How to build a Lambretta in two minutes.

Well, the video is two minutes… the build took considerably longer!

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Ahh… sweet… The Suzuki Choinori

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I’ll hold my hands up, I’m not a huge fan of modern scooters, I’m much more of a vintage kinda guy. There are, however some exceptions. I really like the Honda Zoomer/Ruckus and also the Yamaha C3, which style aesthetic to the standard, twist and go scoot. I’ll post a bit about each of these when I’ve found out a bit more. Taking a similar approach, and pushing minimalism to the next level, is this cute little scoot from Suzuki. Built from 2003 to 2007, the Choinori was only available in Japan… where they built ten million of the little 49cc scoots. One of the reason they were so popular, was they were extremely inexpensive – something they achieved by innovations like a linerless bore engine, and even the lack of any rear suspension. Although these ‘features’ (or lack of them) are celebrated as a landmark of Japanese automotive history… anyone that knows their Lambretta history will immediately think of the model A – especially the version without the plastic (sorry, resin) legshields (last pic).

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The Choinori (which means “short hop” or “little journey” in Japanese) was discontinued in 2007, when the engine couldn’t meet new emission standards. To me, this looks like an incredible opportunity for Suzuki to steal a march on the rest of the scooter industry, and use the Choinori as a platform for an electric scoot… it’s light weight and simplicity of construction are all plusses here. You wouldn’t want to do too many miles on it anyway… the bum-numbing lack of rear suspension would limit it to the role of a city bike/micro commuter, for all except the most committed enthusiasts/mascochists.

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Scooter attire – The Barbour

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Ok, so the sun is shining and it’s probably Harrington weather… but who know’s what the rest of the year has in store…
I’m pitching this somewhere between the full mod fishtail, and the biker jacket I posted previously. You really can’t go wrong with a classic Barbour. I’ve got something similar by another brand – Jack Murphy.
If you want to know why I got it wrong, and should have gone for a Barbour there’s a great article here. Although, to be honest, I’m pretty happy with my choice :).

The Lambretta… a work of art

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Got a blank wall, desperate to be filled with a piece of original, Innocenti inspired artwork? Got £500? Then you could get hold of this original oil on canvas, by Darren Roberts. 450mm x 350mm.
Available from here. If that’s not to your taste, there’s a couple of others… he’s obviously a gentleman of some taste.

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Heinkel Tourist

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In case you missed it in the comments, Bob spotted that the scooter in the “Wall of Death” post was a Heinkel Tourist. Good spot Bob… The Germans did love a big from mudguard didn’t they! If you like you’re scooters beefy and Germanic there’s a great Heikel Tourist  website here.

Messham’s Wall of Death

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I was in Hammersmith, with my five year old twins on Saturday. We came across Carter’s Steam Fair in Ravenscourt Park, which, if you haven’t been, is fantastic. My favourite part isn’t the rides, or even the vintage ‘penny arcade’… it’s the vehicles and caravans that transport the show. It’s a fantastic slice of nostagia.

When I clocked that there was a Wall of Death show, I had to see it.  This isn’t any old wall of death show, either… it’s Messham’s Wall of Death… Europe’s oldest motorcycle sports show… performed by the Messham family for over 80 years. And what a show it was. In a surprisingly tiny ‘arena’ the old Indian motorbikes whizzed around performing the most amazing stunts. I came away totally astounded. It’s probably the best value for money I ever spent on any show I’ve ever seen. If you get the chance… GO.

Anyway. Enough set up. The reason for posting this rambling story is, as I was watching, I thought – I bet nobodies ever done that on a Lambretta… (don’t worry, I’m not about to volunteer to be the first to attempt that!). Flicking through the Messham’s website this morning though I came across this fantastic pic of one of the Messham clan on a scooter – I thought it was a Zundapp Bella – but I’m pretty sure it’s not – can anybody ID it?

Fishtail tails

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If you’re a Lambrettista, and something of a traditionalist… the motorcycle jacket I posted about previously won’t cut it for you. For some, the only gear to wear in inclement weather is a Fishtail parka. Well… an original M-51 Parka (The sixties classic, pictured) will set you back a few quid these days. Your looking at an eyewatering £400 or so for a good, used, but restored one. A (slightly) more affordable, and some say better, version is the M-65… warmer, lighter… and still with a vintage feel about it. Expect to pay around the £100 – £150 mark. If you want the look of a ’51 without the price tag, Mod clothing specialists Jump the Gun do a very good repro one for about £100. By the way… if you’re wondering what the codes stand for, it’s quite simple really… it’s the date of original issue by the US Army… M-51 issued in 1951 (so a lot of surplus around by the early 60’s), and the M-65 replaced it in 1965, a bit late for the original mods, but picked up by many revivalists, from ’79 onwards. 

A couple of good sources for Fishtails are fishtailparkas.com and the aforementioned  Jump the Gun.

 

SX Appeal

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A bit of ScootErotica for the gentlemen readers… Sex had been used to sell scooters, and everything else since day one. New York Scooter Club has pulled together a ton of pictures of young (mostly) ladies, draped over various scooters, in various states of dress, and undress. 

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I’ve edited it down… so you don’t have to look at the “less tasteful” ones – the ones featuring Vespa’s 🙂 So we’re 100% Lambretta here.* 

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*Actually, there’s one joker in the pack, that appears twice. Points if you spot it, bonus points if you can name the make and model.

 

The Second Annual MotorScooter Rally at the Isle of Man, 1959

Found this fantastic video on YouTube. Those were the days… Bear in mind, when you see everybody in their jumpers, scarves and macintoshes – this was the height of summer! Halcyon days. (I don’t actually know what halcyon means… but I expect these days were halcyon).

You scooterist? I’m scooterist!

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Found this via the Vespamore blog, and did a bit of digging.

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I’m scooterist is a fresh new clothing brand… aimed at, (you’ve guessed haven’t you!) Scooterists. Oh, hold on, their NOT a brand… they’re a concept. Anyway… they’ve got a nice range of scooter related T-shirts. And you can never have too many T-shirts (or T-Shits as it says on their video page – titter). I wasn’t quite sure where the “A” went… you know… “I’m a scooterist”… but I think it’s more a statement thing… kind of “What religion are you?” “I’m Catholic”… “I’m Protestant”… “I’m Scooterist” kind of thing. Or a “I’m Spartacus” type statement. I like. I wish I’d filled out “Scooterist” on my recent census form now. Bugger. I bet I don’t remember in ten years time. Nice typography too. I like a bit of nice typography. 
Browse and buy here.

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