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.

What’s the Buzz?

IMG_9050What’s the Buzz? The Buzz is the future. It’s electric. And it’s Vespa shaped. Aiming to do for the scooter market what Tesla have done for cars, Buzz is recreating yesterdays scooter style with tomorrows technology.

Based in Vietnam, where there’s a lot of love for vintage scoots, Buzz are ‘British Engineered’. My guess is it’s the guys at the Saigon Scooter Centre who are behind this initiative, but I may be wrong!

IMG_9056The images shown are prototypes – the final design promising to morph into a ‘more modern take on this classic shop’ – well, I for one hope they don’t change too much. You know what side of the fence I sit on in the Vespa vs. Lambretta debate… but Vespas are the second most beautiful scooters ever made – so this retro styling looks pretty good!

Of course, it comes down to more that just good looks. These vehicles have got to perform. But with claimed top speeds of 120 kph and a 0-100 kph of under 4 seconds (for the 5000W Buzz1 model) it’s not something to worry about. Even the more modest 2000W models top end of 80kph is fine for commuting and city riding.

IMG_9065The two big ‘pain points’ with electric vehicles are range and charging. The Buzz scooters have a range of 240km – nearly 150 miles in old money. Pretty impressive. And improvements in battery tech could boost that to 400km. If your riding any more than that between charges, your doing some serious level scootering.IMG_3909

Charging should be just as pain free. Plug in overnight for a slow charge (6 hours), or, if you’re in a rush, fast charge to 80% capacity in just 12 minutes.

IMG_9084There’s even an option with a removable roof system – featuring built in solar panels – the goal being you ‘ride for free’ and never have to plug your scoot into the grid. To be honest, I’d rather plug my scooter in once a day than ride around with a roof, but I think this would work well for delivery vehicles. Delivery vehicles in sunny places!

Being 2017, all Buzz bikes will have connectivity to your phone. A RFID system means that you’ll never worry about losing your keys again. You’ll also be able to locate your bike, and check your battery status on your phone.

So, sounds pretty good right? If only it was Lambretta shaped! Well… rumours reach Lambrettista towers that (as well as some other exciting news) an electric Lambretta Vendetta is in the pipeline. Watch this space.

IMG_9059

Find out more on the Buzz website.

Via OffTheClothBoff and Modculture.

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).

 

 

Sunny, a Curryburner Cento.

 

LamSunny

Came across this oddity on eBay. We all know SIL made Lambrettas after production stopped elsewhere. Known in the halycon days when you could pick up an Italian S2 for £50 as “curryburners”, today Indian Lammies are just accepted as part of the mix. There were other Lambretta based oddities like the Lamby Polo and Kelvinator Avanti, both featured on the blog before. But here’s a new one on me, the SIL Lambretta Sunny.

LamSunny-3

Looking like a Cento with a SX / Serveta style headset, a grotesquely oversized seat and the ugliest horncasting that’s ever been bolted to a scooter it would be a real talking piece.

I like the kickdown rear footrests… although they’re branded Bajaj (the Indian company who made Vespas under licence) so I guess they’re an aftermarket addition.

It’s available on eBay for a smidge under £800. Here’s the eBay link.


J50Delux-2If you fancy something a bit prettier, and more, er, Italian, for about the same money (£100 cheaper actually!) There’s this J50 Delux. It’s got 50 less cc’s but it is in what’s probably my favourite Lambretta colour, Mela Verde (or Apple Green).  You’ll need to be a bit handy with the spanners, because although it seems to be complete, it’s in bits. Here’s the link for that one.

FIDO Update…

DSC_5285editIt was so long ago I originally wrote about the FIDO that it was on a previous blog… (and this blog’s been running since 2013). The ME electric scooter I posted earlier today reminded me of it so much I thought I’s check up on it… Well, it’s looking more like an early Lambretta than ever… which is a good thing! Full post coming soon, but for the moment, I’ll tempt you with some pics and a link to their website:  here.

Battery_Poster_MU3DSC_5280editBattery_Poster_MU2DSC_5269edit

No apologies for all this electric stuff. It’s the future! But, don’t worry, normal, 2 stroke service will be resumed ASAP!

 

ME Electric Scooter

ME - profilo dxAfter yesterday’s electric Mogan three-wheeler, and with continuing dire warnings of an impending 2Stroke ban, I thought I’d continue the theme with this funky little electric scooter.

scooterelettrico1Electric scooters are now pretty commonplace, but most are blandly generic, cheap and Chinese. It’s innovation that sets the ME electric scooter apart. Designed by a group of Italian engineers – it’s back to basic aesthetics are reminiscent of the early open-frame Lambrettas. Rather like the FIDO I featured a on my previous blog, and the Dutch Q scooter that was at EICMA in 2013. Constructed out of Sheet Moulding Compound, a sturdy composite material that offers structural support, the ME is a cost-effective, lightweight alternative to its metal counterparts.

the-me-italian-electric-scooter-gessato-9The ME is fitted with a lithium-ion battery, with a range of 80 km, fine for a daily commute (especially if you can plug it in when you get to work!) Its electric motor takes the scooter from zero to 45 km/h in six seconds.

Support the project by visiting the ME electric scooter’s crowdfunding page.

With the promise of ” A New Lambretta” in May… and all we know is the model name “L70” could we expect an electric Lambretta? To be honest, I doubt it. I think we’ll get a reworking of the LN, with a four-stroke engine in 125, 150 and maybe 200cc’s. But I’m only guessing, I haven’t heard anything!

Vespa “Sei Giorni” Race Replica

SeiGiorni-2

I don’t normally post Vespa’s. This is a Lambretta blog!  But this I spotted a pic of this gorgeous machine on Twitter, and found a few more online. And it’s a superb looking machine, completley up my strasse. It’s for sale on eBay at the moment, in Germany.

I don’t know anything about it, other than it is called a “Sei Giorni” Race Replica… Now, my limited Italian translates “Sei Giorni” as Six Days, and that automatically get me thinking of the Scottish 6 Day Trials, but I may be completely off beam here. There were probably a ton of 6 Day Competitions back in the day. Any Vespa enthusiasts / knowledgable scooter sport historians on here can shed any more light? Please let me know in the comments.

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There’s a german website address on the eBay page, but it doesn’t seem to work for me.
I’ll include it in case you have more luck http://www.scooterequipment.de

Here’s the eBay link

Normal Lambretta Service will be resumed shortly.

Afrophenia 2015

2015-09-20 14.38.14Port Elizabeth to Capetown on Classic Scooters

Jim from the Lambretta club of South Africa sent through some fantastic pics of their 2015 Afrophenia 2015 tour, which took place in September last year.

The route took them from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, going through Jeffreys Bay,
Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Barrydale, Hermanus, Stellenbosch and finally Cape Town.

In total 11 scooters started the trip, 3 Lambretta’s and 8 Vespa’s plus back
up vehicle and scoot.


The Lambretta’s were:

TV 175 S2 – Green and chrome – owner Jim
TV 175 S2 – light blue – owner Derry
TV200 – blue and white – owner Carlos

Afrophenia 2015 RouteThe distance covered was approximately 700 miles or 1200 km’s, over a ‘leisurely’ 9 days… an epic trip, with awesome scenery, great mates and memories that will last forever. The pictures and video will give you some idea of what they experienced.

Rolls Royce for Sale

HeinkelRRRoller-1Well, not your actual Rolls Royce motor car. But a rather nicely restored Heinkel Tourist scooter… (or motorroller as our Teutonic friends would have it… so I guess it’s a Roller of sorts) was originally marketed as the “Rolls Royce of Scooters”. Naturally, it’s not quite as “pretty” as a Lammy… but it has got a voluptuous attractiveness all of it’s own. And like the seller says “very nice machines to own and run, and they are a bit different” It’s got a classified price of a fiver under £4k, which is a lot of scooter for your buck. Check it out on eBay here. HeinkelRRRoller-2 HeinkelRRRoller-3 HeinkelRRRoller-4 HeinkelRRRoller Here’s that eBay link again.

Scomadi Promotional Video

If you didn’t want a Scomadi before seeing this video, you probably will after. The section where the Scomadi rides alongside the GP is genius, you can make a really good comparison between the two Marques, and see just how much GP DNA there is in the Scomadi bloodline. It sits a little higher than the Italian original, and lets be brutally honest, it’s not quite as stunningly beautiful, but it comes pretty close.  I’m sold.

The video was created by Paul “Woodsy” Wood of Manchester Lyons SC. Long time readers of the blog might remember his excellent video of Eurolambretta 2013  Avignon, and his scooter photography. If you haven’t seen them, click the relevant links, cos you really ought to.

But If, having seen this video, you want to stop fitting about on this blog and just buy a Scomadi, you can register your details here.