by Stephen “Hell Cat” Heller 

Piaggio MP3
Anyone who made it to the International Motorcycle Show (IMS) had to stop by and sit on the new Piaggio MP3. The wild, 3-wheeled vehicle is not much of a looker, but it boasts some pretty impressive technology. The two front wheels tilt independently of each other up to 40 degrees; making it very stable around corners.

Like everyone else I, have only seen the video on YouTube of the MP3 going around a track and doing stoppies so I didn’t really have an idea of the actual size. It is about comparable to a large ATV and I felt pretty good sitting on it. I am itching to get a test ride and a put together a review as soon as one arrives in Minneapolis. Stay tuned!

Yamaha C3
The IMS was also my first look at the new Yamaha C3 scooter. Even smaller than the Yamaha Vino, the 50cc 4-stroke C3 seems to get it’s styling cues from the oldest scooter models, like the step-through Cushman scooters or the Scootabout. Like a Cushman, the headlight and handlebars move with the headlight, as opposed to a fixed legshield. According to yamaha.com it is for “style and function.” Sure.

The C3’s engine is anything but retro. It is a 3-valve, liquid-cooled gas-sipper with a claimed mpg well over 100. It won’t be a speed demon, but I can see plenty of these zipping around the U this fall.

Stella Return/ Genuine Upgrades
The Scooterville booth at the International Motorcycle show had the 2007 Buddies on display. The changes from 2006 include a halogen headlight, an LED taillight and an outlet by the glove box for a cell phone or another device. The headlight itself is larger, in order to house the hot bulb. Genuine has also announced a limited Series Italia Buddy 125. The Series Italia is a “vintage” green color and comes with white wall tires.

Also for 2007, Genuine will bump the Blur from 150cc to 200cc. The Rattler is also going to have a larger engine: an 110cc 2-stroke! I really am looking forward to testing that one.

In late December, there were reports from LML management that production of their 150cc scooters would begin again in 2-3 months. Since then, there has been no word out of Kanpur on anything happening. It seems to be just a ploy by LML to generate some interest and investment.

Super Scooter Rally in Northern Minnesota
I know it is only February, but the rally calendar is already filling up fast. Pre-registration for the Rattle My Bones scooter rally has already started with free T-shirts for those who do so.

Also, a maxi-scooter rider, Kevin H. from northern Minnesota, has invited everyone with a scooter 250cc and above to come and visit him June 7th – 10th in Mountain Iron, MN for the Iron Range Scooter Rally. Mountain Iron is between Hibbing and Virginia on Highway169.

One of the rides planned is a North Shore ride through Ely and Duluth. Meetups for the ride up to Mountain Iron are being planned throughout the Midwest. More details about the rally can be found in the forums section of www.maxi-scoots.com.

Diamo to distribute Italjet Scooters
Italjet was one of the first new scooter companies to market their product in the US after the Piaggio left in the early 80’s. They were poised for success in the scooter market with many interesting models, including the classic looking Velocifero and the racy Dragster and Formula. But mismanagement in Italy stopped Italjet all together.

Italjet sold off their tooling and rights to all, but the Dragster to Kinetic of India and is planning on selling many of the models under the brand name Kinetic Italiano.

Now under management by the 3rd generation of the Tartarini family, Italjet is ready to make another go at the US market. Italjet has partnered with Diamo USA to distribute their scooters in the US. Reportedly there will be 3 models initially offered; the Dragster, Torpedo and the Griffon. The Dragster will come in a 50cc 2-stroke and a 250cc 4-stroke, the Torpedo will be 150cc, and the Griffon is a 650cc v-twin motorcycle looks very similar to the Suzuki SV650.

The Dragster has built a cult following around the world because the 180cc 2-stroke version that had been made was one of the fastest scooters available. According to the Diamo USA website the 250cc Dragster will have a 0-60 of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 95mph.

I will be attending the Motorcycle Dealer’s show in Indianapolis and hope to have a lot more scooter news next month, including details on the new Lambretta project, now called the L Series, and more on Italjet / Diamo deal.

M.M.M.

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