by Stephen Heller
A SCOOTER MADE IN THE USA?
CMSI, importer of the TN’G line of scooters, has announced plans for opening a facility to assemble scooters in the United States. Previously, all of the scooters sold under the TN’G brand name were assembled in three different factories in Mainland China from parts from many distributors around Asia. In an interview with Rob Gates, Head of Sales for TN’G, the main reason why they will be moving assembly to the US is better quality control over parts that will be put into all of the TN’G scooters. Additionally, by assembling the scooters in the US, TN’G will add jobs for Americans and be able to lower ocean shipping costs.
Plans were to start production in mid-June, but have been pushed back in order to make some changes to the assembly process. So as for now, they are expecting to start assembly by August.
Eventually all of the scooters that TN’G sells will be assembled at the US facility in North Carolina, but for the start only the Venice LX, a 50cc four-stroke styled similarly to the Honda Metropolitan and the Milano 150, a retro styled large wheeled scooter are going to be produced along with 2-new products that weren’t disclosed.
Gates stated that although the price for assembly will be higher in the US than it would be in China, the price for the Venice LX and the Milano 150 will stay the same.
In addition to selling TN’G scooters, CMSI is also the company responsible for bringing the Lambretta back into production. The prototype that was seen at the dealer show in February and talked about here has been tested and refined. Reportedly the second version of the Lambretta was taken to Italy and tested at Piaggio with good results. Cosmetically speaking, a new, larger headset and front fender are being used that is in proportion with the back half of the scooter.
Scööter Dü 6
Flip Your Wig, not literally of course, Scööter Dü named after local punk legends Hüsker Dü. The Sixth installment of this Twin Cities Rally hosted by The Regulars Scooter Club is named after Hüsker Dü’s 1985 album Flip Your Wig. The album contains one of my favorite tracks by the band, “Makes No Sense at All”. And if you are outside watering your lawn on Saturday, August 13th and you see over a hundred scooters drive by at one time then that won’t make any sense either.
But, if riding in a large pack of scooters is your idea of a good time, then you should definitely attend the rally. The rally has grown from about 20 scooters the first year, into the high point on many people’s rally calendar. Last year was a great success, over 125 people registered for the rally and the Saturday ride brought more scooters to the streets of Minnesota than ever before. Rally goers came from all over the country including Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Florida.
Scööter Dü 6: Flip Your Wig starts on Friday, August 12th at Elsie’s Restaurant, Bar and Bowling Center. Register for the rally, test your mettle with free bowling from 9-Midnight, or sing Karaoke before the traditional Midnight ride leaves and heads for parts unknown.
The Saturday rides start at Yarusso Brothers in St. Paul. In order to be fair to all riders, two routes have been planned this year, one for the larger, faster scooters (90cc and above, with speeds capable of 55mph) and one for the smaller displacement bikes. The “fast ride” is planning on heading east towards Afton and points beyond. The “slow ride” will be a variation on rides from previous rallies with a tour of Minneapolis’ fine parkways. Both rides will end at Scooterville, where there will be a cookout and the traditional scooter games such as; the scooter gymkhana, slow ride and pile on. If you have never witnessed any of these displays of scooter dexterity it is definitely worth a trip down to Scooterville to check it out.
Saturday night, the rally heads over to Grumpy’s downtown where there will be DJs, a raffle for scooter prizes, and awards. Hang out with new friends and catch up with old ones. Of course there will always be people in the parking lot to talk endlessly about their scooters.
Sunday will be a ride for everyone so come to the Square Peg Diner on East Hennepin in Minneapolis with an empty stomach and a full tank of gas. The ride leaves around 10 and will be a mellow ride around the metro before ending at Molly Quinn’s on East Lake St. in Minneapolis.
For more information head over to the Regulars website www.minnescoota.com /skooterdu/2005/
New Group Rides
With the number of scooters seen around town rapidly increasing, there has also been an increase in the opportunities for group rides. Of course there is the Regulars ride that meets at Pizza Luce in Uptown on the first and third Sundays of the month. New this year is a weekly ride on Tuesday that starts at the Lake Harriet Band Shell. The ride leaves around 7:00 PM and has a set route around the lakes, through downtown Minneapolis, along the River Road before heading back to Lake Harriet. If you’re late, just follow the route and catch up to the group.
The vintage scooter camp has also organized a monthly ride for anyone with a scooter made before 1982. This ride takes a different route every month but always starts at Minnehaha Coffee on 46th and Minnehaha.