by Stephen “Hell Cat” Heller
No Direction Home Scooter Rally
Next month is the Twin Cities scooter rally. Notice that I didn’t call it Scooter Du? The reigns have been handed over and the Scooter Du name has been retired. Still, Minnesota’s musically themed, No Direction Home: Deja Du is the name for this year. Besides the name, there really aren’t any big changes. Still held the same weekend, August 11th-13th, and still some of the same venues. Elsie’s bowing alley in northeast will host for Saturday night. Friday night will be held at the Spring Street Tavern also in NE Minneapolis.
There are, again, 2 rides on Saturday starting at Yarusso Brothers; a longer, faster “country” ride and a more leisurely “city” ride. After lunch on the road, both rides will convene back at Scooterville for the gymkhana, slow ride and other games.
Sunday morning begins at the Square Peg Diner. With a stop at Magers and Quinn Bookstore for a “Scooter Bible” book signing by Eric Dregni. The ride finishes at the Chatterbox Pub in South Minneapolis.
I am looking forward to what sounds like a great rally!
Genuine Scooters, known in the US for the 150cc Stella, are still having issues getting that scooter produced. Because of the continuing LML lockout and financial restructuring, there hasn’t been a Stella, or any LML scooter, produced for months. The supply of Stellas in the US is completely gone. With Bajaj stopping production of the Chetak, we may have seen an end of metal-bodied manual scooters for sale in the US.
In what is only a coincidence, we have started to see the first of the plastic-bodied, automatic Genuine Scooters. The Buddy 125, a 4-stroke 125cc scooter is the first Genuine to hit dealer floors. It will be soon followed by the 2-stroke, 50cc Buddy and the Black Cat. Additionally, the Blur and the Rattler will be on US roads this summer. All of the previously mentioned scooters being sold by Genuine are actually produced by PGO in Taiwan.
I took the Buddy 125 on a 50+ mile trip around Lake Minnetonka, which I wrote about in the Rides and Routes section, and it performed admirably. Aimed squarely at the Vino 125 crowd, this bike has a lot going for it. While not quite freeway legal, the peppy little scooter topped out at a GPSed 55.6 mph in my ride. Although, I read that a Cleveland scooter shop raced one around Lake Erie www.lakeerieloop.com, kind of like the Mad Bastard run, and averaged over 55 mph for 12 hours, including stops. A pink one no less!
I had a great time riding the scooter. The 3.5” x 10” tires are very nimble, and the bike is light, and easy to whip through corners. As far as automatic scooters go this would have to rank near my top. I really like vintage Smallframe Vespas and this scoot has a very similar feel. It is a small scooter, but I don’t feel cramped on it. My knees are not in my face or close to hitting the handlebars. And there is enough room on the floorboards for me to 1: have my size 11s fit and 2: have a couple of places for me to move them to when I want to shift positions. The seat height is 29 inches; which is lower than many scooters, but is not so low that other motorists cannot see you. Speaking of being seen, I rode the sunset orange Buddy, with a brown seat which reminds me of a basketball. It also comes in pink with a white seat and black. All of the new scooters from Genuine come with a 2-year warranty and roadside assistance.
My only issue with the scooter was the rear drum brake. After going about 10 miles, I tightened it and it still felt like it wasn’t stopping too well.