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