Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vespa in new Sacha Baron Cohen film

Cohen's new film, Bruno has him playing another foreign goofball. The trailer shows him tearing off on a scooter with an adopted African baby on a Vespa. This film is sure to shock, offend and amuse.

Brennon's Lammy Museum

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stickers @ Maido

Transport stickers with scooters in several colors. $4.10.

-- Post From My iPhone

What can we learn from Alexa Glatch?

While scanning the news I cam upon a totally unrelated New York Times article that mentioned that US tennis player "[Alexa] Glatch, a 6-footer from Newport Beach, Calif., might have caused trouble at a Grand Slam earlier had she not broken her right wrist and left elbow in 2005 when she crashed her motor scooter while being chased by a dog."

Does anyone recall how to deal with a pesky dog that wants to chase your scooter?

1) kick it with your foot if it get's near (if you are on a manual scoot use your non-braking foot)
2) honk your horn, yell and stand on the floorbards to make yourself appear bigger
3) gun it (especially if it is a 50cc model) as soon as you see the animal begin to chase
4) Approach the animal slowly, then speed up.

Ah, too easy! You know it is #4. Why not 1-3?
1) Although you shouldn't kick an animal at all, you don't want to let it get close enough to touch (i.e. bite you) and kicking throws off your balance
2) Are you kidding?
3) If you gun it when the animal begins to give chase, it will accelerate along with you and likely catch you. Your increasing speed will only bait it.
4) If you approach slowly, the animal will relax and approach you slower. Or, it may even slow down in order to match you. Once it sets a slow pace, you can accelerate and go around.

Whatever you do, don't panic. You are smarter than the dog and your ankle-high motorcycle boots can handle a little roughing up.

You are wearing the proper protective shoes, right?

Well, that's for next time!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Things I learned from Google Analytics

Some quick stats on this blog:

Top visiting countries:

54% of visitors use Firefox (the largest %)
80% of visitors use Windows OS ('cmon Mac folks...I don't bite!)

I'd love to learn more about optimizing my blog to make it easier for folks to find and more enjoyable once they get here. It's on my very long, and super-human "to do" list.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

International Women and Motorcycling Conference

The fifth American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) International Women & Motorcycling Conference takes place August 19-22, 2009, in Keystone, Colorado.

According to an email that I received from the PR agency for the event:

The AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference focuses on educating, encouraging, inspiring and mentoring women in the lifestyle and sport of motorcycling. Participants come from all corners of the world, including Australia and Japan, and all walks of life. There are singles, couples, mother and daughter riding partners and grandmothers; professions include ad agency owners, lawyers, factory workers and journalists. The conference is well timed. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, women now account for 12.6 percent of all motorcycle and scooter riders, a 29 percent increase since 2003.

As the number of women motorcyclists has risen, so has conference attendance: the AMA anticipates that the number of riders participating will double this year to over 2200. In addition to a wide range of daily workshops, conference attendees will have the opportunity to demo new bikes, shop for the latest gadgets and gear at the vendor marketplace, and enjoy numerous after-hours social activities at the idyllic Keystone Resort, which is nestled among the majestic Rocky Mountains.

I had considered going to the previous year's conference which was in Georgia, but a schedule conflict made it not possible. I've got it on my calendar and hope to attend, depending upon the magazine's schedule.

To get an idea of what sessions will be held, check the conference schedule.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

No Doubt tour merchandise

The band No Doubt may not be the rocksteady neo-ska band that they used to be, but they still remember their roots with nods to that past. I read on the Nucleus Gallery website that artist Kevin Dart has created a tour poster that was inspired by the ND song, Spiderweb, and has a 60's theme. You'll see a scooter in the lower right side. According to the blog, a poster and totebag (I want that!)will be available.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Arai takes JD Power Survey Again

The J.D. Power helmet satisfaction survey is available for 2009. Press release below.
Helmet Owners Increasingly Likely to Purchase Online

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 26 May 2009 — Arai ranks highest in satisfying motorcycle helmet owners for an 11th consecutive year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction StudySM released today.

The study measures the overall satisfaction of motorcyclists with their new helmet in three key factors: ventilation, face shield, and design and styling; which consist of 11 attributes: quietness; ventilation/air flow; de-fogging; face shield ability to keep wind out; face shield ability to resist scratching; ease of replacing face shield; scratch resistance of shell; color/graphic design; weight; ease of fastening the strap; and fit and comfort.

With a score of 830 on a 1,000-point scale, Arai ranks highest and performs particularly well in the ventilation and design and styling factors. Shoei follows with a score of 815 and performs well in face shield. Icon ranks third overall with a score of 806.

“Arai continues to improve in the areas critical to customer satisfaction, which has further differentiated it from other manufacturers,” said Tim Fox, research manager of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Arai’s focus on fit and comfort—the most important consideration when purchasing a motorcycle helmet—and its ability to cater to different types of riders have given the manufacturer a consistent edge in satisfying customers.”

Overall satisfaction with motorcycle helmets has increased to an average of 766 in 2009—up 5 points from 2008—the highest level since the study’s inception in 1999.

The study finds that while the percentage of helmet owners who conducted research online before buying has remained relatively steady from 2008 at 36 percent, the proportion of helmet owners who purchased their helmet online has increased—up to 17 percent in 2009 from 14 percent in 2008. Additionally, those who purchased more expensive helmets ($200 or more) are more likely to both research and purchase their helmet online. More than one-half of these helmet owners researched online prior to their purchase, and 22 percent of them made their purchase online.

The 2009 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 4,600 purchasers of new 2008 model-year motorcycles who provided information about their most recent helmet purchase experience and helmet use. The study was fielded in September and October 2008.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at

Cheap Scooters...too good to be true?

The Scoot! staff has reminded readers over and over again to not be fooled by inexpensive scooters that can be found on the Internet, in auto parts stores or sold through retail chains not authorized to sell motor vehicles.

Here is a story about a Oregon woman who bought a $600 scooter from a liquidation service and discovered that the stated 90-day warranty would not be honored.

To be clear, I believe that if a company advertises a warranty, they should stand by it. A retailer should not be selling products that it is not authorized to sell, and it should be aware of how the manufacturer will service those warranty clams.

But it remains to be said that Americans are so blinded by the prospect of a "deal" that they will throw out all logic and common sense. We are so focused on buying things cheaply that we have no regard for quality manufacture, fair wages or fair mark-up that allows business to stay afloat.

I frequently receive calls from neophytes looking to get into scootering merely because of the cost savings (real or imagined). They are so easy to suspend disbelief in hopes of saving money that they are willing to make really dumb choices. One man called me looking for a restored vintage scooter and said he wanted my opinion on ordering from Asia. I asked why he didn't look closer to home since he lived near a major city on the East Coast. He said they were too expensive. YET he was willing to send thousands of dollars to a company in Asia that he had never heard of, and had no way of verifying. I asked him what he was going to do if it arrived damaged, or was a piece of crap. He had no idea, as he hadn't considered that option. He was probably too busy imagining himself riding down the street (with no helmet and in shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops, no less) basking with pride over his savvy shopping skills.

I then asked him if he would buy a 50 year old car from an unknown restoration company in a foreign country, and have it arrive at his doorstep in a box that he would have to unpack himself. His answer, "Well, I guess not."

Obviously, the woman in Oregon was only thinking about her savings. What do you think the actual cost of manufacture is for a scooter that sells for $600. Does the manufacturer put $300 into making it? How much is a worker paid to assemble a $600 scooter? If you buy the scooter from a liquidator, where will you get tires or a replacement turn signal lens? If I went to Costco and saw some new no-name brand SUVs or minivans in the parking lot selling for $5,000 I would assume that they were crap. And I would wonder what government agency allows a mass market retailer to sell automobiles. The situation should have set-off buzzers and whistles well before she made the purchase.

Am I the only person who feels that America has shot itself in the foot (and the neck) by being a country of self-centered cheapskates?

This past week I saw a news story about a local Chrysler dealership that was auctioning off their remaining inventory before closing at the end of the month. None of the cars sold because those who showed up thought that the reductions weren't good enough. The news reported that one man offered $4,000 for a brand new SUV. Now, anyone with a brain can see the faulty logic and predatory nature in that man's offer. First, Chrysler would not allow the dealer to sell that cheaply. It would make it doubly hard for the remaining dealers to sell cars at regular price if word got out that someone bought the SUV for such a pittance. In addition, the dealer probably paid much more that $4,000 for the SUV.

Do you think the man who made that offer cared anything about the dealership, the people it employed, the plant that made the car and those who worked there? No, he was just a selfish person who wanted to take advantage of the misfortunes of the car dealership,and the local folks that worked there.

People wonder how our country has lost its way, and why manufacturing jobs are disappearing. Maybe the answer is right in our hearts and pocketbooks.

Blog entry soundtrack: "The Gates of Istanbul" Loreena McKennitt

Maine Scooterists Profiled

Maine newspaper, The Sun Journal recently profiled some local scooterists who have formed a club called, Idle Threats. If you are a vintage scooter enthusiast, you know well the story of some regular guys with an obsession; the lengths they go to so fuel that obsession and the friendship that arises from it.

It may be a familiar story, but I never tired of hearing it.

There is also a photo gallery by Amber Waterman which is fun to view.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Spotted on Flikr...

This carousel has a scooter as one of the rides. Not too keen on the paint scheme, but I think it will ring the bells of little girls.
-from oerendhard1's photostream

Fred Perry Limited Edition Vespa

Fred Perry is celebrating its 100th year with a blowout campaign that includes a limited edition Vespa LXV 150. The run is limited to 100 scooters for sale in the UK, USA, Japan and France starting in August. Th stock LXV sells for about $5,200. I haven't inquired about the Fred Perry price, but I can imagine it is much higher. The only changes seem to be the decorative striping and the Fred Perry laurels. If you are a Fred Perry fan who must have one of these scooters, contact Fred Perry Customer Service

The company is also releasing several commemorative products such as polos, sweaters and shoes with a "100" logo on them. Check out the festivities at Fred Perry- 100 Years.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Scooterist to be featured on A&E's "Tattoo Highway"

A&E juts launched a new reality TV show called Tattoo Highway where a tattoo crew crossed the country in a bus giving nearly 100 tattoos in just over a month. It turns out that one of the recipients was Tucson scooterist Bald John who heads Go-Go-Rilla scooters, and got his club logo tattooed on his back. It is a really awesome tatt which must have taken a lot of commitment to pursue. The Arizona Star carried a brief article on the tattoo.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Scoot! Photog in the News---NOT

Daniel Bergeron is an amazing photographer who has contributed to Scoot! several times in the past, most recently for our Carlos Alazraqui cover.

Now he is generating interest with some renegade art that combines his love of scooters with urban art.
Checkout this article in Trendhunter.

Also check out Daniel's other photographic work.

UPDATE: I sent a congrats email to Daniel and he had to break the news to me that he is not *THAT* Daniel Bergeron. There is another, and he is a photographer, and he uses scooters. So, disregard the info above. But still go ahead and go to *our* Daniel's site as he is still pretty awesome.

New Ride-On Scooter Toy for Kids

I saw this posted on a design blog and searched for it in the US to no avail. These kind of things make me want to order a child like Brangelina did. I can keep him in my room on a trundle and dress him in all the scooter clothes that I have purchased over the years...

I digress.

Manufacturer Moulin Roty is a French company and the blogs that I found were based in Australia, neither of which is close to the USA.

Since I don't have any kids and I doubt that Lori's cats could be taught to ride on these rather than claw them, I'll let my parental readers go out and try to track this delectable little scoot down.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Vespa/Wine Promo

For all of those folks who write a Letter to the Editor to complain to me about the mention of alcohol in Scoot! rally reports, here's something that should get you off my case for a while.

According to some press releases and articles on 'da web, Kris Wine is offering Vespa S50s as prizes in an upcoming contest. Personally, I don't care that they are combining wine and a scooter. I'm not dumb enough to think that it implies that I should drink-n-drive, but I do find it funny that the scooter has crazy wavy lines under it. If you drank a whole bottle of wine, you might ride that path unknowingly. :)

The other funny thing about the campaign is that this story calls the S50 "the fastest on the road." Never mind every other scooter that has a bigger-than-50cc engine.

Well, enough of making fun of the Kris Wine promotion. Keep an eye out for entry forms at you local wine seller (except in CA, TN, UT, Puerto Rico). Contest goes through August.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vespa T-Shirt: The Cute Lepers

Not sure who the Cute Lepers are or what their music sounds like (I bet it is infectious! HA!) but they have a cool t-shirt with a scooter on it.

They also sell a "scooter club" patch.

Blog entry soundtrack: "The Killing Moon" by Echo & the Bunnymen

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Glass Repair Vespa

GlasWeld, a Bend, Oregon company has just announced their Glass Repair Vespa (GRV) which professionals can use for mobile glass repair. The company has created a contained system that fits in the scooter's underseat storage compartment. A scooter wrap is available for branding & advertising.

The press release does not indicate which model is used, although the video shows an "S" model. More info to come as I have requested an interview, but the press release is below:

Glass repair services marketed and mobilized with new “GRV” while reducing fuel consumption and environmental impact

We have finalized our design for "Glass Repair Vespa (GRV)," a transportation solution for auto glass repair professionals. The GRV integrates the power of GlasWeld’s G3fusion Auto Glass Repair System and fuses it with economical, environmentally friendly transportation and increased brand visibility.

“We chose Vespa for our new GRV because of its reliability, longevity and commitment to environmental excellence,” said Mike Boyle, president of GlasWeld. “Because there are Vespa dealers all over the world, our customers can easily get needed parts and service.”

Vespa’s existing trunk has been customized into an integrated storage compartment for the G3fusion System. We've also designed a customized vehicle wrap that will showcase your brand, capabilities and contact information. High visibility combined with ease of use and low consumption will help save on hard costs like fuel, while raising brand awareness and increasing the scope of your service areas.

By using the eco-friendly GRV instead of an average car, fuel consumption can be reduced by approximately 58 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by close to 80%. By using the GRV, businesses can reduce oil consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, traffic congestion and take steps toward meeting sustainability goals.

“In the current marketplace, there is an untapped opportunity for glass service providers to connect with potential customers,” Boyle said. “We believe that the GRV helps to fill this gap, while leaving a light carbon footprint.”

Scooter Collector:

Wow! This is one cool scooter toy! I am not sure if I have $118 to spare for this cool Japanese vinyl toy. At a little over 5 inches it strikes me as a bit rich. Ah, California Lottery, why have you forsaken me?!?

Sorry for the big images, but I wanted you to see the details. Click on the images to see them on their own.

If you feel like plunking down some of your hard-earned cash on this soon-to-be-released Japanese vinyl toy, pre-order at Hobby or at Kid Nemo.

Sweet seat!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Funny: Auto Air Freshener Costume

While fact-checking an upcoming article I found my way to the Little Trees website where I found this costume. Order now before the Halloween rush!

It also comes in Baby Size!

Vinyl Wall Decal

I found this online, but haven't ordered it so I am not sure as to how easy it is to install or how durable it is. The company is based in North Carolina and offers the decals in a range of colors, which leads me to believe that it may be made to order. Check it at

The decal measures 22 x 30" and costs $40. It wouldn't work in my house, but it might be a nice addition to the Scoot! Magazine office.

Blog entry soundtrack: "Sea Lion Woman" by Feist

Saturday, May 16, 2009

LML Reuntied with Geared Scooters

LML gave up the geared scooters for motorcycles saying that the Indian market had changed, but it looks like they have realized the error of their ways. Interesting that the scooter market has grown and motorcycles proved less lucrative.

From the Economic Times:
NEW DELHI: The beleaguered two wheeler company LML has launched its second geared scooter in the domestic market, on the back of a revival of
demand in domestic scooter market. LML has introduced a 4-stroke version of its NV brand of scooters in select market of Delhi and Ghaziabad.

Available in two variants, LML claims the 150 cc scooter delivers a fuel efficiency of 55 km/litre. It is available at an ex-showroom price of Rs 39,897 for the base version and Rs 40,800 for the deluxe variant in Delhi.

Kanpur-based LML re-entered the domestic market with its Vespa brand of geared scooters in April 2007 after an 18-month hiatus when it had to stop production due to fund crunch and labour problems.

LML currently has a limited presence in the domestic market and sells 1,500 units of its two-stroke scooter under the Vespa brand in Delhi, parts of Punjab and Haryana, every month. Operating under the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR), it is looking to expand its market to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam.

Bulk of its total production of 5,000 units per month are exported to Italy, UK, France, Nigeria, Sudan, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Egypt, under the Stella brand. LML has an installed capacity of 300,000 scooters and 240,000 motorcycles. The company has totally stopped motorcycle production.

The scooter market grew 9% to 11.45 lakh units last fiscal outperforming the two wheeler market which posted a marginally lower growth of 2.6% in the same period.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ride to Work: Monday June 15

This year, international Ride to Work Day happens on Monday, June 15th. If you have never ridden your scooter to work, then this is the perfect time to join other who will be doing so. Since my workplace is about 50 miles away. I'll be riding to the train station instead of driving.

There are some ways that you can make Ride to Work day more fun, memorable and visible in the minds of your community:

* Host a Ride to Work stop: Just like Bike to Work day promoters do, sponsor a stop where motorcyclist/scooterists can stop by for some coffee or a snack. This is a great way for scooter shops and clubs to meet new riders, hand out materials, an create a media-friendly event to report.

* Meet up with riders for breakfast, lunch or dinner: If you know other participants nearby, why not meet earlier for breakfast at a local diner, or coordinate a lunch or after-work get together. Share your riding experiences and enjoy other riders' company.

You can also download fliers and handouts to giveaway from the official Ride to Work site.

If you Ride to Work for the first (or millionth) time, send me a photo from the day.

Blog entry soundtrack: "Up All Night" by Booomtown Rats

Monday, May 11, 2009

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Vespa paintings

Seen on SOHO. By Billy Russomano

-- Post From My iPhone

N. 6 st. in Brooklyn

Abandoned scooter or just a rat bike with an owner who just doesn't care...

-- Post From My iPhone

UPDATE: Upon further inspection, this bike was really roached! The sparkplug wire was missing a cap, the tip of the plug was broken off. The crashbars were barely clinging to it as someone unsuccessfully tried to remove them. There was graffiti on the seat and it was covered in grime and rust. Almost made us want to take it home like a abandoned puppy, but you can't fit a P200 in carry-on luggage.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

News from ScootRS

Just got this email from Randall at ScootRS. Disc brake fans, rejoice!

In major Lambretta news, ScootRS have released their very nice high-pressure
die cast inboard disc brake. Every piece - apart from bearings and seals -
is made inhouse at ScootRS and it is the only one in the world made like the
Innocenti original (others are rough sand cast versions), except it comes
with a better vented disc. In white or silver.
£160/$239 (Individual parts are available too.)

A tidy hydraulic caliper to go with it, which requires no back plate
modification, is £46/$69.

On a related note, ScootRS are now including for free with all their Vespa
and Lambretta hydraulic disc brake kits a nice braided stainless steel hose,
a great upgrade. (Also available separately.) At the same time, the latest
version of their popular Lambretta hydraulic disc brake kit is nicely
restyled at both the caliper plate and the thottle support.

New machine-stamped Lambretta SX200 and LIS/TV panels are available at a
reasonable price now as well!

Finally, ScootRS have continued their series of high-end seat covers made
just like original, but half the price of Italian repros. The seat covers
feature thick rubber backing in joined sections, foam inserts, stainless
rivets, matching straps (dual seats only) and original style rear badges.
Unlike Italian repros, they also include a padded foam insert to keep you
comfy. Recent additions include:

Vespa GS150 VS5 dual seat cover
Vespa GS150 VS1-4 dual seat cover
£46/$69 (Also available in leather.)

Lambretta flag dual seat cover
Lambretta striped dual seat cover
Lambretta centre stripe dual seat cover
Lambretta sport dual seat cover
£39/$59 (Some also available in leather.)

For more info, go to ScootRS

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Stella in NYC

Caught from my cab en route to Indian Food.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, May 04, 2009

In New York this week

Tonight I will arrive in New York for some meetings, so I'll be out of town for the rest of the week. Not sure if I will hook up with any scooterists as they may all be recovering from their rally this past weekend, which I am sorry to have missed.

I'll be mobile blogging and Twittering (@scootmagapril)from my iPhone so check back from some East Coast scooter possts.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Polini Cup this Weekend

I am pleased to say that scooter racing in the USA is not dead, it just took a nap and is now awakening. This weekend is the second weekend of the PoliniUSA Cup!

In addition to scooters, the races feature mopeds, gopeds, pocket bikes and carts.
Scoot! is sponsoring a rider in the scooter class, who took to top spot in last month's races. Go, Scott!

Our good friend Tony Simoni (who is known for his Chicken Wing exhausts and scooter tuning) has tuned and is racing a moped.

Find out more and watch past races and live action at PoliniTalkUSA