Scooterboys – The Lost Review!

Scooterboys – The Lost Tribe

by Martin ‘Sticky’ Round

Introduction

I’m going to start this review with a recommendation and an apology then get into the meat of the review. But you don’t need to know any more than “Just get your hands on a copy” Jump to the end of the review to find out where to buy – or –just check here.

Secondly, an apology to Sticky of the delay in writing this, and my Lambrettista blog readers for depriving you of this book – if you haven’t had it on your radar already.

A bit about the Author

So who’s Sticky why should you read his book? Well, for most of his life Martin “Sticky” Round has written about scooters. If you own a Lambretta you probably have his ultimate workshop manual – Stickies “Complete Spanner’s Manual: Lambretta Scooters (If you don’t, you should). You may also have read his “Frankensteins Scooters to Dracula’s Castle” – a great read – reviewed here.

As well as that Sticky contributed for many years to Scootering Magazine – pretty much in establishing the writing style and tone of voice. More recently Sticky’s written extensively on ScooterLab. But more importantly Sticky has not only written about the scene is also lived it – and this is why his words truly jumps off of the page of Scooterboys.

Who who are Scooterboys?

Often, when you tell people you ride a classic scooter, they’ll say something like “Oh, you’re a Mod!” or “Where’s your fishtail parka?” and, while the whole Mod thing has greatly influenced my life, it’s not how I describe or defined myself. I’ve never take it as an insult but never felt I quite measured up to the high sartorial standards of the whole Mod thing. I’ve tried, but I’m a naturally scruffy git who occasionally scrubs up well – and, to be honest I was always happier in a flight jacket, a pair of combat trousers over my Levi’s, DM’S or paratrooper boots. A clothing choice that’s much more practical when riding a classic scooter than a tonic suit!

Scooterboys took the snobbery of Mod and inverted it. Sticky takes time to set up the fact that while the great British public could easily identify Mods Punks, Goths and Skinheads (and many others) they are oddly blind when identifying the Scooterboy. As with the rest of this review, I can’t say better than Sticky himself when setting up this book…

“As a truly conscious lifestyle choice existed in small pockets around the country since the 1970s many unaware of each others existence. However the cult only blossomed into a massive national movement in the early ‘80s.

Countless acres of print and endless TV airtime has been givien to documenting all those other tribes yet to the man in the street and the red-top newspapers we were simply Mods.

To this day that ignorance persists. Tens of thousands of people all around the world who identified themselves as Scooterboys, Scootergirls or simply Scooterists have never had much formal recognition. Only cultural mislabelling by Muppets who can’t tell a MA1 flight jacket from a mohair suit

As such, Scooteboys remain the hidden tribe of Britain’s youth culture jungle. We are undiscovered and uncelebrated but pure as a result.

Perhaps it’s better that way.”

Sticky documents the rise of Scooterboy – from it’s root in (amongst other things Mod) and how it grew apart from it’s forebears – something that often happened to individuals over the space of a single Scooter Run. In Britain – for Scooterboys is unashamedly a British based book – most weekends between March and October there’s a Scooter Rally – with the month’s between hosting a bunch of ‘do’s, part pairs and Custom Shows. Being a Scooterboy (or Scootergirl) involved a) having a classic scooter – and b) attending as many of these events as your life / budget allowed.

Why Scooters?

One of the biggest issues are having when writing about this book is writing around Stickies words – I simply can’t put it better than he can – so I won’t i’ll quote him! (as sparingly as possible). Don’t worry there are plenty of other great words in this book! Sicky answers the Why Scooters question with the “Are you far are you fucking blind can’t you see is what so great about scooters?” and follows up with “in truth all appreciation of art is personal if you put someone in front of Michelangelo’s David Ferrari 488 Spider or the Rialto Bridge in Venice and all they do is shrug well there’s no hope – they are Philistine is stoning them to death is just waste of good gear!”

There is a concise history of both the marks that dominated the initial scooter boom and survived until today – the Vespa and Lambretta of course –and is well as the undisputed style of both marques is the fact that ‘back in the day’ you could pick up classic scooters incredibly cheaply – something that sadly isn’t true today.

Scooterboys goes on to document in words and some truly evocative imagery both the scooters, and how they were increasingly personalised and customised with accessories, paint and often hacksaws. To quote Sticky again “customisation wasn’t an option – it was essential if you wanted any sort of credibility. Standard scooters were for commuters”.

Customisation, of course, could run the gamut between the sublime and frankly ridiculous. iI’s all documented here with some wonderful pictures of Lambrettas and Vespas modified with different degrees of success but alter their owner’s requirements – taking inspiration from everywhere from music to culture.

The books also covers the trouble experienced by the lost tribe at the hands of the Old Billl, Non-scooterist and even between clubs or factions within the scene. At the time this was all part of the fun… and resulted in some great “war stories”.

So, sum up…

All this and much more is documented in this fantastic book. If you’re not much of a reader, Sticky’s fantastic turn of phrase may convert you – but if they don’t, it’s worth buying for the pictures alone. The book has been beautifully put together, and the design reflects the subject matter. My crappy pics don’t really do it justice. I also firmly believe it’s a culturally important book – documenting a ‘lost’ British subculture that hasn’t had much mainstream attention. Sociologists take note!

If you haven’t already will copy why not treat yourself – or someone who would appreciate it. There is still just about time to get one delivered before Christmas!

Get it on Amazon Here.

New for 2020 – New Lambretta News…

I’ve had this image leaked to me by a trusted source within Lambretta – apparently, it’s one of the first images of the rumoured new Lambretta – with a ‘ghost light’ feature – when you approach the scooter, it projects a Lambretta logo onto the ground! Pretty cool!

The rumour is of a pretty powerful power unit too – up to 325cc!! Expect a few tweaks to the look of the scooter too – an evolution of the current “V Special” design.

Expect more to be revealed at EICMA in November!

Something for the weekend – April 13th & 14th

Morecambe Pre-Season Scooter Rally

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Facebook Event Page


Encuentro Vespa & Lambretta de Driebes

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Facebook Events Page


BSSO Scooter Racing – Mallory Park
Championship – BHR

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BSSO Site


 

Sammy Davis Junior. On a Lambretta.

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Just Sammy Davis Junior. On a Lambretta. But sometimes that’s all you need. Trying to collect the set. Somewhere in London by the look of it. Nicked from this blog.

Skelly style

A proper “Skelly” out of Thailand, from the YouTube channel of Motosyndrome Area 755. I don’t know much about the shop, but from this video it looks like they know their Lambrettas, and do quality custom work.

While not to everbody’s taste – when a skelly is done properly, they are a thing of rare beauty, and a real head-turner. With the custom headlight an chopper bars, chopped legshields, sidewinder seat to the twin megaphone exhausts, plus lots of other little touches – this one ticks all the boxes for me. Good job.

EV’s in E17

P1210966I got down to the Retrospective Scooters open day at their workshop/showroom in Walthamstow – London E17. The event was well attended with some nice Vespas, Lambrettas and even a Heinkel Trojan in attendance.

P1210955The theme of the day was ‘beating the (forthcoming) Ultra Low Emission Zone’ and there were lots of Electric scooters on display, both from the world leader in electric scooters, NUI, and with a couple of classic demonstrators – a Vespa and a Lambretta, both converted by Retrospective to run clean and green on electricity.

P1210956Both machines look very assured, and ‘sit’ like the classic scooters they are. Retrospective had a range of Royal Alloy scooters in attendance too… a modern auto clearly modelled on the classic GP (by way of the Scomadi of course), but The Electric GP next to them looked just like any other classic Lammy.

 

So what does an electric Lambretta ride like? Full disclosure, I didn’t ride one myself, but I spoke to a couple of people who did. The overall impression of everybody I spoke to was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone that rode one dismounted with a massive smile on their face. I was told that power comes on extremely smoothly, acceleration is fantastic and the whole ride feels very ‘natural’. From a bystanders point of view, it’s bizarre to see a Lambretta startup, move off, and accelerate away all without any noise, smoke or smell. Some might think these are key elements of the whole Lambretta experience – but I’ve seen the future, and it doesn’t smell of 2stroke! There is something really weird about a Lambretta zooming past you in almost complete silence – all you can hear is the noise of the tyres on the road. One issue that as a rider you’ll have to be even more aware than ever of pedestrians stepping out in front of you – as they won’t hear you coming! Retrospective are investigating including a noise generator as part of the conversion.

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There is going to be a huge majority of Lambretta owners who will always prefer the traditional 2-stroke powered internal combustion engine of the classic Lambretta. And while the ‘nostalgic side of me sympathises, and agrees, I can see the way the world is changing. There are more and more places where we won’t be allowed to ride a traditionally powered scooter. Or, if we are, we’re going to have to pay handsomely for the privilege. An electric conversion for your Lambretta (or Vespa) isn’t exactly a cheap option, but I for one have started saving up!

Something for the Weekend, April 6th –7th

So, I’m going to try and keep this running as a regular feature. Here’s a couple of things to keep you occupied this Saturday and Sunday…

Gingers Easter Egg run weekender – 5/6/7 April

22688338_382560102174473_1209654975486460933_nLeigh Miners,  Kirby Road, Leigh WN7 4EF, Ride out to Manchester Children’s Hospital at 13 00 hours, Music and fun Friday night till late, cheap beer, food, Saturday morning from 08 00 stalls refreshments, Saturday night from 19:00 music fun raffle food til very late. Don’t forget your Easter eggs!

Facebook Event Page


Retrospective Scooters Open Day – 6th

I did a big post about this yesterday, so I won’t repeat myself – here’s the link, or just scroll back 🙂


Vintage Motor Scooters Extravaganza – 7th

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Facebook Event Page


Run To The Island 15 – 7th

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Facebook Event Page


If you’re planning further ahead, check out the EVENTS page for a more comprehensive list.

Retrospective Scooters Open Day

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Beat the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) – Go ELECTRIC!

If you’re in London this weekend, get yourself down to our Retrospective Scooters workshop/showroom in Walthamstow for their open day.  The focus of the day is the forthcoming London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and how you can get around paying the £12.50 a day that you’ll get charged for riding your nasty dirty old ‘non-compliant’ scooter. One of the options is to convert your classic Lambretta (or Vespa) to an electric one – I featured the kit in a post, here, a little while ago. They’ll have lots of electric scoots charged up and ready to test ride.

On the day there’s;

  • Test ride one of the many electric Vespa’s and Niu scooters.
  • Get advice from the Retrospective Scooters team of experts – ask how to convert your classic Lambretta with a custom conversion kit
  • Freshly cooked food from local stalls
  • Craft beer from a neighbouring brewery
  • Listen to DJs spinning the decks all afternoon

So get yourself down to Unit 1, Lockwood Way, Walthamstow, London E17 5RB from 1pm this Saturday.

While we’re on the subject of Electric Vehicles, rumours are reaching Lambrettista Towers that the new Electric Lambretta Vendetta, (as well as a very exciting sounding 325cc petrol variant) is due to come to market shortly. Stay tuned. When I hear more, you’ll hear more. That’s a promise.

 

 

Government unveils plans for extra Channel crossings in event of No Deal Brexit

We try and stay away from politics here at the Lambrettista blog. But this is something that affects all Lambrettisti! Rumours have reached Lambrettista Towers that after seeing some archive footage of a Lambretta Amphi-Scooter on this very blog (see original post here), HM Government are buying up vintage Lambrettas at a premium, and converting them to amphibious capabilities.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg testing a modified Lambretta scooter

Although not the obvious choice as a sea-going vessel, a converted Lambretta is seen as being more than capable of the short Dover to Calais route, and is being touted as “Just the sort of forward-facing, out-of-the-box innovative thinking this country needs”.  A breakaway faction of the government is said to be carrying out experiments in converting Triumph Tigress scooters, claiming the British build scooters are better suited to the task than any ‘Italian Rubbish’. Rumours that the mastermind behind this project is the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris “failing” Graying have yet to be substantiated.

Capacity

Although the storage capacity of these machines is somewhat limited, it’s thought that with enough converted Lambrettas, the UK can avoid shortages of Camembert, Brie, and several other European kinds of cheese. With the addition of front and rear racks, baguettes and croissants can also be accommodated.