since I haven't gotten the chance to ride a Vectrix, yet...anyone out there have one and want to report any issues with the bikes? We're getting a loaner, soon, and I'm eager to give it a thorough examination. I'd love to see the bike live up to the hype.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Old Timey Flashback: The Doodlebug

You don't hear about Doodle Bugs much, nowadays. The bikes were produced in the late 40s. But, people still own them, and collect them, and restore them, as evidenced by a recent gathering of Doodle Bug enthusiasts in Iowa. The Fort Dodge Messenger carries an article about the event.

The Doodle Bug looks like the typical early American scooter with the thin handlebars and barely-there front end. In contrast, the popular Vespa and Lambrettas that most people are accustomed to seeing have a solid front leg shield with provides some stability and protection. (I know, the early Lammy A-F models and the U model Vespa were short on front end action, too....)But the Doodle Bug does have some style flourishes at the back end.

Interested in finding more? Check out Don Jackson's site (where the photo above is from) for information on replacement parts and restoration of the Doodle Bug.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Old versus New

I've been struggling with the idea of old versus new scooters all year. I love my vintage scooters, but enjoy riding some of the new bikes I test. I can see how much pleasurable it is to ride 100 miles on a speedy, fast and reliable twist-n-go, but I am very aware of how they lack the feel the smell and beauty of vintage scooters. Yes, I Do like the smell of scooter exhaust...

So, this article that appears in the Other Paper from Columbus, Ohio brings it to head. Like any good reporter that looks past the obvious and trite, Richard Ades cuts to the chase and finds the underlying wound that is tearing at the scooter community. How do we reconcile old and new scooters?

Well, I don't quite have the answer, but I want you folks to read the article and let me know how you feel about the whole situation. I'm going to mull it over in my mind for the next few days and post something about it this weekend.

It's very troubling.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

New Issue Preview

Now that our October issue is at the printers, I can give you a sneak peek at the what is on deck:
80s Flashback: a snapshot of the 80s US scootering scene complete with lots of cool photos.
10th Anniversary, Pt. 2: we wrap up our anniversary coverage with a Then & Now section and a revisit to our cover scoooterist from issue #1.
80s music: Catch up with the English Beat and Untouchables
Ask Hot Rod Al: The debut of our new Q & A column on scooter performance!
50cc Shoot Out: we put a handful of small bikes to a big test
don't forget our rally reports, product reviews, and other regular features!

The issue is set to be in the stores on September 15, a little longer for subscribers.
The photo above is a peek at the cover photo shoot. You'll love the cover and centerfold that we have!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Beautiful Italian Scooter Lamps

These lamps surely bring a leap to the heart of Vintage scooter enthusiasts. Made in Italy by Maurizio Lamponi Leopardi, they bring together some of the iconic elements of Vespas and Lambrettas and refashion them into useful household items. I know quite a few people who would have a pleasant heart attack (if that were possible)upon finding one under the Christmas tree. No word as of yet on how much one of these would set you back, but with the sad state of the US Dollar versus the Euro, we're already down at the starting gate. I'll keep you posted in what I find out.

New Gwen Stefani Video with Scooters

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All-around likable performer, Gwen Stefani, had included some scooters in her new video, "Now That You Got It" which features Damian Marley. The Jamaican theme has Stefani and her crew racing around the island on scooters. It makes me think about the olden days when No Doubt was playing scooter rallies.