by Stephen Heller
The Scootering column was on hiatus for a while and has come back in the New Year with a new writer. My name is Stephen Heller and I have been riding scooters for seven years. I started when Vespas coming back to the US was only a rumor, and your only scooter options were a new Honda or Yamaha, or to fix an old one yourself. I chose the latter and fixed up a ’72 Vespa Sprint Veloce. Today, as evident in the different ads in this publication and this article, there are new choices for scooters coming out seemingly every week. Which is great. The more people on two wheels, the better. In this column I will talk about the new scooter options available and when I get my hands on some, scooter reviews and of course, other Minnesota scooter news.
People who attended the Motorcycle Dealer Expo in Indianapolis saw the unveiling of the much anticipated New Lambretta. Those who saw it were not disappointed, taking body style cues from the Series 3 Lambretta. The bike is long and sleek but sits a bit higher than its ancestors because of the larger 12-inch tires. This bike is unmistakably a Lambretta, at least from the outside. Under the side panels is an engine that would have the Lambretta founders spinning in their graves; a 250cc lump made by their old competitor, Piaggio. The liquid cooled, automatic engine is the same one that can be found in Piaggio’s flagship scooter, the X9, and is reported to have a top speed around 80 mph. It is nice to see that Classic Motorcycles and Sidecars (CMSI), the company that bought the rights to the Lambretta name, are staying true to the classic Lambretta form. There were no details on when the bike will be for sale or even an estimated cost. We can only hope that it will be sooner, rather than later.
COLD WEATHER CHALLENGE
I don’t know how many of you get up on one of the coldest days of the winter, look outside and think, “I am going to ride my scooter.” I certainly don’t, but I know at least two people who did have this thought, Egan H. and Bob H. They were the top two riders in this year’s Cold Weather Challenge. The Cold Weather Challenge is a national contest to see who can ride the furthest in the coldest temperature on a scooter. It is an “on your honor” contest in which you have to ride at least 10 continuous miles in the coldest temperature you care to ride in. Egan H. from Minneapolis rode 11.3 miles in &endash;11 degree temperatures on his Lambretta Servetta II 150 on January 17th. Bob H. from Golden Valley rode 10.2 miles in &endash;5 degree temperatures on his 2005 Stella after his ’61 Vespa GS had problems with a freezing throttle cable. Thankfully, it was hard to find temperatures like that this year. Congratulations you guys. I hope whatever you won was worth the frozen fingers.
It has taken over 20 years, but the Vespa PX150 is being sold again in the United States. Although it has been in constant production since the late 70’s, the sale of geared Vespa scooters in the US has been on hold since 1982 when the company pulled out of the country completely. Over the winter, Vespa dealerships have been hit with a wave of nostalgia with the limited edition “Serie America” PX150. Like the name implies the PX is a 150 cc two-stroke, four-speed scooter, the special edition part is the vintage green paint and brown seat. Since leaving our shores the PX has been updated with a much needed front disk brake and a halogen headlight.
Speaking of special editions, Genuine Scooters out of Chicago has started to ship their own special edition “Fireball” Stella. Taking inspiration from the red-hot candy of the same name, the Fireball Stella is red with yellow flames on the front fender and cowls. The 150 cc two-stroke engine has been upgraded with a taller gearing to produce a higher top speed than the stock Stellas. The Fireball also comes equipped with a racing style seat and, kind of peculiar, a coin tray. This hot bike is going to be super limited to 150 bikes for the country.
Skooter Du 6: Flip Your Wig, the annual scooter rally hosted by the Regulars is in its planning stages; yet the date has been set for August 12-14 at various venues around Minneapolis and St. Paul. For more details or if you would like to volunteer, check out the Regulars’ website at www.minnescoota.com/skooterdu.