by Kevin Kocur 

Heller on Hiatus
MMM’s Random Scootering guy, Stephen Heller, is taking a little break. This much-needed vacation was taken after Stephen was reported to be standing outside the MMM corporate towers, holding a cardboard sign that read, “Will write for Vespa 400 parts.” Having lost two-out-of-three in a heated game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Kevin Kocur will now be filling in during his absence.

SYM leaving the U.S.?
On July 12th, 2010, Carter Brothers, the US importer/distributor for SYM scooters, lost their 265,000 sq.-ft. Alabama facility to fire. This includes many of U.S.-bound SYM scooters and parts inventory. Fortunately, a supply of SYM scooters remained in Carter Brothers’ west coast warehouse. Carter Brothers released a letter stating that they plan to rebuild and urged customers to contact SYM of Canada (1-877-463-3940 or by email at info@symcanada.ca) for parts needs. Why Canada? Your guess is as good as mine. Alabama authorities are investigating the fire and have not ruled out arson. Earlier this year, SYM-USA had lowered prices by as much as 18%.

According to guidoebert.com, SYM-USA plans to auction off as many as 110 unsold scooters, many of which are believed to be returns from now-defunct dealers.

The cherry on this story? The Fiddle II and Symba models have just passed California emissions and are now approved for sale there.

Scooter Racing comes back to Minnesota
If the rumors are true, scooter races will be held at the Stockholm Motorsports Park in Cokato. Just think—no more having to drive four hours to go racing in Iowa! The downside is that you can’t get a good Maid Rite sammich in Cokato… Keep an eye on www.supermotomn.com for more info.

California to Alaska on a ……WHAT?
Some people dream of adventure. I, myself, have been planning a trip to Alaska for years.
Only, the bikes that I’ve considered for this journey are considerably larger than Binh Cheung’s choice: a 100cc SYM Symba. For those not in the know, the Symba is essentially a clone of the Honda Cub, of which there are now 50 kajillion worldwide. In July, Mr. Cheung successfully completed his ride, finishing with a total of 7,747 miles. Read more about Binh’s adventure at http://justgottascoot.com/BinhCheung.htm

My fuel-injected Vespa’s really starting to go
Obscure Beach Boys references aside, Piaggio announced that its 2011 150cc Vespa lineup will feature new, fuel-injected motors. Piaggio is claiming a 15% reduction in fuel use, while providing stronger, smoother acceleration up to 60 mph.

Going green on three
In other Piaggio news, the Italian manufacturer has released a more powerful hybrid MP3. The 278cc MP3 Hybrid 300ie is the big brother to Piaggio’s 124cc hybrid released last year. Boasting 141 mpg and currently only available in Europe, time will tell if the new hybrid will hit U.S. shores.

Still Rattlin’ Bones—Four years later
As we go to press, the Rattle My Bones IV Scooter Rally has already begun. As with past rallies, numero quattro will feature a Scavenger hunt, a History Tour, multiple group rides, a gymkhana, DJ, live bands and more. It’s like the State Fair on wheels. Scooter on a stick, anyone? Expect a full report on RMB-IV in an upcoming MMM.

M.M.M.

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