by Stephen “Hell Cat” Heller
Scooter Racing/Track Day
Ex-Mid America Scooter Sport Racer, (MASS) Matt D and a couple other scooterists headed down to Iowa for a couple track days this fall to test their riding abilities and the limits of their scooters on a closed track. For $30 dollars it was all you wanted to ride at the Kart Track in Marshalltown. Brooke K. borrowed a Genuine Buddy 125cc scooter to put it through the paces. Although it was not as fast as the kitted smallframe Vespas, the Buddy reportedly held its own on the track.
The 1km track is suited for small capacity motorcycle scooters and go-karts, but they are open to motards and even pocket bikes. There are open track days throughout the spring and summer. So get your scooter prepped for some hot track action this spring!
From working on scooters for the past couple of years, there are a few pitfalls that I see owners fall into when it comes to storing their bike for the winter. There are two extremes. The first is doing nothing at all; simply leaving their scooter at a bike rack or chained to a fence, not moving until spring. The other end of the spectrum is taking off the tires, fogging the cylinder, plugging the exhaust, and on and on. Totally prepping your scooter for the winter is not a bad thing. But we have to be realistic on how long you want to spend doing these things. If you don’t plan on riding your scooter next spring, then go ahead and go full bore. But if you do plan on riding in a few months, here is what I recommend you should do.
1. If possible, use up all of the gas in your tank. All of the new scooters have plastic gas tanks, so you don’t need to worry about rust. It is all of the additives in the gas that break down very quickly, I’m talking weeks, that foul up your carburetor. If you cannot use all of the gas in your tank, then stabilize what gas you do have. MORE STABILIZER IS NOT BETTER. So use the amount directed. In the spring when you are about to start the bike, go buy some fresh gas and fill up your tank the rest of the way.
2. Drain your float bowl/carburetor. We are worrying about clogged jets here. There is a brass screw on the bottom of the carb that will drain the remaining gas in your carb. Do it. Your owners manual should point you in the direction to find your float bowl drain.
3. Remove your battery, bring it to someplace warm, and put it on a low amp trickle charger. Batteries range in price from $30-90+ and a good charger is around $35.
4. Change the oil.
5. Cover the bike with a breathable cover.
Following these steps you should be ready to roll when the snow melts with little hassle.
For those that plan on riding throughout the winter, regularly wash all of the salt and road grime off of your scoot. Your exhaust, brakes and frame will thank you for it.
Cabin Fever? Rattle My Bones
The Second Annual Cabin Fever Indoor Scooter Rally is being planned for the 20th of January. Like last year, the rally will be in conjunction with Scooterville’s only sale of the year. Details are still up in the air, but there will be a scooter swap meet, along with scooter tech sessions. Come and pick up a new scoot or a project to work on over the cold months.
Although it is more than 8 months after the Cabin Fever Rally, the planning is already well under way for the August scooter rally. The name this year is Rattle My Bones; again mining the great history of Minnesota music. The rally shares the name with a song from The Suburbs 1984 album, Love is the Law.
Changes for this year, besides the organizers, are adding a Thursday scooter scavenger hunt around the Twin Cities. There will be raffles on both Friday and Saturday. There will also be many opportunities to ride en-mass around parts of our wonderful state. Volunteers are encouraged for many different jobs throughout the weekend. More info can be found at www.rattlemybones.com.
Piaggio Group Mega Scooter Announcement
Piaggio, which now seems to own every European scooter brand, unveiled a ton of new scooters and motorcycles at the international motorcycle exhibition in Milan recently.
Vespa followed their trend of doing a retro redo on their existing line of scooters. Previously, they unveiled a “fenderlight” style GT, with the headlight on the front fender, and a “handlebar” GT with exposed handlebars and headlight attached; both reminiscent to 50’s and 60’s style Vespas. The only new model unveiled is the LXS or Vespa S. The inspiration for the S is the 50 Specials that were sold from the late 60’s until the early 80’s. The 50 Special was the first vehicle for many Europeans, but sold poorly in the US. The most distinguishing characteristic of the 50 Special and the Vespa S is the square headlight. Also notable is the solo bench seat and the embellished horn cover. A 50cc and a 125cc version were announced, and if we see it in the US I would expect it to be a 150 instead of the 125.
Aprilia had mostly new motorcycles to show, but they did have a somewhat updated Scarabeo, and an RS50 with the racing paint scheme for Jorge Lorenzo.
Gilera unveiled an 850cc scooter called the GP800. Along with their version of the 3-wheeled Piaggio MP3, called the Fuoco. I mentioned them because they are cool bikes, but there is little chance that we will see them in the US.
Derbi is also unavailable in the US, but they showed a pretty cool looking scooter called the Boulevard S, which looks like a more angular and aggressive version of the new Yamaha C3 or the Honda Ruckus.