Saturday, December 20, 2008


OK, so this is not usually part of what us vintage riders call the "scooter scene", but it can't be avoided that the "younger" generation are not running out and buying and riding vintage Italian scooters. There are some exceptions, of coarse, but for the most part 20-somethings are usually absent from many vintage scooter rides.

So, I pose the question: Why is this? 20-somethings are definitely involved in the vintage car scene, as well as the vintage motorcycle scene. Just the other day, I was fueling up my Vespa Rally 200 and ran into a guy, who couldn't have been more than 25, riding a vintage Norton. He told me how there are a bunch of college-aged guys, who have formed some riding clubs, based around riding vintage british and euro motorcycles these days.

Enter this 50cc scooter subculture that I have stumbled upon, through some info from some Ruckus riders who have joined us on a couple of South Bay SC rides (big shout out to Manny Del Toro for a lot of the pointers to this info and rides). This much younger demographic has discovered and embraced customizing and racing out 50cc+ scooters. A large group of them have focused their efforts around the Honda Ruckus that most of us vintage riders usually consider as being, #1: too slow, and #2: too ugly. But these younger riders have totally embraced these "modern" scooters with the customization skills and energy that a lot of us older riders attacked the scooter scene with back in the 1980's. Granted, they don't have the historical affects and culture behind them that the 80's mods did, such as the history of the 60's mod culture, style of dress, music, etc., but they do have the new street-style culture and they are making it their own with regard to "their" scooter scene.

And, I've been told that they get some serious numbers at monthly and big rides that they put on. It certainly seems so from the few videos I've been able to check out. Take, for example, the following vid. They've got a really good number of scoots on this impromptu ride, and it seems they ride ALL DAY, even into the early evening. And, check out all the crazy mods on these scooters. Fat tire conversions, neon, expansion chambers, etc., etc. And they are done with some good workmanship, as well as showmanship (they are very professionally presented):

Here's another one, of a smaller ride, but it highlights some other nice mods:

And, talk about having an entrepreneurial spirit, some of them decided in the beginning of November to put together a Ruckus Scooter Girl calendar (back story here). They got on it and, wham, they've done it! Check out the behind the scenes video of a pretty professional set of photo shoots for the calendar (heck, it even looks like they had a make-up artist or stylist on staff during the shoots):

Pretty damn interesting... Of coarse, I love my vintage Italian scooters, and still feel that they are the best scooters ever made. I've always loved manual transmissions on anything I drive (I've owned a couple of trucks, several sedans, lots of convertibles, and some muscle cars, and they've ALL had manual trannys. My current car is STILL a manual.). SO, scooters with gears, I feel, are definitely more fun to drive. But, the energy of this younger set of scooter riders definitely reminds me of when I was their age, and younger. I just wish some more of them could get turned on to vintage Italian scoots. I could just imagine the crazy machines they would build. It would upset A LOT of purists, but it'd be very interesting to see... I'm sure the kandy color combos and modern accessories would boggle the mind, but it would be fun to see.

Coming back to my original question, though, of where the next generation of vintage aficionados will come from, how are these younger folks supposed to become vintage scooter lovers if they are treated with disdain and rejection by current vintage riders because of what they are riding now? Or are these specific young riders set to be the "Sports Motorcycle" riders and the vintage riders the "Harley-Davidson" riders of the scooter world? Bottom line is the younger vintage scooter riders will not have the mod/punk/ska scene/culture from the 80's to fuel part of their love for these scooters (cuz some of them were just being born in the 80's), so if us older riders don't nurture that in some way with them now, or in a few years, the scene is bound to die out for sure, perhaps resembling the Cushman scooter lovers who are all now in their 70's and 80's, riding them at Shriner's conventions as a novelty...

Meanwhile, I guess I'll just be another fat, old dude, on an even older scooter, and wave to these guys when I see 'em, or lead some of them again on another fun South Bay SC ride whenever they feel like it.