by Stephen “Hell Cat” Heller
Spring and the Dealer Show
It’s great that spring is finally here. I hope everyone did a little work in the fall so you were ready to roll whenthe slushy stuff headed down the Mississippi. I am not a big fan of the cold, so these past couple of months you could find me on the couch or in front of the computer looking for the latest scooter models or searching for my Holy Grail the Vespa SS90.
There are some people that don’t put away their bikes for the winter, and at least one of them will have a handmade scarf to show for it. Jeremy “433” of Minneapolis won this year’s cold weather challenge. He woke up at 4:15 am to put a heater on the engine of his vintage Vespa before riding 11.4 miles in –17 degree temperatures without the wind chill! Three more Minnesotans rounded out the top 4. I guess, along with the lakes, people’s brains freeze, too.
I did venture out into the cold just long enough to get down to Indianapolis for the Powersports Dealer Show. Think of it as the SEMA of the motorcycle industry. The big OEMs are not in attendance, but just about every accessory that you can imagine for your motorcycle or scooter is there.
It was my first glimpse at the new products from Genuine: the Red, and Series Italia Buddy 125; at dealers now. They also had an all black 200cc Blur and a 2-stroke 110cc Rattler. Talking to the Genuine reps, its top speed is about the same as the Buddy 125, 60-65mph, but it gets there a lot quicker. I can’t wait.
I know that I am beating a dead horse when I talk about the new automatic 250cc Lambretta, but I finally got to see it in person! It is now called the L Series and it is pretty cool. I am not getting my hopes up though. I talked to an engineer that has been working on the scooter for TNG and he told me that this model is still only a prototype and a preproduction model will probably be unveiled next year.
One of the craziest things that I saw for scooters was a Kymco Xciting “customized” by Dragon Custom. Covered in chrome, from the custom wheels to the full Cruiser body kit in blue and silver metal flake, it was definitely the chopper of the scooter world. Seeing the scooter left an impression. It is good that someone is making accessories for the Kymco scooters, because that is one place where they have been lacking.
My heart sank when I entered the Chinese Pavilion; the ballroom where all of the Chinese vendors were selling their scooters. Here are the scooters that are destined to be drop shipped to an unsuspecting internet buyer. Clones of every scooter that you see on the road from the Honda Ruckus, to the Vespa GT; all destined to be forgotten in the back of garages around the country. I’m sure that China will produce some quality scooters soon, but all I saw was a room full of credit card charge backs.
All was not lost though, after leaving the Chinese Pavilion, my travel mate and motoGP nut, Brooke, met Kenny Roberts.
St. Cloud Scoots is organizing a food drive and ride called Scoot For Food. The goal is to raise money for local food shelves and enjoy a ride in central Minnesota. The event will take place on June 2nd in Sartell, MN. To participate go to stcloudscoots.net
Dave H. from Just Gotta Scoot has started an internet radio show on scooters. It promises to cover the spectrum of scooters from 50cc to Maxi scooters and the history of brands such as Lambretta, Vespa, and Honda. Find it on justgottascoot.com
Add another event to your riding calendars. The Bearded Lady Motorcycle Show is making its second appearance in N. Minneapolis on July 17th at the 331 Club. Last year there were fire-eaters and a burlesque show to entertain the mods and rockers type crowd, and a scooter category with only a single entrant.