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.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

New Piaggio Scooters at the Motorcycle Shows

This PRESS RELEASE just in from Piaggio USA's PR company:

For Immediate Release:

Piaggio Group Showcases Newest Scooters and Motorcycles at Cycle World International Motorcycle Shows

Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio and Vespa Offer Enthusiasts a World of Reasons to Ride

December 2, 2008 – Fuel-efficient scooters, high-tech sport bikes, award winning three-wheelers and long-distance tourers are just some of the tempting options Italy’s Piaggio Group, manufacturer of Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, and Vespa brands, will showcase at six stops on the 28th Annual Cycle World International Motorcycle Show® (IMS) tour. Visitors to
the IMS shows in Long Beach, CA., Seattle, WA., San Mateo, CA., New York, NY., Cleveland, OH., and Chicago, IL., will have a chance to evaluate at their leisure which ride is an ideal fit. In addition, demo rides will be available at the Long Beach, CA., show.

Visitors who are intrigued by the many real-world benefits of scooters should plan on touring the IMS show’s new Scooter Pavilion where Vespa, Piaggio and Aprilia scooters will be display at all 13 show locations.

Whether in the market for an easy to ride, eco-friendly scooter or a race-bred sport bike, the world of Piaggio products offers smart transportation choices for today’s diverse commuting and recreation needs. Among the 2009 models featured at the IMS shows are these new choices:

Aprilia Mana 850: Advanced technology is the key characteristics of the Mana 850. Aprilia’s racing pedigree led to the revolutionary transmission mapping system, which offers a choice of three “Autodrive” mappings, plus a manual, seven speed, sequential gearshift, giving riders revolutionary new tools for maximizing performance and fuel economy in any traffic condition.

Aprilia SportCity 50/125: Featuring aggressive styling, superior aerodynamics and precision handling, the SportCity is a leader in the sport scooter category. Race-inspired technology means no rider has to sacrifice safety and performance when choosing a smaller displacement

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic: The V7 Classic has all the ‘naked’ sports bike beauty of the iconic original V7, a model that earned this legendary brand global acclaim in the 1960s and 70s. While styling invokes the spirit of its famous predecessor, there’s nothing retro about the 2009 V7’s technology. An abundance of low-down torque, superb ergonomics and the inimitable music of the Moto Guzzi transverse V-Twin make the V7 a unique choice.

Vespa GTS 250: As the fastest, most technically advanced Vespa to-date, the GTS 250 is the sporty ride of choice for commuters who want to get up and go the distance. Ideal for urban or highway miles, the GTS 250’s timeless Italian style blends beautifully with the modern four-stroke, four-valve engine technology. Like all Vespas, the GTS’s unique steel frame provides unparalleled structural integrity and the collection of premium components and materials adds to the scooters exceptionally high resale value.

Piaggio MP3 500: The award-winning MP3 500 is the perfect solution for riders who want aggressive good looks, sport bike like performance and all the ease, stability and convenience of a three-wheel scooter. The MP3 500’s innovative suspension technology means you lean into turns like a pro racer while enjoying glue-like traction and great fuel economy. In-town or cross-country, the MP3 500 goes the distance.

About The Piaggio Group:
Established in 1884 by Rinaldo Piaggio and based in Pontedera (Pisa, Italy), the Piaggio Group is one of the world’s top manufacturers of two-wheel motor vehicles. With over 7,000 employees, an annual production of more than 708,000 vehicles in 2007, 5 R&D centers, 7 production facilities in Europe and Asia, and operations in over 50 countries, the Piaggio Group has a consolidated leadership in the European two-wheeler market.

The company produces scooters, motorcycles and mopeds in the 50cc to 1,200cc displacement range, marketed under the Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Derbi, Aprilia, Scarabeo and Moto Guzzi brands. The Group also manufactures three- and four-wheel light transportation vehicles for the Ape, Porter and Quargo ranges.

Anne Szczesny
Brandware PR for Piaggio Group Americas
770.649.0880 ext.303

Monday, August 25, 2008

Swerve N Curve 9 wrap-up

Well, it came and went --- SWERVE N CURVE #9. And, it was better than ever!

The Friday night ride turned out to be a sweet, long, mini Swerve N Curve route, lead by All Day South Bay Doug. Everyone met at Killkenny's on the Redondo Beach Pier beforehand and Doug ended the ride at Hennessey's in Riviera Village afterwards.

And the South Bay's famous Swerve N Curve route on Saturday, often imitated or outright copied but NEVER done as well, was a blast once more, 80+ scooters strong, ending at the fun venue, Paddy-O's in Torrance. DeeJay-ed tunes were provided by "ON TARGET" DJ's, and a scooter buffet was set up for all the hungry riders.

"Swerve N Ska" on Saturday nite was happening, and Sunday's ride, led by Tank Top and others to Keegan's in Torrance, was a great capper to another SoCal classic rally, which was a huge success.

Shout outs to all who helped, especially Doug Ewer, Richard & Robin Wondra, Brian & Veronica Schade, Ken Salmacia, Marv Mack, Jesse "On Target" Trejo, Rich Stamper and others in both the South Bay and Westside scooter clubs.

Thanks also goes out to all of the Swerve N Curve sponsors. Without you, Swerve N Curve would not be possible: This Dog Jumps Design, Vespa Santa Barbara, Fullerton Vintage, Massimo's Vespa Shop, Route 66 Scooters (formerly SoCal Vespa), IDC Scooter Shop, Clauss Studios, SpeedoKing, Warrior Clothing, Glory Clothing.

For pics of the rally, click here and here, or check out the gallery here. For a couple of videos by Doug Ewer, click here and here. Thanks to all of you who came out - you are the ones that continue to make this such a great rally, year after year! Be sure to save the date for next year's rally, which will be the Big "X" (Swerve N Curve #10), going down August 21-23, 2009!!!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Can-Am Spyder: Born to be mild

I was reading one of my favorite news & business website this morning and noticed a particularly interesting interactive article about a new "motorcycle".

It's called the Can-Am Spyder, made by Bombardier Recreational Products, and it looks almost like a Piaggio MP3 on steroids. Just like the MP3, it has two front wheels with independent, leaning suspension. It also has a borrowed Rotax 990 Aprilia engine, which we all know is made by Piaggio. But, it behaves more like a motorcycle in that it shifts using a clutch lever and a foot pedal (though you can supposedly add a clutchless thumbshift transmission for approx $1500). It has a five speed tranny with a reverse gear and a belt drive (read easy maintenance, here).

The thing is a lot heavier, though, than any Piaggio product. How about a dry weight of 697 pounds? Yikes. Definitely as heavy as a motorcycle, if not more so. The good thing is it doesn't seem like it will ever tip over --- not only for the fact that it has three wheels, but even while you are pushing it through any turn, it has a Bosch stability system that will apply the brakes and cut the engine if the Spyder starts to tip.

Check out the interactive article on click here.

Can-Am Spyder

2008 Can Am Spyder

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Scooterist down!

As we are all wishing for the speedy recovery of Josh Rogers, partner at Scoot Magazine (read about his accident at the Scoot blog:, last weekend a scooterist went down on the Westside ride to Club Soulside. Here is the latest info, straight from Ken Salmacia, aka "Tank Top":



I spoke with Douglas today. He is doing better and able to hobble around on crutches.

Oop's on the prior e-mail. Here is a correct e-mail for Douglas. Let's be sure to give him our support.

From: Ken Salmacia []
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2008 7:29 PM
Subject: Scooterist Down!


I hope this email finds you well.

Unfortunately Douglas crashed on the ride to Souldside Saturday night. Let's give our support and give him a ring or an email. It was a really scary event. We are so glad he is going to be ok. It could have been worse! We wish him all the Best!

Douglas's cell 818 859-3212, email, myspace

Photo are posted. I also attached a few pictures.

We also have a post on the Westside Form. Please chime in.

Here is a recap from Whobike Mike . . .

As some of you may have heard, we had a rider go down last night on the way to Soulside. Doug the mod (not really a WSSC member but a regular at Soulside, Satisfaction, etc.) appears to be OK (pending results of X-rays) but was taken to hospital for his injuries. His beautiful GL still runs but the frame appears to be bent beyond repair. Doug was taken to St Joseph's hospital in Burbank, his scooter was taken to Bar Italia.

Here's an update from Doug (taken from MySpace):

Didn't quite make it to Soulside last night. Scooter is totalled, but may be able to be fixed. Hositalized, but released with no broken bones, just banged up left knee, badly sprained ankle and some good ol' road rash. suit. ruined. pride. damaged. pics coming soon.

thanks to the fellas I rode with for taking care of me and my bike following the crash, and to all who called with their concerns.
---> douglas

Doug, we wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you on your repaired scoot sometime soon!

Piaggio finally coming out with the Vespa S

So, I got this e-mail from Piaggio USA today announcing the Vespa S model coming out. It will be interesting to see, now that Piaggio is filling up its current product line with different models, if sales figures keep up across the board and if any of the other models get "retired" like the ET line has. We'll see. Here is the e-mail FYI:


The 2008 Vespa S is the latest addition to Vespa's U.S. scooter line. Here
are all the details - if you'd like images, just let us know. We will also
have press scooters available in the Los Angeles and New Jersey fleets
starting the end of March/early April. If you're interested in scheduling a
product review, we're here to to help.

# # #

Piaggio Group USA Announces the New 2008 Vespa S

Classic or customized, this Vespa celebrates the rebel in you

NEW YORK, March 10, 2008 – Italian manufacturer Piaggio, renowned for
revolutionary ideas in personal transportation, announces the debut of the
2008 Vespa S, a retro-forward 150cc interpretation of the iconic “Vespino”
scooters that dominated the European street scene in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Combining advanced technology and iconic styling, the new Vespa S embraces
the rebellious spirit that inspired an entire generation to change the
world. With its pure, minimalist lines, sporty performance, inconspicuous
carbon footprint and creative customization options, the Vespa S is now
ready to empower a whole new generation of riders to challenge the
conventions of our time.

Vespa Heritage: Designed to Change the World

When Italian manufacturer Piaggio introduced its first Vespa scooters in the
post-war 1940’s, they were born of functional necessity: personal mobility
for the masses in a changing era. Though designed to be simple, sturdy and
economical, the sense of Italian style was never an afterthought. The
Vespa’s aircraft-inspired unibody frame, with its clean, efficient lines,
stylish contours and revolutionary features set a design benchmark that
introduced comfort and elegance to the sensibility of personal transport.

Prominently featured in the 1952 film Roman Holiday, the Vespa began to play
a role in popular culture and became an international phenomenon. Beloved by
bohemians, artists and actors, Vespa also remained a populist icon, a
testament to its charm. In the 50’s, European Vespa clubs numbered in the
tens of thousands, while American screen icons John Wayne and Marlon Brando
took to the streets on Vespas between takes. British mods, celebrated in
such films as Alfie and Quadrophenia, rallied around Vespa a decade later.

During the 60’s and 70’s, the Vespa Special and Primavera models became
symbols for the revolutionary ideas of the time. As the protest movement
raged, Hollywood stars such as Steve McQueen and Dennis Hopper chose Vespas
for their personal style statements and Innovative advertisements and style
refinements kept the Vespa ahead of the cultural curve during the 70’s.
Today, the Vespa S continues the company’s unique ability to capture its
rebellious spirit in one technically advanced package.

Trademark Styling, Advanced Engineering

The spirit and soul of the 2008 Vespa S is in the authentic details.
Classic Vespa trademarks such as chrome trim, the minimalist front shield,
the unique rectangular headlight first seen in the 50 Special, the rounded
rear light and a 70s-inspired single-seat saddle with contrasting piping all
pay homage to the Vespa S’ legendary predecessors.

The Vespa’s structural integrity is just as innovative as its design. The
Vespa’s high-strength steel body acts as the scooter’s structural frame, a
design solution unique in the world of scooter production. In addition to
superior strength, the frame is exceptionally rigid, resulting in excellent
road holding and precision control. The scooter’s low center of gravity
also makes riding it supremely simple.

Equipped with an advanced front disc/rear drum brake system, the Vespa S
offers confident stopping power. The 11” front and 10” rear wheels with
light alloy rims add to the Vespa S’ excellent stability, and a 150cc
single-cylinder, four-stroke engine delivers sporty acceleration. Located
inside the body, the 2.3 gallon fuel tank allows easy access to the engine
and maximizes the size of the under-seat storage compartment.

Sporty and agile performance combined with low emissions and high fuel
economy reflect Vespa’s commitment to safety, reliability and environmental
respect. Like all Vespa scooters, the clean-running Vespa S sips fuel while
delivering miles of riding thrills – over 90 miles for every gallon of gas.
And, with a top speed of 59 miles per hour, the four-stroke Vespa S is ready
to get you to your next protest march, reunion tour – or the office - in
record time.

Make Your Vespa Your Canvas

Vespa has always been synonymous with freedom of expression, and the Vespa S
invites buyers to show their creative side with six new optional graphic
kits. Easily applied at the dealership, each decal collection celebrates an
element of Vespa’s heritage and personality. For example, buyers can show
their passion for la dolce vitae with stylized Italian flag decals or rock
on with a very “Mod” United Kingdom flag theme. A Sixties-style flower motif
and a retro rally theme complete the collection.

Additional accessories for the Vespa S include a matching body-color 8 ½
gallon top box, a chrome-plated tilting rear luggage rack and a
European-style half-helmet.
The 2008 Vespa S has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of
$4099. Available colors include Dragon Red, Shiny Black and Optic White.
For more information on the Vespa S visit

About The Piaggio Group:
With over 6,700 employees, an annual production of more than 680,000
vehicles in 2006, 5 R&D centers, 7 production facilities in Europe and Asia,
and operations in over 50 countries, the Piaggio Group has a consolidated
leadership in the European 2 wheeler market. Its production includes
scooters, motorcycles and mopeds in the 50cc to 1,200 cc displacement range,
marketed under the Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Derbi, Aprilia, Scarabeo and Moto
Guzzi brands.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Rat Rod Rally

OK, I'm pretty psyched about the pinstripe paint job my home boy, Malex, did on my Rat Rod Rally this past weekend. Came out tight, I think. Guy does great work, and extremely reasonably priced! Check out his website when you get a chance:

And here are the pics:

Rat Rod Rally - side
Rat Rod Rally - front
Rat Rod Rally - right legshield detail
Rat Rod Rally - left legshield detail
Rat Rod Rally - left cowl detail
Rat Rod Rally - headset detail
Rat Rod Rally - back fender detail
Rat Rod Rally - right side
Rat Rod Rally - right side