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