by Stephen “Hell Cat” Heller
Spring has sprung and summer is almost here. Another season is already upon us, scooter rally season. I know I have been a big pimp of the Scooter Du rally in the Twin Cities. So here are some other scooter rallies around the country that are worth attending.
This year the planets have aligned over Denver, Colorado and the two forces known as Amerivespa and Lambretta Jamboree are going to be held in the same location. Mile High Mayhem, the scooter rally that took place in Denver in previous years, is one of the biggest, most well organized rallies in the United States, not to mention a huge give away. This rally should be fun. Starting with Scooter Nationals at IMI Motorsports, there are events planned for the whole weekend. Including a ride up to Red Rocks, a swap meet, tech sessions, Concours d’ Elegance and much more. Many scooterists from the Twin Cities are planning on to make the trip out there. They are organizing via minnescoota.com
Continuing Lockout at LML
No news is not good news when it comes to the continuing lock out at LML in Kampur, India. LML is the supplier of the Stella to Genuine Scooters in Chicago, IL. As I mentioned last month, factory workers had been locked out of the factory in early March while the company is undergoing the restructuring of its large debt. This hasn’t scared off investors though. Many firms are swapping cash for equity in the company and there are talks of a European manufacturer that is interested in some kind of partnership. In the near future, LML plans to roll out 2 new models and double their production to nearly 1 million units per year.
R50X Initial Impressions
I had a short chance to ride what may be the only new model of a 50cc 2-stroke scooter to come out this year. The R50X made by Taiwanese manufacturer, TGB. While a long term test will have to be in the future, I have to talk about my first ride on the scooter. The scooter has an aggressive sport bike style. If I were to compare it to any other scooter it would have to be most similar in style to the Aprilia SR50. Actually they share some very similar design cues from the way the legshield wraps around a little bit, to the stepped seat, and even the large tach. in the middle of the headset. Sitting on the scooter, everything is in the right place. Which sounds kind of weird, but what I mean are the handlebars aren’t too high or low. Starting the bike, it isn’t by any means a fire breather. To comply with the stringent emissions standards, it has a more restrictive exhaust with a charcoal canister connected via a rubber hose from the exhaust manifold. Out of the box I saw an indicated 42mph which is what you would expect for a sporty 50cc. But getting to that point was a chore. The digital speedo in the upper left is kind of small and a bit difficult to read, but seems to be more accurate than most scooters that tend to read on the high side.
This scooter is a direct competitor with the likes of the Aprilia SR50 and the Kymco Super 9. It even has disc brakes on the front and rear, which is a rarity for 50cc scooters. Coming in at $2250 MSRP, it definitely gives its competitors a run for the money.
Piaggio has just announced two hybrid scooters running on gas, as well as having an electric motor. Electric scooters are not a new idea; Ego and EVT have been marketing electric scooters for a couple of years. But this is the first by Piaggio. The two models are a 50cc, 4 stroke LX with a 1kw electric motor/ generator. The other model is the 125cc 4 stroke X8 with a 2kw electric motor/ generator. The range for both is supposed to be 20km at 25km/h, which in mph equals bad. But there are some interesting features the scooters, including a drive by wire engine management system ala Moto GP. The hybrid Vespa LX 50 HyS and the X8 125 HyS are touted to reduce running costs by up to one half when using the electrical recharge over similar models.