Monday, December 22, 2008

New Vespa USA site!

Looks like the USA arm of Vespa and Piaggio finally recieved the web-overhaul that the UK and Italy sites recieved last year!

It's pretty nice. It's attractive, has a rolling ticker of Vespa News, has a community link and you no longer have to click five times to find a price!

Welcome to the modern! Click here to experience the site yourself!

Friday, December 05, 2008

New scooters

To go with the news of the free extended warranty, we just recieved six new scooters! They're still crated, so sorry.. No pictures.

The potential holiday presents are:

  • piaggio fly 150 in excalibur grey
  • piaggio fly 150 in optic white
  • vespa gts 250 in cortina grey
  • vespa gts 250 in midnight blue
  • vespa lx150 in cortina grey
  • vespa lx 150 in dragon red

Get 'em while they're hot!

Vespa Warranty Extension

Great news for you folks out there who are on the fence about buying a new Vespa scooter before the year's end!

Piaggio is offering a free extended warranty through the month of December. And folks, that's regardless of whatever scooter you purchase. Be it an LX50, a Fly or even an MP3 500, you're covered for three years! Nice stuff!

I'd give you a link to follow, but it really is as simple as it sounds. So, help yourself, help the economy and take advantage of the special! Buy more stuff!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Vespa scooters, adidas, and pop

Sometimes when you're doing something, such as watching TV or a movie, and you see a scooter - even if for a brief second - you get this super warm feeling of "awesome" inside.

Well, the new ADIDAS originals commercial has a good two seconds of "awesome" in it. It's an ad for the new clothing line that is more casual-retro centered versus it's sport wear catalogues. The commercial also features a ton of pop and hip hop stars/legends in it such as Russel Simmons, DMC, N.E.R.D, Katy Perry, Estelle and of course, athletes like David Beckham and more.

You've may have seen the commercial before, but if you're out and about on the net to share it with friends, it's the 60-second version that you want if you're looking for Vespa scooter goodness! You can follow a direct YouTube link by clicking here. And for those who are inquiring about the music, it's the Pilooski edit of Frankie Valli's "Beggin". That video is here.

This, of course, isn't the first commercial by ADIDAS to feature scooters...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

HyS on Engadget

Browsing through one of my favorite blogs today, Engadget, to find that Piaggio had made an "official" claim to the upcoming hybrid HyS engine MPG estimates...

You ready?


Yeah... I said the same dang thing.

For more of the same info that's already been posted here (the actual MPG being the exception), follow the link for the story.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Vespa... Sidecar?

Sorry for the teaser title folks, but given that the info in regards to that title is pretty much teaser stuff, you'll have to forgive me for the following is all I'm working with:


Teaser pic for the teaser post about a prototype Vespa sidecar that Piaggio unvieled this week at the EICMA. Amongst other things in the works for next year, Piaggio used the opportunity to show some neat design work with this "prototype" of an actual Piaggio side-car. If I remember correctly, the last Piaggio sidecar to grace a Vespa was way back in the mid seventies, so this is actually kind of neat. Really neat actually.
The EICMA show goes on till the 9th, so expect more cool stuff. If you want to follow it daily, check out the official website, or keep checking back here for more Piaggio and Vespa related goodness!

Friday, October 31, 2008

New stuff for the Blog!

Looking at the blog's traffic, it seems that there are a lot of you who read on the regular, but you have no idea when new info is going to appear. Well, this morning, I took a couple of steps to make it a little easier to find out when the new deliciousness appears on your fav KC scooter blog!

Take a look at the sidebar to the left and you'll see a couple of new things:
  • A reader's block
  • A blog subscription block

The reader's block isn't anything like writer's block. No, instead, this handy tool will allow you to set yourself as a "reader" and then see who else also reads the blog! Nice stuff. It'll also help me fine tune this web-based machine to my reader's interests since I won't be running blind anymore.

The subscription block is just that: Want to be updated when the new stuff appears, just subscribe. Really easy!

All Hallows Even!!

It's Halloween once again, and for once, it's not raining!! It was so nice this morning that I was outside grilling breakfast in just a t-shirt and socks! Superb!

Get out there and enjoy the roads today, but remember to ride safe. If you want a little inspiration to safe riding, check out Brittany Morrow's latest effort: . If you're not familiar with with Ms. Morrow, she survived a 522 foot slide across the asphalt in nothing more than a t-shirt, capri pants, and sneakers. She did have a helmet thankfully, but her body was scarred forever! If you want a halloween fright, look up her pics, they're vivid! Her newest initiative is based apon ATGATT or All The Gear, All The Time. The Rockthegear web site offers lots of information and testimonials for those looking for a reason to wear protective clothing when they ride.

It's a great site and it has a small but active forum too! It's not bike-specific, so don't feel intimidated to go ahead and check it out!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Winter Service!

Hey folks, this year we're offering a winter service program for scooter folks, just like you and regardless if you bought from us or not or the make and model of your scoot*. Those who participated last year will remember the free pickup and delivery options and we're continuing that on to this year as well!

For those who have no idea what you're reading about, the Vespa of Kansas City Winter Service + Preventative Maintenance Program is the scooter version of what VanWall (our owners) do for their lawn and green equipment customers. The short explanation is that we get your scooter tuned up and prepared for the winter months. This is especially nice for those who can't ride during the cold season; by the time the warmer temperatures arrive in Spring, you won't have to worry about stale gasoline or a dead battery keeping you from going out and doing what you like to do best: ride your scoot!

Folks on our email list will get a newsletter and those customers who have shopped with us in the past - provided we have a current mailing address - will get a postcard in the mail. If you want to sign up to take advantage of the... Uh, lets call it the VKCWSPMP, just give us a call, ask for Keith or Mike and we'll get you in the books! The deadline for sign up is December 15th! Any questions, call Vespa Kansas City or email me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Leno and Clarkson on scooters!

Tonight Show host Jay Leno was the guest speaker at this year's Piaggio Dealer's Meeting (end of September), so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the Piaggio MP3 showed up on his website. Click here to check it out!

Another famous (or not so much depending on how much of a car nut you are) car enthusiast, Jeremy Clarkson (see above pic) was also talking about scooters recently. I will obviously post the link to his article regarding his being recently sighted on a Vespa GTV Navy (blue version we don't get here in the USA) after saying he hates motorcycles, but be fowarned: If you've never read a Clarkson article or watched him on TopGear... Well, he doesn't mince words. An example:

"I also liked the idea of a Vespa because most bikes are Japanese. This means they are extremely reliable so you cannot avoid a fatal crash by simply breaking down. This is entirely possible on a Vespa because it is made in Italy."

Yeah, it's kinda tongue-in-cheek, so don't take the rest of it too seriously but expect him to bash on scooters and motorcycling in general. Either way, it's a fun little read.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The newness for 2009

Chances are that if you've been on the forums and blogs, you already know of the new new coming out for 2009. If you've been like me, nose to the grind (or however that saying goes), then I'll fill you in!

Last weekend was the Piaggio Dealer's Meeting. This annual get together is how the dealer's find out what's new for the upcoming year. This time around there weren't many additions, but a good number of significant changes:

  • Gallio Lime (Yellow) is out for '09 and Capri Blue (glossy powder blue) is in.

  • Vespa S 150 is being joined by a Vespa S 50 which has a 4-valve engine! Awesome!

  • Grantursimo 200 is gone, replaced by a new GTS machine, the GTS Super. It has new looks and a 300cc fuel-injected engine. Woot!

  • The BV family finally gets what Europe has had for a while, the Touring redesign, making the BV 250 and 500 the BV 250 Tourer and BV 500 Tourer.

  • The Fly series gets color swaps, adding Optic White in for the 150 and 50 instead of the Dragon Red.

  • The MP3 250 and 400 get a facelift and a couple new accessories including a new backrest that doesn't require a topcase! Nifty!

  • Sienna White is the new.. uh. White.

So, that's it for the most part. If you're interested in ordering anything special, right now is the time to let us know as we're setting up our 2009 order as I type this. I'll give you readers a week or so before turning it in, so act fast if you'd like to have your choice of color.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Miracolo Italiano

Berlin-based designer, Damian Ortega is currently displaying a show in Turin named Miracolo Italiano. It's based upon a previous work of art that also involves a deconstructed automotive icon, named Cosmic Thing. That body of work involved a VW Bug whereas Ortega's current piece involves three Vespas.

"This takes his Volkswagen project–called Cosmic Thing–to a new level. Where his Bug was a single installation, the Vespa is seen in three stages of completion, allowing the viewer to walk backwards and forwards, creating and dismantling the icon. Icon-deconstruction is a fun process for Ortega; the Volkswagen was one of Mexico’s “most potent symbols of Westernization and mass production”, and the latter applies, within Italy, to Piaggio’s Vespa as well."

For more pics and info, follow the link.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Apparently, The Gap has something that you never knew you wanted, but as soon as you see it, you will...

Ta Da! Scooter boxers, just in time for fall weather riding! $10 and they're yours!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Photo Op!

This Saturday, yours truly took a couple of scoots out to a photo shoot to be featured in Urban Times magazine. A couple of pouty-faced models in a dark, graffiti-plastered alleyway on a yellow GTS 250ie and a white GTV 250 is pretty much how it went down and after an hour, we were done and all packed up. As soon as the pics come up, I'll let y'all know!

Cannonball 2008

Every once in a while, a bunch of crazies get together to either generate $$$ for charity, prove to themselves that they can do the impossible, or just be crazy. In three days, beginning on September 11th, a number of folks will be doing just that.

The Scooter Cannonball happens once a year (or two) and is a 3000 mile rally testing endurance, will power, and scooter reliability! This year, rally goers will be starting from San Fransisco, CA and ending their journey in Ocean City, MD. Coast-to-Coast, baby!

Pistol Pete, a contestant in this year's rally emailed me to let everyone know that the Cannonball is coming through our area this year with a stop in Fort Scott, KS! He plans on being out there on day six and hopes to run into some local scooterists! Here's the info:

101 State Street
Fort Scott, KS

He also has a blog and Flickr link setup as well.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Portland's Scooter Mecca

Another video today, this time sent to me via Matt V. Enjoy a taste of Portland's two-stroke scooter scene. The video comes from the area NBC affiliate, and although its a "news" video, it's actually a very nicely done piece and very fun!

Check it out by following this link.

Scooter drag racing

I found this on this morning:

1/32 mile scooter drag racing in Taiwan using Tag Heuer timing equipment. It's a nice little video, check it out!!

Click here for the link.

Note that you may have to stop the music player (left side of page) to view movie within the blog.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Some scooter owners find hurdles at the DMV

The Denver Examiner has an interesting post about Denver's recent reactive action against the huge influx of Chinese-built, sub-quality scooters. Apparently, a lot of these new cheapies have fake or non existant emissions documentation and equipment and thus, aren't SAE registered. Some are sold without proper Origin Statement paperwork, which in itself is illegal. Denver is currently rejecting folks' attempt at registering thier bikes if they don't check out, and other states are probably sure to follow.

If you or someone you know is thinking about buying a no-name scoot, check out this link first!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ruh Roh!!

It seems that Denver, which has seen it's popularity in scooters rise perhaps earlier than most of the country, is also starting to see a little bit of the negatives before everyone as well. Ever seen a scooter stolen in 11 seconds before??

Check this out.

This video illustrates why sometimes locking your scooter up isn't enough. It does give some helpful hints to combat this, but it doesn't explore anti-theft options too deeply. I would also suggest, depending on your neighborhood or other enviornmental variables, an electronic alarm, or electronic alarm brake lock.

Or a garage...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Scooter.. moving?!?

As reported here in The Seattle site, some folks in Seattle are suffering from a phenomenon that, if not for this year's boom in scooter sales, probably would never have become a problem. It seems that folks are finding other people moving their parked scooters in order to obtain a better parking space! Check it out here for more!

Updating the blgo

As you can tell, there have been a few tweaks to this cramped site! Now you can see videos on the right at anytime as well as search for scooter-related materials up top. Nothing big, but at least the blog has been updated!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Project: Parts and Accessories
We've been getting a lot of calls lately from customers who have maintenance coming up who tell us that they've ordered this part or that part and would like us to install it. After a few of these phone calls, we began to ask, why and where were the parts ordered from. An astounding number of folks revealed that they were ordering items from and used them because they believed that we wouldn't be able to provide them with the products they were in need of.
Well, contrary to popular belief, we also order from Scooterworks, so if you're in need of parts and/or accessories, feel free to order them through us, especially if you're going to have us install or replace them anyway. Makes sense to go ahead and have the parts sent to where they're going to be installed anyway right?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Super busy: ARRRGH!

It's been almost exactly a month since my last post here, and in that time i've sold what feels like a million scooters to both new and old customers as well as folks that live nowhere close to Kansas City. We're out of Vespa LX 150s, Piaggio Fly 150s, MP3 400s and 500s, BV250s and 500s, Vespa S 150s and we only have 1 Fly 50 left and are sitting on our last two GTS 250s and last two Granturismo 200s. We've been out of GTVs for a while, but we did finally get a portifino green GTV that was on order for a customer in Alexandria, VA. He purchased it back in November of 2007 and we don't plan on seeing him until this October!

It's been busy.

Apparently, I'm not the only one that's been knee deep in scooter customers as, allegedly, our friends at Scooter World are sold out and our (not) friends at Reno's Yamaha/Vespa keep trying to do dealer trades (despite us not having anything they want) and I can only imagine how busy Vespa Lawrence has been this month...
I'm also assuming that you riders have been busy as there has been a complete lack of scheduled rides on the forums. If not for the Sunday rides out of Scooter World by the Mad Toto crowd each week, I'd a figured that everyone was really using their scooters this year for commuting only.

Today, I happened to be off, and after wakeboarding, playing with the dog, I found enough time to post up something.

Yay for you.

I would have quickly posted up the different posts from all over the country regarding scooters but, as you can imagine, they've ALL been about the rise of scooters because of the rise of gas.


Anyway, I'm making a promise to at least make a stronger effort to post more in the coming weeks, so hopefully you all haven't forgot about the blog.

See you later!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Scooter News

We haven't found the time lately to post anything to the blog because... Well, because we've been uber busy selling scooters! Apparently, we're not the only ones shoulder high in customer orders for more scooters as the last few weeks of scooter news has been about nothing else but on how well scooter sales have been thanks to gasoline.

Imagine that.

Here are a few of the MANY stories:

The scooter: Once a toy, now a top seller.
Cycle sales rev up in contest against fuel prices.
Scooter sales are having a great ride.
Top Gear opens Vespa dealership in Athens.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Donald Rumsfeld buys a Vespa??

Tag this post under, AWESOME!

According to AutoBlogGreen.Com, former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently purchased the super fuel-saving LX150 as a vehicle of choice! No word as to whether he bought it for himself or as a gift for someone else. Either way, it's kinda funny. You can check out the original post, here.

Thanks to Matt for the heads-up.

Buddy and Bob?

It seems that Piaggio is sponsoring two 70-somethings on a 3400 mile ride down the Lincoln Highway on MP3s! Leaving San Francisco today, you can tune into the action on the Piaggio USA site, here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Scooter shortages?

According to a recent post on, scooter's are becoming more and more difficult to come by.

A quote from the post for those who are in the market for scooters:
"What does that mean? In short, if you’re looking for a bike for this summer, and you see the bike you want, in the color that you want, buy it now. If you don’t see it, get an order in, with a deposit. Don’t expect discounts. Bigger/more established dealers seem to have prepared and are likely to have a better selection, but even so, bikes are selling fast. Newer/smaller dealers are finding it hard to get any product at all. Sunny spring saturdays are always insane at scooter dealers, and it’s even worse now, if you’re shopping seriously, take a drizzly weekday off work and show up early with cash if you want a salesperson’s undivided attention."

I have to agree with most of that statement, especially about coming in on a Saturday. I apologize to any and all who come to shop and end up leaving frustrated with only a "I'll get to you as soon as I can." Saturdays have been insane. I've had to refuse test rides because they take up so much time that other folks can't get helped and even pencil sales for the weekdays instead of closing them during the weekend because of the shop being so busy. It's a lovely problem to have... Unless you're a customer.

Anyway, for more info on the scoot shortage, Check out the post here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Toys for your toys

Patrick Ma, toy designer, has come out with two toys as a part of the I.W.G. Combat Mod Squad set last year that are, and have been, on my "must have" list. The problem is that they're limited editions, and pretty much sold out now everywhere. That said, I thought I'd share my lust with you and wish you good luck in aquiring these bad boys.

The toys, a part of the Rocketworld line-up, feature Septimus and Takahara, a rhino and bear on vintage scoots, toting.. uh, walking sticks? To learn more and start your addiction on Vinyl toys, check out Vinyl

Scooter Art

While looking for these cool limited edition MOD toys (I should add, expensive cool limited edition), I came across this site that has custom kitsch graphics for your scoot, helmet and other stuff. They have a few designs, but lots of different colorways. You should check it out; you know your scoot has been feeling a tad naked since you got it anyway!

More articles about Vespa - Gas pumps = happy times

More and more posts are showing up on the web about scooters being a great alternative to fuel thirsty trucks. I don't see this trend slowing down before the end of summer, but here are some links for the curious:

"Scooter riders laughing all the way to the pump"
"Scooter sales soar as gas prices rise"

"The scooter solution to high gas prices"

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fuel efficient?

A recent article posted in the Auto section of the Wall Street Journal's web page this weekend, explains the rising popularity of scooters in metro areas.






An educated guess could have told you it was gasoline, but the article is really good. I suggest you take a look and read on how scooters have changed some folks' lives for the better!

Other recent scooter-related posts:

Vespa to be seen in this summer's Get Smart film starring Steve Carell.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vespa Romance? Of course!

I just recieved a really nice link to a video about the new Vespa S touring around the busy streets of Manhattan, via the Wall Street Journal.

Click here for the link!

Thanks goes out to Dick for the link!

Monday, May 12, 2008


The 4th Tornado R'Alley (scooter rally) is this weekend folks!

Experience the mayhem, the challenge, the comraderie and of course, the scooters!
From May 16th to the 17th, you have three days of scooter riding, events, food and beer. It's still not too late to register and recieve a rally kit and raffle tickets. Yours truly has donated a his and hers Corazzo rally jacket, tool kit, t-shirts and stickers. Register and you may just win something!
You can check out more by going to the Mad Toto scooter club website.
Picture via the mad toto website.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Fox Business : Vespas FTW!

A video interview with Vespa/Piaggio North America CEO Paoli Timoni and a New York scooterist, Liza Miller has been posted on Fox's Business site.

You can check it out, here.

WARNING: It is a Fox news website. If I have to explain that, you may be offended by the interviewer.

Vespanomics... For real!

It seems that with the rise of gas prices, more and more folks are looking for viable alternatives to using their fossil-fuel hungry vehicles for commuting to and fro. has started a two month test to see how much saving there actually is in using a scooter and the pros and cons that come with it. It's an ongoing test, but you can stay glued to it by checking the site or our blog (I'll be keeping tabs as well.) To see the first entry, check it out here.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Vespa News from .. EVERYWHERE!

It's been a busy week here at Vespa KC and I've found little time to update thee blog, however, there has been plenty of news.

Lots and lots and lots and lots.

And of course, there was Sunday's scooter breakfast which was super-amazing, but I'll post about that later. For now, check these links to catch up on what is happening in the world of Vespatisi. Piaggio first quarter sales sink due to dollar falling and varying exchange rates...
Worcester Telegram: Scooter gains fans... $4 gas is scooter buying time...
Chronicle Herald Metro: New options in transportation...
Scoot Lancaster: Gas makes folks look at at changing habits...
My Moto Motorcycle Blog: Scooter buyer's guide from a non-scoot rider's perpsective...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Reminder: Scooter Breakfast TEAM-UP!!

Just a reminder folks: The scooter breakfast is live in tasty! Oh yes, in less than a week, you too dear reader can enjoy a variety of homestyle breakfast entrees and then scoot amongst friends old and new on a relaxing ride through town.

Are you up to the challenge?

Are you prepared for the feast?

Are you tired of the questions and ready for the link to the wheres and whens of the meet-up?!

Follow the link for the details, and we'll see you on Sunday (provided it's dry!). If you have any questions, email me and let me know!


Monday, April 21, 2008

More Scooters for Everyone

The title-link is to an recent post on about rising scooter sales in Raliegh, North Carolina, but I, just getting back from vacation, have something similar to post.

While out in Colorado last week, we spent the weekend in Denver, and man, oh man, did we see a lot of scooters.

As anyone whose had the (mis)fortune of driving in Denver will tell you, the traffic there is definitely worse than what we have out here. People drive harder, faster and with more determination, making KC drivers seem lazy and slow as a result. That said, there were scooters everywhere! And the surprising part to me, most of them were 50 cc bikes! It was awesome. Everywhere we went we saw a lot (and I'm not talking about just a handful) of scoots. It was simply uncanny! Kansas city, we need to catch up! Here, it may not be rare to see a motorcycle or two at any given time, but out there, I saw way more scoots than I saw motorcycles.

We paid a visit to Denver's Vespa store, Erico Motorsports and was blown away by their showroom. Friendly staff, a great selection, and innovative ideas (they rent Vespas!) have made a big impact in helping Denver do what they seem to be doing a pretty good job of: finding cheaper and more enviornmentally friendly ways to live life, day to day. They already have a light-rail system (that works amazingly well, by the way; way cheaper than a cab), Toyota Prius hybrid-fuel taxi cabs, metro busses that run off of soy-oils, and an obvious love of scooters.

If you can't tell, I'm a little jealous of Denver's attitude. :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Singapore bike expo report

I may be in Colorado doing my snow thing for the week, but that doesn't mean I'm not at work :) The above image is via

The blog, Marina's Bloggarific has an excellent report on the Singapore bike show, "Bike Asia." The show features plenty of scooters (including your favorites) and is worth checking out!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Vespa's keep up with traffic... ORLY?

Posted this morning on Vancouver's an article titled, "Vespa's punchy new scooter keeps up with traffic" caught my attention and then immediately left me feeling slightly offended.

As of late, I've been getting sent a lot of articles and posts about publications just now, almost eight years after the re-debut, discovering the Vespas, Piaggios and scooters in general. In the defense of these recent articles, I'd say that it's arguable that media folks are extremely busy-types. They have deadlines to meet, writing about things they don't know anything, nor care about. Eventually, one of these folks will write a story that we're familiar with, and we're either left applauding the facts or, more likely than not, left feeling empty. The post on was, presumably, destined to fit in the latter catagory.

Assuming soley from the title that the author would simply not do enough research to sound educated on the subject generally, I read the post and for whatever reason, found it humourous that:

  1. I was right and...

  2. The post was obviously written as filler: no real substance

That said, I'm still found myself feeling a bit offended after reading statements such as, "...Vespas are kind of like Harley-Davidsons..." and, "Instrumentation is virtually nonexistent—a speedometer and fuel gauge with some idiot lights, and that’s about it. But for the majority of those interested in this kind of ride, that’s more than enough."

That last quote really did me in; not only did it prove that the author doesn't care about the subject matter of which he/she wrote about, it also highlights the fact that he or she doesn't care about the audience who is interested in said subject matter. In my humble opinion, if you can't write for your audience, why are you even writing? If you're not sure as to why I'm worked up over such a mundance peice of writing, I'd explain it as asking you to think about how this small and unremarkably written post may not change minds one way or another for folks who own and ride a scoot, but for those who may still be considering adding a scooter into their stable of vehicles, the tone alone could deter them from finding out for themselves how wonderful the world of small motorcycling can be.

That's why I'm ragging on this post so much.

As partially mentioned before, I would normally just skip over something like this as I don't neccessarily consider it worth a read (I am biased afterall!) but I'd like to know what you think of the post. You can check it out here.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Scooter Breakfast is GO!!!

Okay Ladies and Gents! The Scooter Breakfast is on!

Mark your calenders:

Sunday, May 4th
Lucky Brewgrille -Vespa KC
10:00 AM till stomachs are full!
Lucky Brewgrille,
5401 Johnson DR
Mission, KS 66205
Come early and meet local riders!
Stay after the eats and ride with them too!
For those not in the know, Lucky Brewgrille in Mission is giving us their entire downstairs portion of their resturaunt to do whatever we want! So, I'm inviting you (and please invite whomever!) to a Meet n' Greet n' Eat breakfast. There will be scooter parking, so leave the car at home, and if you're a little road shy, this is a perfect opportunity to work out the kinks and get the confidence levels a boost!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Awareness Test

Found this neat awareness test. Take a look and see if you fail (most likely you will). Then, pass it along to friends and family, regardless if they ride or not.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gas... It's no gas!

A more frank version of the title could be: "Gas: it sucks!" or "Gas: Boooo!" Regardless of which you prefer, you get my drift. The stuff is expensive and as we get closer and closer to summer, it's going to be even more costly. put out an article about how much gas costs in certain cities, back in December of '07. Back then, they were making a point to mention how expensive gas was at an average of $2.90 a gallon. How funny is that? Gas now is about $0.50 more in KC, I can't imagine what it is on the East coast.

An interesting thing is that as expensive as gasoline is these days, it still hasn't eclipsed it's former peak of 1981-1982. Back then, during the energy crisis, gasoline was averaged out at $3.405 a gallon (national average). So, we're currently sittting at 18 cents below that, yet rapidly approaching the 1982 mark. (According to Yahoo.Biz)

Yet, according to some, the rising costs of fuel aren't all that bad thanks to newer technologies and effiiciencies.
Some interesting quotes from today's Yahoo.Biz post:

"In 1980, the average American had to work 105 minutes to buy enough gas to drive the average car 100 miles, according to Beth Ann Bovino, a senior economist at Standard and Poor's. Now, the average American needs to work only 53 minutes, thanks to better fuel efficiency and higher wages."

"For each penny increase in the cost of gas, U.S. consumers pay an extra billion dollars a year, said Dean Baker, assistant director at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. So to go to $3.22 a gallon from $1.74 a gallon in March 2004 is costing an extra $148 billion dollars this year alone."

"For those hoping things will get better, there may be a while to wait. EIA predicts gas prices will remain above $2.70 a gallon until at least 2010."

More reasons to ride your scooter more, eh? For more on this, check out the Yahoo.Biz post.

Piaggio MP3 had a blog post yesterday about the Piaggio MP3 titled, "... Not your father's Vespa." There's not much to read, but it's nice to read about the bikes on other blogs sometimes.
Check it out here.

Vespa S press release, legendary scooters.

Found this in my inbox this morning from Piaggio. For those in the know, it's old hat, but for the rest, it's a history lesson as well as a learner for the present. Enjoy!

"Piaggio Group USA Announces the New 2008 Vespa S
Classic or customized, this Vespa celebrates the rebel in you

NEW YORK, March 10, 2008 – Italian manufacturer Piaggio, renowned for revolutionary ideas in personal transportation, announces the debut of the2008 Vespa S, a retro-forward 150cc interpretation of the iconic “Vespino”scooters that dominated the European street scene in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Combining advanced technology and iconic styling, the new Vespa S embraces the rebellious spirit that inspired an entire generation to change the world. With its pure, minimalist lines, sporty performance, inconspicuous carbon footprint and creative customization options, the Vespa S is now ready to empower a whole new generation of riders to challenge the conventions of our time.

Vespa Heritage: Designed to Change the World
When Italian manufacturer Piaggio introduced its first Vespa scooters in the post-war 1940’s, they were born of functional necessity: personal mobility for the masses in a changing era. Though designed to be simple, sturdy and economical, the sense of Italian style was never an afterthought. The Vespa’s aircraft-inspired unibody frame, with its clean, efficient lines, stylish contours and revolutionary features set a design benchmark that introduced comfort and elegance to the sensibility of personal transport.
Prominently featured in the 1952 film Roman Holiday, the Vespa began to play a role in popular culture and became an international phenomenon. Beloved by bohemians, artists and actors, Vespa also remained a populist icon, a testament to its charm. In the 50’s, European Vespa clubs numbered in the tens of thousands, while American screen icons John Wayne and Marlon Brando took to the streets on Vespas between takes. British mods, celebrated in such films as Alfie and Quadrophenia, rallied around Vespa a decade later.
During the 60’s and 70’s, the Vespa Special and Primavera models became symbols for the revolutionary ideas of the time. As the protest movement raged, Hollywood stars such as Steve McQueen and Dennis Hopper chose Vespas for their personal style statements and Innovative advertisements and style refinements kept the Vespa ahead of the cultural curve during the 70’s. Today, the Vespa S continues the company’s unique ability to capture its rebellious spirit in one technically advanced package.
Trademark Styling, Advanced Engineering
The spirit and soul of the 2008 Vespa S is in the authentic details.C lassic Vespa trademarks such as chrome trim, the minimalist front shield, the unique rectangular headlight first seen in the 50 Special, the rounded rear light and a 70s-inspired single-seat saddle with contrasting piping all pay homage to the Vespa S’ legendary predecessors.
The Vespa’s structural integrity is just as innovative as its design. The Vespa’s high-strength steel body acts as the scooter’s structural frame, a design solution unique in the world of scooter production. In addition to superior strength, the frame is exceptionally rigid, resulting in excellent road holding and precision control. The scooter’s low center of gravity also makes riding it supremely simple.
Equipped with an advanced front disc/rear drum brake system, the Vespa S offers confident stopping power. The 11” front and 10” rear wheels with light alloy rims add to the Vespa S’ excellent stability, and a 150cc single-cylinder, four-stroke engine delivers sporty acceleration. Located inside the body, the 2.3 gallon fuel tank allows easy access to the engine and maximizes the size of the under-seat storage compartment.
Sporty and agile performance combined with low emissions and high fuel economy reflect Vespa’s commitment to safety, reliability and environmental respect. Like all Vespa scooters, the clean-running Vespa S sips fuel while delivering miles of riding thrills – over 90 miles for every gallon of gas. And, with a top speed of 59 miles per hour, the four-stroke Vespa S is ready to get you to your next protest march, reunion tour – or the office - in record time. Make Your Vespa Your Canvas
Vespa has always been synonymous with freedom of expression, and the Vespa S invites buyers to show their creative side with six new optional graphic kits. Easily applied at the dealership, each decal collection celebrates an element of Vespa’s heritage and personality. For example, buyers can show their passion for la dolce vitae with stylized Italian flag decals or rock on with a very “Mod” United Kingdom flag theme. A Sixties-style flower motif and a retro rally theme complete the collection.
Additional accessories for the Vespa S include a matching body-color 8 ½ gallon top box, a chrome-plated tilting rear luggage rack and a European-style half-helmet. The 2008 Vespa S has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $4099. Available colors include Dragon Red, Shiny Black and Optic White. For more information on the Vespa S visit

About The Piaggio Group:With over 6,700 employees, an annual production of more than 680,000 vehicles in 2006, 5 R&D centers, 7 production facilities in Europe and Asia, and operations in over 50 countries, the Piaggio Group has a consolidated leadership in the European 2 wheeler market. Its production includes scooters, motorcycles and mopeds in the 50cc to 1,200 cc displacement range, marketed under the Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Derbi, Aprilia, Scarabeo and Moto Guzzi brands."

A couple interesting things to note from the press release. If the MPG estimates are correct, then the current L.E.A.DE.R engine is getting slower but increasing it's fuel effiency with each new model. First the ET4 with 60 MPG and 65 MPH, then the LX150 with 70 MPG and 60 MPH, now the Vespa S with 59 MPH and 90 MPG! Nice!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Opinion: Piaggio Posting Profits or Numbers Dont' Tell the Whole Story

Just posted on, Piaggio has posted 2007 year profits of 10.8 percent in comparision to the 2006 year. The numbers were based on Core Profit, which apparently, is earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation. That number totalled an upward rise of 226.1 million euros or $384.4 million dollars. Net sales rose 5.3%. Sounds like nice work, but is it honest?

Now while any profit looks promising, I think it's important to note that this rise in "profits" is probably directly related to Piaggio's method of opening dealerships and the campaign of which it was based, especially in 2007.

Anyone with a direct history with Vespa KC from a number of years ago will recall that we were one of 15 "boutique" locations in the U.S. We were special in the fact that we were standalone locations that specialized in and only in Vespa and Piaggio products. Kind of like walking into a Ferarri dealership of yesteryear; you'd only see Prancing Horse Ferarri cars, not Lambos and Aston Martins together in the same dealerhship.

Piaggio's stance, at the time, was that there would be no oversaturation of the market, meaning that only a few cities had access to Vespas, and production would be semi-limited. So, if you could find one, a Vespa was a very rare machine to see, was sold at a premium, and held it's resale value for a very long time. In KC, when we first started reintroducing Vespas, the scoots became instantly collectible.

Times change and during the end of 2006, Piaggio decided that the path to selling more scooters was making them available to a larger audience. Now, personally, I totally agree with that statement; how can you sell more machines if folks have no access to them? The problem with the execution on the idea was that Piaggio opened up dealerships to ANYONE who wanted them. Sure, there were qualifications that had to be met, but that didn't stop the influx of new dealers popping up all over the country. By summertime of 2007, over 110 new dealers had appeared in the U.S.

More dealers means more scooters right?

Well, maybe not. A lot of these new dealers, out to make a quick buck, weren't and aren't as passionate about the scoots as the original boutiques. So while Piaggio was able to sell the new dealers more of it's scooters and post these high profits, time will tell if these new dealers are actually selling the scooters. I have a feeling that a lot of the new dealerships didn't quite understand what the Piaggio and Vespa scooters were; that is being premium market vehicles. So, while a carwash may have rights to sell scooters, would you go to a carwash to buy a $4300 dollar scooter that goes 65mph? An expensive toy a Vespa may be to the uninitiated, but for a lot of folks finding Vespas and Piaggios at grocery stores, car washes, and car dealerships, they're more like and expensive joke.

Even worse, the sudden competition has proven to be rather cut-throat and has forced a number of the original boutiques to either move (hi!) or even worse, close doors altogether. I have yet to mention the vast wave of cheap new Chinese imports into the market as well...

I think it's unfortunate and it tarnishes the grand history of the machine a little bit, but over time, it might possibly prove to be better for Piaggio and the scooter scene as a whole. Perhaps, more folks will discover Vespa for the first time through the numerous neo-dealerships, do a little research and sell themselves on what will become their new, lifestyle changing form of transport. I think that the next two or three years will tell a lot on which way the situation turns; for good or for bad.

As Kansas City's first and best Modern Vespa dealer, I'm not too worried, but I'm still keeping a keen eye on the event as a whole. You can count on us to do our part in promoting Vespa and help make those "profit" numbers as honest as possible.
If you're in the know, send me a shout and let me know what you think about the situation.

Things to do in your town: West Bottom Urban Bazaar

Somehow, I'm on the KC Home and Gardens Magazine newsletter (which is funny considering how much I think that magazine only appeals to 2% of the folks living in KC; a percentage I'm not apart of) and, as I normally would, clicked it for deletion. For whatever reason, I decided to actually read it this time and I'm kinda glad I did, for there was an advert for the West Bottoms Urban Bazaar.

This is a two-day event thrown on by Foundation which showcases local art, crafts, music and decor. It's another one of those things that fit into the "If I wasn't working, I would TOTALLY go to that!" catagory. So, I won't be going, but I figure if I share the knowledge of the Bazaar, I can live vicariously through one of you! So, if you're pining for something to do next weekend, I say hit the Bazaar!

For more info, follow this link.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

How I ride

On one of the blogs I check on the daily, Motorcycle, there was an article posted, named "How I ride."

Normally, I would just link to the post, but this is interesting enough, to me at least, that I'm going to copy and paste so you can just read it as is. For most folks, I'm pretty sure a lot of what was posted by Mr. Frankling doesn't apply, (note: for intermediate to experienced riders) but the overall gist of it should.

"How I ride
John Frankling
Photo, video and writing tips
22 February 2008 12:40

"I have been riding for about 15 years and have found that the most important thing to learn that will keep you alive is to have a very alert mind combined with constantly observing of the immediate traffic situation around you.

Update your riding style to adjust the risk factor so it is in your favour to make progress safely. Don't keep in one mode of progress, ie: fast!

Adjust your speed, There is really no great rush to constantly get there with the feeling that you have beaten everything along the way. The law of averages will show that you are pushing you luck!
Every road/Situation changes no matter how many times you have ridden on it...Parked cars/Weather/Lighting/Traffic Speed/People pulling out(Everything is different from day to day) As was mentioned by someone else.

Always Check before you carry out a manouvre/lane change and always act as if the car/lorry or even other bikers have not noticed you coming up behind manouvre around or through when filtering.
Anyway i hope this helps...It has kept me safe so far and NO i don't just plod around on a Honda C90 with a flat cap and bicycle clips.

I have had many different bikes ranging from small scooters to race reps to custom bikes and I do ride fast but....hopefully safe and that's what counts, remember that you are NOT the only road user when riding your steed!

Happy biking everyone and hope you all enjoy our coming spring summer. STAY SAFE!"

For a direct link to the original, click here.

New Poll

I just added a new poll to the blog (look to the left). These polls are nice because they're a great way for me to get an idea as to what you lovely readers are thinking and it doens't require any investment of time on your part... Win-win!

This time, the poll is about how much you think you'll use your scooter this year. Check it out and let us know what you're predictions are!

Join in on the fun!

It's getting closer and closer to the riding season. That in itself, is a beautiful thing, but when you realize that with the new season comes a chance to meet new people, pick up new riding skills, and have a lot of fun in an low-cost and enviornmentally friendlier way... Well, that's just perfect!

Since it was first setup on Saturday, March 1rst, the KC scoot group (via Google Groups) has had an influx of new members everyday, all of which are wanting to enjoy some safe and fun-filled comraderie.

How do you get in on it? Easy!
  • Click the link here on the blog and follow the instructions to join
  • As it gets closer to warmer weather, check back for rides that have been set up, or...
  • Setup and host your own ride on the group
  • Go ride, eat, drink, be merry

Easy right?! See you on the group!

Sticker kits.. again

So, now that the Piaggio Inventory of 2008 is finally over, we at the shop have a bunch of new (and completely usable) item numbers of which to order accessories. Those sticker kits I mentioned a ways back? Yeah, they're available too.
Previously, I haven't been able to post much more than a few pics of the kits, but that changed with the inventory flip. So, enjoy!

The kits (in order of appearance) are:
  • White Sport Stripes
  • Silver Flowers
  • Yellow Red Flowers
  • Red Sport Stripes
  • UK flag set
  • Italy mod set

We have two of the white sport stripe kits on order, one of which we plan on putting on a showroom bike to see how they look on non Vespa S models. Personally, I plan on putting a set of stripes on my ET as well in the not too distant futre.

If you have any desire to grab up one of these kits for yourself, let me know!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

St.Pats day ride in Shawnee

On March 16th (Sunday), the Yahoo KC Scooter riders folks are going out and doing a mile long ride in Shawnee. From the page:

"Hey all scooterists, it's time to think about warm weather and the annual Shawnee St. Patrick's Day Parade. It is on March 16th, that's a Sunday. We have had Ken Bridges, Jack Winne, and Earl Baker participate in the past, besides my family. We ride very slowly for less than a mile on Johnson Drive. We decorate our scoots with St. Patrick's motif and you can decorate yourself too. Anyone is welcome to participate if you have a scooter. Let me know for sure if you can participate and I will put your name down and the type of scooter you'll be riding. Put the year and color too for your scooter."

If you're interested, check out the KCscooter page!

New Google Group of KC riders!

Click here for more!

I've created a Google Group of Kansas City area riders named the KC Scoot Riders. It's just a place for local cats to meet online when they're looking for rides or more information about events. Very informal, extremely casual and very, very free. Ive even included a box for visitors on the top left portion of this blog.

Find it?


Now click on it and join up and let's make this year the best year yet for riding and having fun!

Scooter Breakfast

During the month of May, There will be a Scooter Breakfast! It's a chance for you to meet other local scooterists and have a good time while enjoying some good food! More details will be released as I get more details locked down, but for now, Lucky Brewgrille in Mission, KS will be supplying us with the tasties, the parking spaces, and the place to rest our buns.

If you're interested and want more info now versus later, let me know.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Vids to enjoy

Scooter Club Golden Triangle's blog had a number of scoot related videos posted up on Oscar night. One of which, was a pretty nice montage of scoots and folks doing what folks with scoots do.

The clip is titled "Vespa Forever" and is in Italian (go figure), but is still a fun watch, regardless of the language barrier.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Going once.. Going twice..

Winding, a vehicular blog (mostly about the newest cars, trucks and concepts), is showcasing their "ebay auction of the day."

You have to check this one out. Beauuuuutiful!

A 1966 Vespa with sidecar! While not the most original thing (faux military setup) and missing a few peices (where's the front wheel fender?), it's still a nice looker. [Insert wolf whistle here]

Check out more about the auction.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Protect Ya Head!

Lately, we at the shop have been getting a fair number of walk-ins and calls about helmets. Not just about if we carry them, but what types, what brands, what models, what sizes, etc. So, I thought I'd share with all of you, here on the blog (and save us both time later down the road). So, here is the Vespa KC helmet faq.

Q. What helmet brands do you carry?

A. Everything! No seriously:

  • AFX
  • AGV
  • Icon
  • Moose Racing
  • Nolan
  • Suomy
  • Thor
  • ZR1
  • Bell

The AGV, Icon, Nolan and Suomy (especially Suomy) are premium brands. They fit better, wear better (durability), are quieter, and usually come in brighter, bolder designs than the cheapy lids you'll find everywhere else.

Q. What types of helmets do you carry?

A. Because Vespa KC is part of a bigger group, we actually carry off-road and street helmets. Choosing the right type is very important. Within the street catagory we have plenty of choices to choose from:

  • Full-Face
  • Modular Full-face
  • Open Face
  • Three quarter open-face
  • Jet style open-face
  • Skid lids (boo, hiss!)
  • Half-helmets

Choosing between the different types of street helmets can be daunting, but as long as you have an idea as to what type of riding you plan on pursuing, we can help you choose the one that will work the best for you. Note: Bicycle, hockey, and skateboarding helmets are NOT on the above list. Why? They're not DOT, SNELL, BSE, etc. approved meaning they will not protect you in the event of a crash at speeds faster than walking-speed! Don't fool yourself!

Q. How do I figure out what's going to fit my melon?

A. Get fitted! And by that I mean, if you can't come to us, go someplace that can properly fit you and your family's heads for a street or off-road helmet. Note: Getting your head fitted for a scooter or motorcycle helmet is NOT like getting fitted for a bicycle helmet. Not one bit.

If you're lucky enough to find a shop that knows what they're doing, you'll probably find a helmet that is not only comfortable when trying it on, but comfortable when you take it home too! All too often a person walks into a shop full of gear after trying on size after size, can't figure out what works and just goes with isn't too small. Bad idea. The chances of you getting a helmet that is too big and slides around while riding are pretty high when you do that. Another problem is that different brands fit differently. Just like shoes. Sometimes, different styles within the same brand fit differently too! It can be confusing. And then there's the whole ordering a helmet without trying it on first game...

Q. What goes into a fitting?

A. Your head! Ha ha ha! Actually, a fitting consists of a fabric tape measure to take a head measurement, reference of a given make's sizing chart, and a little bit of experience. At our shop, we'll take a head measurement, sometimes even if we have the helmet you think fits you in stock. If we have the helmet, or if it comes in after ordering one, we'll have you try it on and test for movement, fit, comfort and if there are any gaps between the padding and your noggin'.

Q. What's the big deal about getting a helmet that's too big? I mean, it fits right?

A. No, it doesn't fit. The problem is that.. well, imagine this. Say you just got a shiny new motorbike and you're itchin' to take it out on the road and hit the library, maybe the market, maybe show off to a few friends while they're at work, etc. It's a beautiful day and you can't wait to experience the freedom that a scoot brings a rider. You head out on the road and you're enjoying the sun on your face, the cool breeze against your chest, but... 5 minutes in, you realize your helmet keeps sliding toward the back of your head. At the next stop, you reposition the helmet and cinch it down tight, but after you get going again, it starts sliding... Again. You play that game for a while and then realize that you've only been on the scoot for 10 minutes and your neck is sore and you and your shoulders are aching?

"Man, this seat must be harder than I thought," you think. But it's not the seat. It's not the position of the handlebars, and it's not (entirely) that big suitcase you call a purse you have slung over your shoulders. It's fatigue from your ill fitting helmet.

Another scenario? You have a full-face helmet that keeps moving around on you and you fail to see the traffic light ahead of you turn red and you run the light and get hit by some lady in a miata full of groceries.. Why? Because you couldn't see!

Worst case scenario? You have a helmet that's a bit loose, but it slides on and off easy when you want it to, you can chew gum and sip soda through a straw while on the move, and the lid still doesn't move around on you while you're out and about. One day, you're oogling some girl in a mini-skirt and you hit the curb, fall off the side of the scoot, and because your helmet is too big, it slides off your head when you need it, despite being cinched to your chin. The next few days, the mini-skirt is bringing you flowers in the hospital, smiling dryly at you and your bandaged head.


Q. Can I bling my helmet?

A. There are many different helmet accessories available for the many different helmets. Some protect the eyes, some the ears. Some accessories are just for looks, some are for safety and visibility. Check with us or whoever your buying your helmets from for more info.

Q. Why the big difference in price between helmets?

A. Some helmets are made with better materials and finishes. A lower priced helmet may help you meet your state safety requirements, but a more appropriately priced lid will be lighter and quieter (less fatique on the body = comfort!), have a nicer paint finish (so you don't look like that dork you're afraid of looking like on the road), loads more ventilation and probably a removable liner (so you don't have to throw your helmet away after every summer because the liner smells like sweat and wet dog), and overall hold up to abuse a LOT better. To sum up, a more expensive helmet now will last you longer than the two or three you'll end up buying at a cheaper price because, at the time, "spending that much on a helmet didn't make sense."

Well, that's it for the Faq, for now. Feel free to call us if you have any questions or comments, or send me a tell.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Vintage Coolness

Sorry about the lack of posting last week. My excuse is that we've been pretty busy: Sold some stuff (Congrats John on your new LX 50!); I've been talking to some folks about doing a breast-cancer awareness ride; I've been approached about being a sponsor for the Bikers Against Diabetes ride for 2008; lots of phone calls have been made about First Fridays and setting up rides for and through the new KCPL district downtown! Busy for me now hopefully means REALLY busy for you all later this spring and summer with new rides, new friends and good times throughout.

Anyway, on to the new.

Raison D'etre, a blog about things hip and fresh, posted a nice find on some extreeeeeemly classic style helmets.

I'd write more about it, but without pictures.. this post is worthless. Click here to check it out!

Monday, February 11, 2008

New scoots arrived today

Five new scoots were just unloaded off the freight truck today, including the new Yellow GTS and Yellow LX 150. Both scoots have a list of names attached to them; everyone wants the new color, and who can blame em?

If you're interested in either of these scoots, let us know. Chances are, someone on the list is going to buy, but if you contact us anyway, we'll know how far in advance we should reorder these in the new color.

The other scoots avaialble as of today are a Portofino Green LX 150, a Portofino Green LXV and a Sky Blue MP3 250!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Help your scoot friends help themselves

Every once in a while, we get this publication at the shop -DealerNews- which highlights the powersports industry and has interesting articles about numbers and trends and blah blah blah. Well, this month's issue was more of the same, but what did stand out amongst all the blahs was the sheer number of ads for new scooter brands looking for dealers to sell them!

I'm not talking about Piaggio or Kymco (although there was a Kymco ATV ad in there) or some other well known OEM, but a large number of Chinese manufactured models with no home or distributor. There was over 20 in total and many of them looked to be the exact same types of scoots, just with different colors or stickers applied to them. Naturally, I began to wonder if all of these different "brands" were actually the same brand with different logos and badges glued to them.

So I did a little research.

It seems that, for the most part, while a lot of the scooters are built in the same type of manufacturing plants and centers, they are actually produced by different companies. While I have no opinion if that's a good thing or a bad thing (I do think that the pollution coming out of Shanghai must be attrocious), I guess I am a bit surprised. I really expected all of these scoots to be coming from the same company.

Here's the list I compiled before I realized that it would take all day to do this and got lazy:
  • Znen Motor - Zhejiang Zhongneng Industry Group Co Ltd
  • Peace Sports -Zhejiang Peace Industry and Trade Co Ltd
  • XRT - Obviously Chinese, but they've masked the manufacturing info. Site only lists the U.S. distribution address.
  • SYM - Xiashing Motorcycles Co Ltd
  • Adly Moto - Her Chee Industrial Co Ltd. Full page ad noting how quality is more important than price but still had some extremely cheap wares to sell.
  • Qlink - Not the first ad I've seen for this Chinese firm of clone-cycles, but they've hidden their manufacturing information.
  • Bam X - uh..
  • Jonway Motorcycles - Shanghai JmStar Motorcycle Co LTD & Shanghai Shenke Motorcycle Co LTD. The only one I could find being produced by two susbidairies of one conglomo company. Scary. Site is poorly translated and produced by a company in China for the U.S. market. Bad move.
  • Crossrunner - Says produced by "North American," some U.S. company but a deeper look reveals that the actual name is "North American Imports."
  • Veken - This one is funny. The site is crap, totes that they're the "leader of Power Sports technology," but has a picture of an MV Agusta f-1000s sportbike and a BMW Boxer Cup replica racer. Obviously not Veken vehicles. Who does that? They do showcase a "hybrid" scooter that gets a supposed 200 mpg, but after looking at it and the specs, I'm assuming that it would only get 200 mpg once and then fall apart. The Veken China site by comparision, is amazing. No info on products though (my Kanji comprehension isn't that great...)
  • Keeway - Qianjiang Group of China
  • Meitan - Shanghai Meitan Motorcycle Co Ltd.
  • SunL - Says they're homegrown in Texas but there is NO manufacturing information avaialble. A hard look at their product shows that the bikes are obviously Chinese

MANY of the companies listed above flaunt not only scooters, but streetbikes, dirtbikes, golf carts, ATVs and sometimes dune buggies. My problem with that fact is that even big OEMs like Honda and Suzuki aren't equally strong in everything they build, so why would I think that these Chinese firms with little history of quality and reliability would be any better if not just outright horrible? It would be one thing if these companies advertised that they were building bikes as "weekend toys" or cheap gifts that are for immediate entertainment only... But they don't. They advertise to prospective dealers and customers as if the products can compete with existing, proven marques such as Vespa and Kymco.

Anyhow, thought I'd share share that fun stuff with you guys and gals. I say, if you have any friends looking to buy a scoot sometime soon and they mention some brand you never heard of, show them this list and beg them to do some research.

I hope this post doesn't come off as I'm bashing Chinese products; it's just that most of the new "hot and cheap" is coming from the country and not a lot is being said about what these products really are nor who the companies are the are producing them. With the recent scare with pet foods and children's toys, I think it's only fair that folks take a little bit of caution when spending their hard earned money on a new ride as well. After all, isn't buying a scoot is about flexibility and having fun? Nothing fun in buying something only to have it not work the way it was intended.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Vespa News from Around the World

It's a bitterly cold Wednesday and I already have a bunch of Vespa-related news for you!

If you're familar with the world economy, the country of Qatar should be familiar to you; home of one of the richest Princes on the planet, host to the exciting night-race stage of the MotoGP season, and play land for the world's wealthiest, Quatar is truly a place where dreams come true... For those with very deep pockets.

Apparently, someone in Qatar figured out that Vespas are fun. The Alfardan Motorcycle Center got the lucky title of exclusive importer of Piaggio vehicles for the region, including Piaggio's sporty Gilera marque (yes please!). The Piaggio sorty will be at home amongst Ducatis, Benellis and other super expensive yet super powerful Italian machines.

Other news out of Qatar comes from the journal, Gulf Times which reports about the actual scooters that Piagggio plans to import. Titled as "Premium" the peice notes the quality and power of the MP3 400 and 250 as well as the Gilera Fuoco (the MP3 500 here in the states). It also mentions the Gilera GP800, which is currently the fastest scooter ever made with a top speed of
125 miles per hour!! (For more info on the 800cc, v-twin, electric-shifting, GP800, check here. The article, posted on also goes over a brief history of the Piaggio machine and is it a pretty interesting read besides. Check it out here.

Other news comes in this week as repeats from Mumbai, India about Piaggio's decision to increase their production in that Asian market. In Newfoundland, The Telegram reports on a new shop carrying but, what else? Vespas!

Well that's all for today kids... Oh wait! Here's a teaser of the VCKC riding group cards I'm in the middle of designing as you read this:
More info on that later!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Vespa News From Around the World

In today's edition of VNFAW, we have stories from India and South Africa.

BizCommunity.Com, a South African media and marketing news outlet has a story about a Vespa Art competition that's been put on by Vespa South Africa and Guerilla Marketing. The contest, invites art directors and designers to create designs that would work on existing Vespa models with the winner taking home their very own Vespa LX.

"The top three designs, judged by international designer Francesco Maffe from Piaggio, Italy, will be on display at the Design Indaba Expo from 23 February 2008. The winner will be announced on the 25th."

Click here for the news article or click here for the direct link to the Vespa South Africa site. A warning about the Vespa SA site: Upon entering the page, you'll be greeted by the craziest jingle ever! Just a warning if you have your speakers turned up an happen to be at work!

Our second set of worldly news comes from India. Apparently, Vespa is making a comeback in the land of Bhangra and Bollywood films, with the expectations to bring Moto Guzzi and Aprillia soon after. ETA is 2010 with 150000 units annually being the projected production number.

Piaggio used to be pretty big in Asia, and now wants to bring back those glory days with an investment of 100 million Euro to get things started. 60 million of that lump is for the India segment of business. "That investment will be to launch its second four wheeler, a sub-2-ton cargo carrier and to start manufacturing engines in partnership with Toyota Group company Daihatsu. Piaggio, which sold close to 155,000 vehicles in India last year is ramping up capacity to reach 200,000 vehicles by 2010, where hybrid vehicles may also be produced. and the Indian subsidiary is also scouting to have an assembly base abroad."

You can check out this story through a number of outlets: (financial times) (Daily News Analysis India)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mad Totos and the St. Patrick's Day Parade

I know Valentine's Day hasn't even occured yet, but it's time to start thinking about St. Patty's!!
The Mad Totos scooter club has a slot reserved for the Brookside ST. Patrick's day parade again. If you're thinking of crashing, I'm giving you plenty of time to get your green gear on your scoot in preparation.

Check this link to the Mad Toto forum for more info!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New 2008 MP3s

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but as I'm typing this, Mike is in the shop, setting up a brand new 2008 Piaggio MP3 400. It's graphite black and for the most part, looks the same as the MP3 250. The noticible changes are the new skid plate and shroud, engine shroud, larger 14" rear wheel, exhaust, and some other tech stuff.

For those of you who weren't in the know, the MP3 family gets two new models for '08: the MP3 400 and 500. The MP3 400 looks identical to the 250, but the 500 is drastically different in its modeling. The new 400 motor has only been used in one vehicle before, the BV400 (Europe only) and puts out almost the same power as the previous 500 cc motors used in the BV and X9 Evo. The new '08 500 motor is still a fuel-injected and watercooled mill, but it's displacement has gone up from 460 cc to 493 cc! That's a bump in the power depot for only 1 hp, but that's measured at the wheel and with the machine governed down to 89 mph, it's not an accurate representation of the engines true power numbers.

Just in case you were wondering, the MP3 400ie is only 1 mph slower than the 500, but is 10% weaker in the torque department so expect the crazy lookin' 500 to out-accelerate it. And pretty much out-accelerate everything else.. Speaking of which, the MP3 400 should smoke the Suzuki Burgman 400, and definitely will handle better. The 500 is in a class all by itself so it's kinda hard to compare sheet numbers. Oh well. Both bikes a tid porky at 538lbs, but anyone who has ridden the 450lb MP3 250 will tell ya that you don't notice it unless you're trying to push it across the garage or something.

As soon as we get the 400 put together I'll get some pics up here and share.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Vespa News From Around the World: Monday Edition

As I said in the previous post, I'm gonna start posting stories that come in if they're somewhat scooter related, regardless of where they're from.

Today in Vespa News From Around the World, we have a story from the web-version of the Courier-Journal out of Louisville, Kentucky. It's a cute story about a bunch of folks, their scoots, and their club, the Vesparados.

I don't personally agree with everything that's said in the post, ie: ""Vespa is the Lexus of scooters; old, classy, cute as can be and easy to handle. You see a Harley -- too much testosterone," she said. "Vespas are nonthreatening."", but it's still an interesting read.
Check it out here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Slow and quiet

Nothin' new to report to you scooter freaks... Unless you've never seen a scooter before. I've been getting a LOT of news in my inbox lately about how "scooters are a wonderfully new way to combat prices at the pump" and "scooters: the new word in fun!"

Yeah. We know.

For a while now, I've been reading through these posts and news articles, but never thinking to share them, but I've been getting so many lately that maybe I will start posting them to the blog, just so you can see what the news hungry media in other places think about scoots, scooter riders, and all that stuff that happens after the two meet.

On an unrelated note, its raining outside.

That was an FYI for those who didn't know. A just in case, if you will.

Scoot related webfinds:

Carson City Daily Record
Media Post Publications - NY motorcycle show
Vespinoy - 4 gear Vespa
Bomp bookshelf -Mod Related