by Kevin Kocur

Honda Introduces Mid-Size Forza

Honda last month introduced a seventh scooter, the Forza, to its line-up. Powered by an all-new 279cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected four-stroke, the Forza can be had with ABS ($6,099) or without ($5,599).Photo courtesy of Honda Powersports

The 422-lb. bike rolls on 120/70-14 front and 140/70-13 rear tires, is suspended by a 35mm telescopic fork and twin shock rear suspension, and stops via 256mm front and 240mm rear discs, both mated to twin-piston calipers. Seat height is 28.2 inches, and there’s enough under-seat storage for two helmets.

Like it? You had better like Pearl Red, because that’s the only color the bike currently is offered in.

Five Decades of Vespa 50

Piaggio is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Vespa 50cc scooter with a user-generated digital and social media campaign.

The 50cc Vespa became an instant hit with Italian youth in 1963 and the transportation craze soon spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world, spawning generations of riders and enthusiasts while cementing Vespa’s place in popular culture.

From historic touch points and pop culture decade highlights to first-person owner contributions about the ease and low cost of ownership and varied lifestyle uses, Piaggio’s five-week campaign highlights the Vespa 50cc’s influence on the transportation and cultural landscape. Fans are encouraged to share their 50cc stories on Vespa’s digital lifestyle destination, www.lavespavita.com, and submit photos via Twitter (twitter.com/vespausa) or Instagram (instagram.com/VespaUSA).

Amerivespa 2013 in San Diego

Amerivespa 2013 is scheduled to take place June 27-30 in San Diego.

In its 21st year, Amerivespa is the national motor scooter rally sponsored by Vespa Club of America (VCOA). The four-day event – staged annually in different cities throughout the country – typically includes meet-n-greets, local rides, a vendor show, scooter concours, skills events, prize opportunities, and an awards and banquet evening.

Amerivespa invites all scooterists to join the celebration. In fact, primary sponsors include not only Vespa USA but also KYMCO USA, Genuine Scooter Co. and SYM/Alliance Motorsports. Visit Amerivespa.org for more information.

Prefer Your Two-Wheeler Orange, and Electric?

KTM has confirmed that its E-Speed electric scooter, shown last year at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show, should be a reality for the 2015 model year. The E-Speed will be the second electric offering from the Austrian manufacturer, which plans to add its Freeride E electric dirt bike to its 2014 line-up.

Electrics are coming from the major brands, whether you’re a believer or not.

You may recall BMW also has shown the near-production prototype of an e-scooter, the C Evolution, which the OEM describes as “the intelligent response to growing traffic volume, increasing energy costs and ever more stringent CO2 limitations.”

High Gas Prices Spawn Scooter Sales

May was a tough month for motorists in the nation’s midsection as gasoline prices soared. Relatedly, scooter sales are more directly linked to fuel prices than any other motorized two-wheeler.

Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and Oklahoma all saw new statewide record high averages for gas in May. Cities breaking their all time highs include Minneapolis/St. Paul, Des Moines, Fargo, Oklahoma City, Sioux Falls and Omaha. In fact, the average price per gallon in Minneapolis beat out consistently high Honolulu by a dime.

The last time we experienced gas prices nearly this high was in 2008. You know what else happened in 2008? Scooter sales in the U.S. grew 40% year-over-year.

Is Chicago Not The Windy City?

In early May, an Amarillo, TX, woman was injured when she was blown off of her scooter by what were described as “high winds.” Police responded to the accident and the rider was transported to a local hospital without life-threatening injuries.  Let’s be careful out there, people.

Tools

While recording an upcoming studio album, a member of the band Tool crashed his Vespa, causing a delay in recording. According to the band’s web site, the anonymous member suffered multiple broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder. As if that weren’t enough, a second member had crashed his Vespa near Hollywood – just a few days prior.

MMM

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