by Stephen Heller
Employees Locked Out
LML, the company that produces the Stella for Genuine Scooter Company, has locked out employees from its plant in Kanpur, India. The employees were locked out after striking in response to not getting paid in full. Production has ceased for over a month. LML has been operating at a loss for the past four years and were restructuring when the strike and lockout occurred. There is no information on how this will affect the supply of Stellas into the US, but it can’t be good.
New Scooter Book
I had the opportunity to contribute to a new scooter book titled Scooters: Everything You Need to Know. The author, Eric Dregni, is a long time local scooterist and has been active in many scooter clubs. Besides writing this book, he has translated and co-authored many other scooter books; all of them great. The latest, Scooters, is pretty cool because of its editorial content, covering everything from the history of scooters, to what you should pack for a ride and even how to plan a scooter rally. The greatest thing about the book is the photos of Minnesota scooterists. From the inside cover of Kent A. and his green Stella with tons of mirrors, to shots of the Regulars and Scooter Du group rides, this book is a bit of history of the scooter scene in Minnesota. Even local scooter shops, Motoprimo and Scooterville, are well represented. Also, for the scooter-riding ladies out there, St. Paulite Becky Wallace contributed some great information as well.
Besides the “Minnesota centric” aspect to the book, there is a lot of great information and photos that Dregni dredged up from who knows where. So if you are out riding, be sure to smile big because you may be in his next scooter book!
Kymco Announces 2007 Models
Recently, Kymco, the Taiwanese manufacturer of scooters, motorcycles, and ATVs, announced a ton of new models that will be coming out this year. They have all been sold in the rest of the world for some time, but will finally make it to our shores. The biggest news, is also the biggest bike in the Kymco line, the Xciting 500; pushed back awaiting DOT approval, the 500cc Xciting will be available this summer. What I am most excited about is the redesign of the popular People line of scooters with the People S. With the 50 and 250 models the large wheels are still intact, but little else is the same. The quasi-retro look is gone and what has replaced it reminds me of the new Cadillacs; sharp, angular lines. The People 50 S will only come with a 4-stroke engine. There will also be a People 125 S and a People 200 S. Never fear, those of you that have been waiting until spring to buy, the retro styled Peoples will still be available.
Other new models include the Agility 50, Agility 125, Vitality 50 and Xciting 250. Absent from the new scooter announcement was any new 2-stroke model. Kymco is still awaiting approval for any of their 2-stroke models at this point.
Vespa scooter? Check. Vespa t-shirt? Check. Vespa stock? Well… not yet. But Piaggio, the company that produces the Vespa and owns Aprilia and the Guzzi brands, have applied at the Italian stock exchange and expect to have an IPO this summer. The IPO would be a boon for the company; which would be able to invest in new engines and technology. Will a new/old GS 150 be on the horizon? One can only hope.