Monday, January 12, 2009

Rucksters follow-up

OK, real quick: Manny Del Toro (aka, "goatlover") informed me of an upcoming Rucksters ride that was coming up this past Sunday. So, I hopped on my Vespa Rally 200 and cruised to one of the satellite meeting spots, which was a few blocks from my house, a Starbucks in Lakewood. When I got there, I pulled up next to all the other scooters that were there and was asked if I was riding with them. I said yes, and they explained the reason they asked is because sometimes other scooterists see them and just pull up to talk. I assured them I had come for their ride and they welcomed me. It was a bit awkward, but a few of them came up and started talking to me about my Vespa. I in turn started finding out about their scooters and especially the mods that were available and that they had all done. Quite amazing stuff and very inventive, I might add.

While we in the vintage scooter community take pride in "sleepers" and "racers" that only alter the outward appearance of our scooters a little bit, while tuning the heck out of them internally, these guys took pride in customizing their machines so that they did not look like your typical floor model at all. I found out about kits that can extend the length of a scooter, mountings that let the engine and back wheel assembly move waaay back, in varying degrees. Then there were the wide rim kits for the back tire, engine upgrades, engine swaps, etc. Motorcycle forks, grips, Chines engine cowls, etc. were all freely used. The thing is, the way the Honda Ruckus is built, with basically a steel tubing system that you just attach parts to, you can modify and attach just about anything you want, whether it be LED lights, alarm systems, racks and other accessories, carbon fiber bits and pieces, etc. Some of them even had GPS nav systems wired into their batteries! Reminded me of the original Lambretta models, with the bare frame tubing showing through, except now with modern tech on board.

"1947 Lambretta Model A" above, and new Ruckus below


After meeting at Starbucks, we cruised to the main meeting spot, which was "The Hat" in Rosemead. There, our 11 scooters came together with another 18 or so scooters, and more were joining up as we parked. That's when I got to really see a lot of the customization capabilities of these scooterists and their machines. Some of the riders even told me they had a Vespa or two as well. One had just bought a Lammie from Dean. Another had a P200, and so on. But the scoots they were riding today were all moded out. Check out these pics of some of the mods on these scooters:





To see all the other pics I shot, click here. I couldn't go on the long ride they were planning (my kid was sick @ home and had to get back), so I saw them off as they gassed up and took off for Phillipe's in downtown L.A., then Griffith Park, then the coast and beyond. Sounded like another full day of riding for them. Bet they had fun! Here's a video clip I shot from my digital camera as they took off:

As I said in my last post, we in the vintage community could learn a lot from these guys, as some of them have taken matters into their own hands and are now manufacturing their own accessories for their rides. Why not? Overall, nice group. And, even though I was on another type of scooter, they were very welcoming and invited me back. After seeing their energy and inventive ways they can modify scooters, I probably will be back... Again, why not? What Honest Mike shouted to me at the end of the above video comes to mind: "Riders ride!"