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New Lambretta
The new Lambretta by CMSI the company that sells T'NG in the United States released a 250cc automatic version of a series 3 Lambretta. It has a Piaggio engine in it which is kind of funny because the two compaines were the biggest of competitors back in the day. Photos can be seen here. I think it looks pretty good for what it is. The cost will be in line with other 250cc automatic bikes being sold by Honda and Yamaha, around $5500 to $6000. It looks like there are still some items that need to be added like turn signals before it can be road legal. We'll see how long that will take, but they say they will be for sale this year.

International Motorcycle Show Part II
When I heard that Vespa was reintroducing the PX150 to the US I though that it was great and was interested to see it compared to the Stella. I was even more interested when I heard that it was going to be 1500-2000 dollars more than the Stella. I wanted to see what could make it worth spending another two grand. The PX has a halogen headlight and the Stella doesn't. The Stella had reed valve induction, gas shocks and a neutral indicator light. Other than these things there really isn't a difference. The smaller differences are the color and shape of the seat, the look of the speedometer, the taillight lens and the paint job. I know that paint jobs can be very expensive, and the one on the PX is nice. But the PX doesn't even have paint on the inside of the cowls. I like the color, but it doesn't light my world on fire. I love the old Vespas, but I was kind of disappointed.

Another interesting bike at the show was the Diamo Velux roofed scooter for $3999. This is the first roofed scooter being offered in the US, but they have been around in Europe for a while. BMW had the C1 which looked really nice and Benelli also has a roofed scooter. The Velux looks like the Benelli Adiva. It is just looks though because the Velux has a SYM 150cc, 4-stroke, automatic engine. SYM also isn't selling any scooters in the US, but they have a good reputation for quality scooters. SYM introduced a pretty cool looking bike at INTERMOT this past summer, the Babieca. But I digress, the Velux comes with a Stereo/CD player as standard, but I guess you can get a GPS or DVD player installed too. I am interested in trying one of these out, I have ridden scooters with big windscreens and they acted funny when there was any wind. I wonder how these will do. The salesman said that they will have a test ride this spring, so I guess that question will have to wait until then.

International Motorcycle Show Round-Up Part 1

We had the new TN'G Baja on display there. I think it is the Milano 150 with the covers off and a couple of other modifications. The styling is definitely something that either you like or you don't. It is a factory made rat bike that is not as refined as the Honda Ruckus , and I think that that is the point. The Baja also fits pretty well in the market because it is a 150 cc scooter capable of 60-65 mph. The Honda Ruckus is a 50cc four-stroke that has a top speed around 30 mph and a price of $1999 plus the other fees. The Big Ruckus is a 250cc stripped down version of the Reflex. It will probably hit close to 80, but even I know you don't want to be going that fast without a windshield. The $5500 price tag makes me wonder who is this scooter aimed at? The people who like the Baja are most likely the same people who like the two Ruckus and that is male between the ages of 15-25. What person in that age group has $5000 for a car? So I think this makes the Baja that much more appealing a 150 for $2500, which is pretty cheap. One person at the show said, "I couldn't make one of these for less." That is very true. I will never be caught dead on it, but there are people whose dreams are a scooter like this.

Scooterville also had 6 different Kymco Scooters on display from the 50cc Super 9 and People 50 to the new 250 Grand Vista. Dumb scooter trivia: The Grand Vista is known in other parts of the world, as the Grand Dink . I guess there was months of explaining by Kymco USA to the folks in Taiwan that they cannot sell a scooter called the Grand Dink no matter how good it is. Scooterville also had the Kymco Venox 250 motorcycle there too. Yes, it really is a 250.

A white Stella in black accessories and a green Stella with chrome accessories were on the turntable. As usual they drew a lot of looks, but by far the biggest attraction at the booth was the Bajaj Auto rickshaw .It might have been the biggest attraction at the show. As Bob liked to say, “It’s like the elevator at the Sears Tower, three get off and another 3 get on.” This was really true. The 175 cc, street legal, 3-wheeler isn’t like anything that one usually sees in the US. It has handlebars and a front fork like a traditional scooter, but it has a roof and a back seat.

I drove the thing home from the show; it was about 20 degrees but the big windshield kept me fairly warm. Pulling out of the parking lot, my left mirror fell down so I could see even less that usual. Driving through downtown Minneapolis was a riot. I had to keep in mind that I wasn’t driving a car and the steering is very touchy. Taking a turn at 20 feels like 45. You wouldn’t believe the looks you get when driving it. I am used to some driving on a scooter, but that is nothing. It would be possible to use one of these as a form of daily transportation, but you would have to be prepared for people hopping into the back, or stopping you at every corner.

Next time I will talk about the other scooters at the show including the Diamo scooter with a roof.
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