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 Triumph T10 – The prettiest British Scooter?

s-l1600-1Spotted this pretty little Triumph on eBay. Lovely clean lines for a scooter that doesn’t originate in Italy! Dare I say, it’s prettier than a J? Dare I? Nah, not on here. But’s it’s close. It apparently “drives very nice” and “everything works as it should” (Buyers words, so do your own checks). It’s listed at a pretty reasonable £1,950, but he’s open to offers, as he’s not sure how much it’s worth. I’d say he’s pitched it about right?

It comes with a load of paperwork. Which is always nice! Here’s the eBay link

The Triumph T10 – also known as the Triumph Tina – was the lightweight sister scooter to the better known Triumph Tigress. Made between 1962 and 1970 it was marketed at women, in a campaign fronted by Peter Pan of Pop Cliff Richard (I’d love to see some original publicity material if anybody’s got any – I’ve tried finding some online to no avail!). Technically the Tina was quite advanced – an early ‘auto’ using a continuously variable transmission system with a centrifugal clutch. There were even plans, and actual prototypes for a three-wheeler version – predating Piaggio’s MP3 by decades!

Lots more info about the Tina / T10 and her big sis the Tigress on the TriumphScooters website.

Lambretta’s monkey bike – The Rosella

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Information on this little oddity is scarce, but I’ve pulled together what I can. My main source is the french site moto-collection.org As is usually the case, I’m working from a position of profound ignorance, and you, my readers often know much more than me… so I’m quite happy to be be put right – just leave a comment and I’ll update the post when I can. All pics harvested from an intensive search of the web. If they are yours, and copyright, my apologies. Hopefully it’s ok to collate them all for the sake of posterity!

201112817034_squashedscooterThere seems to be differing accounts of it’s genesis… whether it is an ‘official’ machine out of the Innocenti factory (perhaps a prototype, or side project), OR something ‘knocked up’ by a neighbouring factory in Milan. It appears to have been marketed by a manufacturer of marine equipment, based – like Innocenti – in Milan… Nautica Pennati.  who are still in business. (I’ve contacted them, to ask if they have any information, but it was a while ago, so don’t hold your breath!).This would suggest the Rosella was designed as an accessory for a yacht… as once the handlebars are removed and the front wheel is turned over it is only 90cm long.

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Innovative design – perhaps the cutest Lambretta of them all?

The Rosella is a tidy little design – I love the way it integrates the fuel tank into the frame… and the front and rear lights into the fuel tank. The main frame is very neat, basically two tapering tubes, welded together. To my mind, this supports the theory that it was a factory prototype – this is a sofisticated piece of design work, made by somebody with some knowledge of how to put a two wheeler together neatly. The main, obviously Innocenti element to the design is the J50 engine / crankcase. This helps date the Rosella, as the J range was introduced in 1964. Despite it’s tiny size, the Rosella has a complete suspension system: a short telescopic fork at the front and by a hinged, damped element by the power unit at the rear. I’m not sure how effective this would be, but the Rosella was obviously only designed to cover short distances! Another nod to the Lambretta is the “D” type toolbox in the first pic, though mounted ‘side-ways’ to the frame, rather than under the seat.

Rarity and value

Information is scarce – but rumour has it there are only three (yep, you read that right, three) Rosella’s in existence. One (pictured above) sold on German eBay a few years ago, for around €2.5k – if rarity = value, somebody got a bargain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Second of the three is (or was) in the US, and appeared at the LCUSA Lambretta Jamboree in 2006 – and the pics show it competing in the gymkana. Aparently, at some point there was quiet a nasty accident in which the rider broke his collar bone, but the bike survived.

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As for the third Rosella, I’ve been unable to track it down, so it may, or may not exist! It may be (must be!) the one pictured in the GP turquoise. If you own it, one of the other two, or have another sitting in a shed (or on a yacht) somewhere, I’d love to know more. Send info and pics please! And, if you don’t actually own one, but know more about it than I clearly do, please let me know in the comments below!

 

Iso love this…

luigis_isoLuigi from Italy sent me a picture of his scooter, this beautiful Iso – known officially in it’s native Italy  simply as the “F” – although maybe better known to British readers as the Iso Milano, (it’s South American name) or the Diva, as it was marketed under in Spain. Iso developed the F after an initial collaboration with, of all people Maserati… I wrote about the only known surviving scooter from this collaboration here. The lines of the F are classically italian, the scooter bears more than a passing resemblance to a Lambretta Series 1/2 and the Vespa VNB, depending on which angle you’re looking at it from 🙂im000636

Luigi knows a thing or two about classic scooters, having written the Iso pages on the (excellent) Scooter d’Epoca site.

Puch Cheetah

puchds_60_cheetah_ebayNow for something completely different… a Puch DS 60 Cheetah from, amazingly in my opinion, 1960. Why amazingly? Well, to my untrained eye, it looks so much later, presaging Japanese mopeds like the Honda Cub and monkey bikes from the 70s. There’s also a hint of the Rumi Formicino in the styling. Not as curvy and sinuous as a Lambretta or a Vespa, but a very pleasing design – tidy, solid and compact. It was described, back in the day, as a ‘scooterette’ – or ‘baby scooter’. The 59cc Cheetah was the ‘deluxe’ version, with a more stripped down 50cc bike called the Nomad as it’s entry level stablemate.

The Austrian company Puch are perhaps more remembered these days for their mopeds (such as the Puch Maxi), and small motorcycles, and maybe even push bikes (especially BMX’s), but they made very highly regarded scooters in the 1950’s. The Puch RL from 1953 had more traditional scooter styling, and had a good reputation amongst it’s owners,  the less than sparkling performance being offset by a reputation for exceptional reliability.

The 59cc 4 speed sports engine on this Cheetah produces 4.5 hp. It’s been restored to ‘as new’ condition with a professional respray (love the silver and bright orange combo!), the engine rebuild by leading vintage Puch specialists in Austria. The aluminium casing, brake drums and shock absorbers are polished to mirror finish. It has a refurbed original seat, new brake linings, wiring, exhaust system, rubbers and tyres. Rebuilt by a restorer rather than a rider, the bike has covered only 3 miles since. The V5 is present and it has 12 months MOT.

Electric Swallow, update

Schwalbe_Pose.jpgHere’s the latest on the electric Schwalbe scooter that I posted about a few days ago. This time the information is straight from the horse mouth, so it’ll be a little more accurate!

Schwalbe makes an electrifying return GOVECS presents the classic scooter in a contemporary design and with electric drivetrain

The Munich-based company GOVECS has given the Schwalbe a new lease of life and in doing so is inspiring the entire industry. Together with technology partner Bosch, GOVECS has installed the world’s most advanced drivetrain in the Schwalbe, ensuring streets that are both clean and quiet.

The first version of the Schwalbe will sprint through the streets at up to 45kmh. Fully charged, it provides an impressive range of more than 100 km, and can already be reserved online.

It still has the typical features of a Schwalbe: the large tires, the ribbed tail section, the round headlights and the indicator lights on the handlebars, but has become even more striking. The Schwalbe has just treated itself to a modern outfit. The pioneering electric drivetrain, developed together with technology partner Bosch, is extremely dynamic and convinces with impressive acceleration.

The five-metre-long integrated cable with a plug that packs away neatly under the seat, means it is ready to be charged at any time. It can be charged via any normal household outlet. And you don’t have to wait long before you can whizz off again: after just one to two hours the battery is 80% charged again, and after four to five hours it’s fully charged.

Riders can also look forward to the accompanying service, because it promises to be as modern and innovative as the product itself. There will be a comprehensive on-site service. This means the service comes to the customer and not vice versa. Initially, the Schwalbe can be bought through the official online store. Reservations for the first deliveries in summer 2017 can now be made online at www.myschwalbe.com. In early 2017 the first Schwalbe Store in Berlin will open, followed by others in various European cities.

There’s colour reminds me of something… oh yeah, here we go 🙂minion_guitar

For those eagerly waiting for news of the forthcoming New Lambretta, the Lambretta Vendetta, word reaches me that it will NOT be launched at EICMA in November, but prepare for something pretty special at next years Lambretta 70th Anniversary Celebrations / Lambretta Jamboree in Italy.

Ultra rare Italian / Californian Scooter – The Rex Monaco

rexmonacoheroCame across this on Craigslist, a scooter I’d never heard of before… the Rex Monaco.

Aficionados of Italian scooters might spot that this is a Garelli Capri lookalike… in fact it’s a badge engineered scooter from Gabelli, sold under the Rex brand in the US. (a similar scooter was marketed as the Capri de Luxe in Italy and the Garelli Monaco in the UK).

This is a super-rare scoot – and while not as rare as this Maserati scooter – is possibly one of only 250 made – and it’s maybe the best example of the model that exists. For the $2,600 asking price you get not one, but four Rex Monacos. One complete and original, clean runner and three ‘parts’ scooters – enough to restore a second one.

The Craigslist listing is here, and there’s a ton more about it on the sellers blog.

Electric Swallow

The Simson Schwalbe (German for Swallow – the bird you smutty minded lot) was, for those that don’t know, a classic East German  scooter/moped. It followed the ‘enclosed motorcycle’ model with larger 16″ wheels than classic Italian scooter. Extremely popular in the DDR back in the day, it’s now the latest classic scooter to be re-invented as an electric ‘e-scooter’ – joining the likes of Cezeta and Lohner12895280-wyglada-jak-klasyczny-simson-schulbe-jednak-zamiast-silnika-spalinowego-napedza-go-prad-96s-1200

It’s been hard to come across hard and fast info about the new electric version of the Simson Schwalbe… but here’s what I’ve gleaned from various sources. Any errors are mine, due to my inability to read any language other than english, and the limitations of Google Translate. So, here’s what I know.

  1. It’s been in development since 2011.
  2. The guys behind it are Govecs – a German electric powered scooter manufacturer.
  3. There will be two models, roughly corresponding in power to 50 and 125cc 2-stroke engines.
  4. The expected cost is in the €4,000 range.

We should know more when the promised production model is revealed at the end of the month.

As yet, there’s no further information on a electric Lambretta, the electric Scomadi that was showcased at EICMA a few years ago, or an electric version of the forthcoming Lambretta Vendetta. But who knows what the future will bring.

If you’re interested in electric scooters, check out these posts on the Fido and the DonGo Bare Bones too.

UPDATE: Reader Fabian has done some reading for me, and there’s a little more history of the e-Schwalbe in the comments… Worth a read! (It’s the last yellow tag at the bottom of the post with “replies” in it if you can’t find the comments).

 

 

Snuggy Buggy

SnuggyMicro-2The world of the William Microcar is a peculiar one… I’ve written about these rare little microcars before, but never come across this variant – ‘The Snuggy’ before. Here, here, here and here. It looks like it takes some inspiration from that 70’s classic The Bond Bug, one of the most iconic little cars ever, and something I’ve also blogged about.

I wouldn’t say the Snuggy is a design classic, but it’s got a certain charm, with a ‘lo-fi’ homemade, bargain parts bucket aesthetic about it. If it’s your cup of darjeeling, check it out on eBay here.

 

Fido Electric Scooter – Now On Sale

DSC_5269editReaders with good memories may recall the Fido Electric Scooter concept that reminded me of the original ‘Model A’ Lambrettas*. Well, it’s not a concept anymore, and you can buy one of a limited edition of 25, hand assembled “Model 1’s” for a downpayment of $5,250. That’s 50% of the full purchase price, which makes them a not inconsiderable $10,500.

It’s not cheap, it will only do 45mph and has a 35mph range, and (at the moment) it’s only available in the USA. But I like the aesthetic, and think it’s a glimpse of the future. Once a main production run is up, (and that is scheduled for 2017) prices should start to come down. I know it’s going to be of limited appeal to readers only interested in old, noisy 2-stroke – you can buy a pretty decent Lammie for $10.5k – but I wish the guys at Fido well. It’s been a long road for them, I hope their hard work starts paying off.

The Fido is also a world away from some of the frankly amazing stuff coming out of Italy at the moment, such as the Casa Performance 350cc twin casing, but the guys over at Scooterlab have got that pretty much covered.

Find out more about Fido here.

*All early open frame Lammies actually, scroll down to see Marco’s D for example (or