Pocket Rockets and Motochimps…

pocket_rocket_1I spotted* a couple of cool new electric bikes – and thought they were more than worthy of an airing on the blog. Though each is a quirky, original design in it’s own right, I’m old enough to know the adage “There’s nothing new under the Sun” has an element of truth to it – and both these bikes reminded me of older designs.

Pocket Rocket

The first is the “Pocket Rocket” it’s unusual form earning it a German Design Award. Designed by Manuel Messmer and engineered by SOL Motors, the Pocket Rocket is clean and compact. The thick tubular column on the top becomes a perfect surface to sit on, once you’ve got a saddle in place, and right at both ends, you’ve got the headlight and taillight. The product is currently in its conceptual stages and the specifications haven’t been made public yet. If and when they do, I’ll let you know.

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While a beautifully simple and original concept, it reminded me of a little known Lambretta from years ago – The Rosella, pictured below, and featured on the blog here.

Find out more about it on the SOL Motors website.

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Motochimp

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 17.50.12The second featured bike is equally – if not more so – quirky. It’s called the Motochimp – a cheeky name, for a really cheeky looking bike. This bike has so much personality, it looks like it’s a character from a Pixar film.

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 17.50.01This quote from their website (motochimp.com) gives you an idea of the ethos of Motochimp…

“Motochimp celebrates the indie spirit of spontaneous urban mobility. Freeing urban transport from boredom, replacing it with spontaneity and personality. Join us and we’ll defy boredom and faceless urban transport. Let’s embark on joy rides that catch a twinkle or two… Let’s Ride on the Lighter Side of Life”.

The video on FullyCharged sums up the bike features nicely. Favourite feature? Well, I’m torn between the way the battery just slides out – and those funky, minimalist bar-end indicators.

As Johnny Smith notes in the video, the Motochimp is very reminiscent of Honda’s Motocompo portable minibike from the ’80s – now a very collectable little bike in its own right – and one probably deserving of a Lambrettista blog post.

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Which gives me the excuse to share this Madness Honda City/Motocompo ad…

 

*Well, my mate Luke spotted them to be fair. And sent me the links. Credit where it’s due!

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The Nobe Electric Trike

nobe_100_3I’ve made no secret of the fact that despite my love for the 2stroke engine, I think EV is the way forward. And I like a threewheeler – especially the microcars from the fifties that were basically three wheeled scooters – or “Cabin Scooters” as the Germans put it! The Nobe 100 electric trike has that ’50  retro microcar vibe, but also feels futuristic. With an aesthetic that’s definitely classic and an outlook that’s modern, eco-friendly, and downright clever, the Nobe 100 is made from 100% reusable or recyclable parts, produces no air pollution, houses upgradable technology to enhance vehicle longevity, and accommodates three people while taking up less road space than a regular car.

nobe_100_1The mind behind the Nobe 100 is Roman Muljar. Roman looked toward the talent within his country of Estonia to create a three-wheeled car with all the makings of a classic 4-wheeler, but the visual quirks and benefits of a trike.

nobe_100_2With a top speed of 68 mph and a range of 137 miles on a full charge, the Nobe 100 charges completely within two hours and even comes with an additional battery.

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I find the design of the Nobe remarkably assured and elegant – and kind of Italian looking – it puts me in mind of 1960’s Lancias – or maybe the Volvo P1800 – and love that ‘boat’ tail!

I hope this comes to fruitition – I was disapointed that the Messerchmitt inspired Smite never made it into production. Fingers crossed!

Originally found via Yanko Design. On the Cowdfunding site fundedbyme.

Find out more on the Nobe website; mynobe.com.

Durand Jones & The Indications

IMG_20180518_062449I don’t often post about music on here. But occasionally something or somebody comes along that I have to share… And you need to check out this Band. I was lucky enough to catch Durand Jones & The Indications last night, in a great venue – The Waiting Room – a tiny room beneath a pub in Stoke Newington (can’t remember the last time I paid £6 for a gig either – bargain of the century!).

They blew me away. Durand Jones’s vocal is up there with all the great soul singers I love – on occasions, it was as if he was channelling Donny Hathaway, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding – and these are not names I bandy about lightly. He’s really that good. He’s got a great, authentic delivery, and you really felt he was experiencing the essence of every song.

The band were tight – really tight – working as a unit – the drummer was an absolute machine. The rhythm section reminded me of Muscle Shoals’ finest – and the horns – tenor sax and trumpet – were Stax like in their attack – but mellow and gentle when they needed to be. There were shades of King Curtis as well – really nice stuff. Under it all was some beautiful floaty, hammond style keys.

The Indications have more than one great singer in the band – When the drummer Aaron Frazer guested on the lead vocals (Check out “Is It Any Wonder” below) it was incredible – think Sam Cooke meets Smokey Robinson – and as Durand himself said “The voice of an angel – how do I follow that?” he DID though!

It’s hard to say enough good things about this band… I’ve seen a LOT of bands at a lot of gigs over the years. I’m not into comparisons and superlatives – BUT I reckon this is the BEST band I’ve seen, and the BEST gig I’ve been to.

If you get the chance – do yourself a favour – and go and see these guys. Buy their records. They’re the real deal.

Durand Jones and The Indications Website
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World first – Video evidence of an Electric Lambretta under development!

In another first for the Lambrettista Blog – here’s the first – leaked* videos of the New ELECTRIC Lambretta Vendetta!

It seems that Lambretta have teamed up with electric scooter pioneers (and Red Dot Design Award winners) NIU – There’s not a lot of data to share at the moment – although it’s rumoured that Token Hu – Vice president of NIU (and formerly of Frog Design and Microsoft) is heading up the project personally. I expect that as much as an electric powertrain they will be bringing their innovative Smart technology to the project.

I’ve posted a few times about electric vehicles (EV) on the blog before – and firmly believe they are the future of transportation – on two wheels or more. So, what you see here is truly the next generation of Lambretta – a brand that is going to be as relevant and innovative in the 21st century as the 20th. Exciting times!

This is the next step in  the evolution of the Lambretta. Remember where you saw it first! Stay tuned, and I’ll share more information when I can.

*Feel free to share – but please don’t ask where I got these videos – I have to protect my sources!

Lambretta LN125 Battery Query…

Luke wrote to me with a query about a 2014 LN125.
The battery is disconnected. And the saddle is closed. He needs to open the saddle but can’t without battery power. Catch 22. How can he open my saddle without battery power?

I know less than nothing about these machines… but if you can help, please post your answers in the comments!

Trying to trace Martin Wilkinson…

Peter Hartentt got in touch with the blog, trying to track down a ‘great old mod’ by the name of Martin Wilkinson – last known whereabouts nr. Newport on The Isle of Wight. He’ll be in his 70’s by now, and he used to be ‘mad about scooters’ – he’s also shared an image from this site on Pinterest – so there’s at least a chance he’s reading this. Well, anyway Peter now owns Martin’s old Lotus Elan (jealous!).  If you’re Martin… or you know him, get in touch via the blog and I’ll pass on your contact details.

New site – Diary of a Detour

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 07.00.42Ali, of the Midhurst Detours SC, wrote to me (a while back I must admit) with details of her new website “Diary of a Detour“. She’s been going on the rallies since the early 80s and will be including rally write-ups and other scooter tips and photos – add it to your reading list!

1956 Family Roadtrip from Sydney to Paris… by Lambretta!

1955-bombayPeople have done amazing things on Lambrettas – pushing these machines to their limits across many miles. This family road trip – 12,000 miles from Sydney to Paris – and then on to Margate – has got to be up their with one of the most ambitious and adventurous.

tripThe trip took over two months – starting 3,000 miles across Australia – through Pakistan, Persia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey – then into Greece, and across Europe (Yugoslavia and Italy) to France. An ambitious enough trip for a rider with a support crew – but dad Guy took his wife Beryl (originally from Margate) and his children Charles (4) and Yvonne (2). Wow!

Voyage Sydney

Guy custom built a cabin of marine plywood and canvas that could transport the four of them and their kit – and transform into a sleeping unit. Cosy! The ‘base scooter’ was a Lambretta Lambro 150 FD, with a top speed of just 25mph.

1956bm-0062The trip included heatwaves, floods, frosts, dust-storms, monsoon rain. The scooter suffered punctures, over-heating and wet petrol – but their ‘put-put’ got them there in the end!

1956bm-0009For the full story, I’d highly recommend visiting the website that chronicles the journey – www.montin.fr/lambretta – where there’s a wealth of original newspaper clippings and photos from the trip.

1955bm-0080A big thank you to Charles (the then four year-old boy in the pictures!) for permission to use the imagery featured in this post.

gate_of_indiaI’ve also got another amazing Lambretta adventure story to tell – this time an ‘escape across Africa’ – stay tuned for that one!